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Reviewed by: Norman Tan [ 10.10.05]
Manufactured by: Various



When it comes to computers, most people are concerned about things like what motherboard to buy, or what video card will give the best value for their money and rightfully so. After all, those are the products that have the most to do with performance and these are the products that most review sites will review.

However, there is a whole other segment of parts that one does not really pay attention to unless a very special need for it comes up.  Small things like cables, extensions and various nicknacks are not really considered until a need comes up. In fact, had I not personally experienced the futile search for some 4-pin cable extensions, this article would never had been written.

So what are Product Shots? Well, think of it as a lot of mini reviews. We'll be highlighting parts that people do not really pay much attention to and will be featuring some products that fill a very specific niche. Hopefully, the next time you have a need for a certain product, this feature will have given you ideas on where to turn.

mCubed FanAmp

The first product for today comes to us courtesy of an Austrian based company, mCubed and the product is very creatively named FanAmp. As you may have guessed from the name, this chunk of metal can drive fans. Actually, perhaps fans was an exaggeration. This product can drive a single fan. Included with the package is the amp, a capacitor along with the various connecting wires you'll need.  The included velcro was actually quite useful and allowed for the mounting of this amp anywhere in your case which can help for some wiring.

As expected, installation of this product was a breeze. All one had to do was connect a 4-pin molex for power and plug the fan into the fan header (left side). If RPM monitoring was desired, then the other 3 pin connector would be connected to the motherboard for use with the appropriate software.

So why would someone want to use this over a 4-pin to 3-pin adapter? Tempurature control. The two black dials on the amp are used to manipulate two settings. One of the dials is used to determine the tempurature at which the fan will ramp up to full speed (12V or whatever the input is) whereas the other is used to determine the "idle" voltage that the fan should be run at when the tempurature is below the threshold.

When you drop the voltage provided to a fan, especially larger ones, sometimes it will fail to start. For that, mCube included the capacity which would briefly provide the fan with the voltage necessary to start up thereby allowing it to run at a lower setting. For those of you who like to have silent computers, this little amp can be a godsend. 

The obvious disadvantage of this system of course is that you would need one per fan which is likely not the best way to go. However, if you need just a single 12V device to be tempurature controlled, this amp could be the ticket. It's simple and just plain works.  

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