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Front Panel Fan Controller Suggestions

Last response: in Components
December 18, 2010 6:13:56 AM

TL:D R I need a front panel fan controller that will work with Thermaltake Frio. Suggestions appreciated. Other options also apreciated.

I have been coming to Tom's for years to read reviews and look for answers to my questions. I have never posted or even bothered to register as I have never felt the need to say anything. Most often by the time I read something here it has already been answered to the fullest possible extent. However I have come this time looking for some advice and have not found what I was looking for so I shall simply ask.

I recently built a new PC using the Thermaltake Frio CPU cooler. This thing is amazing and has allowed me to OC my system beyond the 4Ghz marker stable and cool. The trouble is this thing is noisy. Now I don't mind when I am doing some heavy computing having the thing sound like a Jet engine but under light loads I would love to have it go quiet.

Basically it would be nice to at least have some way to control these fans without reaching inside the case and turning the ever so tiny pots(big hands). Automatic based on temps would be amazing, but manual would be acceptable. The front panel if thats your suggestion should have RPM and Temp readouts. Money is not an issue, but would prefer less then 100$. Also I don't want anything outside of the case itself(IE: that one with the touchscreen that sits on the desk is out of the question).
December 18, 2010 11:53:37 AM

I have a single bay relatively cheap aerocool that has worked flawlessly for a year or so. ther are some good fan controllers if your willing to spend 40+ dollars, mine was 17 off ebay :) 

Alternately you can most likely setup your fans to run at a particular percentage in bios, unless they are hooked up to the power supply's molex connectors. Three pins can go to the mobo case fan headers and should be able to be adjusted. Same goes if your cpu fan is 3 or 4 pin, if 4 pin just plug it into the cpu on the mobo.

The above is just options, I personally like fan controllers, they add to the look of the case and do give added function. Here's a couple I would buy if money isn't a problem.
a b ) Power supply
December 18, 2010 12:12:57 PM

I also like manual fan controllers, I like the Zalman range.

Are you able to use cool n quiet or speedstep with your setup and set the fan speeds/cpu heat in the bios.

Personally I would considor changing the fans on your cooler, the Enermax are good fans and very quiet.

Either of these would do the job well with the same if not more airflow and half the noise.
Related resources
December 18, 2010 7:52:50 PM

This is a link to the Thermaltake website for the CPU cooler in question.

This is a link to the Thermaltake website for the Case I am using.

To Beanoslim: The Thermaltake website rates max air flow @101.6 CFM. It is not clear however if this is with one fan operating (default config) or with both fans operating (optional config). It also rates each fan @2500rpm max, wich I know is the max of each fan due to my BIOS readings. I am not sure if changing the fans is the solution, as there are 2 fans and I'm not sure I can configure my bios to properly control each as they are currently connected to CPU and Chassis1 mobo fan controlers.

Normally I run each fan @~1700rpm for noise reasons, but under load turning the fans to full speed nets almost a 5 degree drop in temps.

To sportsfanboy: This is more the direction I am looking to go. Your second option is exactly what I want to avoid however. I have limited workspace and an extra panel sitting on my desk would be annoying to say the least. Your first option is more to my liking, however I want to be sure it will control my fans at max speeds and am not sure how to tell this information. Also the model you linked has several negative reviews about the LCD Display.

I've had my eye on these two options. LCD view angles seem to plague these products!
a b ) Power supply
December 18, 2010 8:28:25 PM

I'm pretty sure the 101.6 CFM would be for 2 fans.

Either of the Enermax would produce that and even at full speed produce only 18db.

If you hooked them both up to a new fan speed controller you could choose your own speed without bios settings.

Hope you get it sorted. :D 
December 18, 2010 8:37:51 PM

I am not sold that the 101.6 CFM is for both fans combined as a quick search found me a relatively cheap 13$ thermaltake fan with similar specs to the ones im using with 97CFM. . I will put in an e-mail to thermaltake customer support and see if I can gather a solid answer to this question. With overclocking I obviously do not wish to lower the airflow accross my CPU cooler.
a b ) Power supply
December 18, 2010 8:51:01 PM

Just found this in a review, you are right.

The VR series fans that are used on the FRIO are called VR because of the variable resistor or fan speed controller that are part of the fan assemblies. This allows the fans to run from a low speed of 1200 RPM to a high speed of 2500 RPM for when you really need maximum cooling. As you can guess, noise will be a bit of a problem for some at 43 dBA when you spool up the fans to maximum speeds, but with the fan controller, you can easily find a happy medium in between the high and low speed settings. The maximum amount of airflow through each of the fans is almost 102 CFM, so there is some serious airflow moving through the FRIO.

Wow, no wonder they are loud.
December 18, 2010 9:11:00 PM

And now you know my problem and why I am looking to find a controller to solve it. Max cooling when im activily gaming/compiling/whatever. or quiet operation when im simply watching netflix/dvd. And I don't want to have to open the case every time to acomplish that :) . making it automated througha controler would be awesome as well so it can be hands free.

Best solution

a b ) Power supply
December 18, 2010 9:16:39 PM

Have you looked at any of the Zalman fan control panels?

Just out of interest what sort of temps are you getting under full load, do your fans need to run full speed to get safe temps?
December 18, 2010 9:22:29 PM

4.2Ghz @1700rpm = 70-72, @2500rpm = 66-68
3.9Ghz @1700rpm = 65-67, @2500rpm = 62-64

Prime95 torture is how im getting these results. Gaming sees 55-60 max. Idle we are hanging around 30.

Mostly I want to make sure that the fan controler I get will operate these fans at 2500rpm for sustained periods of time and allow me to set a bare minimum speed of 1600 or 1700rpm. I assume placing Temp1 and Temp2 leads on the CPU cooler would allow me to achieve the desired result of automatically controling both fans on my cooler.
December 19, 2010 5:27:39 PM

Best answer selected by lubberlick.
December 19, 2010 5:42:30 PM

I will most likely be going with the Scythe Kaze Server since it has the features I want and the look i want. I will post back here when I have something to say about this device's performance and functionality.