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Question for Vetrans: is a fan controller the solution?

Last response: in Motherboards
September 9, 2010 1:33:25 PM

Hey gang,

This will be my first build. I have ordered the parts (I hope, most of the necessary ones) for building a computer. I ordered a NZXT Vulcan case for a mATX board.

The motherboard is an MSI 890GXM-G65:

The case, again, is the Vulcan:

When reading the views, and looking over the literature, it looks like the motherboard has one plug for the CPU fan and one for the system fan--only two in all. I plan on connecting 6 fans in total--one of which will include two fans through an H50 fan unit. I have read that one individual who bought the board used a fan controller to remedy this problem. Someone else mentioned some type of SATA interface device(s) to power more fans.

I know the Vulcan has to knobs on the front of it for controlling fans, but I do not know how that relates to hooking up to power on the motherboard? Is that in effect a "fan controller"? Should I go ahead and order a fan controller? I'm an Amazon Prime member, so I could get the NZXT fan controller here tomorrow. Any ideas?

Since this is my first system, I plan on learning as I go, of course, but I really would like to try and get all of the parts here before the weekend so I'm not left hanging, so any knowledgeable input would be appreciated. Of course, I can always return a fan controller if it isn't needed, but it isn't clear to me if it would help this situation?

Thanks in advance!

a c 715 V Motherboard
September 9, 2010 1:47:21 PM

First, beyond the CPU fan {OEM + most after-market) and rear exhaust fan, it is best to keep the fans off the MOBO. Either 4-pin {variable speed} or 3-pin/3-wire, on a Fan Controller. The other 3-pin/2-wire fans are typically connected directly to the PSU via a Molex and have no speed control, but "can be" controlled via a controller. Therefore, if purchasing a fixed speed fan running off the PSU get ones that are <30dB in most instances.

Also, regarding the Fan Controller it is best to get at least a 4-channel controller, and many "touch screens" are known to have their screens become inactive a/k/a broke easily.

NZXT is good for the money.

Also, if you state your ALL your required fans with sizes AND budget, I'll be more than happy to suggest some good options...
a b V Motherboard
September 9, 2010 2:15:58 PM

I have read that one individual who bought the board used a fan controller to remedy this problem.

A fan controller which controls 4 fans housed in one of the cases 5.25 external bays could be used. I have several of these I use.

Same controller, no LED speed/temp display.

Someone else mentioned some type of SATA interface device(s) to power more fans.

Fans run off the 12v power supply source. So you can plug as many case fans into the PSU as you want. Through a fan controller, 3 pin or 4 pin molex depending on which interface/adapter is available. I have cases that have more than 20 fans. SATA has nothing to do with case fans. The PSU powers the fans.

I know the Vulcan has to knobs on the front of it for controlling fans, but I do not know how that relates to hooking up to power on the motherboard?

The case has a dual fan controller built in. The PSU supplys the power, not the MB. The MB has 3pin fan headers for the CPU and a system fan or two, but fans can be run directly from the PSU and as many as you want.

Is that in effect a "fan controller"? Should I go ahead and order a fan controller?

A 5.25 bay fan controller like I linked controls four three pin fans from an available 5.25 external bay. If using a fan controller be sure to get a fan with a 3 pin lead that includes available speed control. The third pin allows for the control of the fan speed. Otherwise fans are two pin power and ground and the speed can not be controlled. Some fans have built in speed controls like this Antec. They have a 3 speed fan control switch built in 1200 / 1600 / 2000 RPM

This review shows the 3 pin connector to the case's built in front panel dual fan controller
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September 9, 2010 4:53:22 PM

Thank you guys so much! I think, for the time being, I'll go with the budget route (I've already spent more than I originally planned), and buy the value NZXT model. I like the look of it, and if the LCD bums out after warranty, the price (about 31 bucks including overnight) won't keep me up at night. If I end up getting more and more into this, I will look more carefully into the Koolance system down the road.

It looks like that by chance, I bought fans with 3/4 pin connectors--so I think I'm safe there (when it comes to adjustability). My rationale for most of the models I chose was just to go with the same NZXT brand fans available--I bought the Antec fan because of its size (it fit the back) and the number of positive reviews for it--I did not look much more deeply into it than that, unfortunately. I think all of the following are adjustable?

In total, I'll have two 120mm at the top, 1 200mm on the side, and 2 120mm through the front bottom (via H50 device). The model numbers are as follows:

VANTEC TF9225 92mm Case Fan:

NZXT FN-120RB 120mm Case Fan:

NZXT 200mm:

The fan controller looks like it will have all of the necessary wiring?

My PSU is as follows:

XFX Black Edition XPS-850W:

Does this look compatible? I think it is, but I'm not for sure, and I'm pressed for time to carefully analyze, because I'm in between working classes. Also, should I order any practical cable management devices to help make every nice and neat inside? (Within a pretty good budget)

Perhaps there's some kind of well-known kit that any knowledgeable systems builder is well aware of that I'm completely oblivious to.? :0)

a b V Motherboard
September 9, 2010 8:18:55 PM

I like the case, looks good and has positive reviews. The controller (or built in controllable fans) will work great to keep the noise down. Uncontrolled, all those fans will be loud. The PSU I am not familiar with, but has enough power avalable to power two high performance video cards. Looks very nice overall. Should be a chick magnet :) 
a c 234 V Motherboard
September 10, 2010 12:48:03 AM

XFX is a good PSU and is coming on strong as a Top Tier Manufacturer.

I'm actually surprised to see a useful and educational posts from the Forum Jester. Badge it is unlike you :lol:  :D 
a b V Motherboard
September 10, 2010 1:01:18 AM

I've been on Tom's giving expert advice since Tue Jan 01, 1970 before you were born. Tom himself was in high school when I solved my first fan configuration question on here. This was badge's hardware before Tom too smart for his own good. I had Tom him banned and this is the result. If you think that's scary, a French surrender is imminent.
September 10, 2010 4:31:48 AM

Thanks for the posts, guys. I'm glad to hear things look solid. I spent quite a bit of time doing research on them, but I know there are blind spots. I know there are things I've missed, and that's just a part of building it I suppose. I just wanted to do my best to make sure I wasn't handicapped over the weekend. I opted to get a bit larger PSU for expendability. I think I bought what you might term as a moderate CPU and motherboard (Phenom X4 965 I believe). I did so because I felt if I upgraded a few years from now, it wouldn't be all that painful to me.

So I spent a little more on other things, such as a decent surge suppressor. Hopefully I'll be happy with the performance!
a b V Motherboard
September 10, 2010 4:43:26 AM

PII 965 quad is nice. I built a 940 mATX 780g some months ago and it runs close to my Q9550. These AMD builds are simply great bang for the buck. With both Intel and AMD coming out with new platforms needing a new socket/MB, your system looks like a great choice. I like that case. The mesh side panel is pretty cool. Thinking of buying one and putting the 940/780g my wife uses in there. As far as wiring the PSU inside the case, take a little time and route the PSU cables so they don't impede the airflow. That case will pull in a LOT of fresh air through the bottom front panel and the side panel fan. The only place dead air may accumilate is behnd the DVD's. But then the two big roof fans will pul air through that area. I like it.