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NZXT GRID+ V2 Digital Fan Controller Review

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NZXT CAM and the GRID+ V2

The main advantage of moving to a digital fan controller is CAM, NZXT’s ever-growing control and management software. First introduced with their Kraken AIO liquid coolers, CAM has grown over the years to accommodate many functions; the GRID+ V2 being the latest.

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I was nervous when I opened CAM for the first time. A prompt with those all-too-common words “Create Account” popped up immediately – I wasn’t excited about another Razer Synapse approach to obtaining the greatest functionality out my peripherals. Thankfully, NZXT makes this optional. A link to “Continue As Guest” is located directly below the “Register Now” button. Clicking that link generates a prompt that explains why an account would be helpful and what it enables, and allows a user to continue with the full functionality without signing up (other than the cloud/history data storage). I sincerely hope this NEVER changes! This is the right way to approach these sorts of things, rather than the Razer “you don’t actually need Synapse for your mouse to work/just kidding it’s necessary to change ANYTHING” approach. Kudos to NZXT for not forcing users to register an account just to use the full functionality of a device.

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Full functionality indeed – even without signing in, CAM immediately displays a wealth of information about your machine. In fact, you don’t even need any NZXT peripherals to use CAM!! The default tab is the Dashboard which provides a quick overview of temperatures and load data of the CPU/GPU/HDD/Network etc. As a side note, ignore the CPU temp – AMD’s newer APUs use a thermal margin instead of a direct core temp; the only utility that seems to read this correctly is AMD’s Overdrive utility.

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The Specs tab was more useful than I expected. I generally use CPU-Z or AIDA64 to get a quick snapshot of system specs; most of the same data is available in CAM. The Advanced tabs display what you would expect – RAM shows RAM timings/speeds, HDD shows S.M.A.R.T. data if applicable, Motherboard shows BIOS manufacturer/version etc.

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Downloading CAM also gives users access to an in-game overlay that can show FPS, CPU/GPU temperatures, current graphics settings, and (surprisingly helpful) the current time! Again, this is a free utility that doesn’t require any NZXT accessory or account. We haven’t even gotten to the GRID+ V2 yet!

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If you DO have any NZXT/CAM compatible devices they’ll show as additional tabs. Above is a snapshot of how the GRID+ V2 appears in CAM; the six different fan headers correspond to individual channels (which can be custom-named).

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Clicking a fan channel will allow you to set a custom curve for that fan or pick from the typical Performance/Quiet settings. The custom controls available here rival most built-in fan controls on high-end motherboards – the GRID+ V2 could be an easy way to add this type of functionality to any board. Setting a custom fan curve is as easy as picking “Custom” from the drop down and dragging the points on the fan curve to match the settings you desire.

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The Settings tab contains the usual start-up and temperature options, as well as allowing a user to set a custom color for the entire CAM application.CAM9

Notifications can be set for every system category. The “Load” notifications may not be terribly useful; the various temperatures only marginally more so, especially since they all come in the form of Windows notifications. A notification sent to a mobile device would be much more useful and would allow a user to monitor a system remotely (much more useful – it’s pretty easy to monitor a system when you’re already sitting right in front of it). This feature seems to be planned for release sometime in 2016 according to the NZXT GRID+ V2 product page:

  • Full mobile control is planned to be released in 2016 on Android and iOS through our CAM Mobile platform.

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Finally, a “Mini-CAM” mode keeps a quick overview handy in the corner of your screen. Hopefully the planned CAM Mobile has a similar feature – while it’s nice as an option, this type of information seems much more useful on a second screen.


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