Since case modding started to become popular a few years ago the market has been flooded
with all kinds of fan controllers. In this review we will take a closer look at the Vantec
NXP-201 fan controller and we'll also have a very quick look at Vantec's Tornado and
Here's a photo of the box in which the Vantec NXP-201 ships and also a quick look at the
Features and Specifications of the NXP-201:
4 Channel Fan Controller
Adjustable Fan Speed Knob
Aluminum "U" Type Housing
Blue LED Light
Each Channel Will Support 15 to 18 Watts
Fits In A Standard 5.25' Drive Bay.
No Need to Cut Wires Like Other Fan Controller. Just Plug The Cable In.
Great for Vantec Tornado or Other High CFM Fans.
Model: NXP-201-SL, NXP-201-BK
Input Voltage: 12V +-10%
Output Voltage: 7V +-20% ~ 12V +-5%
Output Current: Up to 1.5A
Outline Dimension: 148.5 X 41.5 X 62.5mm
This fan controller from Vantec is available in two versions: one with a black and one with
a silver housing. The housing is made of Aluminum. The NXP-201 has 4 channels, and you can
connect fans (or other devices like CCFLs) to the 3-pin connectors on the rear of the
device. Lukely Vantec also ships two 3-pin extension cables and two 3-pin to 4-pin(Molex)
cables with the NXP-201.
The knobs on the front allows you to change the voltage on each of the channels from 7V to
12V. Something that I'm missing here is the ability to turn a fan off. The frontpanel looks
pretty nice I think, it has a fairly professional look.
Each of the four channels supports 15 to 18 Watts according to Vantec. A simple 80mm fan
draws about 1W to 2W. But some more advanced fans like the Vantec Tornado's draw a lot more:
the 92mm Tornado draws up to 12.5W. Except fans you can also connect other devices to these
channels, for instance cold cathodes will also give a nice effect.
The following pictures show some of the included cables. Like I already mentioned before
Vantec ships two 3-pin extension cables and two 3-pin to 4-pin cables with these fan
And here you can see the NXP-201 in action. Each of the four knobs is accentuated by blue
The technology used for this fan controller is PWM and not the regular linear regulation.
PWM (pulse width modulation) has a few advantages but also a few drawbacks.
With linear regulation when you adjust the channel to 7V it will raise the resistance so
that the voltage will drop. This creates a constant of 7V, but it also creates heat which
needs to be dissipated.
PWM works differently: this technology gives the fan a rapid stream of 12V taps. By
adjusting the channel you can control the speed at which these taps occur. The advantage of
this technology is that is doesn't create any heat. But there is a serious downside, the PWM
circuitry can produce a buzz at certain fan speeds. If you are interested in knowing how
this technology works then check out this page for additional details.
I looked into this issue and for me the buzz is hardly noticeable when I'm sitting in front
of my PC. Only when I get close to the fan controller I can hear a small buzz when I turn the channel to 3/4th. Under normal conditions I can't notice it.
Like most fan controllers on the market this one does his work perfect. To be honest there
can not be much wrong with a simple device like a fan controller isn't it? The only thing
that I don't like about this fan controller is that you are not able to turn off a channel.
You can only adjust it from 7V to 12V. And another small feature I would like to see is the
ability to turn off the LEDs. Most people will buy these modding products because of their
fancy looks and blue LEDs look very cool indeed. But at some moments you can feel the need
to turn off these LEDs. So a switch somewhere on the rear of the fan controller to turn off
these LEDs would have been nice. But anyway that is just my personal opinion.
The average price of this fan controller is $24.99.
The Good Stuff:
- Works like advertised, you can reduce the noise of your fans by lowering the voltage.
- Extension cables and 3 to 4-pin cables are included.
- No need to cut wires to connect fans.
- Each channel supports up to 18W
The Bad Stuff
- You can't turn off the channels.
Vantec ThermoFlow 120mm
The Vantec ThermoFlow fans are shipping in the following versions: 60mm, 80mm, 92mm and
Specifications of the 120mm Vantec ThermoFlow fan:
Dimension: 120x120x25 mm - 4.72x4.72x0.98"
Rated Voltage: 12 VDC
Power Input: 2.04 ~ 3.36 W
Fan Speed: 1300 ~ 2200RPM
Air delivery: 54.3 ~ 92 CFM
Noise level: 29 ~ 39 dB(A)
Bearing type: 2 Ball Bearing
The ThermoFlow series have a temperature sensor which adjusts fan speed automatically. It's
relatively silent at low temperatures but at higher temperatures it obviously becomes less
silent. With an air delivery of 54.3CFM to 92CFM this fan moves a good amount of air to cool
down your system.
The price of the 120mm version is about $16.
The Tornado's really deserve its name. The amount of air moved by these fans is simple
amazing. But this comes at a price: they are very loud. Lets say that they are the ultimate
nightmare of people that want to get their computer system as silent as possible. With a
noise level of more than 55dBA these fans sure aren't silent!
Fan controllers like the NXP-201 will be able to make them a bit more silent but they will
still be louder than normal fans. But the advantage of the Tornado fans is that they really
deliver a lot more air than other 'normal' fans.
The prices of the 80mm one is about $16 to $21 and the price of the 92mm one is about $17 to
When it absolutely has to be cool, nothing beats the Vantec Tornado Case Fan. With airflow
levels as high as 119 CFM, hot air doesn't stand a chance. Perfect for gamers and
overclockers, the Vantec Tornado Case Fan is a no-compromise solution to overheated computer
These fans are only for hard core enthusiasts!
Specifications of the Vantec Tornado fans:
Double Ball Bearing
Double Ball Bearing
Added: October 30th 2004 Reviewer:LSDsmurf Score:8/10 Related Link:Vantec
Vantec NXP-201 and Vantec Fans Posted by LSDsmurf on 2004-11-02 12:17:57 My Score: 8/10To the one that posted an anonymous comment, here's a message from Vantec:
I noticed there was a commend at the bottom of your review about NXP-201. A complaint about the buzzing from NXP-201. After discussed with our technical personnel, they conclude it should be RMA. So please are you able to contact Anonymous to asked him to return it to Vantec reseller and they will replace for the new one.
Vantec NXP-201 and Vantec Fans Posted by LSDsmurf on 2004-10-31 15:13:58 My Score: 8/10Hi, thanks for your comment.
I have looked into this issue and for me it is barely noticeable. I can't hear it when I'm sitting in front of my computer.
When I get closer I can hear a buzz but this occurs only when I adjust the knob to about 3/4th. At minimum and maximum fan speed I can't hear any sound coming from my sample of the NXP-201.
Anyway shortly I'll add a small piece to the review regarding the PWM technology to warn potential buyers about this issue.
Vantec NXP-201 and Vantec Fans Posted by Anonymous on 2004-10-31 14:05:08 My Score: 10/10I'm suprised you didn't mention the PWM technology that the NXP-201 is built on, or the buzzing sound that is its inherent downside. I purchase one of these a few days ago and I couldn't be more disappointed with it - it shall be RMA`d. You may have been lucky and received a unit that didn't buzz as much.