Qfan vs fan Xpert

Control: management of fans, temp/rpm monitoring via soft/hardware

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nyhcbri
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Qfan vs fan Xpert

Post by nyhcbri » Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:32 am

asus' new 890gx board uses a new tech called fan Xpert says it now controls case fans. has anyone had any experience with this or just knows if there is a real advantage to the upgrade?

BruceMellen
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Does ASUS’s Fan Xpert work for you? – Please let us know

Post by BruceMellen » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:16 pm

I’ve been looking for a software PWM fan speed solution for my Asus motherboard, Antec case,… where I’ve tried a few PWM CPU fans, and couple PWM case fans, with both SpeedFan and Fan Xpert trying to reasonably control them… Fan Xpert is about 80% there and friendly, has great potential, BUT is missing a few key items that prevent builders from being able to use it. I’m wondering what works best for you and what doesn’t work for you. Hopefully, Asus will see many comments and further improve the product…
Bruce’s Fan Xpert review: (v1.05 & 1.06)
• The CPU fan control GUI allows the builder to design a temperature/PWM% profile curve to control the fan speed and gradually ramp it up as the CPU becomes warmer. This is great for keeping things relatively quiet until the user is loading the CPU. The only down sides are a) Fan Xpert mandates a 20%PWM minimum, which is unnecessarily fast/noisy for some PWM fans, and b) it would be better to have the builder enter the minimum rated speed of the CPU fan and let Fan Xpert find the minimum PWM% during its Calibration.
• The Chassis Fan setting GUI also needs a builder-designed profile curve like the CPU Fan has. The 60% setting Fan Xpert mandates for the lowest speed in all the available curve profiles is unnecessarily fast/noisy for some PWM fans, and below the rated minimum for other PWM fans. The builder should be able to, at least, set the minimum level as a PWM percent. Ideally the builder should enter the minimum rated speed of the chosen monitored fan and let Fan Xpert find the minimum PWM% during calibration. In addition, since many builders have well ventilated cases, multiple chassis fans, some externally speed-controlled, Fan Xpert should allow the builder to turn off the chassis fan header if the temperature is below a builder-designated threshold +/- to prevent short-cycling.
• Additional builder-designed profiles should be able to be set to control any additional PWM headers on the motherboard using any available temperature sensor – even if the 4-pin header is labeled for the power supply.
• Other thoughts include… Fan Xpert should be separate from AI Suite. And Q-Fan BIOS settings should designed to mirror Fan Xpert builder-designed profiles.
• Note that your controlled fans need to be 4-pin PWM and you may need to enable Q-Fan in BIOS for the fans you want to control. Setting each to Turbo is a good start so you see what Fan Xpert subsequently does. Once you set and apply the settings in Fan Xpert, you do not need to re-run Fan Xpert each time you restart, as the settings are kept [somewhere].
My current config: Running Win7 x64: ASUS P7H55D-M EVO LGA1156 H55 motherboard, Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale CPU w/Gelid Tranquillo cooler w/its std. 120mm PWM fan, 2x2GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 XMP memory, Antec MiniP180 case w/ Antec EA-380D power supply (no fan speed control), std. 200mm 3-speed case fan (switch-controlled, not monitored), Gelid Wing12PL PWM case fan (controlled & monitored), and Gelid Silent12 PWM case fan (controlled on Y cable), two WD1001FALS Caviar 1TB SATA HDD, Lite-ON iHAS424 DVD Burner, Dual monitors (HDMI w/Asus VH222H-P, & DVI w/Acer AL1715 portrait) running from the iGPU, Canon 8800F flatbed & PlusTek Opticfilm 7500i negative scanners, Samsung ML-2010 printer and other USB devices off a StarTech USBPLATE4 4-port extender plate. Motherboard needs HotSwap! to allow for ‘safe removal’ of SATA drives from the H55 ports.

Ven
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Post by Ven » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:59 am

My experience with Fan Xpert was pretty bad. I have ASUS Rampage II Extreme mobo, which has quite a lot fan headers (1 4-pin for CPU, rest 3-pin). When I set fan speeds from BIOS, they work quite well, but it's not enough for me.
Fan Xpert was unable to change anything in my setup - I use 3-pin fan for CPU and the rest of the headers weren't affected either. It just didn't work at all.

Here's my list of changes that I'd like to see:
  • Make Fan Xpert separate from AI Suite - this software used to crash on my rig and I don't need it except for fan control (Win 7 64bit; and ASUS overclocking soft was causing computer crashes)
    User-adjusted curves without minimum limit
    User-adjusted response speed
    Support for all mobo headers (at least ones that can be adjusted from BIOS)

lodestar
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Post by lodestar » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:05 am

There are newer fans such as the Scythe Slip Stream 120mm with adjustable PWM (SY1225SL12HPVC) which offer another solution to controlling PWM fans. This fan comes with a PCI slot controller, and allows the PWM band to be set between Low and High. It is continuously variable, and on Low gives an idle speed of around 500 rpm. I have a system with three of these fans (CPU, intake and exhaust) running off the CPU PWM header using an Akasa AK-CB002 splitter cable. Essentially you can dial in whatever idle speed you want, and I find that at 500 rpm these fans, even in a multiple setup, are effectively silent.

Software control can also be applied to these fans, and I have done this using HWMonitor Pro. It only allows a manual PWM percentage setting, treating the controller setting as 0%. If I set it to 100% the fan speed increases to the maximum, around 1350 rpm on Low and about 2100 on the High setting (Scythe claim 1900 rpm). I would not expect to see speeds like this except in a system under heavy load, but it does mean that the fans have considerable cooling potential along with the quiet idle.

Scythe fit this fan to the Yasya and Ninja 3 CPU coolers as well as selling it separately.

BruceMellen
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Post by BruceMellen » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:40 pm

lodestar wrote:There are newer fans such as the Scythe Slip Stream 120mm with adjustable PWM (SY1225SL12HPVC) which offer another solution to controlling PWM fans. This fan comes with a PCI slot controller, and allows the PWM band to be set between Low and High. It is continuously variable, and on Low gives an idle speed of around 500 rpm. I have a system with three of these fans (CPU, intake and exhaust) running off the CPU PWM header using an Akasa AK-CB002 splitter cable. Essentially you can dial in whatever idle speed you want, and I find that at 500 rpm these fans, even in a multiple setup, are effectively silent.

Software control can also be applied to these fans, and I have done this using HWMonitor Pro. It only allows a manual PWM percentage setting, treating the controller setting as 0%. If I set it to 100% the fan speed increases to the maximum, around 1350 rpm on Low and about 2100 on the High setting (Scythe claim 1900 rpm). I would not expect to see speeds like this except in a system under heavy load, but it does mean that the fans have considerable cooling potential along with the quiet idle.

Scythe fit this fan to the Yasya and Ninja 3 CPU coolers as well as selling it separately.
So, should I assume the PCI... approach is a physical dial you change based upon what you are doing or your observed CPU/MB temperatures? And HWMonitor Pro allows you to set the speeds, but does not change them automatically when your CPU/MB temperature climbs?

lodestar
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Post by lodestar » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:45 am

The dial sets the PWM starting point, I turn it to minimum for the lowest and quietest idle speed. This is around 500 rpm. If the system is put under load, then with an increase in the CPU temperature of 15C the PWM increases the fan speed to around 750 rpm. If I use HWMonitor Pro in manual mode and set the PWM to 0% it will drop the rpm back to the minimum of around 500 rpm, and ignores any changes in temperature. A 0% setting does not turn the fan off. So it is possible to pick a fixed fan speed by setting the PWM manually to the nearest % setting to the speed you want. Setting the software back to automatic PWM control restores the fan rpm to the previous level.

I prefer to use PWM in automatic mode, and the main advantage of the dial is that I can do that and pick the idle speed I want at the same time.
HWMonitor Pro also has a logging/graphing function so it is possible to track fan speeds and cpu/core/system temperatures over an extended period, however they are set. You can download a 30-day trial version of HWMonitor Pro from http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor-pro.html.

Das_Saunamies
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Post by Das_Saunamies » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:01 am

I'm with Bruce and Ven on this one.

Asus Fan Xpert (and subsequently QFan) is poor, as it provides little actual control and enforces defaults that are way too high. This has been the case since Day 1.

I only use it as an on-off (Disable/Silent control where Silent is NOT silent) switch on my Asus Maximus II Formula while I build my new rig and/or manual controller. I was not expecting much improvement over old designs (experience dates back to nForce4 chipsets), but as I soon found out, there were none - apart from the in-OS GUI. I'm running the Maximus III version of AI Suite and I can tell you it hasn't changed one bit from the one back in Maximus II days, and the basic mechanics have not changed since the day QFan was introduced. Asus is not big on developing software, it seems.

It's better than having to romp around in BIOS every time you want your fan speeds changed I guess, but that really is it. Only worth it if you can't or won't get or build a controller of your own.

Abit had a beautiful system going with their µGuru: you could tweak individual fan headers to go precisely as high or low as you wanted, based on precisely the curve you determined, both in PWM or analog mode. I've paid 80 euros to get that via an external controller (T-Balancer BigNG), and I was overjoyed when the IP35 Pro had that functionality built in. Too bad the board was finicky with memory. Soon after Abit went out of business because of poor strategy and left us with Asus, but that's business for ya.
Case: Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K, STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5, 8 GB G.Skill DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD B-G 1 TB, mx100 256 GB, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, MS Sculpt, Logitech G303, Synology DS213j 3+3 TB NAS

Ven
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Post by Ven » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:40 am

Fortunately, 180mm fans in my Raven aren't that noisy.
I connected 3 (push/pull and exhaust) 120mm Scythe Flex fans in parallel to 1 mobo header and it's adjusted with SpeedFan.

Ok, it's not the best solution, but I have loads of fan headers on this mobo, most of them can be adjusted (partially) from BIOS and they are useless for me. T-Balancer is a bit too expensive, and I wouldn't want to buy it as this mobo should theoretically do the same. It was advertised that they have so cool software fan control, and it just isn't the case.

Erelyes
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Post by Erelyes » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:12 pm

Has anyone developed a USB-based fan power / controller solution? Would be a pretty easy product to sell, because it would work on darn near any PC. Sure it wouldn't be BIOS based, but making a program that adjusts fan speed according to CPU temp would be a piece of cake.

ascl
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Post by ascl » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:30 pm

The silverstone CMD01 is pretty much exactly that. Its a 5.25" bay device, with no buttons/screen/knobs (and the actual circuit board is small and can be removed and mounted anywhere), that you connect via USB.

Pretty much the same as T-Balancer etc, the difference is you can get it very cheaply (amazon was selling em for $17 USD at one point).

The downsides are:
-Can't handle much power, so don't expect to hang 10 San Ace's off it.
-It uses Nvidias ESA, but does *not* require an Nvidia motherboard. Its possible the NVidia System Tools require an nvidia device (I have an nvidia gpu), but the NVidia System Tools aren't brilliant

HWMonitor works well with it however.

Ven
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Post by Ven » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:33 pm

ascl wrote:The silverstone CMD01 is pretty much exactly that. Its a 5.25" bay device, with no buttons/screen/knobs (and the actual circuit board is small and can be removed and mounted anywhere), that you connect via USB.

Pretty much the same as T-Balancer etc, the difference is you can get it very cheaply (amazon was selling em for $17 USD at one point).

The downsides are:
-Can't handle much power, so don't expect to hang 10 San Ace's off it.
-It uses Nvidias ESA, but does *not* require an Nvidia motherboard. Its possible the NVidia System Tools require an nvidia device (I have an nvidia gpu), but the NVidia System Tools aren't brilliant

HWMonitor works well with it however.
I can see they're for $15 (silver); even when I add shipping costs, it's still ok. It's good to know it doesn't require nvidia mobo anymore.
I've just downloaded their software and it doesn't look that bad - it's possible to adjust fan speed graphs on my GeForce cards, so if it was the same with CPU, it would be pretty cool. Too bad it's not possible to set the rules based on "max CPU core temp", but only temperatures of the specified one.

Is it worth buying (assuming I'd have to pay for shipping to EU, or pay $50 locally)?
----
EDIT:
It appears that there's another product like that - Alphacool Heatmaster. Looking at XS forums, it appears it's rather designed for water cooling, but it should work with air too.

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