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Thread: How to Control Fans & run quiet?




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    18

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    Hi Gang
    You might have seen my thread over at the "What Should I Buy?" Forum. But I'm building a P4 3.2 based gaming system and have never built my own PC before.

    Now looking at this thing it looks like it's going to have like nine fans in it and from what I read these things can get noisy. I would like my PC to be as quite as I can get it. The system I have now I leave running all the time (Dell P3 XPS T500) and will most likely do the same on the new system.

    I'm thinking something needs to control the fans speed so if the system is idling or I'm doing word processing or something the fans cut down to low speed. Then when I start playing games they kick up to keep everything cool.

    What I'm wondering is does the processor and the graphics card control the fans or something or do I have to add a controller? I was looking at some controllers from Cooler Master, Thermaltake and some others and they look like they will monitor the temp of four components and manually control four fans but shouldn't they do it automatically with the option to override and then have a system fail-safe shutdown to save everything if it gets too hot?

    Heck, I don't know? Can someone clue me in on this? I'd hate to spend all the time and cash just to blow the whole thing up. LOL

    As of now my system will be something like this:

    Case: Cooler Master ATC-201B-BXT or Thermaltake Highest Xaser III V1420DU with 420W Power Supply.

    Power supply: THERMALTAKE W0019+PFC Silent Purepower 480W with Black housing - Purepower Butterfly ATX 2-Fan Power Supply.

    Intel CPU: Pentium 4-3.2 GHz, I'm thinking about the extreme addition. I know I should buy the 2.6 and overclock, right? But I'm lazy and want a rock solid system to start with.

    Mother Board: ASUS P4C800E Deluxe

    Memory: Corsair XMS TWINX1024-3200LLPRO 1GB (2x512-MB) PC3200

    Hard Drive: 2- Western Digital Caviar SE WD2000JD 200GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/8MB Buffer, I'll most likely go with smaller drives. I don't think I need 400 G. Any recommendations?

    Optical 1: Plextor Black 8X DVD-RW/+RW Drive, Model PX-708A/SW-BL

    Optical 2: CDRW: Lite On LTR-52327S - 52x32x52 CD-RW Drive

    Floppy: PANASONIC JU-256A-198P Black 3.5inch Floppy Disk Drive

    Graphics card: ASUS RADEON 9800XT Video Card, 256MB DDR, 256-bit, DVI/VIVO, 8X AGP, Model "9800XT/TVD"
    Or ATI RADEON 9800XT Video Card, 256MB DDR, 256-bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP

    Monitor: Mitsubishi 2070SB-BK, 22" Diamondtron Monitor

    Sound card: SoundBlaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum Pro

    Speakers: Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1. I don't think I'll get these. I don't have a place for the back speakers.

    Logitech Elite Keyboard USB/PS2 104keys, Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse and Windows XP Professional/w SP1

    Total cost before taxes and shipping: $3445

    I know this is a pricy setup but the wife owes me a big toy.

    If you want to read the other thread it's at:
    http://forums.tweaktown.com/showthre...threadid=16234

    Thanks Guys
    Marc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    968

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    While it is possible to purchase "automatic" fan controllers, you'll have to spend a good bit to get one you'll be happy with, especially for a large number of fans. There are quite a few fans made with automatic thermally-controlled speeds all built in to the fan itself. The problem with these it seems is that intake fans will be receiving and sensing the coldest temperatures, and therefore will not run at full speed unless measures are taken to place the sensors in a hotter area of the computer, and even then results can be disappointing. The same problem exists for exhaust fans, but in reverse....they don't ever slow down.
    As for fanbus controllers, the DigitalDoc series has a good reputation, and it will monitor 8 devices, but I don't believe that it controls the fan speeds, just turns them on and off, depending on pre-set temperatures being reached. They are however a good source of temperature and fan speed information. It also has a "Force" function to override the temperature activation.
    One solution would be to have a set of fans controlled "automatically" by the fanbus of your liking (Or the one included with your case), and have a second controller that is manual, either incrementally adjustable via potentiometers, or just simple switches from 7V to 12V or off.
    Perhaps the best solution, and one of the simplest, is to use a monitoring program such as Motherboard Monitor, or included with your Asus board, AsusProbe to monitor the critical temps and fan speeds. Run the sensor wire of each fan to their respective motherboard headers, and run the power leads to a simple rheobus. These come typically in either 4 or 6 channel, and you may turn all the fans down until you're satisfied with the sound level, check the temps and if they're acceptable, leave it there. Turn them on max for gaming and overclocking. The main advantage to these simpler controllers is that you can run more than one fan per channel and at just about any speed desired. Check the watt ratings per channel though. Your mileage may vary. ;)
    :cheers:
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    18

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    Thanks Wordbiker
    Maybe I am worrying too much about the fans. I have read that the case fans in the Thermaltake cases are very quite. I wonder if these are strong enough to keep things cool? If I don't overclock do I need a lot of fans? At what temp do bad things start to happen?

    Do the Intel chips come with a heatsink and fan and if so are they adequate? I was thinking of a big aftermarket heatsink and fan.

    Thanks
    Marc

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    968

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    Yeah, you may be worrying too much about fans, although the ThermalTake case you mentioned has plenty. Your worry about how to make the system quiet could be as easy as removing a couple. If you're running a stock system, as few as 2 or 3 case fans may be sufficient, depending on how hot it is where you have the box. Unless you're seriously overclocking, and I mean like going for benchmark records, etc, the stock Intel fan is very good. I would definitely recommend buying a CPU with a heatsink and fan. This is a "retail" or "boxed" CPU, as opposed to an OEM processor. The main difference is that an OEM processor has at maximum a 90 day warranty, whereas a retail CPU is warranted for 3 years. Cheapest insurance policy you'll ever buy, and you get a great heatsink/fan in the bargain. You can always go for that aftermarket heatsink/fan once you've actually determined you need it.
    You mentioned not needing as much drive space....have you considered running a pair of Western Digital Raptors in a RAID 0 configuration? Very fast drives, especially in a RAID setup, and you could add a 200GB drive for archiving. Overall, looks like a rockin' system. Good job! :thumb:
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    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

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