Manufacturer: Lamptron UK Price (as reviewed):£60 (inc. VAT) US Price (as reviewed): TBC
It's easy to overlook the humble fan controller these days. Motherboard-based fan control is improving with every generation, and several motherboard manufacturers now support 3-pin and 4-pin fans as well as sporting automatic fan control and thermal probes. However, just like many consider the right of passage to being a true petrolhead is owning an Alfa Romeo, the same could be said of PC enthusiasts and fan controllers.
In many ways they are the original mod, harking back to the days before large, slow spinning fans when it was all we could do just to keep our PCs from sounding like jet engines. Things may have moved on somewhat since then but there's still plenty of wiggle room to find that perfect balance of airflow and noise. Quite simply, it's still the case that fan controllers are among the most cost-effective ways to reduce the noise your PC makes, and they look snazzy too.
"But what if I watercool my PC?" We hear you ask. Well that's where the Lamptron CW611 comes in.
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With 36W available on each channel, you're not just able to control fans but water-cooling pumps too. If you've owned a variable speed pump like Laing's D5 Vario, you'll know how much quieter they can be by running them on their lowest speed with little or no difference in temperatures too.
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The CW611 has six channels and each can perform one of several tasks. You can hook up a 3-pin pump, 3-pin fans or even a flowmeter, although the latter is obviously for display purposes only. Connecting a flowmeter allows you to display the flow rate in either litres or gallons per hour and with the per-channel alarm function, you can tell the CW611 to sound an alarm based on the flow rate.
At the top of the PCB are the six 3-pin fan headers and bottom right are the 2-pin thermal probe headers - Click to enlarge
Included are six 70CM 2-pin thermal probes, albeit without any adhesive pads, which attach to a bank of headers on the rear of the CW611 - you can of course also use coolant temperature probes to base you fan control on coolant temperature too. Six 50CM 3-pin fan cables are also included and connect to the six 3-pin headers at the rear that span the top of the main PCB. For power, you'll need a spare 4-pin molex connector but Lamptron has also thrown in a braided molex extender which is a nice touch.