Zalman ZM-MFC2 Multi Fan Controller
Author: Frank Stroupe
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 11-01-2007
Provided by: Zalman
Discuss: View Comments

There was a time, not very long ago, when a fan controller was about the only way an enthusiast could quiet that bank of 80mm fans down to a noise level somewhat less than that of a jet taking off. The 80mm fan is fairly quiet when run at low speed, but really doesn't move that much air. At full speed it can easily be heard across a room, and three or four of them can be heard across a house.

Modifying a Molex to run the fan at 5v is ok when the rig is at idle, but when things really get heated up, you don't have the option to speed the fan up. Using an adapter is a little easier, but not very convenient. A fan controller allows the user to change the fan speed from slow and quiet to max speed with the turn of a knob. I have had as many as five 80mm fans in a case, and my fan controller was my friend, as I kept the case on my desk, about a foot from my ears.

But, every case I've owned for the last three or so years has had nice and quiet 120mm fans. Usually, a pair of 120s running at 5v, along with the PSU fan, is enough to keep my rig sufficiently cool and the fans aren't even audible. Even when running them at full speed, they usually can't be heard more than a few feet away. In my mind, and I guess the minds of many other enthusiasts, the fan controller became obsolete well over a year ago.

I have a fan controller stuck in a drawer where I keep some unused gadgets. Every time I see it, the thought crosses my mind to use it, but I never do.

There are times I'd like to be able to turn the fans up to the max for short periods of time, like when overclocking. And to be honest, there are times I miss the look of those analog knobs on the front of my rig. Call me old skool, call me old man, I'm sorry, I like dials and knobs.

The guys at Zalman obviously feel that the fan controller isn't dead. They made some of the best fan controllers on the market in the past. But, with the ZM-MFC2, they have taken the lowly fan controller to the next level.

The MFC2 comes packaged in this nice looking box. Features and specifications are displayed on the back. It is well protected inside by cardboard shelving and the box that contains all of the accessories.

It is obvious that the controller will display multiple fans, controlled by one knob. It fits in a 5 drive bay. The rear of the controller has several connectors. We will take a closer look at them later.

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