Thermal Sensing Fans

Thermally controlled fans have been around for many, many years, but are finally now finding homes in many PC's. The basics behind these fans are quite simple.

The fan comes equipped with a small heat-detection unit, which can control the RPM speed of the fan. Once the temperature rises beyond a certain threshold, the fan will receive more power and spin faster, thus, cooling down the area that was once too hot.

These fans are great for us noise conscious, because most will spin down to inaudible levels when not being used. They may not be the best performing fans on the market, but next to no fans, thermal sensing fans are a great solution for silent PC's. Thermally controlled fans are usually a few bucks more than non thermal sensing fans.

As an offshoot of thermally controlled fans, a very small amount of companies have actually shipped products with user-controlled fans.

Most of these fans come with a small switch on the fan, which allow you to tweak the fans voltage, allowing it to spin up or spin down at different speeds, depending on how much cooling performance / noise you want.

BayBus / FanBus

Another method of fan control is to utilize a centralized power hub, which all fans connect through. The centralized hub can be controlled by the user via toggle switches on the front of their case, and allows the user to turn on / off fans whenever they feel like it. Cliff Anderson, who came up with the original ideas for the FanBus, originally came up with this idea.

Getting a Fanbus unit is great, as it allows you to switch off all your non-essential fans when you're doing basic work like web browsing and email.

When you fire up a game though, you can flip all your fans back into action with a flick of the wrist, and keep your rig cool when playing system intensive games. Many stores have kits you can buy to make your own Fanbus / BayBus unit, but it does require some manual labor.

Also worth mentioning, MacPower's Digital Doc 5 can accomplish these same functions, but requires no labor. The units are expensive though, at around $60.