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Lamptron FC5 V3 Fan Controller Review

Lamptron FC5 V3 Fan Controller Review

Manufacturer: Lamptron
UK Price (as reviewed): Approx £60 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): Approx $90 (ex TAX)

When it comes to taking control of your PC's fans, a fan controller can not only allow you to tweak them to your heart's content, but also add a significant amount of bling to an otherwise bland-looking PC. There are plenty of arguments for and against, as we saw in the comments of our NZXT Sentry Mix 2 review. On the one hand you can usually get your motherboard to dish out appropriate amounts of power to your case fans, but on the other hand case manufacturers include fan controllers for a reason - people like to tinker.

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They clearly sell well too, as Lamptron is keen for us to look at no less than the third revision of its manual fan controller, the FC5, aptly named the FC5 V3. It differs from the FC5 V2 mainly due to two additional fan channels, where each channel is rated at 30W.

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The brushed aluminium fascia (which comes in black and silver) and precision-machined metal dials are a world away from the plastic-laiden NZXT Sentry Mix 2, and this no doubt adds to the FC5 V3's price tag; it hasn't quite hit the shelves yet but Lamptron told us it's slated to retail for around £65.

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This puts it in direct competition price-wise with our current favourite automatic fan controller, Lamptron's own CW611. Thankfully there are a few features that go some way to justifying this seemingly high price tag.

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The FC5 V3 has a new super-wide display to cater for the additional two fan channels. It sports 16 colours too, has great viewing angles and is bright enough to be clear in broad daylight as well as midnight gaming sessions.

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Each channel provides the full range of 0V-12V meaning you can switch fans off at will, while an initial 12V start boost means you can quickly find the lowest voltage setting for each fan. This can be disabled using a jumper at the rear of the PCB.

Power is provided via the usual 4-pin molex, with a braided extension cable provided too. The rear of the PCB reveals the six 3-pin fan headers as well as six 2-pin temperature probe connectors, with cables for each included in the box. The fan cables are braided too, which is a nice touch.

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Temperature can be switched between Celcius and Fahrenheit and both current voltage, RPM and temperature are displayed at once for each channel. The far right dial also acts as a control button, this time to toggle the alarm function.

As we mentioned earlier, there are 16 colours to choose from, and they can be toggled using the first dial, which can be pushed in flush with the front of the panel when it's not needed. The colours on offer should allow most people to find something that matches their colour scheme, with red and green being particularly vibrant, but you've also got white, yellow, blue, purple and various shades in between to pick from.

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Conclusion

We have absolutely no qualms about the quality, easy of use or design of the FC5 V3. It's very well made, looks fantastic and the screen is excellent with pretty much unlimited viewing angles and excellent visibility in bright conditions. The display itself is also crisp and sharp with no ghosting or blurring. The only issue, really, is price.

As we previously mentioned, if it hits the shelves at our quoted price, it'll cost the same as the CW611, which offers automatic fan and pump control and is arguably a more advanced bit of kit.

When you consider similar manual controllers are much cheaper too, it means the FC5 V3 is aimed squarely at those that prefer simple controls, colour coordination and swoon-worthy brushed aluminium over cheaper plastic controllers or automatic fan control. If that's you then we doubt you'll be disappointed with the FC5 V3. However, the CW611 gets our money for a fully-featured fan controller, while the NZXT Sentry Mix 2 is our firm favourite budget model.
  • Features
    31 / 35
  • Design
    33 / 35
  • Value
    18 / 30

Score guide
Where to buy

Overall 82%

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