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6 Fan Controller Roundup (First Half)

Page: 1/4
Review Date: 02.10.03

6 Fan Controller Roundup
Reviewed By SpLiZaaT



Most of today's modders are wrapped up in the appearance of components rather than functionality and quality. If you get only one thing out of reading this review, I would hope to convince you that you should always care about functionality over appearance, even when cost is an issue. People often spend wads of cash trying to quiet their PC. Modders will buy foam insulators, quieter fans with lower airflow and even build wooden insulated boxes to encapsulate their computer chassis, all because they have forgot about the simple functions of a fan controller. A fan controller, baybus or a rheobus, can drastically change the noise level being projected from a chassis with just a fraction of the cost from hefty padding and crappy fans.

Before I continue, allow me to clear up a few terms which seem to cause a fair amount of confusion. A fanbus is a device which allows you to control multiple fans from one molex connection. The fanbus will NOT be reviewed in this article. A baybus is the most common of fan controllers as well as the most cost effective. A baybus is a simple device which uses three-position switches to switch a fan's electrical consumption between OFF, LOW and HIGH. Often overlooked, but most appealing is the rheobus. A rheobus is much like the baybus in the effect that is has the ability to control a fan's electrical consumption. However, the rheobus consists of a component known as a rheostat. The rheostat is the key component in a rheobus which actually controls the amount of electrical passage with a variable knob. The knob allows more than just LOW and HIGH settings on a fan but everything in between; the downside being they rarely have the ability to turn a fan completely off.

Whichever of the above devices you may choose, they all combine appearance and functionality into one small device which is underestimated. Where else might you be able to find such an inexpensive device which can make sleeping in a room with a computer, now a possibility? Why sacrifice good quality fans with good cooling ability because you are afraid to lose hearing in your left ear? Today, I am excited to bring you a HUGE roundup and comparison review of an assortment of baybus' and rheobus'. This review will have something to fit everyone's need in a great variety of sizes, placements, and colors. The lineup of selected devices for this review is as follows:

-Vantec Nexus Multi-Function Panel (Rheobus)
-Vantec Nexus Fan Controller (Rheobus)
-SunBeam (Rheobus)
-Noise Isolator 6port (Baybus)
-Unknown 3.5" Fan Controller (Rheobus)
-FrozenCPU 3.5" Fan Controller (Baybus)

This review will be comparative. It will also feature each controller individually. A final word and awards to be given for each fan controller. The performance portion of the review will be done with what we consider to be the most demanding fans (electrical wise) available. The fans which I am referring to would be the 92mm Tornado produced by Vantec (sponsored thanks to Case-Mod.com). The 92mm Vantec Tornado fan consumes up to a recorded 1amp of power a PIECE, whereas most other standard 80mm fans consume around .25amps. Each controller will have all ports loaded with 92mm Tornado fans and will be scored according to number of RPM (on high setting only) as well as the stability.

To test stability, we will attempt to run EACH fan controller individually with the 92mm Tornado Fans for a total of 48 hours. If the fan controller survives, it will be dubbed stable. Should any of the fan controllers be unable to run at full throttle, with the 92mm Tornado fans, we will then downgrade and attempt to perform the same tests using 80mm Tornados also produced by Vantec which consume up to .76amps. IF, any of the fan controllers fail with 80mm Tornado fans, we will then downgrade the fans once again to standard 80mm CoolerMaster Neon LED Fans. We do realize that in many cases, 92mm Vantec Tornado fans are extreme overkill for most users, but we will gauge each of the fan controller's ability to run for 24 hours. Keep in mind that Vantec Tornado Fans normally run between 7volt and 12volt which makes them less suitable for most fan controllers.

With this being said, may the best controller win!

A HUGE Thanks goes out to

for their sponsorship of our Vantec Tornado Fans Used in this Roundup

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