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Are manual fan controllers still in or outdated?

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I would like to have one, but it's kinda useless now, my b350 does an excellent job.
 

outpt

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Just go with the bios at this time. Video cards is manually set though.
 

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The market has slowed or stopped producing new ones. There may be a rare exception product, but on the whole, fan controllers like those are gone for PWM hubs you stick to the back of a motherboard tray so that you can set virtual dials in software.
 
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My Phantek case has push button fan speed built in. It's the same thing as those fan bay hubs I thought?
 
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I have this old school piece of hardware that I never used back in the days of socket 939. Anyone still manually like to control their fans or just go with BIOS/software control. Thoughts?
View attachment 136423
i think ive seen this somewhere on my garage, never though it was a fan, looks likely audio part, will look into, sounds interesting
 
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BIOS/Motherboards I feel have come a long way. Most decent motherboards allow for a good range of control over the 3pin/4pin headers nowadays.
Also many cases now come with some form of control over the fans.
I use the BIOS to configure the fan curve and it works great.
 

hat

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I've seen controls for fans in my BIOS since socket AM2. Not that it mattered to me... I disabled my fan control so they run 100% all the time, with the exception of my video card fans, of course. I'm not running Deltas, so the fan noise is negligible.
 
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I'm not running Deltas, so the fan noise is negligible.
I'm not running with Delta fans aka Socket A but the fan noise from slow to high is night and day for me.
 
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I like them, because I like to play with the knobs... They are not really 'useful' anymore, since you can control fans from software now which is far more intelligent with temperature based fan curves BUT I still can´t go without them.
Every PC I build for myself has one.

And they can be necessary when you exceed the amp rating on your mainboard headers, as with large radiators in push/pull.
 
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I can't remember the last time I've seen one in a store, let alone in person. Personally I love them and I wish they would make a comeback with modern looks and fancy oled screens showing diagnostics and stuff. I dunno, I like panels and knobs. There's something really satisfying about them. Just one of those nice little quality of life things.

And even though it's an all-manual system, it's still pretty practical to have everything fed into one hub with easy access and simple, but all-encompassing controls. It doesn't do everything for you, but unlike with software controls, everything that you need to do is readily and instantly accessible and works consistently the same way, whereas with software you have this potentially bulky gui, which you interact with using a mouse (far more focused than simply reaching down and turning a dial, which you can do blind,) the possibility for bugs and occasionally low-level conflicts (which come with the territory of manipulating uefi-related things [such as fans, CPU OC, RGB, diagnostic monitoring])

It just... when software works, it's great, but it lets you down in ways a hub generally wouldn't. Like, for some reason, my mobo points to the wrong "CPU temp" sensor (one on or near the socket instead of straight from the CPU's actual sensors,) and there's no way to change it. I can only choose that ONE bum CPU sensor or whatever the GPU reports... so even though I can set all of these curves to run on their own, it almost doesn't matter because due to how it all works, the fans never respond directly to changes in CPU temp. I can work around it by compensating the curves... but it's like at that point I might as well be controlling them manually. Fancier systems have weirder, harder to interface with problems. It's like those keyless car ignitions. They're so cool and easy and hands-off when they're working... but it doesn't change the fact that now a battery dying could make you unable to immediately start your car. It makes things simpler, until things go wrong, and then it's more inconvenient than the old method ever was, on average. Now to start your car, you're breaking out the manual and going through this convoluted, poorly-outilnes sequences of buttons, lever pulls, gear shifts... and at the same time you're doing this, someone is walking up to your car with a gun.

Don't get me wrong, the software tech is great, too. Not only can I set fairly complex, granular, PWM curves for all of my fans with a graphical readout to interact with, heuristics, calibration, auto-off... etc... but I can do it in real-time, from my OS. Create/save profiles and keep track of everything, too. Can't beat that convenience. Since I have an ASUS board I use Fan Xpert and honestly while a lot of their stuff is bloat, Fan Xpert is pretty handy software.

I could see them being useful for liquid cooling, too. Maybe you just wanna set a speed that's a good volume for you and let it run like that. If you have to up them, you can easily. Turn the pump up or down... or if you're brave you can even use it to run the pump to fill or drain. Just seems like one of those times when it would be nice to simply have a knob right there that does what you need.
 
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I would have plenty of use for that.
 
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@robot zombie you might be looking for a configurable smart hardware thing like aquaero.
Had one in my previous watercooled PC and it is frankly awesome :)
 
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I have this old school piece of hardware that I never used back in the days of socket 939. Anyone still manually like to control their fans or just go with BIOS/software control. Thoughts?
View attachment 136423
i use fan controller since it's cool :D and at certain point it just feels good when you can control something than leave it automatically
 
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Personally I still use one, the Laptron FC2.
This is because with voltage control I can get my fans down to 500 rpm, or even completely stop them. Add to that that the controller can give 45 W per channel, and I can control all of my 22 fans (18 in push pull and 4 on the tower).
 
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I used them for a long time but when I switched to an A05 case I was down to only 2x 5.25 external and 1x 3.5 bay external, all three external bays are filled with drives. Then I got a Z370 Taichi which had decent PWM control and I replaced all my fans with PWM fans.

Some of the best fans I have encountered were Koolance 12025HBK, a 3 pin fan, its too bad its not a 4 pin. If I ran a case entirely of these, I'd go for a fan controller again. I made a DIY PWM fan controller using a guide on this forum, that switches the 3 pin fan's ground to create a PWM control scheme but it didn't work quite as well as a real PWM fan. The 12025HBK has sat on a 7V wall wart AC adapter for the past 5 years 24/7 tirelessly blowing cool air on my router.

The fan controller I used to use was a NZXT Sentry Mesh.
 
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I wouldn't say that they are outdated but like CLCs (now that we have OLCs), they have simply lost there "raisons d'être ".

Here's what I would say is the present choices to consider

1. Manual Controller - do you really want the job of adjusting your fan speed on multiple channels, every time you CPI load goes up and down ? Are you going to fiddle with multiple knobs for a minute or so ramping then down ? I still use one, but not for the reason you might think, will explain why later

2. BIOS Control - Simple automated control but no advanced features, you have little to no control over anything ... oft leaving you with fans whiring up and down in response to varying loads.

3. MoBo Utility - This is the pinnacle and provides a number of useful features. Asus calls theirs FanExpert .... each major MoBo manufacturer has their own trade name


a) It tests/ calibrates your fan speeds in relation to PWN or DC Voltage signals producing a baseline curve listing min and max fan speeds, controllable range fan rpm vs % of power supplied.

b) Allows you to program the fan curve whereby you can set fans to a certain speed at various temperature points ... say < 30C = Fans off / 40C = 30% / 60C = 60% / 75C = 100% with the utility gradually increasing speed between those data points.

c) Set various ramp up and ramp down speeds... that is how long the control system will take to speed up or slow down the fans I set case fans for a slower ramp up time (102 ceconds) than the rad fans as the CPU and GPUs will spike immediately and case air has not as yet been thermally impacted. For the case fan spin down time, I use 12 seconds. For the rad fans, the thermal mass of the coolant will put a lag before much air is needed ... I spin these up over 76 seconds and spin dow at the max of 204 seconds so as to remove latent heat from the rads. For the twin pumps, I use 5 secs for spin up and spin down. Again the main goal here, other then those for specific channels, it to keep then fans from cycling up and down "chasing their tails" so to speak jumping up in response to increase dtemp, nd then spinning down when the CPU drops temp in response //and then temps risingand on and on and on.

d) This is a 4 channel control system:

Channel 0 = CPU and CPU Alt header ==>Twin 4500 rpm Pumps
Channel 1 = CHA 1 header ==> Fan Hub 1 ==>(6) 1250 rpm fans on 420 x 45mm Top Rad
Channel 2 = CHA 2 header ==> Fan Hub 2 ==>(4) 1250 rpm fans on 280 x 60mm Bottom Rad
Channel 0 = CHA 2 header ==> Fan Hub 3 ==>(6) 1250 rpm case fans

Most of the time, all fans are off ... when gaming or other heavy loads ... they peak at about 550 - 650 rpm .... under stress testing they hit 759 - 825 .... over 850 rpm they become audible.

e) As to the presence of a manual fan controller ... it isn't used to control anything. I use it simply as a temperature display which depicts temps using (6) temp sensors (0.1C accuracy) :

-Coolant temps at inlet / outlet of 420mm top rad
-Coolant temps at inlet / outlet of 280mm bottom rad
-Ambient air temps
-Case interior air temp


4. Fancy Smancy - Aquero type units ... i don't see as they do anything for me that the free utility does not except make my wallet lighter

5. Oh yes ... one more thing. With Z87 we had a real sea-change in fan control. It didn't quite workout as planned tho. Z87 was supposed to be the time that PWM control for all fan headers came to be. MoBo manual described this feature . Unfortunately, it didn't come to pass. Despite what the manual said, the Chassis fan headers had 4 pins but no PWM. Over the course of the next 2-3 months I confirmed this with Asus, MSi, Gigglebyte and ASrock.

But another thing ... at the same time, we saw two other things happened:

a) The PWM vs DCV fan dilemma centered on PWM provided control down to a much lower % of full speed but the downsides were cost, low speed hum and, with some brands (i.e Corsair), you couldn't gang too many fans on one channel. DCV's weakness was oft couldn't turn down fan speeds to much below 50%. New designs that came into being, made great strides on low speed control. In top of that Fan Hubs came on the market that were able to control DCV fans with a PWM signal. Since then PWM products have all but eliminated low speed ticking / humming. Form my observation, I have found that I get the same level of control from PWM fans and DCV fans asn we use hubs rather than splitters on every build. Since OCs of late have been limited by the voltage wall rather than the temperature wall, water cooling has been focusing more on noise reduction than it had in the past and when buying 8, 10 or 16 fans, cost will be a major issue ... I usually but Phanteks PH140-SP 1250 rpm fans when newgg has their sales for $10.99 ... PWM versions are twice that,
 
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I wouldn't use one because my mobo does all that for me now without the addition of extra heat into the system. All fan controllers restrict current to run fans slower and when this happens you have a hot spot, when you have 4 or more fans on a controller it gets pretty uncomfortably hot fast.

The main reason for running one is to show off. They are a manual control vs a software control and some people like manual for example to control delta fans properly. Or as Dinnercore pointed out you use a rad with push/pull config and want manual control over that.
 

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I still prefer the potentiometers over the auto controls
 
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4. Fancy Smancy - Aquero type units ... i don't see as they do anything for me that the free utility does not except make my wallet lighter
There is one thing - being totally independent from software running on the computer. Of course, this does require putting the real physical temperature sensors in place. Fan control is only part of the purpose/capability for these units though.
 
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I have grown to like software based fan controls. Things like GRID+(software) and SpeedFan give you so much more control than BIOS settings. When you use hard controls that you have to physically adjust you are hands-on a lot more, but you can have a constant fan speed and less noise instead of hearing automatic spin-ups if the wind stop blowing for 3 seconds.
 
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