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Thread: Hardware or software fan controller

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    Hardware or software fan controller

    Happy Friday People.

    This is another advice thread from me

    I am looking to buy a fan controller which can control my 3 sharkoon golfballs.

    At the moment they are all plugged into the fan sockets on my motherboard. I understand (correct me if I am wrong), that as they are only using 3 pins on the fan sockets I cannot use a program to control the fan speeds. Is this correct?

    It seems a bit strange as also the 2 fans on my noctua cpu cooler are also only using 3 pins and not the 4 I expected them to be using.

    All 5 of my fans sound like they are running at full tilt and its quite loud which I don’t mind when gaming but when I’m sitting just browsing the net I don’t want my pc to sound like I have a hoover turned on next to my feet.

    Thanks in advance

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    Get in the van. Fraz's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Fan speeds can be controlled either by their input voltage, or via a PWM signal (which is the fourth pin on four-pin fan headers). PWM stands for pulse width modulation, and essentially works via "duty-cycle" - i.e. pulsing the full power on and off very rapidly. This is often more efficient and can also take the fan down to lower speeds than voltage control can, because fans have a minimum voltage required to rotate at all (e.g. maybe 4 volts, or some such).

    As to your situation and your three-pin fans, it depends if your motherboard has the ability to send variable voltages to your fan headers (there might be some software that comes with your motherboard to do this). If it doesn't, then you'll have to get a hardware fan controller. If it does, then you should be able to control the fan-speed via software. Motherboards vary on this... my previous ABIT motherboard could control the voltage to all the fans, whereas my current ASUS mobo is less flexible.
    Last edited by Fraz; 05-02-2010 at 10:47 AM.

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    Get in the van. Fraz's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Incidentally, I ended up getting this to control my case fans. Simple, inexpensive, has no annoying flashy lights, and can control four fans from 5 volts to 12 volts. Very happy with it.

    http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/pro...essories/kazeq

  4. Received thanks from:

    mkell (05-02-2010)

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    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    It's very strange to how similar your signature rig and my signature rig (all be it a couple upgrades ago) are!

    I use to have a similar C2D, same case, similar ram, and also had two HDDs, anyways, I digress.

    I'm still using the MSI P35 Neo and can tell you that although some boards will give you control over the fan headers (inc. 3 pin headers) using a program called speedfan, we cannot (well I haven't been able to)
    If you turn off the auto fan control in the BIOS you can gain control over the cpu fan but I've not been able to control the system fan headers.

    To control the fans that I had in this case I used one of these fan controllers...
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AKASA...2-USB-20-ports

    which worked quite nicely and doesn't break the bank ~£10

    Hope this helps

    In the future I'd like to look into getting an arduino board to control the system fans depending on temperatures provided by rivatuner but again, I digress.

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Thanks for the quick reply guys the mobo i have is the gigabyte p55 - UD3

    I havent updated my rig on here yet. I'm using an i7 now must update my system on here

    in the spec this is listed
    H/W Monitoring

    1. System voltage detection
    2. CPU/System temperature detection
    3. CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
    4. CPU overheating warning
    5. CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
    6. CPU/System fan speed control

    I will have look at the bundeled software easy tune 6

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Ok well easy tune 6 is a pile of ****!

    anyone know if I can controll my fans from the mobo I know it says so on the above spec i poseted from gigabyte but I'm not sure.

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    have you tried Speedfan?
    http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Quote Originally Posted by mkell View Post
    Ok well easy tune 6 is a pile of ****!
    It is indeed. Sadly I can't get speedfan to work on my gigabyte board.

    You can control the cpu fan speed via easytune, but it only works for me if I select the voltage option for fan speed in the bios.

    I'm using a cable splitter to run 3 fans off the single cpu fan header, which is just within spec when running at full speed.

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Tried speed fan last night and yup it didnt work at all

    Look like I will be investing in a fan controller. I like the look of the zalman mfc 3 It will look nice with my case. Anyone use the zalman at all? where’s best to place the 4 temp sensors?

    I was thinking 1 next to the intake fan, one next to the exhaust. but what to do with the other 2?

    Will the sharkoons I have work fine with the zalman?

    Thanks again people

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Quote Originally Posted by mkell View Post
    I was thinking 1 next to the intake fan, one next to the exhaust. but what to do with the other 2?
    One for HDD, and the other either for GPU or RAM? You get the CPU/NB/SB temperatures from the motherboard anyway.

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Ok great. HDD’s am not too fust about as they have 2 sharkoons blowing on them so a don’t think they will ever get hot. Do I just stick the temp sensor onto the ram? Or what?

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Personally I would go one of two ways - either software, or a proper self adjusting fan controller - 95% of the controllers on the market are, IMO, utter **** as they require the user to manually adjust the speed. Some of the higher end manual controllers do offer PWM control, but the rest are the same as the cheapo ones albeit with more pointless bling.

    Try the Silverstone FP52, the Akasa Allinone or possibly some of the NZXT range (not checked, but the blurb insists it does automatic adjustment).

    Personally I went for the FP52 at the time and found it basically functional, even if it could be a little more solidly made. It turned out in the end I didn't need to bother, however, as the motherboard monitoring tools from Intel insisted that 37 degrees was too hot when in fact the motherboard specification says it's good up to 55 degrees ambient. Key lesson : read the manual, don't believe the software!

    PK

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    I'm controlling my case fans with an mCubed Fanamp. It's single channel but will take up to 25 watts so you can have a lot of fans on splitter cables (most fans run at less than 4 watts).

    There are two controls. One sets the fans to the usual speed you want. The other controls a temp sensor override that you can place anywhere you want (I put mine just next to the heatpipe between fins on my CPU cooler). When the over-ride limit is exceeded, any connected fans will spin up to 100% and back down again when the sensor cools down.

    It gets power from a molex but also attaches to a fan header on your motherboard via a 3 pin cable so you can still monitor fan speed.

    The fanamp is really a set and forget item and internal - handy for me because I don't want my baby son changing my fan settings. mCubed also do a range of more expensive fan controllers but the Fanamp does what I need it to.

    The PC is pretty much silent for general use. Depending on CPU usage / temperature the case fans spin up as required. When back to idle there's usually a bit of a delay before quiet operation is resumed.

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Quote Originally Posted by circuitmonkey View Post
    I'm still using the MSI P35 Neo and can tell you that although some boards will give you control over the fan headers (inc. 3 pin headers) using a program called speedfan, we cannot (well I haven't been able to)
    If you turn off the auto fan control in the BIOS you can gain control over the cpu fan but I've not been able to control the system fan headers.
    FYI circuitmonkey, You can change the speed of some of the fans in the BIOS on the p35 neo2
    Just not all of them, I'll have to double check which ones you can.

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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraz View Post
    Fan speeds can be controlled either by their input voltage, or via a PWM signal (which is the fourth pin on four-pin fan headers). PWM stands for pulse width modulation, and essentially works via "duty-cycle" - i.e. pulsing the full power on and off very rapidly. This is often more efficient and can also take the fan down to lower speeds than voltage control can, because fans have a minimum voltage required to rotate at all (e.g. maybe 4 volts, or some such).

    As to your situation and your three-pin fans, it depends if your motherboard has the ability to send variable voltages to your fan headers (there might be some software that comes with your motherboard to do this). If it doesn't, then you'll have to get a hardware fan controller. If it does, then you should be able to control the fan-speed via software. Motherboards vary on this... my previous ABIT motherboard could control the voltage to all the fans, whereas my current ASUS mobo is less flexible.

    Hi have a question, can the four pin fans be plugged into a three pin controller. I've not used PWM fans before and have an older motherboard, and I've heard the instructions for setting the fan speeds are nowhere to be found, so I would much prefer manual control. Like one of the controllers you suggested. I'm getting a new PWm CPU cooler and wonder Four pin fans reverse compatible like three pins ones into four pin sockets. many thanks

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    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware or software fan controller

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    FYI circuitmonkey, You can change the speed of some of the fans in the BIOS on the p35 neo2
    Just not all of them, I'll have to double check which ones you can.
    I have the p35 neo-f though, I've only seen target CPU temperature options, and haven't noticed any variation in the system fans

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