[ad#content_main]The PWM Mate fan controller is the most versatile fan controller I have ever seen. It is also the smallest fan controller I have ever seen. On one end of the controller is the dial for manual fan control. On the other end, you press the fan controller itself to change modes. There are four modes of operation: Auto Low, which is the default, and shown by a blue LED; Auto Mid, shown by a combination of the blue and red LEDs, and Auto High, shown by a red LED; and Manual. Each of the auto modes have three speeds that ramp up according to CPU temp, all three start at 1000 RPM. Manual mode is annotated by a green LED, and you can dial in any speed from 1000 RPM to 2150 RPM.
The fan is totally silent up to about 1850 RPM, even with the case open. At 1950 RPM, the fan gets a slight whining noise that gets louder all the way up to 2177 RPM, which is the max. At full speed, the fan is audible outside of the case, but it is in no way annoying.
In Low mode, the fan never gets audible outside of the case. In Mid and High mode, only when the CPU temp climbed over 50C did the fan get audible.
I compared the Zalman CNPS 10X Extreme with three other coolers, the Zalman CNPS 9900LED, the Noctua NH-U12P, and the Kingwin XT-1264. The former two are the two most expensive air coolers under the CNPS 10X Extreme, and the XT-1264 is an economy cooler with performance in the realm of the other two.
First I checked each cooler at stock clock idle and stock clock load. Idle temp was taken after the rig sat idle for 30 minutes. Load temps were taken after running Everest CPU Stress Test for 30 minutes. Temp monitoring was done with Gigabyte Easy Tune 6, Gigabyte’s software overclock and HW monitor utility.
Testing on the CNPS 10X Extreme was done with the fan controller on Low mode.
Though stock clock temps really don’t mean much, the 10X Extreme did have the lowest idle temp and tied with the lowest load temp.
Next, I overclocked my i7 920 to 3.88gHz. In the process I bumped up both the VCORE and the QPI/VTT voltage, which warms up the CPU considerably.