There's something about flashing lights and LED displays that seems to appeal to the male psyche. Witness all the 'toys' that males generally make a beeline for - fast cars, electronic devices and expensive home theater systems. Common to all these gadgets is that they all have something shiny to boast about, be it the testosterone-fuelled dashboard of a super car or the classy VFD of a hi-fi system. For those who have similar urges but as yet unable to afford these finer things in life, DIY PC systems make for a reasonable alternative due to its lower entry price. Hence, case modding and decking out the PC in LEDs like a Christmas tree is usually the domain of male teenagers and adults. Undoubtedly, some of them will graduate to more expensive hobbies in the future but there is always a ready market for males looking to customize their 'rigs'.
It is this group of enthusiasts that ASUS hopes to capture with its latest product. Since most enthusiasts who overclock or heavily tweak their systems desire instant access to information like temperature and fan speed, ASUS has followed the trend of some manufacturers by including these in a separate display module that can be mounted in the 5.25-inch drive bay of the chassis. Such an approach has been done previously with both liquid and air cooled setups and we have even seen a PSU with such a monitoring module previously from AcBel. Now it seems that it's the turn of the graphics card to get such a real time monitoring tool and in fact according to ASUS, it's the first of its kind.
Dubbed the OC Gear, this add-on has been surprisingly paired with a mid-range NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT graphics card. Perhaps ASUS feels that this module will give its product an advantage in this highly competitive segment. The card itself will function normally without installing the module; doing so just gives users the ability to modify the core clock, system volume and fan speeds simply by turning a knob. This can be done without exiting any application and going to the NVIDIA Control Panel as would be the usual case. Before we explore further how this monitoring tool works, let's take a look at the technical specifications: