Zalman ZM-MFC1 Fan Speed Controller Review
Up until now Zalman
have been pretty much been a heatsink-only company. And while it's true that
they have produced fans and powersupplies, they haven't worked on many accessories beyond
Since Zalman's company goal is "computer noise
prevention" it was only a matter of time before they joined the rank and
file with their own multi fan speed controller bay.
However, the Zalman ZMMFC1 offers some flexibility that other similar 5.25" bay fan speed
Namely, the ZMMFC1 comes with four fan speed
channels and a side of two extra channels that operate auxiliary devices at
either 12V or 5V. We'll get to those in just a second, but getting back to the
four fan speed controllers we find each one with a three-pin connector, dial
control (rheostat) and blue LED indicator light.
When a fan is connected to one of the four fan-speed channels the
LED will light up blue. If there is nothing connected to the channel the light
will remain off.
Two types of extension cables are included with the unit; the first are 15" long and useful for
fans whose RPM signals to the mainboard are not required. The second set of
jumpers are the same length, but come wth a pigtale of about the same length
that will delivers RPM signal to the mainboard.
If you were using the ZMMFC1
with a processor fan you would need someway of letting the computer know what
the RPM signal is. By using the second type of jumper cable Zalman include, we can still
manually control fan speed, and also deliver the RPM signal to the mainboard to
keep the computer happy.
is controlled with aluminum dials (rheostats) that have a nice grip to
them. We looked at a similar device from Vantec, and while it did look really
cool, the texturing of the aluminum dials made them somewhat slippery. The entire device
draws power from just one molex power connector which plugs into the
back of the unit. No molex power adaptors, or extension cables were included.
Now we already mentioned that there were four channels for fan
speed control in addition to two other voltage-based channels. The two extra
channels offer the option of connecting a pair of case fans,
lights, or any other electrical device that runs on 12V to the unit through
screw-down wire terminals. A set of toggle switches controls the voltage to
these two terminals (12V, off, 5V) and LED's chance colour from blue (5V) to red (12V)
to indicate the different voltage selected.
Each of the channels will support a load of up to
7W which should take care of most fans you are likely to use.