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Really need help with fans/case cooling, clueless on this topic.

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Aug 1, 2014
I need to find out which is the best way to go to setup a minimum of 4 fan controller setup and which technology type should I use.

Unfortunately I'm not well versed on this topic so I want to get a fractal design midi R2 case (http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/arc-series/arc-midi-r2) and it comes with a built in fan controller to control 3 fans so I need something from the ground up different and I was thinking of a fan controller since I have empty 5.25" slot. I just don’t know what technology is best and what controller one would recommend. I'll need a minimum of 3 140mm and one 120mm for now. Would something like the corsair commander mini (http://www.corsair.com/en-us/corsair-commander-mini) since I plan to get a corsair 100i cpu cooler and prob a PSU if the commander is a good solution. Are 4 pin fans better than 3 and any good reason to get them as they cost more and what's is advantage of PWN Thanks. Really need help on this one and really grateful for any input. Or is the best way to go to go with swiftechs splitter ( http://www.swiftech.com/8-WayPWMsplitter-sata.aspx)

P.S. this is what i've narrowed down so far to pick from.

NZXT SEN-MIX2 Sentry Mix 2 Fan Controller $30 slider up/down, 4 pin fan connector, 6 fans, 30 watts per fan ( 5 out of 5) PWN sized connectors

1ST PC CORP. FC-FANATIC-B Lamptron 5.25" 5-channel fan controller, 60w/channel, High/Low/Off switch $35 (looks like switches on front) 5x 3 pin connector to (5 out of 5 on 14) fan and 1x 4 pin connector to power supply, High/Low/Off switch. (5 out of 5)

AeroCool CoolTouch-E Black Touch control 4 fan speed controller w/ 7 changeable backlight colors LCD display $37 only 3 reviews
http://www.aerocool.us/peripheral/CoolTouch-E B.htm

NZXT Sentry Mesh Fan Controller w/ Five 30 watts Channels $25 slider up down,

ZALMAN MFC1 Plus-B Black 6 Channel Multi Fan Controller $40 nob control, 6 fans (4 out of 5)

Corsair Commander Mini (Only sold on corsair site) $60

Sunbeam PL-RS-6 Rheosmart 6 Fan Controller 5.25" Bay 6 Channel 30W Fan Controller Panel (Black) $38(3 pin fans connects to mobo 4 pin controller) (4 out of 5 out of 45) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...on=Sunbeam+PL-RS-6+Rheosmart+&N=-1&isNodeId=1

Gelid Solutions FC-LC-01 SpeedTouch6 Controller – 6 fan channels at 30 Watts each, 4pin (supports 3, 4 pin fans) $42 (4 out of 5)

Commander FX - 10 Port Fan Hub (Connector: 3-Pin x 10; SATA x 1) pretty cool

NZXT CB-LED10-WT Sleeved LED Kit - White, 1 m, controlled from a slot, MAYBE the corsair will connect $13

Sunbeamtech PL-RS-6 Rheosmart 6 Fan Controller with 30 watts per channel. (4.5 out of 5 on 60)

BitFenix Recon Fan Controller $40, max 10 watts per channel, 5 fans, touch screen (4 out of 5 out 45)

Was wondering if I should get 4 pin PWM or select speed manually fans or just generic 3 pin and I'm guessing 12v volt down for speed selection.
Last edited:
what he said. manual fan controllers are for the birds. motherboard header fan control is where it's at. asus has nice software that lets you set fan curves and works with normal 3 pin fans or 4 pin pwm fans. put them at 600rpm at idle and then make them fast under load. set and forget.
u mean something like this?
crap wownt let me copy/paste but swiftech makes version where one cable goes to the mobo and other it splits the signal to 8.
I know this is a dumb question but is there an advantage to use 4 pin and where is pwm best to use. i have a spare 5.25 so controller make sense im thinking now 4 fans but maybe 1 or 2 in the future. BTW i just order a asrock extreme 6 hope it has good fan controll.

I would be concerned about overloading the MB if you put 8 fans on one MB socket. My Fractal Design case(s) came with a simple controller but it relies on power directly from the power supply via 4-pin molex. I do use the fan speed controller that came with my case but I set it and forget it. On the other hand, for my GPUs, I use the MSI afterburner to control fan speed ont he GPUs themselves to adjust for heat and noise as needed. That is software based.
I disagree that manual controllers are for the birds. With many motherboards the PWM is poorly implemented and often there are not enough headers to go around. I use the Sunbeam Rheostat Extreme and love it! It gives pinpoint control of fan speed and comes with lots of adapter cables to cover just about every situation with regard to fan wiring. And the channels are 30W apiece so not much chance they will burn out. The only knock on this product is that the knobs' blue LED lights are quite bright. If you sleep in the same room with the computer this might be an issue. But it makes a great night light.
The Swiftech 8-way PWM splitter works very well. It uses the PWM signal from CPU fan header with it's 12v power coming from PSU. No power load on motherboard.

I use PWM fans on most everything on PWM splitters using PSU power. I control some with CPU fan header and some with GPU fan header.

Case cooling isn't It isn't so much how many fans but how well they flow air through the case removing the heated component exhaust without it mixing with cool intake air being supplied to coolers & other components .. and doing that is where automatic case fan speed control helps. All modern CPU and GPU coolers use automatic fan control. It's just logical to do the same with their air supply.

Setting up a case for optimum cooling

Setting up the case for optimum cooling is often the hardest and most time consuming part of a build... And the most neglected by most builders.

  • There is much more to cooling than good cases and good CPU / GPU coolers. Add the fact that many GPU's make more heat than CPU means getting that heat out of the case and keeping a cool airflow to components can be a challenge.
  • Cases, especially those with filters, usually benefit from fans with higher static pressure ratings than stock fans... "cooler" fans instead of "case" fans.
    Intakes are typically have more restricted than exhaust because of air filters, more restrictive grills, HDD cages, etc.
  • I prefer more intake than exhaust. And don't confuse number of fans with amount of airflow... or airflow with airblow
  • airflow is flowing cool air from intake to component and flowing hot air from component out of case without the hot air mixing with the cool air.
  • airblow is lots of fans blowing air with some of hot air from components mixing with cool air making it warmer resulting in warm air not cooling components as well as the cool air will.
  • Putting fans in case as intake and/or exhaust is only the first step. These fans only move air in and out of case.
  • This does not mean heated air is not mixing with cool air.
  • Nor does it mean cool air is going to where it is needed.
  • Getting the air to flow inside of case properly is even more important. We still need to manage where the air flows inside the case. We can do this several ways; deflectors, more intake fans.. & exhaust fans, removing vent grills, removing HDD cage, using fans with higher pressure/airflow, building ducts to or from CPU/GPU cooler, etc.
  • Using a remote temperature sensor to monitor what air temps are is the key to finding out where the cool air is flowing and knowing heated air is not mixing into it. By monitoring this we can than make changes to get airflow the way we want it.
  • Keep in mind your case needs to flow more air than components do. It isn't so much how many fans but how well they flow air through the case. If component fans move more air than case fans move through case components are using their own heated exhaust to make up the difference and case heats up. Good rule of thumb is 25-50% more case cfm than component cfm but well tuned airflow can be almost equal equal.
  • Traditional tower cooler exhausting toward back of case must have rear / rear & top back case exhaust fan that remove as much or more cfm than cooler fans exhaust.
  • A duct from back of cooler to back of case (like Thermalright HR-22 uses) is also an option that works very well.
    For example
    • My Define R2 system has three TY-140 74cfm intake fans. (no exhaust fans) in case while CPU has TY-143 130cfm fan and GPU has two TY-100 44cfm fans
    • Case = 222cfm
    • Components = 218cfm
    • Air temp inside of case is never more than 3c above room.
    • 2 front TY-140 & CPU cooler TY-143 fans are PWM controlled by CPU
    • Bottom TY-140 & GPU TY-100 fans are PWM controlled by GPU

How to monitor air temperature different places inside of case:
  • A cheap indoor/outdoor thermometer with a piece of insulated wire and a plastic clothspin works great.
  • Made up with floral wire and tape. We don't want anything to short out with metal. ;)
  • Clip and position sensor where I want to check the temp. Make it easy to see what the air temp going into components actually is relative to room temp. ;)
  • When system is working air temps going into coolers will be 2-3c warmer than room.. up to about 5c is okay.

Controlling case fans with PWM signal from motherboard CPU fan header and GPU fan header.

There are some limitations:
  • Obviously motherboard and GPU must have PWM
  • Obviously fans must be PWM
  • Motherboard can only support 8-9 fans (PWM signal strength gets too weak)
  • No idea how many fans GPU can support.

Setting up motherboard PWM control of PWM case fans:
  • Use a PWM splitter with molex/sata connector. Gelid and Swiftech are my preferred.
  • http://www.gelidsolutions.com/products/index.php?lid=2&cid=11&id=63
  • http://www.swiftech.com/8-waypwmsplitter.aspx
  • Plug PWM splitter to motherboard CPU fan header and PSU
  • Use CPU cooler fan as "master" fan. This is the fan that sends rpm signal to motherboard PWM header.
  • Additional CPU cooler fans and case fans will ramp u and down with CPU fan.
  • Can use a second PWM splitter on 3-way & 4-way PWM splitter.
  • Setup fan speed curve with motherboard bios or software. Gigabyte has EasyTune 6 and Asus has SmartFan. I set minimum at 30% fan @ 30c and maximum at 100% @ 65c. Than watch temps and see if you want more or less rpm to keep temperature and noise where you want them. My sig rig idles 24-29c @ 700rpm; 100% all cores is 42-48c :950-1050rpm.

Setting up GPU PWM control of case fans:
  • Obviously GPU fans need to be PWM. Because the GPU PWM header/plug is smaller than normal PWM we need a Mini 4-Pin GPU (Female) to Mini 4-Pin GPU (Male) / 4-Pin Fan (Male) Cable Splitter Adapter is needed-. The blue wire going to normal PWM socket needs to be cut off of mini PWM plug. (You can use this wire to monitor rpm on case fan by connecting it to a normal 3pin fan plug in the rpm position.) Plug a PWM splitter into the normal PWM socket and PSU for case fans.
  • http://www.moddiy.com/products/Mini...)-{47}-4%2dPin-Fan-(Male)-Cable-Splitter.html
  • Case fans hooked onto this splitter will ramp up and down with GPU fans.
  • Use GPU software or Bios to setup fan speed curve

For PWM control of 3-pin variable voltage fans there are two ways to do it:

Have someone build you a custom PWM to analog converter.

Use a Phantek PWM fan hub. These are designed to use PWM control with PSU power to control and power up to 30w / 11 fans.