PC Fan Controllers: Everything You Need To Know

PC Fan Controllers

The popularity of PC fan controllers has been increasing over the last few years, and we see more case manufacturers including fan controllers in their products as little extras. The increase in powerful components, such as CPUs and GPUs, can raise the ambient temperature of your computer system leading to the need for extra fans for airflow. This increase in the need for fans (plus the need for some extra RGB) makes the need for fan controllers quite important.

When it comes to building a new PC, a fan controller can often be overlooked. This is fair enough as many think of prioritizing a new cooler instead of extra fans. The increased airflow and aesthetics fans can bring are usually worth it, so having a fan controller to organize and control your fans removes some stresses from building and using your fans. Not only that but greater control of your fans gives you greater control over the temps your system is facing, which can directly affect its lifespan.

In this article, we are going to cover what the best PC fan controllers out there are, what fan controller you may need, and a few things to consider before buying.

The Best PC Fan Controllers

Product Details
Corsair iCUE Commander Pro

Corsair iCUE Commander Pro

  • pin support: 3-pin/ 4-pin
  • fan channels: 6
  • lighting channels: 2
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Phanteks Universal

Phanteks Universal

  • pin support: 3-pin/ 4-pin
  • fan channels: 8
  • lighting channels: N/A
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Noctua NA-FC1

Noctua NA-FC1

  • pin support: 4-pin
  • fan channels: 3
  • lighting channels: N/A
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Thermaltake Commander

Thermaltake Commander

  • pin support: 3-pin/ 4-pin
  • fan channels: 5
  • lighting channels: N/A
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DeepCool FH-10

DeepCool FH-10

  • pin support: 3-pin/ 4-pin
  • fan channels: 10
  • lighting channels: N/A
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Why Buy A PC Fan Controller?

Fans are essential for cooling your system and keeping your components happy. While airflow is important, it doesn't stop the big cases from being a hassle when trying to set up a fan rig to the motherboard. Essentially the PC fan controller takes this away.

Having a PC fan controller in your system makes it much easier to monitor temperatures. Most feature software and allow you to manually adjust fan speeds and make your system the perfect balance of cool and quiet.

Things To Consider Before Buying a PC Fan Controller

There are a few things to consider before you just go buying a new fan controller or fan hub. Some fan controllers have different specifications, amount of channels, and of course, software. Whether you are looking for a bargain or the best PC fan controller, you still want to ensure it suits your needs!

Aesthetics

A lot of the time a fan controller may be situated at the back, hidden away. Sometimes these fan controllers have been designed so that they can sit within your system and not look like there is a birds nest sat in your case.

Of course, the 5.25" drive bay selection has the nicest look thanks to its touch screen display, but these kinds are unique. The majority of fan controllers/ fan hubs that use software/ controls are kept very simplistic in the design department.

Pin Support

Different fan controllers support different types of fan pins; usually, it will be a three or 4-pin.

3-pin models are more sophisticated than the older 2-pin models, with two pins being for negative and positive current flow and the third pin for RPM monitoring.

A 4-pin does all of the above but with the added extra of the fourth pin which is for PWM (pulse width modulation). PWM operates like a switch which constantly cycles on and off, regulating the amount of power to the fan.

PWM isn't massively important for case fans like it is for CPU and GPU coolers, in terms of performance at least. Setting a non-PWM fan to rotate at a specific RPM will do the job just fine in your system, but it won't be as power-efficient or as quiet.

Channels

The number of channels can vary from fan controller to fan controller. It is important to make sure you get a controller with the right amount of channels for your needs. The Noctua on this list only supports up to three fan channels so always keep an eye out!

Controls

If any of these devices feature controls, they are often very simple with limited customization. Software like iCUE for the Corsair Commander is excellent and gives you real flexibility with configurations. Other control options include touch screens like the Thermaltake controller.

The Best PC Fan Controller Breakdown

#1

Corsair iCUE Commander Pro

Corsair brings a fan controller for PC enthusiasts to the table with the Commander Pro. This fan controller from Corsair is an internal model so its main focus is functionality over any flashy features. It comes with a total of six fan connectors and is compatible with 3 and 4-pin fans. What's great about the Commander Pro is its extra space for RGB lightings, with two channels and four separate thermistor inputs for more accurate temperature monitoring.

As far as fan controllers go, this model has some excellent build quality to go along with its impressive versatility. This fan controller is a solid choice and features some of the best software in the game, Corsair's iCUE.

This is, without doubt, one of the best fan controllers on the market and unfortunately, the price reflects this. If you can live with the cost then you are in for a treat as the Commander Pro is an extremely reliable product bursting with features.

#2

Phanteks Universal

Phanteks have some great little extras for your build whether its a riser cable or RGB lighting. Here we have the Phanteks Universal fan controller and just like the Corsair Commander, it is a very functional product. The universal will allow you to take full control of your fans manually with a remote. You will be able to control up to eight fans (three DC and four PWM).

Design-wise this fan controller doesn't look any different on the surface, but this isn't the case. The Universal can be mounted to any metal in your case thanks to its magnetic housing and the added remote can be attached with velcro.

This fan controller is built for larger systems and with its low profile form, it is certainly one to pick.

#3

Noctua NA-FC1

Noctua has one of the most compact fan controllers on the list with a very small footprint. The NA-FC1 supports up to three 4-pin PWM fans and can work in different modes. If you have it set on manual you can actively change the speeds with the dial, or if set on automatic it works in tandem with the motherboard.

One of the best features of this Noctua fan controller is its "no-stop" mode. When in the no-stop mode this fan controller won't allow the fan to dip below 300 RPM, and all at the press of a button.

This little fan controller packs a punch and could be perfect for anyone only needing minor fan controlling capabilities. If this level of control over your PC wasnt enough, it also comes with a six-year warranty.

#4

Thermaltake Commander

The Thermaltake Commander FT couldn't be any more different from the Corsair Commander. This fan controller is the only one on the list which requires a drive bay. These types of fan controllers are less desireable these days thanks to the rapid decline in the need for CD-ROM.

The Commander FT features a 5.5" touch screen display for speedy fan tweaks. Despite looking very high tech this fan controller is actually very simple to use and supports both 3-pin and 4-pin fan options. The commander supports up to five channels and features all the necessary cables for fitting up to five fans.

The major downsides to this are the Molex power connector and the need for a drive bay but as long as you have the space for this it will make your system look pretty high-tech.

#5

DeepCool FH-10

DeepCool gets an honorable mention in this list with the very affordable FH-10 fan controller. The DeepCool FH-10 will work with up to ten 3-pin and 4pin fans.

The design is quite sleek on the FH-10 fan controller menign this could be mounted in the front with minimal aesthetic issues. This integrated fan hub can power all ten fans whilst only taking up one 4-pin motherboard header.

What is great from the guys at DeepCool is the slight flexibility in how you mount this fan controller. You can, of course, screw this onto the case using the allotted screw mountings or alternatively use the adhesive and velcro combination.

So Which PC Fan Controller Should You Get?

Picking the best PC fan controller just got a whole lot easier (I hope). The clear winner in the list is the mighty Corsair Commander Pro, and this is largely down to its functionality but also that excellent software. While the Commander Pro doesn't feature a touch screen display like the Thermaltake Commander, it certainly serves its purpose well and features two separate channels for RGB lighting.

For a more budget, no-frills fan controller the DeepCool FH-10 is the way to go as it is on sale for some unbeatable value right now. For a more low profile setup with fewer fans, the Noctua NA-FC1 is a solid option, and the little dial makes for easy manual fan control.

Of course, what you pick is entirely down to your preferences and build but rest assured that no matter which fan controller you pick fro this list, you won't be disappointed.

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