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I have a fan that runs at about 3500 rpm at 12 V. At 5 V (the minimum that my Zalman FANMATE allows), it runs at about 2000 rpm which is still quite loud. I looked on the Internet for other controllers that can go below 5 V and found nothing. Why is that? Any solutions?

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I need a solution fast or I am getting rid of the fan. – Tomasi Apr 13 '10 at 0:41
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Don't go too much lower than 5 V. While most fans could operate reliably at that voltage and lower, they have difficulty starting, perhaps from needing to overcome static friction.

You have a few options:

  • Use a larger fan. If you're at 80 mm see if you can use a 120 mm.
  • Remove or cut all grills. Grills just add noise and disrupt laminar airflow.
  • Pick a better fan. Panaflo's are known for being quiet. I've used some 80 mm Nexus fans that were really quiet. Silent PC Review may have some suggestions.
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I'm fairly sure that the guy doesn't want to hand-crank his fan... i think... – RCIX Apr 17 '10 at 7:52

There could be several reasons for the 5 volt limit, but I suspect it's because the fan requires at least 5V to work. Even if you could lower the voltage further the fan might not move enough air to be useful.

If the fan is too loud at the minimum voltage then I recommend buying a better fan. A quieter fan is often more expensive. This is partly because better quality components are needed, partly because better engineering is needed to design it (and better design costs more money) and partly because people are willing to pay more for a quieter fan. Reduced noise is a feature after all.

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