I reviewed one of Lamptron’s other products earlier this week (the CW611) and I came away impressed with the unit’s features and aesthetics. Fan controllers are one of those items that few people consider thanks to software-managed fan curves on today’s motherboards, but nothing beats analogue control if you’re looking for that cool factor. Today we’re looking at the cheaper, but no less capable FC6. It’s got analogue controls, a cool digital display, and up to four controllers for your fans along with temperature readouts.
The FC6 fits into a 5.25-inch drive bay and features a replaceable brushed aluminium front plate just like the CW611. The four metal rotary dials feel lovely, and they’re directly connected to the resistors that control the fan voltages. The front panel is complemented by an LCD display that has several colour options – red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, purple and white. These can be changed by moving a few jumpers around on the circuit board. Accessories in the box include four three-pin cable extensions and four temperature sensors, all in black to blend into your build.
Because of how the FC6 is built there’s no flex on the circuit board, so you won’t have to worry about bending anything. However, Lamptron has made the same mistake with both this and the CW611 – putting the fan headers on top of the circuit boards at the rear. This means that if you have something else in the drive bay above the controller, you’ll have to pull it out completely to switch cables or fans if you’re not using the extensions.
Because the FC6 is an analogue device, there’s not too much functionality to be had aside from fan speed control. With up to 20W of power delivered per channel at the maximum voltage (12V), I’d expect that current draws up to 1.6 amperes should be safe. Piling on two or three fans to a single connection shouldn’t be a problem, although fan speeds obviously won’t be reported properly.
Unlike the CW611, the FC6 only reports fan speeds and not voltages. In my testing, the reported voltages on my multimeter seemed to indicate that on full blast, there isn’t enough power being fed through the system. With the XSPC 120mm, 2,000rpm fans I used for testing, I recorded a speed of 1,840rpm at 10.5V. The first fan added to the controller always ran at lower voltages, while the second would run at 10.5V and just over 2,000rpm. It’s annoying, but merely a unit issue, rather than a design defect.
Voltages over time never wavered by more than 0.1V, so there’s always the option of just running your fans at a slightly lower voltage. After all, most people buy fan controllers to make their system quieter, not have faster fan speeds.
At just R649, the FC6 is good value for money, but it is an older product and an older design (circa 2011). Put this on your shortlist, but also look at Lamptron’s newer stuff first.