Date: April 6th, 2010
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Zalman
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
The aluminum front panel has an attractive brushed finish and the five black plastic control knobs are large and easy to adjust. On the left side is a switch to toggle the PWM mode through its settings. Nine LEDs provide the user with status information regarding the attached fans.
The controls are pretty straightforward and intuitive. The panel LEDs change color to indicate fan operation status and will be dark if no fan is connected. Note that the controllers for fans 1-4 will adjust the supplied voltage from between 5V and 11V. Of course, if a particular fan won't start at, say 5V, the user will have to choose a higher setting. While we're on the subject, this controller needs 3-pin fans that output RPM and voltage signals to operate properly. Needless to say, 2-pin aren't supported and neither are fans with 4-pin Molex-type connectors. Also, should you try to plug a three-pin fan into a 4-pin PWM motherboard header, the RPM control won't function properly.
While this seems like a lot of caveats, the ZM-MFC1 Combo will support virtually all case/cooler fans with 3-pin or 4-pin PWM connectors.
The rear of the control panel features (from left to right) a 4-pin Molex power header to feed the panel the +5 and +12 volts that it needs to operate. Along the bottom are the cable headers corresponding to their respective cables below. Zalman includes five fan cables that will allow the user to attach and control up to six supported fans. Again from left to right, we have the C4 cable for PWM fan control, two C1 cables for standard 3-pin fans, a C3 cable that not only allows fan control, but can also send an RPM signal to the motherboard to prevent booting issues with some motherboards. Finally, the fourth cable is a Y-splitter that allows the use of two fans controlled from a single channel. When using the Y-cable with a single fan, one should use the white connector. If two fans are to be used, make sure that both fans have identical specifications for proper operation.