SpeedFan: A Guide to Universal Motherboard Fan Control

Cooling | Fans|Controls
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The Configuration Process

The fan control and monitoring utilities provided by motherboard manufacturers are rarely as functional as SpeedFan, but they can give you some important information as they are configured for specific motherboard models.

With Asus' PC Probe running side by side with SpeedFan, we can identify some of the fan and temperature sensors. If you don't have a second utility to compare SpeedFan's readings, stop each fan momentarily by pressing on the hub and note which fan speed sensor drops to zero.

If there are temperature sensors reporting the same value (like "System" and "SMIOVT" in the example above), stress the system with something like Prime95. This will heat up different portions of the board by differing amounts. If the sensors in question are indeed reporting different temperatures, the values will start to differentiate.

In the Configuration menu, start renaming the sensors that you've corroborated. This is a feature most beginners miss as it's not particularly obvious. Click on a label and press F2, the same renaming shortcut key used in Windows Explorer. If you'd like to hide sensors on the main screen, uncheck the boxes to the left. You can also reorder the sensors by dragging them. In the Fan tab, make note of the chip name for the fans, in this case, "Nuvoton NCT6776F".

The next step is to enable the fan controls, which often don't work by default. In the "Advanced" tab, select the controller chip for the fans in the drop down menu. The "PWM modes" determine how the fans are controlled. In this case, "Smart Fan IV" is code for BIOS/UEFI control. Change all of them to "Manual" (sometimes it will be called "Software control") and remember to check the "remember it" box in the bottom right hand corner for each PWM mode so the setting will stick.

Now that we've renamed the fans and enabled fan control, it's time to determine which control is tied to which fan (note: the GPU fan control worked right out of the gate so no trial and error was necessary). Set them all to zero and check which fans slow down or turn off completely. In our case, both Chassis fans stopped, and the CPU fan dropped from about 1200 RPM to 800 RPM.

The inability to shut down a fan entirely is almost always a sign of PWM control. The range of control varies depending on the board and for the P8P67 Pro, the lower limit is unusually high. It's also a good idea to swap 3-pin and 4-pin fans when testing PWM fan headers as some do not support voltage control at all, forcing 3-pin fans to run at full speed no matter what. This may be relevant for your overall fan control strategy.

After playing with the fan controls, we established that both Chassis fans are tied to the same control, so we edited the labels appropriately. Now, we still have to make sense of those wonky temperature sensors.



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