Thermaltake Commander F5 Multi Fan Controller ReviewWaco -
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Thermaltake Commander F5 Multi Fan Controller Testing:
Testing the Thermaltake Commander F5 fan controller required using it in my normal routines. These routines included gaming, working (what's that?), and general Internet surfing. These various activities allow me to become familiar with how well the fan controller works for various situations and configurations. While the Commander F5 has five channels, I attached fans to only four of the channels for testing. The first three channels on the controller were wired to the three pairs of Yate Loon fans mounted as push/pull exhaust on the radiator top-mounted in my case. The fourth channel was left dormant after confirming that it did indeed work. The last channel was wired to a Corsair AF140 Quiet Edition at the rear of my case also set up as an exhaust fan. The six Yate Loon spinners aren't particularly noisy even at full blast, but they do create a "whooshing" sound of airflow very similar to the noise the AF140 puts out at full speed.
- Processor: Core i7 2600K @ 4.4 GHz 100 x 44
- CPU Cooling: Custom water w/ 360mm radiator
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z68XP-UD4
- Memory: G.Skill Sniper PC3-1600 4x2 GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 770
- Case: Cooler Master HAF 932
- PSU: PCP&C Silencer Mark II 950W
- Hard Drive: WD Black 1 TB w/ Intel SRT
- Optical Drive: N/A
- OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit SP1
- 6x Yate Loon Medium Speed 120mm fans as push/pull exhaust on XSPC RX360
- 1x Corsair AF140 Quiet Edition as rear exhaust
Thermaltake Commander F5 Multi Fan Controller Results:
So the real test of a fan controller is that it is capable of providing both aural bliss and maximum cooling. Sadly, I must report that while the Commander F5 most definitely provides the former with a minimum output voltage of just over four volts, it fails at delivering anything more than 10.5 volts at maximum speed. This is somewhat surprising as it limits maximum fan speeds to just over 85% of their full potential if being fed 12 volts. The low minimum output voltage is a nice feature, but users must be wary of fans that will not start-up at such low voltage (my Yate Loons were just on the cusp of not wanting to start up at the lowest setting).
Overall I was pleased with the operation of the Commander F5, although the low maximum voltage was a surprise. For those not worried about getting the maximum out of their fans, it isn't much of a problem, but to me it seems like a design flaw to artificially limit fan speed. The other notable issue is the eight watt per channel power limit – I had to carefully check my fans to be sure I wasn't going to overload the Commander F5 and burn it out (or worse!).