Thermaltake Commander F5 Multi Fan Controller ReviewWaco -
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Thermaltake Commander F5 Multi Fan Controller Introduction:
BUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZ. WHIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRR. These are a few of my least favorite noises. Thankfully, even with high performance fans, overclocking gurus don't have to sit around listening to their computers make a racket when they are not pushing the limits of their hardware. Fan controllers are the solution to this noisy and annoying problem that usually comes along with building a PC that can play anything maxed out with nary a stutter.
Thermaltake, long a supporter of the gamer inside all of us, brings to the table the Commander F5. This five-channel manual fan controller reaches to hit the low price point we all want without compromising where it counts: performance. This 5.25" bay fan controller retails for just $20 and promises to keep your fans quiet and your wallet (or purse) full! Keep reading to find out if the Thermaltake Commander F5 has what it takes to deliver upon its promises!
Thermaltake Commander F5 Multi Fan Controller Closer Look:
Not surprisingly, the Commander F5 comes wrapped in a box sporting the red and black regalia of almost every Thermaltake product ever made (not that I'm complaining). The fan controller itself is featured front and center surrounded by an abstract red and blue background. The actual finish of the entire box is matte except for the images of the fan controller on both sides. The rear side of the box highlights the various specifications and features (seen in detail on the Specs & Features page) of the Commander F5. All in all the packaging isn't particularly groundbreaking, but it does successfully highlight what you'd what to know before buying it in a store. The one exception to this, is that it lists compatibility with "4-Pin "Molex" fans" when it really should read "4-Pin "PWM" fans". Standard Molex-powered fans, as you will see in a bit, will not work with this fan controller.
Popping open the box reveals a neatly-packed fan controller tucked inside an anti-static bag nestled up in open-cell fitted packing foam. You could throw this box off of a building and the fan controller would likely survive without damage! Freeing the Commander F5 from its confines also brings to light the included installation guide, warranty policy flier, and four installation screws.
Free at last! The cables on the Commander F5 come wrapped neatly at the rear of the fan controller to avoid snags and/or damage when removing it from the packaging. This conveniently also bypasses the issue of plugging the various wires into the wrong plugs at the rear of the control board. The sliders themselves are bright red surrounded by black mesh (the box claims honeycomb, but it looks like regular mesh to me). The rear of the Commander F5 is completely black plastic that feels very sturdy.
Taking a closer look at the front of the Commander F5 you can just barely pick out the LEDs next to each of the five channels from behind the mesh. There is also a power indicator that lights up on the far right of the controller, the opposite of the Thermaltake logo. Unfortunately for those wanting to keep their color scheme monochrome, the channel uses indicators that are blue, while the power indicator is red.
Last but not least we have a shot of the 4-pin PWM compatible connectors for each fan channel. All five connectors are labeled "FAN1" through "FAN5", which correspond left-to-right to the sliders on the front of the Commander F5. The wires here do feel a bit cheap, but not drastically so (and do recall, this is a $20 fan controller). The other important thing to note here is that each channel can only power eight watts worth of fans; you won't be running multiple ultra-high RPM fans off of a single channel.