Silverstone CMD01 Commander ESA Edition 5

Silverstone CMD01 Commander ESA Edition Review

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I would like to thank Silverstone for supplying the test sample for review.

This is how Silverstone describes the CMD01 ESA module on their website:
To enable more users to enjoy the ability to monitor and control their system’s thermal performance; SilverStone created a module called Commander 01 ESA. When connected with an ESA certified motherboard, it can provide full system monitoring and thermal control for support up to 5 fans, 3 lamps (optional) and 4 thermal sensors. Operating under NVIDIA’s control panel software supporting ESA, an user no longer needs to go through complicated BIOS setup to make system performance adjustments. For enthusiasts, it is the best choice to have precision control of their system parameters.
Model No. SST-CMD01B-ESA (Black)
SST-CMD01S-ESA (Silver)
ColorBlack, Silver
MaterialAluminum front panel, steel body
Power requirement+12V
Max fan power5 channels, 0.5A per channel
Operating system supportWindows XP, XP-64, Vista, Vista-64
Application5.25” drive bay, works with ESA motherboard
Connectors3 x 4pin peripheral connectors (300mm)
1 x USB connector (600mm)
4 x thermal sensors (600mm)
InterfaceUSB 2.0
Fan control functionAdjustable speed or thermal control by NVIDIA control panel
Max lamp power3 channels, 0.8A per channel
Lamp control functionOn/off function control by NVIDIA control panel
Thermal sensor & range4 sensors, 0°C ~ 90°C
Controller Board Dimension130mm (W) x 35mm (H) x 55mm (D)
Dimension158mm (W) x 42mm (H) x 145mm (D)

About ESA

ESA stands for "Enthusiast System Architecture", which has been created by NVIDIA. Instead of trying to explain it myself, let me quote NVIDIA:
The Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA) is the industry’s first open-standard PC monitoring and control protocol for real-time communication and control of system thermal, electrical, acoustic and operating characteristics.

ESA-certified components and applications allow enthusiasts and power users to diagnose component-specific issues and tune their systems to meet their individual needs—whether it be reaching peak performance or modifying for a whisper-quiet home theater operation.

With ESA, PC and component manufacturers can deliver differentiated and value-added products, giving their customers unprecedented visibility and control over their systems and allowing them to achieve the highest possible performance.
You will need ESA components to take advantage of this system. This means that you will require a modern NVIDIA mainboard as a base. You can then control various aspects of the system with the freely available nTune System Monitor software from NVIDIA. Such parts include cases & power supplies, which carry the ESA logo to be able to access the vitals. You may wonder, how a chassis can be "controlled" by software. Not cases, but the installed fans are of interest in such enclosures. An ESA enabled case, already has the controller preinstalled, to which the fans are connected.

Such parts are scarce and you don't have completely free choice if you are looking for such a case and this is where the Silverstone Commander comes in. This way you can buy any enclosure you wish and add full ESA functionality to it.
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