by Greg King on July 18, 2007 in Cooling
Good fan controllers can be an excellent addition to any PC, but it’s hard for companies to differentiate their own controllers from the others. Zalman tackles that problem with their MFC2, which in addition to controlling your fans, can also tell you how many watts your computer is hogging.
With everything installed, except for the thermal probes, we set out to get a feel for not only how the MFC2 works, but also, how useful it was and would be for the average user.
When powering the PC on, we were greeted with an alarming beep. This was a bit uncomfortable until we realized that it was because the fan connectors that were not being used were not disabled. To navigate through the fans, simply press the mode button, scroll to the fan that you want and either enable it or disable it.
Directly above the fan speed read outs is a long bar that runs the entire length of the unit. This is used to show the wattage that your PC is pulling. This number is displayed in the top left hand corner.
The test hardware used in this review was a simple, quiet setup that we happened to have on our bench while testing out air coolers. It consists of:
This is a rather modest test bed but somewhat comparable to a majority of gamers out there without unlimited pocket books. As you can see in the picture below, our system only pulled 125 watts of power at idle and under full load, it never got above 180 watts. Not exactly a power sucking beast aye?
The Zalman ZM-MFC2 definitely has its uses. I am unsure who exactly will really need the power monitoring ability but it is something that is neat to have if for no other reason than its cool to keep track of power usage. Zalman might even be able to make this same unit, sans the power meter, and would still have a great looking fan controller that could be sold at a lower price point than this one is currently at.
The MFC2 can be found online for under $60 (US) which puts it at the top end of fan controllers but if you were to purchase a Kill-A-Watt and a fan controller together, you would likely pay just as much, if not more. Sure there are better deals out there but for those that are looking for a feature filled fan controller, the Zalman ZM-MFC2 is definitely something to look at.
With its ability to display power usage and overall build quality at is typical Zalman, the ZM-MFC2 earns an 8 out of 10 with its main drawback being its price. With that said, you definitely get what you pay for and if you’re looking for a Kill-A-Watt alternative, and just so happen to be in the market for a fan controller, do yourself a favor and give this one a look before you make your decision.
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