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 Post subject: Fan controller: T-Balancer XL
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm
Posts: 31
I'd really like some help with fan controllers - I've never used one and know hardly anything about them.

I'm going to be building a new quiet system soon and I'd like a fan controller that can do automatic fan control.

At first I thought that I could get the Hardcano 12, but according this this thread it makes an annoying whining noise.

It looks like the best choice it the T-Balancer. I'm a bit confused about the models available and what they do. In Australia, you can only get the XL and KTC models (the latter needed for water cooling) but on the mCubed site these aren't listed, and the models that are listed on their site aren't available in Australia, from what I can make out.

I'm planning to buy an Antec P180 case and a Scythe Ninja CPU cooler (which now comes bundled with a 120mm fan). Would the T-Balancer work will with this setup? Initially I'll be using the stock AMD fan because the Ninja doesn't work with the AM2 socket, but I'll be buying an AM2 compatible model when they release it.

Apparently you need to install the bundled Windows sofware to be able to set it up. I'll be running Linux, but I can always set up a dual-boot system and boot into windows to configure the t-balancer. Do I need to keep running Windows, or does it work fine even in Linux? Of course I don't expect to be able to monitor temps etc. in Linux, but as long as the t-balancer works effectively keeping the system cool enough without making much noise, I'll be happy.

All these fan controllers come with thermal sensors. One thing I don't understand is how/where the sensor is added to measure the CPU temp. Presumably the real CPU temperature is best measured by placing the sensor directly on the chip, but because the chip will be covered by the heatsink, I'd have to place it on the outside of that. Won't the temperature on the surface of the heatsink be lower than on the chip? Or is the surface of the heatsink at the same temp as the CPU itself?

How many temperature sensors does the T-Balancer XL come with? I won't be using a graphics card (I'll be using onboard graphics) so apart trom the CPU temp, which other temperature should I measure? Do I need to buy extra sensors?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 5:00 am
Posts: 1424
Location: New York, NY
I have a hardcano 13 and would skip it and go directly to a t-balancer. If possible wait for the new one - t-balancer bigNG. You will have to setup the temp/rpm profiles and other settings under windows, but the controller will run independently of the os. You still may be able to monitor fan speed and temp sensors though another utility.

However, you could probably just use the motherboard cpu fan header for the ninja, and use a fan mate or other inexpensive controller for the case fans. It may be kind of a waste to have all of the t-balancer software and not be able to use it under linux. On the other hand, once everything is setup, you probably won't want to dink around with settings that much - at least I don't. My system is watercooled now, but I still use the t-balancer for case fans, motherboard, and hard drives.

I actual practice my profiles limit the fans to a very narrow range - quiet to marginally less quiet. But the sensors and adjustments are great for initial testing and setup.

_________________

e8400, Corsair XMS2-5400, Asus 8400GS, Gigabyte EP45-UD3R, Chenbro SR209/Nexus 120, T-Balancer, Enhance ENP-5150GH 500W, Seagate 7200.7 160MB
(Retired: XP-120, FSP530-60GNA, Antec SP2.0 500W, Antec SLK3000B)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:08 pm
Posts: 424
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow....
First off do you know if your MB can support auto fan management?

The reason why the T-balancer XL is so hard to find is it has been replaced by BigNG

Will you be doing anything load intensive while in Linux?

Which brings us to the question of the temp sensor

you can configure the T-balancer to read the "temp readout" from the CPU and MB from either SpeedFan or MBM (MBM is no longer updated so probably won't work)

Since Speedfan is windows only, the T-balancer will only adjust those fans assigned to Speedfan sensors (which are coming from your MB) only if Speedfan AND the T-BALANCER program are running.

However, during bootup, these fans default to a defined "start value" which can range from 0%-100% (mine are at 30%) so that the fan will default to this speed until they communicate with the Speedfan program and T-balancer Software and adjust accordingly to the reponse curve

So in Linux, if you plan to use the Speedfan "software sensor", the fans will default to their minimum start value

As for Sensors, I only use one and that's for my graphics card :)

EDIT-if you do plan to The T-balancer software, I HIGHLY recomend using the API drivers rather than the VCP drivers, it is much more stable

_________________
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 Post subject: Re: Fan controller: T-Balancer XL
PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 112
Location: Madison, WI
I own a T-Balancer XL and use Linux so here I go:

I've had it for about 3 months so it may be different now but, the one I have has controllers for four fans and a two-connector sensor bus. That is, you can connect two types of sensor devices to it, water cooling stuff, digital temp sensors, analong temp sensors and other things probably.

My XL came with a cable with two digital temp sensors, so these would only take up one of the two sensor connectors. Since I read somewhere on SPCR that analog sensors were better than digital sensors and I wanted more than two, I bought the analog sensor hub, which connects to one of the two sensor bus connectors. It has 6 analog temp sensors and a power pass-through which will allow it to turn the computer off if programmed to do so at a certain temp, etc. I could conceivably connect the digital sensor cable, too, but I don't need more than six temp sensors. I have the sensors read my CPU, North Bridge, VGA, case, SATA drive and PSU temps.

Each of the four fan controllers can be programmed to either work to a certain target temp or to a "response curve" that you can program to seven points on a graph or use one of several included pre-programmed curves. At each of the points you get to pick a temp and a percentage of the PWM controlled power it will get. For example, you could program your CPU fan something like this:

Temp %
30 0
35 40
40 50
45 60
50 75
52 80
55 90
59 100

You can link each fan controller to temp sensors (yes, more than one) and you can also set the controllers to ALL go 100% at a certain temp. You can control the fans manually through the software so you can check in real time the effect in noise and temps that spinning up/down the fans will have.

The software to program it is Windows only but once you have it programmed you don't really need to run it anymore unless you want just check out all your temps our or to tweak it. You might decide that you want it to run at 100% at 55, not 59 degrees, or that you can slow it down at 50 degrees from 75 to 60%, for example.

If you programmed the T-Balancer good enough then you don't need to worry about it in Linux no matter what you do since it's not software based. I myself like to check it out since I can't read some of the temps, e.g. the PSU temp, from Linux, although I have sensors (the progam) in Linux to monitor my GPU (nvidia), case and CPU temps from the KDE desktop using gkrellm. I boot to Windows only to play games (BF2) and to tweak the t-balancer software but I'm really done with the tweaking so BF2 it is.

I was OK with using a fanmate sticking out the back of my comp until a friend started using my computer regularly and I didn't feel like teaching her to turn up/down the fans so I bought the t-balancer. It was expensive (what with the analog sensor hub and an attenuator) but I love it! My computer is almost silent farther than a yard away (except for HDD reads) but I don't need to worry about it overheating when I play games when I could probably hear my computer in the next room! Hope this helps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:42 pm
Posts: 89
I just got a email from a english shop about a new tbalancer called "mCubed T Balancer BigNG" ill start a new thread on it now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm
Posts: 31
A big thank you to all of you - you've been a lot of help.

I'm going to build my system without fan control for now, but I'll probably get the bigNG when it comes out here in Australia.

I'm going to get a Gigabyte GA-M55plus-S3G botherboard - does anyone know whether this can do fan control?


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 Post subject: TBan driver and application in Linux
PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:33 am
Posts: 3
Hi

I saw that you were thinking of running the TBan on linux and there is actually a small utility that can monitor/configure the TBan using linux. Its not at all finished but I am using it and it seems to work quite fine (on my TBan at least).

The console application has the fundamental features like:
* Getting pwm, rpm, temp for channels
* Getting/Setting response curves for channels
* Getting hw-information
* Getting digital sensors

There is also a "very" limited gkrellm plugin that displays channel information (pwm, rpm and so on). This would definitely need some work.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xban/

BR

Marcus


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 Post subject: Re: TBan driver and application in Linux
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm
Posts: 31
marjag wrote:
I saw that you were thinking of running the TBan on linux and there is actually a small utility that can monitor/configure the TBan using linux. Its not at all finished but I am using it and it seems to work quite fine (on my TBan at least).


That's great, thanks. I'd seen that there was some Linux development, but I'd assumed that it wasn't usable yet. It's good to know that it is usable.


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 Post subject: XBan - new release (libtban-0.3 and tbancontrol-0.3)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:33 am
Posts: 3
If anyone is interested there is a new version online that supports the miniNG (basic stuff). Compared to the previous one there are many bug fixes in the TBan code.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xban/

//marjag


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