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Commander Pro, iCue and Fan ramps


ddelamare
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Hi All,

 

I recently purchased the Commander PRO mostly for controlling my fans based on the temp sensors that come with the device. I was looking for a solution that would dynamically adjust the fans without the need for intervention.

 

My system is water cooled and i wanted the temps to be controlled based on the RAD temperature or other temp sources, GPU temp and such.

 

So far, i am less than impressed with the device and with the software when it comes to controlling fans. Its a complete waste of money... let me explain some of the issues i am encountering. NOTE: All bios options for fan control/fan hysteresis are disabled. No other software is installed for controlling fans, only the Commander Pro.

 

Choice of fans are 3x Noctua 120mm PWM on the RAD (500rpm/2200rpm min/max).

 

1. Integrated fan profiles, Quiet/Balanced/Extreme are utter nonsense. Fans are constantly ramping up and down when the system is idle (2% cpu usage and temps are stable ~30c). The software does not state which system sensor is being used for these profiles, i'm assuming cpu?

 

Quiet profile fan rpm range varies from 8xx rpm till 19xx rpm.

Balanced profile fan rpm range varies from 15xx rpm till 19xx rpm.

Extreme profile fan rpm range varies from 18xx rpm till 22xx rpm.

 

2. Custom Profile has 3 different options with wildly different operation:

'Fixed %' works exactly as it should, all 3 fans have the same rpm, +/- 10 rpm variance. This is essentially the only fan option i can use, and i need to adjust this manually when idle versus gaming.

 

'Fixed RPM' works as it should, although there are larger fluctuations, for example rpm varies from 397 rpm till 613 rpm, when set to 500 rpm. There's a +/- 100rpm variance. There is also variance between the fans themselves, for example Fan 1 is 389 rpm and fan 3 can be on 620 rpm. The fans are not in sync as they are with the 'Fixed %' option. Three different fans ramping up and down at different points is horrible.

 

'Custom Curve', set to either Quiet, Balanced or Extreme and a specific sensor can be chosen is flaky. I get the same issues with the fans ramping up and down, similar to the standard iCue profiles. If i choose a sensor that does not fluctuate, for example my RAD sensor (Native thermister that came with the Command PRO) or the Radeon VII Temp, which are normally static when idle and sitting at approx 30 degrees, both sensors fluctuate by 1/100th of a degree and the fans are still fluctuating between 641 rpm and 998 rpm, all 3 fans and completely different inervals.

 

I've looked into setting some kind of custom curve based on a sweeping curve and stepped curve...

 

If my RAD sensor is stating 30 degrees and i look at the fan curve with one of the points set at 750rpm at 30 degrees, the rpm is not adhered too. If i set all points on the custom curve to 0 and leave the last point sitting at 30 degrees and 750 rpm for infinity, essentially mimicking a fixed flat rpm range, it makes absolutely no difference. Again fan rpm is fluctuating wildly between 619 rpm and 887 rpm.

 

So to conclude, basically every option that i need from the hardware and software is completely useless for me unless i manually set static %, i can do that through the BIOS.

 

It makes absolutely no sense in spending money on the Commander Pro and using iCue. Either the firmware on the device is a mess or the software is a mess, but its probably a combination of both. My Feeling from using the hardware and software is 'it might work, it might not'. Having the option to delay the ramp up and down, hysteresis, on the Commander Pro would probably help.

 

Is this the best product we have in 2020 for controlling fans/monitoring temps and components? It seems like a complete failure of product design to the point where, as a customer, i feel like asking 'Why did you even waste the time and resources creating a product that can be outshone by using a simple 6 euro Potentiometer'

 

If anyone has any tips on how i can setup my fans to slowly ramp up and down rather than having a heart attack every .5 seconds, i would love to hear from you!

 

Apologies for the rant.

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1. Integrated fan profiles, Quiet/Balanced/Extreme are utter nonsense. Fans are constantly ramping up and down when the system is idle (2% cpu usage and temps are stable ~30c). The software does not state which system sensor is being used for these profiles, i'm assuming cpu?

 

Correct and stay off those. CPU temperature is the only guaranteed sensor on every computer system and thus it's the default. However, regardless of what you are controlling you should get off this as soon as possible. Once you do this is no longer matters and coolant temp is going to work fine, once we resolve the issue below.

 

Can you specify exactly which Noctua series fans you are using? The Industrial 3000 rpm version has been a consistent problem, but there have been a few isolated issues on the others.

 

The problem is there seems to be a "European PWM spec" and an "Asian PWM spec", for lack of a better descriptor. There are several Noctua, EK, BeQuiet, and other European designed fans that do not respond to RPM control on the Corsair controllers. The programmable curve is RPM based as well, which is why you are having trouble in both that and the fixed RPM mode. PWM % mode does work, but obviously a fixed speed controller was not the plan.

 

Besides a total fan swap out, there are some ways to work around this like using a PWM repeater hub to act a go between. Is it just those three Noctuas? Or are there others not in control?

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did you actually apply the fan curve you created?

When you create one, you have to then click each fan that appears on the right of your profiles list until said fan has a yellow surrounding, indicating the selected profile is affected to it.

 

Otherwise it will still be running on that silly default profile based on CPU temp.

It can be an easy oversight as neither iCUE nor any corsair product i ever bought came with a manual to explain even basic operation.

(on my personal experience, i've used non industrial Noctuas, Corsair, EK and Arctic fans on the Copro without issues)

 

On watercooling, the easiest setting and the most reliable is to have a thermistor in the loop (as a fitting usually) and plug it to the CoPro's sensor inputs, so you don't rely on iCUE running.

Once you apply a fan curve based of that thermistor, plugged directly on the commander, it is saved IN the commander and will work even if iCUE crashes, or isn't started at all.

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Thanks for the replies thus far!

 

@c-attack, thanks for confirming some of those points from your side. I made a mistake regarding my fans, they are EK Vardar, sorry i recently swapped them out. Noctua were the old fans! lol Full name is EK Vardar EVO 120ER. It does state they are designed and engineered in Slovenia, made in China but sounds like they could the EU PWN spec? I'll need to look into that, for me PWM is PWM.

 

I cant swap out the fans due to how my rig is built, but i could disconnect them and try other fans just for a few minutes. There\s enough surface area on my RAD to run fanless for a good amount of time. I'll try and give it a go. Also, There are no other fans, just the three for the RAD and that's it!

 

@LeDoyen, Yes the updated fan curves were reapplied by clicking on each fan in sequence. I did miss that the first time i started using iCue, its a really weird application, or more precisely, its not intuitive.

 

Good to know about the thermistor being stored directly on the device!

 

Its frustrating that you cant just 'dial in those perfect fan settings' as they say on the Commander Pro site. Sounded too good to be true and lo and behold... ;)

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they are EK Vardar, sorry i recently swapped them out. Noctua were the old fans! lol Full name is EK Vardar EVO 120ER. It does state they are designed and engineered in Slovenia, made in China but sounds like they could the EU PWN spec? I'll need to look into that, for me PWM is PWM.

 

Yeah, you would think that, but it seems not and none of my degrees are in electrical engineering so I will pass on the blame. There has been a consistent series of users hitting this issue and I have more than 75 different BeQuiet, Noctua, and EK fans. I also have other Noiseblocker (Ger) models that don't have issues and it's not all fans from the brands above. Most of the Noctua work and it's the 3000 rpm industrial with issues. Most of the EK ones do not work, but the rather industrial EK Meltemi 120x38mm do. With the EK, whatever they have done to set-up their own zero fan mode seems to be the issue, but then I also have problems with some of my EK pumps. On the flip side, no one ever shows up here and says I bought this cheap $2 Chinese knock off fan from a brand you've never heard of and it doesn't work. They all seem to work.

 

On to solutions: I think the best path for you is to get a PWM powered hub for the Vardar. I am assuming they are on the 360 so you are looking at either 3 or 6 if running push pull. No reason to be running different speeds for your 3 radiator fans so, no real disadvantage to using the PWM hub. I use this one to run the 6 on my 360x54mm radiator and it's a good way to offload some current and allow me to run 12 from a single commander. There are other brands that all work fine. Just make sure it has it's own SATA connector for power. There are some glorified 4-1 splitters out there listed as PWM hubs. They are not. You need the little circuit board in the hub to make this work.

 

**Perhaps not on the Silverstone hub. I can get one of my EK X3M fans to respond. The VTX pump and an older Vardar do not. I don't have the exact same model as you. Clearly some things change as the newer Meltemi and X3M do respond. The other way to work this is to take another case and make it "the control fan" on the PWM hub. It would need to be one that is not Vardar ER. It goes in slot 1 and send back the speed info. Then all the other fans on the hub will comply. This does work for all other fans and my pump.

Edited by c-attack
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  • 3 months later...

1. Integrated fan profiles, Quiet/Balanced/Extreme are utter nonsense. Fans are constantly ramping up and down when the system is idle (2% cpu usage and temps are stable ~30c). The software does not state which system sensor is being used for these profiles, i'm assuming cpu?

 

Quiet profile fan rpm range varies from 8xx rpm till 19xx rpm.

Balanced profile fan rpm range varies from 15xx rpm till 19xx rpm.

Extreme profile fan rpm range varies from 18xx rpm till 22xx rpm.

 

I just wanted to piggyback on this and share my utter frustration at the fact that Commander Pro built-in fan profiles are completely useless.

 

I have 4 QL 120 fans plugged to Commander Pro and Quiet even Quiet profile blows all the fans at max speed all the time.

It is complete and utter nonsense. Especially that profiles on my H100i Platinum AiO are quite decent.

Also, there is no "Zero RPM" profile built-in for Commander Pro managed fans, which again... it's super hard to understand why.

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Don't use the default presets, they are here only to confuse new users for lack of a better reason..

You should create your own fan curve, and there you can drop the RPM to 0 at whatever temperature you like. That will make your QL effectively stop.

 

You can very well do a custom curve for the case fans that respond to your AIO temperature sensor, or your graphics card's GPU temp. These do not fluctuate quickly and are better variables to control fan speeds.

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