With all the fan controllers you see on modded cases, it?s almost a standard to have some type of fan controller in a bay. For those of you who have a plethora of devices, such as multiple HDDs, CD/DVDs, multifunction panels, temperature controllers, etc, space can become limited, and you may not have room for a 5.25? bay bus. FrozenCPU.com has solved this problem by creating a dual voltage, 3-port fan controller of their own design for a 3.5? bay.
As I opened the package, I noticed that the unit itself was individually wrapped in bubble wrap to protect it. It also included 2 bags, 1 with 3 tailed 4-pin molex connectors and 1 with 3 LED grommets. The package also included instructions, an acrylic drilling template, and a very large 4-pin Y adapter so your fan bus can be used without limiting the number of available molex ports. The unit itself was as expected: 3 switches, 3 dual color LEDs, 3 green positive/negative connectors, and a 4-pin molex connector to power the unit.
Upon inspection of the unit, I noticed that there were several orange screws attached to some kind of metal component. I quickly shot over to FrozenCPU to see what they were for, and I found out they?re adjustable voltage regulators/potentiometers. They are used to adjust the voltage of the low-speed switch between 7 and 9 volts. What a great feature, especially for users of high-power fans.
The tailed 4-pin molex connectors included make it much easier to connect fans or other devices than having to hack off connectors to make bare wire connections. I noticed that the board was labeled ?red? and ?black?, for positive and negative, but the connectors were black and yellow. I guess this was because the connector is using the 12v positions, but this could confuse a basic user that knows nothing about PSU cables or electronics.
I didn?t have any free 3.5? bays except some odd ones from an old AT case that had cross members in them, so I made a 3.5? bay mock up out of steel. After drilling the holes for the LEDs and switches, and installing the fan bus, I noticed that the grommets should be on a particular way. You must have the longer parts of the grommets perpendicular to the LED/Switch holes. It?s easier to grasp this concept with a picture.
After it was all installed, I took it to my project computer to test it out. The LEDs are very bright! I personally could not stare directly into them without my eyes hurting, but since my optometrist says I?m light sensitive, it?s no surprise. The pictures don?t do it enough justice.
I hooked up a quad blue LED fan to test the different speeds and effects. At high speed, the LEDs were bright and the fan was ripping? quietly because it?s a quiet fan(2700 RPM). I noticed absolutely no difference between using it on the controller and using it directly on a plug from my PSU. This (consistency) is definitely a good feature.
I flipped the switch to low speed and noticed the LED?s dimmed and the fan speed diminished. This is the desired effect of low speed because the fan was SILENT! I couldn?t hear it 6 inches away! In a case, even the lightest of sleepers could go all night without waking up due to fan noise, yet it still pushes enough air to keep your case cool. I even attached 2 quad LED fans to see if it would be able to power them both on low speed and it had no problems.
While the fans used makes a difference, this fan bus really kicks ass in terms of its desired functions. The adjustable low speed voltage alone makes it worth buying if you have a case of Tornados. FrozenCPU has certainly done an outstanding job with their latest and greatest in case quieting devices. The only con was the red/black labeling that could confuse the average, non-computer-literate user, but any modder should know enough about his box to overcome this. At $24, it would make an inexpensive but very nice addition to any modded case.