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The Macpower DigitalDoc 5

Product: Macpower DigitalDoc 5
Street Price: $59.99 USD
Company: Macpower Peripherals Ltd.
Date Reviewed: November 18, 2001
Reviewed By: Jason

What Is It?:

The DigitalDoc5 from Macpower is a "smart" system that allows you to monitor eight different temperatures, and connect fans to turn on and off for each temp probe when it reaches a pre-determined temperature. I wouldn't exactly say this is a quick plug-and-go system, it does take a little time and effort to setup, but once all the dirty work is done it is very rewarding to have such an awesome piece of equipment in your computer. Here's some quick spec's of the unit:

  • 5V+ 12V monitoring function +/- 5% tolerance level
  • Compatible with two-pin or three-pin fans (supports RPM monitoring function for three-pin fan)
  • Temperature range 0-99 degrees C
  • Can support up to 8 sensors
  • Backlight function
  • Real-time scan function monitoring
  • Installs quickly into any 5.25" slot (takes up no extra space by replacing the 5.25" panel)
  • All channels can be programmed separately, temperature levels easy to program
  • Sensor reads unit temperatures every 5 seconds (complete cycle every 40 seconds)
  • Battery-free, E2 PROM technology keeps memory settings protected
  • Optional use of continuous fan operation or power-saving standby mode.

Before getting started, I would like to thank Heatsink Factory for supplying the DigitalDoc5, without their support this review would not of been possible.


What's In The Box?

There are quite a few things included in the package, and I strongly suggest you make sure everything is there before putting it all in your system. There are eight temperature probes, eight pieces of sticky tape, two extra filters, a bag of screws, and of course the DigitalDoc5 with seven extension cord connectors for fans.

The design of the DigitalDoc5 is pretty nifty, if you don't have a spare bay in your system, you can actually mount a 3 1/2 hard drive in the DD5. Since I had plenty of room in my PC I didn't need to do this, but it is still a nice feature for "just in case". The front of the DD5 has a good sized LCD readout, several buttons, and a little 40mm fan with a filter (which is why there were two extra filters included).

If you look on the inside you can see the back of the PCB has all of the power and temperature probe connectors all nicely numbered. Each 3pin molex connector is labeled with a fan number making it convenient when hooking everything up. There are eight temperature probes, six are the "bulb" type (the blue colored closeup in the picture below), and two are the "flat" type (orange color). The bulb style are good to get a general air reading, like if you mount them near a fan or something radiating heat. The flat style are excellent for a tight squeeze or taking a more direct reading, such as your CPU temperature, or video card.

On the back of the package is a quick set of instructions on hooking it up and getting started, and there is also a CD with a more comprehensive set of instructions in PDF form explaining on how to operate and configure the DigitalDoc5.

(Click on any image to get a close-up of the whole row)

(Click on any image to get a close-up of the whole row)

Hooking it up:

Having so many temperature probes to put in my computer is kind of like putting a kid in a candy store! The first thing I wanted to monitor was my video card's temperature. I took one of the flat probes and taped it to the back of the video card directly behind the GPU, also a dab of hot glue will prevent it from being pulled off by accident. I plan on replacing the stock cooling in the future so I can move it to the front when I do that. Another big place I was concerned about was monitoring my northbridge temperature. The board I use is a VP6 and it only has a heat sink (no fan) on the northbridge, so I took a bulb style probe and used a dab of hot glue to hold it in place on the top and in the center of the heat sink. I also used two more bulb probes and taped them to my hard drives. One probe was mounted in front of a fan that draws air inside the case, and a couple were used outside my case attaching them to the grills on the fans so I could monitor the temperature of the air leaving my case. You can see that I ran the probes through an extra hole in the back atx template, and filled the hole with hot glue so the wires wouldn't move and get damaged.

(Click on any image to get a close-up of the whole row)

(Click on any image to get a close-up of the whole row)


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