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Thread: CPU Fan control via BIOS on Z87E-itx?

  1. #1
    phositadc is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    United States

    Default CPU Fan control via BIOS on Z87E-itx?

    I've got an i7-4770S CPU in an AsRock Z87E-itx motherboard. CPU cooler is a Noctua NH-L9i, which has a 4-pin fan that supports PWM. It is plugged into the 4-pin CPU fan header on the Z87E. BIOS is the latest, version 2.30. OS is Windows 8.1 Update 1.

    I tried to use the BIOS settings to control the CPU fan, but it seems to do essentially nothing. For instance, I set the fan to be running at 50% power if under 35C, which would theoretically have it at about 1250rpm (the L9i has a max fan speed of ~2500rpm), but it was still running at 1700-1750rpm just as if I had left the BIOS setting to automatic, even though temperatures were reported to be between 29-31C for all cores of the CPU.

    However, if I use the AsRock Tuning Utility in Windows 8.1, I can successfully control the FAN speed as advertised. In fact, when I do the fan test, it will go as low as 400rpm.

    Any thoughts why the Tuning Utility software works but the BIOS does not? I would prefer to use the BIOS so that I don't have to have the Tuning Utility running in the background and consuming resources all the time.

    Any advice appreciated.

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Third stone from the sun

    Default Re: CPU Fan control via BIOS on Z87E-itx?

    The BIOS settings should work, but not as good as A-Tuning, since you cannot calibrate the fan control in the BIOS. The percentages in the BIOS are just arbitrary numbers, since there are no standards for PC fans about what speed they spin at for a given voltage. There are also no standards for the starting voltage of a fan, or how much voltage must be applied before the fan starts spinning.

    Given this, fan speed control is difficult to implement without some kind of test of the fan, as is done in A-Tuning. Without that, fan speed control is a compromise, and compromised for inefficient fans that must be made to spin up at the cost of a lesser range of speed control for fans with better designs. Otherwise some fans would not spin at all at say 30%, and that would be bad for a CPU fan, and those users would complain. Boards that allow large adjustment ranges found they must add a CPU fan speed check when the PC boots, and will issue a warning if the speed is considered to low, or the CPU fan speed is zero. This is all caused by the lack of any standards for a fan's speed vs voltage, etc.

    Try setting the fan speed percentage in the BIOS to a low value, 20% for example and see what you get for a fan speed. If that is to high, go lower if possible. The only way to know is to experiment, since every fan design is different.

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