Fan control on Xserve

Discussion in 'Apple' started by JF Mezei, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. JF Mezei

    JF Mezei Guest

    Does anyone know of an app that can control fans on an Xserve.

    I tried smcfancontrol and it crashes/fails on the Xserve.

    Ideally, I would like to test a lower default fan speed when idle,
    especially in winter due to colder room.

    My Xserve is only 1 CPU, so generates far less heat than what it has
    been designed for and those tiny fans at 5000rpm are noisy.

    Right now, I can see when fan speed starts to increase as CPU
    temperature increases. So if lowering idle fan speed a bit causes no
    increase in CPU temperature I know it is safe.

    Any suggestions ?
    JF Mezei, Feb 18, 2014
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  2. JF Mezei

    JF Mezei Guest

    But the Xserve ws designed to have 2 CPUs. When you have only 1, the
    cooling requirements are much lower, especially if the system load is
    very low.

    For instance, if tests would show that reducing fan speed by 1000 rpm
    resulted in no temperature increase for the CPU and other areas, then it
    would be perfectly safe. The rpms woudl increase normally if temperature

    The xserve doesn't produce much heat. You don't put it in a closet
    because that would get hit. but in a room it is fine (about 150watts of
    heat, an old lightbulb).
    JF Mezei, Feb 18, 2014
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  3. JF Mezei

    Guest Guest

    try fan control, a different product, despite the similar name. it
    supports up to 10.6, but that's probably not an issue with the xserve.
    it says macbooks, but it works on other macs too. it includes source so
    you may be able to fix whatever doesn't work.

    or try macs fan control, yet another tool with almost the same name.
    apparently coming up something original is difficult.
    Guest, Feb 18, 2014
  4. JF Mezei

    billy Guest

    I'd replace the fan, in this case with something less noisy. There is
    no shortage of fans from which to choose.

    In my case, I went with fans that can move the most air, because the
    systems are in a separate room. Heat and dirt are the two enemies of
    electronic equipment.

    I also use and a
    script to shutdown the systems if they overheat, as they are powered
    up continuously.

    Billy Y..
    billy, Feb 19, 2014
  5. JF Mezei

    JF Mezei Guest

    This one does run on the Xserve. (It can control up to 18 fans !)

    While I am not able to lower the minimum speed, I was able to exercise
    each fan individually.

    What is interesting is that the above app shows a current RPM of 1500
    for one fan, and Server Monitor shows 6.016 RPM. Roughly a factor of 4
    in the values.

    Running Handbrake or some Adobe encoders is about the only things that
    normally cause the fans to speed up from idle, even in summer.

    What I might try is to set different values for each fan to see if it
    makes for quieter environment (fewer harmonics).
    JF Mezei, Feb 19, 2014
  6. JF Mezei

    Alan Browne Guest

    Looks to me like some fans have different methods for sensing /
    measuring speed and the factor is 4. This may be important to how you
    control your fans. Perhaps by listening you can figure out how to get a
    desired setting irrespective of the indicated setting.

    eg: if it says "6000" and you ask for 6000 there should be no change in
    fan noise. But it could be you need to ask for 1500 to get 6000
    indicated (which still might be 1500 - but indicating 6000).
    Do you have something like iStat Pro running that shows you temperatures?

    I'd decide on max temperatures for various parts first - then set fan
    speeds that keep those parts under that number by some margin. Note
    that Google made a study some years ago showing that hotter hard disks
    last longer than cooler hard disks (look it up for the details).

    If you just have enclosure fans, then it's better to keep the
    electronics as cool as possible. Heat kills electronics over time and
    they're more expensive than disks. (Did you find a way to put ordinary
    SATA disks in the Apple disk caddies?).

    The real problem with your approach is that you're now serving the
    server having to watch temperatures and set fan speeds and not the other
    way around.

    If noise is the issue, then putting the server in an appropriate
    location with ample ventilation - but good sound deadening would be a
    far better approach.

    As to the fewer harmonics one could write a program to listen (audio
    input) to the environment, do FFT's to determine beat frequencies and
    then tune the fan RPM's to reduce the beat. Good science project.
    Alan Browne, Feb 19, 2014
  7. JF Mezei

    JF Mezei Guest

    Mot fan control programs on Macs are able to set the lowest fan speed to
    a value equal or higher than the hardware's specified limit, but it
    leaves the SMC to raise fan speed on demand.

    So you only change how low the fans can go, without removing the
    automation to control/raise fan speeds.
    JF Mezei, Feb 20, 2014
  8. JF Mezei

    Lewis Guest

    The fan turns at the speed it needs to turn for the temperature it sees.
    If the fan is too noisy, replace it with a quieter one. The Xserve was
    not designed to be quite, so no money was spent on quieter fans.
    The total heat output isn't relevant, it's the heat of the CPU.

    Of course, there were various groups seeking his overthrow, and this was
    right and proper and the sign of a vigorous and healthy society. No-one
    could call him unreasonable about the matter. Why, hadn't he founded
    most of them himself? And what was so beautiful was the way they spent
    nearly all their time bickering with one another. Human nature, the
    Patrician always said, was a marvellous thing. Once you understood where
    its levers were. --Guards! Guards!
    Lewis, Feb 20, 2014
  9. JF Mezei

    JF Mezei Guest

    Half the fans are aimed at empty space where the second CPU would be.
    JF Mezei, Feb 20, 2014
  10. JF Mezei

    Alan Browne Guest

    Could be, and that's a good compromise. But when I was using SMC Fan
    Control it was not changing anything at any time. Of course I was using
    it to increase speed to keep the temp of a failing HD down at the time -
    it worked fine below a given temp, but malfunctioned above that temp.
    Alan Browne, Feb 20, 2014
  11. JF Mezei

    Lewis Guest

    Are you thinking you can turn off half the fans? I don't think that is
    the case.

    You could slow down BOTH fans, but that is probably a bad idea.
    Lewis, Feb 21, 2014
  12. JF Mezei


    Oct 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Hey there... kind of off the beaten path... but I'm using my 2008 XServe for "audio" work. ProTools, Digital Performer... just needed a cheap ($38!?!?) machine to run 10.6.8 and the apps on. It's functioning perfectly, but... those fans...

    As a premise, I have the XServe mounted to the back of my rack on a short make-shift rail that allows the XServe to hang from the upper part of my rack.

    Any thoughts on simply taking out the fan-module, cutting a hole in the top of the XServe's case (the metal panel that comes off to expose the inside of the XServe) and mounting a 4-fan "rack cooling unit" to suck air out the mid-point/top of the XServe? No, I won't have any monitoring of the temperature sensors inside the XServe, but the fan unit has a temperature sensor built into it so I can display the temperature of the air passing through the fans. Kind of a work-around.

    I'm not doing critical "server" work with it, still a professional environment, though. I needed cheap horsepower, and this fit the bill. But the noise from the installed fans makes it pretty much a no-go in a recording studio setting. The aftermarket 3-space, 4-fan rack-mount cooling fan unit I got seems to move much more air than the XServes fans do, and it's much quieter. Like a window fan, set on "medium". You hear it, but it's not oppressive.

    So... anyone know if the XServe will continue to operate even if the fan module is absent? I'm speaking in a fundamental sense, I know the whole "cooling" issue is there, but I think the replacement fans will do the job nicely. "Temperature display included."

    Chip Tredo
    djtempo7, Oct 27, 2016
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