• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Fan Controller - worth it?

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

Instinct1

Registered
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Hey guys, I'm pretty new to this so would appreciate your thoughts -

Working out the components for my first build and want to know whether an external fan controller is worth looking at. Something like this:

http://www.scorptec.com.au/product/...-z_MQuWio1CHq-eIDCJ3PEduRLFsNqLqrIhoChvrw_wcB

Computer will be used for gaming and music production and thought it would be useful to able to control fan speed (especially during recording),

Question is - do they work well, and is there any real point to putting one in?

Cheers guys
 

Robert17

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
Location
Republic of Texas
Welcome to OCF Instinct1! :welcome:

Simply put, depends on what you get, if you decide that it will solve some air flow/heat exhaust issues. I've had a couple and learned the hard way to make sure you get one that will efficiently support the wattage of the fans you intend to control. Also, no need to get one with temp probes; that info is available to you freely. But all that said, they will allow you to exhaust heat better with additional fans, if you need them or your MB won't support enough.

Fill out a sig listing your components so that we can all better understand what advice to give. Enjoy OCF!
 

NiHaoMike

dBa Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Modern motherboards have that functionality built in. What you may need is a wiring harness or splitter board to connect all the fans to the PSU while controlling them from the motherboard.
 

Pinky

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Location
Las Vegas, NV
I also do music on my PC and I don't have a fan controller. The auto fan speed control, which you configure in the motherboard based on CPU and case operating temps, works fine for my needs. When I tracking with a mic, I rarely have many CPU intensive plugins running so the fans are running their slowest (CPU is not doing much work, not generating much heat). That's the only time having the fans run slow/quiet matters, when mixing/mastering I'm either on headphones or have my studio monitors blasting and so I don't hear the fans even if they are spinning faster/louder.

I would say the focus should be on a decent heatsink and low cfm/decibel fan.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
The only time you absolutely need a fan controller is when the fans draw more amps than the motherboard is designed to handle. Usually, that is a max of 1 amp per header. However ( and I know many will disagree with me on this), an external fan controller makes it easier to fine tune fan speed in the mid ranges. Bios fan controls don't scale well in my opinion. The one advantage that bios control does offer for a PWM capable fan is to be able to really slow down a powerful, noisy fan to decibels you can live with when you don't need the full speed cooling power it can offer when unbridled. External fan controls will only allow you to reduce fan speed to a certain point before they stall out due to impedence. PWM control from the motherboard allows you to lower that threshold. That's because PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) maintains full voltage to the fan. It works by breaking the current flow into pulses and then controls the speed of the fan by varying the duration of the pulses.
 

habbajabba

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Location
Oregon
I use a mini-itx board and have a case with 4x 120mm fan placements (2x front, rear, & top). My aio CM cpu cooler needs 2 fans just for the front mounted rad. The board does not have enough pinouts for 4 fans and the pump. Ergo, I MUST have a fan controller, even without mounting the top fan. I previously had the nzxt grid+ but it was a nightmare and was more about checking specs, facebook, and game stats than it was about fan power control. The grid+ drivers would install but it got to the point the actual grid software (what I fing bought it for) would not run. Replaced it with a manual knob type 4 port controller w/temp probes & led front panel. With my noctua fans at about 1700rpm (pump on high-only one plugged into the board) and a silent case, I can barely hear it at all. If I decide to encode or whatever then I can just jack it up to full. If your mobo has plenty pinouts and a gui to control them great. As for the temp probes, I may attach one to the rad and maybe a couple more to the ram sticks just for kicks. I can use atuning to check temps for cpu. Nzxt is cute but based on my exp. with the grid+ I'll never buy that brand again for anything.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
If there are not enough mobo fan headers to go around you can also use splitters unless the total amp draw of the multiple fans is too much.
 
OP
I

Instinct1

Registered
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Thanks guys, appreciate all the feedback. As I said, new to this so some of that stuff I'll still have to decipher but all seems like great advice.

No doubt will be asking your help again soon. Have a good weekend all.

P.S. will fill out my sig with intended specs for the build as suggested.