Vantec NXP-201 and Vantec Fans review

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 ThermoFlow fans.

Here's a photo of the box in which the Vantec NXP-201 ships and also a quick look at the device:

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
    Weight: 150gm

    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. Luckily, 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 allow 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 for 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 controllers.

    And here you can see the NXP-201 in action. Each of the four knobs is accentuated by blue LED light.

    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 its work perfectly. 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 120mm.

    Specifications of the 120mm Vantec ThermoFlow fan:
    Model: TF12025
    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 has a temperature sensor that 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.

    Vantec Tornado
    The Tornado's really deserves its name. The amount of air moved by these fans is simple amazing. But this comes at a price: they are very loud. Let's 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 $23.
    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 woes.
    These fans are only for hard core enthusiasts!

    Specifications of the Vantec Tornado fans:
    Model: TD8038H TD9238H
    Dimension: 80X80X38 mm 92X92X38 mm
    Weight: 175 g 187 g
    Rated Voltage: 12V 12V
    Rated Power: 9.1 W 12.5 W
    Rated Current: 0.76 Amp 1.0 Amp
    Fan Speed: 5700 RPM 4800 RPM
    Air Flow: 84.1 CFM 119 CFM
    Noise: 55.2 dB(A) 56.4 dB(A)
    Bearing System: Double Ball Bearing Double Ball Bearing


    Added: October 30th 2004
    Product reviewed: Vantec NXP-201 and Vantec Fans
    Reviewer: LSDsmurf
    Score: 8/10

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  • Loading Comments

    Comment #1 posted by LSDsmurf on 2004-11-02 12:17:57
    To 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.

    Comment #2 posted by LSDsmurf on 2004-10-31 15:13:58
    Hi, 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.

    Comment #3 posted by Anonymous on 2004-10-31 14:05:08
    I'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.