Olaf van der Spek wrote:
Why can't or don't they offer controllers that can be controlled from software?
Lots of motherboard still don't offer decent fan control or a decent number of fan headers. Are any even able to completely stop certain fans?
With SpeedFan running, this isn't possible as it is constantly polling each and every hard drive, keeping them awake.
Are you sure? Why would it need to spin up the platters?
The number of controllable fan headers varies widely by vendor and model. Some offer only one controllable header: CPU. Others have 7 or 8.
My AsRock z68 board has three controllers and five headers that can be used by SpeedFan, which is fairly typical. At the top of the line, ASUS RoG Maximus boards have at least twice as many controllers and headers (and sensors to go with them). Of course they are pricey.
Every MB I've owned has been able to dial a fan down to zero with SpeedFan.
The most recent ASUS boards are probably the best compromise. They have several headers and each header can be controlled in either 3-pin or 4-pin mode. Someone there realized this is a good marketing feature.
As for SMART: Yes, it's true. The SMART commands to read out temperature, etc, are the same as any other commands (eg, seek, read), and require that the drive be "on". When software such as SpeedFan requests the drive's temperature, the OS turns the drive on, which spins it up and loads the heads. Stupid, you say? Well, when SMART was standardized, apparently nobody thought of making it an offline function, or if they did, they didn't prevail. Possibly there are some drives out there that will report their temperature without being "on", but to use that feature, it would have to be added to the Windows drivers.