Thermaltake xtunner: Thermaltake XTunner Review | TechPowerUp

Thermaltake XTunner — IR Remote Fan Control Device Reviewer

August 23, 2004
Hardware, Reviews & Articles

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Remote controls for televisions and remote controlled cars have been around for a long time. Just about everyone has used some sort of remote control in their life to simplify a process. Thermaltake has created a remote controlled fan controller that can adjust the speed of up to four fans inside your computer. If this sounds too good to be true, read further to find out for yourself.


Ahhhh.  The remote control.  Found in the hand of many Americans every evening and weekend after a hard work week.  This device has brought us comfort and efficiency since its inception, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon.  The old style televisions required you to actually get up and walk to the television just to change the channel.   How horrible.  And forget about that channel return button, you had to turn that knob yourself.  Might as well add a remote to your PC right?  But what to control.  There are already remote controlled TV tuners, so why not a remote controlled fan controler.  Thermaltake has created the first fan controller that takes advantage of one of the greatest inventions of all time.  The remote control.  Sit back, relax, and see how much easier controling the speed of your fans just became thanks to Thermaltakes XTunner.

Features and Specs

Features (Taken from Thermaltake’s website)

  • Application for PC
  • The first invention (remote control) of wireless fan speed control in the world
  • Fully control up to 4 fans at the same time(case fans, CPU cooler or VGA cooler)
  • Thermaltake first-class “TRT“ (Thermaltake Remote Technology) inside
  • Long-range Remote Control – approx.12m in open space
  • Color LED fan speed display. 6 LEDs with 3 different color
  • Wide receiving angle
  • Efficiency or silence, it’s up to you
  • Simple installation and operation
  • With convenient key ring holder

Specs (Remote)

  • Dimensions:  89.9 x 54.7 x7.7 mm
  • Lift Exception:  45000 times
  • Rated Temperature:  -10°C~60°C
  • Rated Frequency:  4MHZ
  • Transmit Distance:  12m (open space)
  • Battery Voltage:  2.8V~3.2V

Specs (Receiver)

  • Device Space:  5.25″ driver device
  • Dimension:  148.4 x 42 x 68 mm
  • Rated Temperature:  0°C~70°C
  • Input Voltage:  DC 12V
  • Output Voltage:  DC 12V
  • Output Channel:  4 set
  • Max. Current / per channel:  1 Amp
  • Rated Frequency:  4MHZ
  • Receive Distance:  12m (open space)
  • Receive Direction:  45°(+- 22.5°)

Package Contents

  • 1 x XTunner unit
  • 1 x Remote control with keychain
  • 1 x 3pin fan adapter
  • 1 x 4pin power adapter
  • 3 x 3pin to 4pin fan adapters


Closer Look


The XTunner comes enclosed in a molded plastic container that keeps all hardware secure while being shipped or when hanging on a display rack.   One thing that I hate about this type of packaging is that it usually has both sides bonded together, requiring you to cut the package open with a knife.  I always end up cutting myself with the sharp edges of plastic, but Thermaltake has decided to use a snap-together design to minimize the effort needed to open their package.  This is a great idea that many other manufacturers should consider.


XTunner Unit

The Xtunner unit is fashioned out of brushed aluminum and features a black accented front which looks very good in both aluminum cases, as well as black cases.

Taking a closer look at the front of the unit you will notice the six LED indicators that are used to show the relative speed of the fans being controlled.  Two blue, followed by two green, and then two LED’s are used to decipher what level of adjustment the fans are at.  At the lowest setting, the furthest left LED blinks off and on to show that all fans are running at the units slowest speed.   At the next setting the blinking LED is solid.  Each speed step higher activates another LED until all six are on.

Also on the front of the XTunner unit are the wide-angle IR reciever and “working” light.  This working light is solid when the unit is working, and flashes when adjustments are being made to the fan speeds.  There is also what Thermaltake calls a “convenient key ring holder” that protrudes from the front of the unit and is used to hang the remote for the XTunner.

Mounting the XTunner unit in a case is made easy by Thermaltake including six mounting holes on each side to provide many mounting positions to accomidate many case designs.

The control board for the XTunner is mounted to the back of the units face plate and is not a marvel of science by any means.  The board left out all unnessicary components to keep it as simple as possible.  There are four 3pin fan headers at the back of the board for mounting up to four fans.   These fans can be CPU heatsink fans, case fans or even watercooling radiator fans.  A standard Molex power connector is used to connect the XTunner unit to the powersupply.



Remote Control

Simple.  That’s about the only way to describe the remote control unit for the XTunner.  Featuring only a “plus” and “minus” button used to increasd and decrease fan speed respectively, this remote is one that anyone can learn to use.  The remote is about the size of nine credit cards stacked on top of each other, and is very light weight.  On the bottom right of the remote there is a hole for the included keychain to attach to, but I find it hard to belive anyone would want to put this on their keychain because it is such a large item in relation to most items on a keychain.  The battery for the remote is replaceable and is easily accessed on the bottom of the remote.

Fan Connections

Three 3pin to 4pin fan converters are included to help modify those case fans that use a standard Molex connection.   Also included is a fan speed sensor cable that can be ran to the motherboard’s CPU fan header so that it still recieves a signal and functions properly.  A four inch Molex power extension is included with the XTunner incase you need a little extra length on a powersupply or fan connection.



Installing the XTunner can definitely be a frustrating undertaking if your case is a rat’s nest of wires.  Thankfully I am very picky about how my case looks inside and this was not the case for me.  Finding all the fan leads to my case fans and routing them to the 5.25 inch bay area was the first step on the way towards remote control bliss.   I used all three of the included 3pin to 4pin adapters for my Antec case fans and did not reqire a fourth adapter for my watercooling setup’s secondary radiator fan.  Including a fourth 3pin to 4pin adapter would be a nice feature as this would provide an adapter for each fan header on the XTunner unit.

Once all the fans were connected and the XTunner was connected to the power supply, it was time to mount the unit in the case.  Thermaltake does not include any mounting screws to my amazement.  It is a good thing that I had plenty laying around, but this does not apply to everyone.  Not including screws in the packaging is bad business in my mind, but not bad enough to ruin the product.  After I rounded up some screws and secured the XTunner to my case I was ready to relax and control my fans without having to lean down to my computer.


Once the unit was up and running, the first thing I noticed was how much brighter the blue LEDs were than the other LEDs.   This is not a glaring flaw by any means, just a noticeable blemish.

Using the remote is very simple, since there are only two buttons.  With each button press the speed of the fans increases or decreases, as indicated by the LEDs on the front of the XTunner unit, depending on which button you press.


The remote almost has a 180 degree angle of use and this increases the positions you can be in and still have the unit function properly.  I was easily able to contol the XTunner from about 12 feet away without the remote losing any signal strength.  Thermaltake claims the remote will work up to 12 meters away.  Almost 40 feet seems a little on the extreme side, but if you feel like controling your computer fans from your neighbors house, then feel free to do so.

The only down side I have found with the use of the XTunner is that you have to control all or none of the fans connected to the unit.  There is no ability to select individual fans and have them spin at speeds different than the other fans.

On a side note, I was also able to teach my Sony Clie the IR commands from the XTunner’s remote so that I could used the Clie to control the XTunner.  The one downside to using the Clie is that the built-in IR on it is not very strong and makes this feature more suitable for other tasks.


Thermaltake has come up with a great product to help you show off your system to your friends, while at the same time making it very convenient for you to adjust the speed of of your system fans.  While this ability may not seem like anything more than a gimick by some, I think it definitely has its place in the PC world.  A great use for this would be in a home theater PC setup where you could speed up the fans from your couch to keep the system cool when your movie is playing.  I know when I get around to building a HTPC that the XTunner will be a great addition to that machine.


  • Great idea and execution of that idea
  • Good overall construction
  • Large IR angle for maximum usage


  • Slightly large remote control
  • No individual fan controlling
  • No mounting screws provided


For Thermaltake’s forward thinking and ingenuity, I give the Thermaltake XTunner an 8 out of 10.


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Thermaltake XTunner IR Fan Speed Controller -= =-

Cordless hammer? How about a wireless toaster? Or better yet a remote controlled Coffee Maker? It would seem right off hand that a Remote Controlled Fan Controller would fit nicely in the same category of useless gadgets. Indeed thats what I thought until Thermaltake was kind enough to send over the XTunner 4 Fan Speed Controller.

The Xtunner is packed all ready for pegboard hanging at your favorite retail outlet. It has the unique look of Thermaltake Xaser cases with the broad X or bone shaped graphics across the front. The XTunner consists of a 5 bay device, a credit card sized remote control and an assortment of accessories for installation and connection. Also, a press release issued by Thermaltake describes the additional n in XTunner as representing innovation.

First Look:

Within the packaging is three, 4 pin pass through to 3 pin adapters, one key ring for the remote control, one 4 pin Molex extender, and an adapter to allow you to still monitor fan speed from your motherboard. The 4-pin to 3 pin adapters are the high quality kind in that the pass through 4-pin part is one piece and not 2 separate connectors. The speed monitor adapter is a great addition, allowing the yellow wire from the fan to end up plugged back into the motherboard for programs like Mother Board Monitor or more importantly, to keep the ability of some BIOSs automatic shutdown on CPU fan failure. Im not quite sure why you would ever need to keep the 1/8 thick remote on your key chain, but they have included a rather nice spring clip/split ring unit for just that purpose.

A closer look at the controller itself shows not a whole lot of circuitry going on. There is a circuit board with one large IC, a 5-volt power regulator, a wide-angle IR detector, a bank of 6 LEDs, and a few regular sized resistors, capacitors, and transistors. Checking the circuit traces shows this device only uses the 12-volt side of the 4-pin Molex connector and has no connection for the 5 volt part. The circuit board is actually manufactured for Thermaltake by JAECS Co. I checked out the Web address on the circuit board for JAECS and found them to be an OEM designer and supplier of remote control integration type equipment. The JAECS model number shows this board to be specially designed just for Thermaltake. One other strange thing I still have not found a reason for and can only speculate as to its purpose is the small loop pressed out the front of the controller. It can be seen right over the power LED in the close-up shot above and in all the shots of the front. Could this be a place to hang the remote control?

Speaking of remote controls, the remote control for this unit has just two buttons, + and -. The front has the familiar Thermaltake X. The battery is a rather large, thin button cell, almost identical to the CMOS battery on many motherboards. There is a small catch that releases a door; the battery is contained in the drawer. There is a hole in the lower right hand corner for the key chain. The unit feels durable and doesnt flex when twisted. Im not sure it would last long in a pocket, but its tough enough for normal use. To protect the battery from running down, a plastic tab has been added on top of the battery, as it says, pull this tab to activate the remote.

Installation and Use:

Installation couldnt be easier, although Thermaltake did not include any mounting screws, which seems strange. Once mounted, 3-pin fans are just plugged into one of the channels, 4-pin Molex connector fans will need one of the adapters. And now is the time to choose which fan your motherboard monitors. I recommend using the Molex extension only due to the fact that the connector on the device is tucked quite a ways back. One bit of caution, if you decide to run your CPU heatsink off of this or any Rheobus/ fan controller and your controlling device fails, you could destroy a processor in seconds. I personally do run my CPU cooler fan off of a standard Rheobus, but I make sure to watch for failures and the fan is still monitored by my motherboard.

Due to the fact that all my fans have either custom connectors or are hardwired to my Rheobus, I installed the XTunner into a drive bay and hooked an assortment of fans to it for testing purposes only. Checking the Thermaltake website for specifications didnt yield a whole wealth of information, but it did cough up one important fact: Each channel is capable of driving 1 AMP. Checking a few different fans for current draw shows not many rated over 1 AMP. Some of the big guns like the Vantec Tornado 92mm 119 CFM fan are rated at 1 AMP. So it seems like most fans can run happily on the Xtunner.

I fired up my machine and right away noticed that the XTunner defaults to running the fans at full speed, probably a good thing to avoid mistakes and heat issues, but a pain to have to turn them down each time. The lights are bright and do a good job of indicating what setting you are running the fans at. The remote buttons are crisp feeling and dont leave you wondering if you hit one or not.

My first and only test I planned on running was to compare the slowest and fastest speed and the default speed of one fan. Well, I was unable to do that. Mother Board Monitor would not show a steady speed of rotation for any fan I tried to monitor. If I plugged the fan into my motherboard directly, everything was fine; I had a nice steady speed. If I adjusted the speed of that same fan using my existing Rheobus, everything was fine. However, there must be some interference between my motherboard and the Xtunner. RPMs would jump from under 1400 to well over 10,000. I had the same results watching the hardware monitor in BIOS setup.

Just from ear, I can definitely say that the highest and lowest fan speeds are quite a bit different and that the Xtunner does a good job of changing fan speeds. I am just not able to quantify that difference.

Now, lets go back to the beginning of this review and think about why we need such a device. I compared the XTunner to a wireless toaster and of all things a remote controlled coffee maker. However, I have come up with the perfect reason to have this device. Think HTPC, if an HTPC, which is often many feet if not an entire room away, was to have one of these, fans could be controlled from a universal remote control just like all the rest of the functions. Start a movie or play music, turn the fans way down. Fire up a killer game and turn the fans up to keep things nice and toasty. I have not experimented with the possibilities, but the XTunner is just an IR type device and should be able to be controlled with any learning IR remote. Now thats better than a wireless toaster anytime.


As a desktop gaming machine add-on, Im not sure I get the whole remote control thing. As a specialty item or for the machine that has to have ALL the bells and whistles, the XTunner is right on the money. And speaking of money, I was able to find the XTunner at a few online outlets for right around $20.00. Cheap for what you get. One very big issue that could come up later on with the XTunner is the lack of buttons on the device itself. If you lose the remote, you lose the whole thing.

The XTunner is a nice device, it does just what its supposed to and for that I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Final Rating (4 out of 5 stars):


Works like it should
Well built
Good price


One setting for all channels
No buttons on controller
Defaults to high speed
Possible interference to motherboard monitoring circuits

Special thanks to Thermaltake for providing the XTunner IR Fan Speed Controller to BigBruin. Com for review!

Please drop by the BigBruin.Com forum and feel free to discuss this review!

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