A great cooling system is essential for any gaming setup to perform efficiently and effectively. All your components need sufficient cooling to ensure that they give their best in terms of performance and longevity.
So if you’ve invested in your CPU cooler and a bunch of case fans or even RGB fans for added style, a fan controller would be really beneficial to you. Fans keep your rig’s temperature as low as possible. Fan controllers allow you to easily monitor that temperature.
- Why You Should Buy a Fan Controller?
- Things To Look For in a Fan Controller
- The Best Fan Controllers
- Final Thoughts
Why You Should Buy a Fan Controller?
Not most people have fan controllers. So is it really worth it to invest in one? Here are the reasons why having a fan controller is one of the best things for your components.
The number one problem you have with case fans is keeping the balance between giving enough airflow and producing little noise. Fan controllers will do this job for you. It allows you to control your fan’s speed so that you can keep it cool and quiet at the same time without doing much.
This is especially useful if you have multiple case fans since controllers make everything so much quicker. Also, your computer’s cooling needs change depending on how rigorous the tasks you’re doing are. So by having a fan controller, you can adjust your fans to reach your system’s requirement for optimum performance and save power.
So if you want to keep your fans and components at top performance, a great fan controller would be a great investment.
Things To Look For in a Fan Controller
Since a fan controller is not the most common type of hardware, it can be quite perplexing to buy one for the first time. So if you’re lost and don’t know how to choose the right controller for your needs, this buying guide is curated just for you.
Before spending any money, you have to make sure that you would make the best decision, and that’s why we created this article to guide you through the entire process. So first, you have to know the things to consider when shopping for a fan controller. Here are the factors that you should be looking for to determine whether a controller is mediocre or top quality.
The first thing to check is the physical compatibility of your fan controller. There’s nothing worse than buying the best fan you can afford, only to find out that it won’t fit in your computer’s bays. These fan bays run the gamut from small, medium, and large. So take time to check the size of your bays before getting a fan controller.
Number of Fans vs. Channel
Different fan controllers have a different number of channels. Each channel can give power to one fan in your system. Some fan controllers can support up to 6 fans. So it’s best to check how many fans your system has so you can buy a controller according to your needs.
Most heavy-duty systems have a maximum of 6 fans, but you may have 10 if you run some super demanding programs and games. The opposite is quite true as well. Your system may have only 2-3 fans, so you don’t need a fan controller with a lot of channels, so buying one with more may just be impractical.
Fan Header or Pins
The most common fans today have 3 or 4 pins. Different fan controllers can support different types of fan pins.
- 2-pin. This is a more primitive type of fan where one pin is for positive current and the other for negative—a basic type of fan with no extra features.
- 3-pin. Two pins for current and grounding and another that gives the user information about the RPM of your fan so that you can monitor it. You can control the RPM of 3-pin fans by adjusting the voltage sent to them, but this isn’t the most accurate and precise method.
- 4-pin. This type of fan is just like the 3-pin but with an extra pin that lets you modify your fan’s RPM or speed using the software. This is called “pulse width modulation” (PWM), and it works by controlling the current that the fan receives to modulate its speed. However, since it uses software and more advanced technology, this is way more precise and efficient than the 3-pin.
Digital or Analog
There are two types of fan controllers, digital and analog. Analog controllers let you adjust your fan’s speed in a given range manually. Meanwhile, digital devices use software to modulate your fan’s RPM.
Analog fan controllers have a knob or slider that lets you control your fan’s speed manually or by hand. The main selling point of this type of controller is it lets you modulate your fan speed continuously, giving you full control over it. However, if you are not careful, you might damage your computer. This is commonly bought by users with more experience and knowledge about fan controllers, how they work, and how to properly use a manual one.
Digital fan controllers, on the other hand, leave most of the work to your onboard processor. Therefore, digital devices are a lot more beginner-friendly and won’t give you a hard time using them. You also don’t have the risk of damaging your components since you would mostly rely on software, and you won’t be touching them manually.
A display is a good feature to have since it helps you monitor your fans’ performance. This is not a necessary requirement, but having a good display would make monitoring your fan so much easier. Most fan controllers come with a basic display that shows you information like RPM and temperature. Some controllers have software on your computer which lets you control them easily and get the display on your screen. It’s up to you whether you need this one or not.
Who would want a bulky nest-like box to sit inside their beautiful gaming setup? Nobody. That’s why you should make sure that your fan controller would fit your case’s design, or for the least, it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. A simple, minimalistic look would be great for most modern setups.
The Best Fan Controllers
With all the options available in the market, it can be quite a painful task to scroll through all of them just to find a decent controller for yourself. Well, don’t worry because we have already done that to save you the hassle. We rounded up the best fan controllers that will surely satisfy any buyer at any budget. So without further adieu, here are the best fan controllers that you can buy.
AeroCool Touch 1000
Let’s start fresh with something affordable that most of you can afford. The AeroCool Touch 1000 is a great budget pick for those who want to get a good controller without breaking the bank. This is our top pick for the budget category.
With its reasonable price, the Touch 1000 already offers great futures that will satisfy any average user. It functions as a fan controller and temperature display. It can monitor and control 4 sets of fans, and the good thing is you can control their speed individually.
It has an LCD panel to monitor your fans, and it offers innovative touchscreen technology, which is very rare for its price. Using the digital touchscreen panel, you can switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit, and it comes with a lock function to prevent annoying mis-touch.
Your fans will never go off since this fan controller has a built-in overheating alarm to give you a temperature warning.
Basically, it gives normal users the essentials they need to keep their fans and system in tiptop shape. So if you plan on buying a fan controller, but you want to test it out before investing in a premium one, The AeroCool Touch 1000 is your best friend.
Thermaltake Commander FP
If you have many fans inside your case, one main problem besides having to control these fans one by one is organizing all the jingling cables. If you’re looking for a fan controller that can support up to10 fans while saving you the hassle of cables and complicated installation, the Thermaltake Commander FP is the answer.
It has a wide channel that can support up to 10 PWM fans and allows you to control their speed simultaneously, making your chassis as cool as possible. In addition, the direct SATA input supplies power to all your fans safely and effectively by preventing stray current when you are using your fan hub. This ensures that your fan won’t get damaged by any electrical problems.
It has a blue LED access indicator, and this controller lets you easily manage your cables so they won’t be dangling inside your case. The design is a minimal black, and it looks almost invisible in your rig, giving you that neat look. In addition, the symmetrical design gives it that sleek and modern look that will fit almost any gaming case.
Setting it up is so simple, and even a beginner can get the hang of it pretty quickly. Inside the box, you will get 5 reusable beaded cable ties, 2 velcro tabs, and one PWM signal cable along with the fan controller itself. Plus, the price is pretty reasonable, so you will definitely have no regrets with the Thermaltake Commander FP.
Kingwin Fan Controller 4 Channel W/ LED
If you want a fan controller that can brighten up your gaming setup, even more, the Kingwin Fan Controller is an awesome choice. It offers great performance, cool aesthetics, and easy access at a very low price.
It allows you to easily control 4 individual fans, and the four-channel turn knob lets you modify your fans’ speed one by one, a feature that any PC enthusiast would love. This is really efficient since it allows you to change your fans’ RPM according to your cooling needs so you can make sure your rig is at its coolest and at the same time save power when your PC is not performing heavy and demanding programs or games.
If your case has a slot at the front, this product is perfect since you can easily install it and easily fit into a standard 3.5″ PC case front bay slot. So even if you’re a complete beginner with fan controllers, all it takes is a little effort to successfully install this one.
Each of its individual knobs features blue LED lighting to step up your case’s aesthetics. The controller has a simple black box design with knobs that looks pretty simple yet cool. So if you want something cheap but with a little bit of style, this is a great choice.
Normal and average users and even games with 4 fans will enjoy having this controller in their setup. The performance, efficiency, and aesthetics of this product are well over its price. So if you’re looking for an awesome and cool entry fan controller at an entry-level price, the Kingwin Fan Controller $ channel with LED is for you.
NZXT Sentry 3 5.4-Inch Touch Screen Fan Controller Cooling
Choosing between style and performance can be hard, but this product combines the best of both worlds. If you want to have control over your entire cooling system at the swipe of a finger and turn your boring case into a cooler setup more suited for gaming, the NZXT Sentry 3 is for you.
It features 5 15 watts-powered channels, which can supply up to three high-performance fans. It also comes with a channel linking feature, which lets you join any of these 5 channels and control the link group simultaneously. In addition, it can be compatible with any of both 3-pin and 4-pin fans which is really great since some setups have different kinds of fans.
When it comes to durability and protection, this product has something to be proud of as well. It features integrated overvolt, undervolt, and short protection that keeps your fans, components, and computer safe from electrical damage from any of these sources.
The controller isn’t made of just plastic, they have added steel into the conversation to give it better durability. Having alloy Steel and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene as its material really kicks up the longevity of this product. This extends not only your fan controller’s life but your PC’s overall longevity as well.
It has a touch screen which is 33% bigger than most single bay fan controller screens. This touchscreen gives you important information like your rig’s temperature and your fans’ RPM, and it allows you to have control over your entire cooling system with the swipe of a finger.
From performance to durability, this fan is a force to reckon with. If you want a solid pick without breaking the bank and paying a premium price, the NZXT Sentry 3 is one of the products you should definitely check out.
If you want something that’s tested and proven, Noctua’s got your back. This is perhaps one of the most well-known brands when it comes to computer cooling, so you can be sure that their products have gone through tons of tests and trials before reaching your hands. For our best budget pick, we have their Noctua NA-FC1.
It works as a compact yet highly flexible controller for your 4-pin fans. The good thing about it is that you can manually adjust your fans’ speed if it doesn’t receive any PWM signal from the motherboard. You can also use it in tandem with the automatic fan control from your motherboard. Using this feature, you can achieve maximum cooling or low-noise operation even with industrial fans.
This product utilizes a PWM=based control. Unlike other controllers, which control the speed by limiting the voltage of your fans, the Noctua NA-FC1 uses pulse width modulation to provide more precise control and lower fan speeds.
Powering multiple fans using your motherboard directly may cause damage. This is why Noctua included an NA-AC4 adapter to plug your controller directly into your power supply, avoiding any unnecessary risks for your motherboard. It also features No Stop Mode, which doesn’t let your fans’ speed go lower than 300 RPM so that you can prevent BIOS errors.
Using the 3-pin cable that comes with it, you can simultaneously control up to three 4-pin PWM fans. You can even expand this using other splitter cables.
With all these amazing features and very solid performance, the Noctua NA-FC1 deserves to be the best budget fan controller on this list.
DEEPCOOL FH-10 Integrated Fan Hub
Here we have our best pick for a fan controller that can support up to 10 individual fans. The DEEPCOOL FH-10 Integrated Fan Hub is a versatile product with an expanded capacity that can satisfy any gamer with any cooling system.
This is a 10 port fan hub that’s capable of controlling, monitoring, and supplying 10 fans. This lets users expand cooling capabilities inside their rig and easily manipulate their fans. It uses a SATA cable directly plugged into the PSU to ensure your fans’ safe, stable, and reliable power supply. This also ensures that your components won’t be damaged by shorts, overvoltage, or other electrical problems.
It has a PWM function design where all 4-pin PWM fans will run at the same duty ratio instead of the same speed. This lets you choose a target amount of cooling, and the fan hub distributes the work between the fans. Only the speed of the first fan is recognized.
The symmetrical design also allows you to easily manage your cables and prevent them from dangling inside your case. It comes with Velcro and screw mountings for easy installation.
So from capacity and performance, all the way to safety and efficiency, the DEEPCOOL FH-10 Integrated Fan Hub really proves itself to be the top 10-port fan controller.
Corsair iCUE Commander PRO
Finally, here we are, the best among the rest. Our top pick for the best overall fan controller goes to the Corsair iCUE Commander PRO. Of all the fan controllers we have considered, this one stands out the most. If you’re looking to buy the best option there is, this one’s a no-brainer.
This controller doesn’t just command your fans, it transforms your entire case into a smart one. The Corsair iCUE Commander PRO lets you fully control your system’s performance and RGB lighting for a beautiful experience using its awesome features and capabilities.
It gives you access to info about your system temperatures in real-time so that you can set up intelligent fan curves to adjust speeds depending on your system’s needs automatically. Using CORSAIR iCUE software, this product allows you to create, sync, and customize your RGB lighting for a stunning system-wide light show.
It can support up to 6 fans and 2 RGB lighting channels, giving you unparalleled cooling performance and style. In addition, it comes with 4 temperature sensors that can be repositioned and two USB 2.0 internal headers.
It supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fans which are really great, and you get to control their speed, monitor their performance, and check the temperature. If you want to experience total silence, the Zero RPM fan mode is always available, allowing you to have the perfect balance between maximum cooling and minimal noise.
Overall, the performance and reliability of this fan make it deserve the best spot on this list.
So that wraps it up for this article. You can now wisely select a fan controller for yourself. Rest assured that all the products on this list have been tested and proven by thousands of satisfied users. No matter what you buy, it won’t let you down.