How to Connect Extra Fans To Motherboard? Regular computer operation generates heat which, if not removed properly, is bad for the main components of the computer.
While a motherboard may come with only one fan header, there is no reason you cannot add extra fans. A Y splitter cable lets you connect multiple fans to a single header or instead, use a Fan Hub that requires a separate power supply to connect more fans.
Fan Hubs are little boxes that let you power and connect numerous fans. They have their own power supply and include its own connector plug that goes into the CPU fan header on your motherboard. Note that some fan headers have limited power supply, which is typically 1 amp rating.
How to Connect Extra Fans To Motherboard?
If you are looking for a simple and effective way to improve performance, extend and enhance the life of the computer and reduce the problems associated with system crashes, you need to connect additional fans.
As is known, there is a temperature regime inside the computer case. The components installed inside need to operate within specific temperature limits in all conditions.
When the working temperature of computer components exceeds this regime, their life span shortens and they become unstable. This may lead to loss of data, and even the failure of the entire system. That is why it is important to install additional fans and reduce the temperature inside the computer.
For modern motherboards, it is possible to connect several external fans. This is particularly useful if you use a powerful processor or graphics card and usually run resource-intensive programs and games that require more power.
What Is A Fan Header?
Fan headers or fan ports are one or more electrical connections provided to support the plugging in of cooling fans. The most common devices that are connected with these connectors are case and power supply fans, though cases for video cards, drives and other devices may utilize these ports.
Types Of Fan Header
Types of fan headers include:
- System Fan Header: This is used to connect PC/Case fans
- CPU Fan Header: It is used for connecting CPU fan
- Power Fan Header: This is used for monitoring PSU (Power Supply Unit) fan. For this to work, your PSU needs a monitoring cable.
The only ideal header for splitters, case fans and PC fan hubs is the system Fan Header.
Different Connection Options For Fan
Coolers are essential for different devices in many computers. It is only a necessary device that serves to prevent the computer’s sensitive components from overheating.
Fan coolers connect directly to the power supply through a connector or directly to the motherboard through a cable or connector mounting device.
Here are the three main connection options for fan:
- 3-pin fan connector
- 4-pin fan connector
Both 3-pin and 4-pin fan connectors will connect directly to the motherboard, while the MOLEX connector will connect to the power supply.
The fan is one of the main components of a PC. In order to ensure safe and stable operation, you should select not just the correct socket for your processor, but also an adequate size of fan.
To chooses such a device, you should carefully study the instructions for your motherboard, find out whether it has a 4-pin power connector (the processor is often equipped with it) or 3-pin, as well as information on the supported speed control mode.
Moreover, it is preferable to connect the cooler with cables of a shorter length to minimize voltage drops.
How To Choose The Right Fan?
Fans are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, so making a choice can seem difficult at first.
Here are some factors to help you choose the right one:
- Select the right fan size for what your case can have room for.
- It is better you do not choose a cheap and unknown fan brand. Opt for something popular, especially those that have received nice reviews.
- You might want to choose fans with four wires because they are easy to control more than those with three wires.
- In terms of noise, larger fans are the best because they do not need to spin too fast to provide a reasonable airflow.
- Compare specifications before buying your fan.
The Best PC Fans
If you need to connect extra fans to your motherboard, you need fans that can cool your PC without increasing the noise fans make. Here are some of the best computer fans you can connect:
Noctua is one of the most popular brands know for making the best PC fans. This fan is amazing and if you can work it into your build.
|Size||120mm (120 x 120 x 25mm)|
Be quiet! Silent Wings 3 comes in 120mm or 140mm. Based on your need, this fan offers perfect cooling for your PC. It is incredibly quiet at just 15.5 dBA, which is almost the loudness of your breathing.
|Size||120/140mm (120/140 x 120/140 x 25 mm)|
Corsair QL Series is the perfect PC fan for RGB fans. This is one of the best options when it comes to RGB effects. The fans have a ring of LED on both sides of the blower with also a secondary ring of LED on the central motor housing.
|Size||120mm/140mm (120/140 x 120/140 x 25 mm)|
NZXT is popular for producing quality devices. This NZXT Aer RGB 2 fan is absolutely great. If you are looking to cool your PC effectively while creating bright and colorful PC build at the same time, this is the right fan for you.
These fans pump out more air at 91 CFM, which is just incredible.
|Size||120 mm/140mm (120/140 x 120/140 x 26mm)|
This is an excellent fan. Though the design is not really the best, but its spec sheet is amazing. This fan is a monster. With 60 CFM airflow, full PWM support and 22.6 dBA noise rating, you will love this fan.
|Size||120mm (120 x 120 x 25mm)|
Where to Install Fans in Case
For best results, use one intake fan at the front of the case in your existing fan setup, and one exhaust fan at the rear of the case. If you have a top mounted 120mm fan hole on your case, place a second exhaust fan in the top (use a smaller diameter fan if the hole is too small for a 120mm).
Some might be tempted to use two intake fans in their PC’s existing setup since they sound like a great idea, but several air-flowing components inside your case will not function properly with two exhaust fans while only using one or none as an intake fan instead.
How Many Fans Should A Gaming PC Have?
If you are planning to add fans to your case, it really comes down to what kind of build you are doing: a gaming build or a basic home office PC.
The former requires more fans due to high-performance hardware generating heat and none of the air intakes being directly adjacent to a fan. They will need at least 3 fans and can use 4 or more without too much difficulty. The latter type of build, however, is just not going to get too hot or need that many fans to keep it cool.
A single exhaust is usually enough for a basic PC. Too many fans in these builds when there is no call for them might just result in extra noise – something all PC users hate! So, while more may be better in theory, do not make the mistake of adding a ton of extra fans if it is not necessary.
How to Know Which Way Case Fans Should Face
The good news is that you can very quickly/easily figure out which side of your case fan blows or sucks air before installation (and avoid potential overheating or damaging of your parts).
If you install a case fan with the wrong side facing out, it can have disastrous effects on your computer
For example, if you position it as an intake fan (to suck air from outside and through the inside of your case), but then you install it facing outwards, instead of sucking air in, it will be blowing air out which could lead to overheating or damaging of your computer parts.
If you are confused about how to tell which way a case fan should face here is how to figure it out. There are a few ways you can do this. First is to look at the fan case on which side the manufacturer’s brand sticker and fan grill are located.
Second, front intake fans typically have a set of grills or spinners on the front, so if you are looking at the outside of the fan, the side with these grills/spinners is going to be the inlet side.
Another way to tell is to look at the outside of the actual case that the fan is connected too.
With most cases there will be arrows engraved into the plastic or metal of unused expansion slots pointing inwards toward the inside of the case, which helps when deciding where fans should go and what direction/airflow they point.
Confirming Your Fans Are Installed Properly
To confirm that your computer fans are installed correctly, simply turn on your machine and hold a small piece of tissue or other lightweight material in front of each fan. If it gets sucked/pulled towards the fan, then you know that that side is the intake. If the material gets pulled away from the fan, then you know that is the exhaust side.
How to Remove Front Panel of PC Case
When adding a front case fan, you first need to remove the front panel from your computer’s case. The panel can typically be removed by simply pulling (yanking) on either the bottom or top of the panel.
If it gets stuck, do not worry; typically, all you need is a firm pull to get it off, though sometimes it requires more force than others. Fortunately, most case panels are attached to the rest of the case with screws, so if you need more force than a firm pull can provide, unscrewing them should do the trick.
How to Mount and Screw Fans Into PC Case
Installing front case fans is a great way to improve airflow to the inside of your case. They are also relatively easy to install, meaning you can do it yourself in a few minutes.
In most cases, you can install front fans at different heights. But if you are only connecting one extra front intake fan, you might want to install it at the bottom.
In some setup though, you will want to mount front fans onto the middle of the front of your computer case. This allows air from outside the case to travel into the bottom of the case and then into your CPU, RAM and motherboard.
Be sure to position the fan such that the cable that will be plugged into the PSU or motherboard will easily reach the inside of the case, else the cable might not reach the motherboard. But if the cable will not reach the motherboard from where you positioned your fan, you can get a fan cable extender or a MOLEX adapter to connect your fan to the PSU.
First, you will need to find the proper screw hole for your fan by lining up the 4 holes of the case with the 4 holes of the fan. Then, use screws that are either included with your computer’s case or supplied by the manufacturer that created your fan. Finally, screw them in tight.
Let us get one thing straight, screwing fans into a PC case can be a chore, it requires the right tools and adequate time – and you might even break a few along the way.
The trick is using an appropriate screwdriver and be sure not to overtighten the screws. A tight fit is good, but there is no need to drive the screws in so hard that it would make it impossible to remove them – unless you are looking for a really tough workout!
Acrylic fans are the easiest to screw in as they are pre-tapped/threaded (no need for a tapping kit) but if you do have to screw your regular plastic fans without thread, you need a bit of force to create the thread so that you can easily screw it in the future.
In terms of how tight the fan should be, you want to avoid vibration and noise, so you need to make it tight. But when screwing in other components, you do not want to go crazy such that it will be difficult to unscrew them.
How to Connect Fans to a Motherboard or PSU
Today, there are two diverse ways in which case fans can be connected to a PC. The first way is the most obvious – where each fan has its own dedicated 3- or 4-pin connector, usually on the motherboard, which can be plugged in straight away.
The second one is the kind that you have to plug into your motherboard or an expansion slot. You can tell which type you will need based on how your case is currently setup. This is a wonderful way of adding extra airflow to your system and really helps stop your components from overheating.
Different Between 4-pin and 3-pin Fan Headers
Lots of modern motherboards provide you with 4-pin system headers. The main difference between the 4-pin and 3-pin system header is that 4-pin system header supports PWM Case Fans, while 3-pin system header only supports DC Case Fans.
Connecting your fan to the motherboard
Connecting your fan to the motherboard is the best because it will let you control your fan speed inside the motherboard BIOS. But to attach your fan to the motherboard, it must come with 4-pin cable.
Motherboards usually come with two fan headers, while high end motherboard usually come with 3 to 4 fan headers. These fan headers are usually scattered around the motherboard with labels to identify them.
The label will be:
- CHA_FAN (chassis fan)
- SYS_FAN (system fan)
If you are unable to locate them, use your motherboard’s manual to find them.
To keep things neat, plug your fan into the closest fan headers on your motherboard. This will help you avoid excess cables. If your motherboard comes with power fan (PWR_FAN) header, do not use it because it is meant to be used to monitor power supply fan.
But if you so wish or have to use the PWR_FAN, you could use it, but you will not be able to control the speed. But it is not advisable to use it and even the PUMP_FAN header.
Motherboard Has Not Enough Fan Headers
If there are not enough fan headers on the motherboardto connect your extra fan, you can plug your extra fan into the PSU, which I will explain next. Better still, get a Y splitter to connect your fans. Try to avoid triple splitters though.
To easily manage many fans, you need a fan controller or fan hub that is powered directly from your PSU.
Setting Up The Fan Header Splitter
This is straight forward. Connect the splitter’s female end to the fan header on your motherboard and connect the male end to the fan.
Connecting Your Fans To The PSU
If you do not have the need to control your fan speed, you might want to connect the fan to the PSU. But the fan connected to the PSU will run at full speed.
To connect your fan to the PSU, the PSU must use 4-pin MOLEX connectors but not every PSU has it – check if yours has it. You will also need a 3-pin to MOLEX adapter, which will be plugged to the fan and then plugged into the PSU MOLEX cable.
How To Connect Extra Fans To Motherboard?
As I said above, there are two ways to connect extra fans to motherboard. They include:
- The use of a Y Fan Header Splitter
- The use of a PC Fan Hub
1. Using The Y Fan Header Splitter
Y fan header splitter is not expensive and the simplest way to connect extra fans to your motherboard. The Ampere of your motherboard and fans will determine the number of extra fans you can connect to the motherboard via a splitter.
For a better performance and safety, do not consume the 1 Ampere of your motherboard with fans.For example, if you connect 2 x 0.4A fans to a 2-way splitter, you will have no problems. But if you connect 3 x 0.4A fans to one motherboard fan header, you may have some safety issues.
How To Set Up Your Fan Header Splitter?
This is easy to set up. Connect the splitter’s female end to the fan header on your motherboard and connect the male end to the fan.The price of splitter varies based on the Y splitter configuration (2-way, 3-way, 4-way, etc.). But they are all cheap.
Whether you choose 4-pin PWM or 3-pin DC fan splitter, you can be sure that they are all designed to work perfectly with both.
Splitters often come with a single speed control. It means the speed of one master fan will control the speed of the other connected fans. You cannot set the speed of the fans individually because the motherboard sees all the fans you connect to the splitter as a single entity.
2.Using The PC Fan Hub
Aside from using Y splitter, you can use PC Fan Hub to connect extra fans. The good thing about the PC Fan Hubs is that they are not restrictedto the 1 Ampere rating of the motherboard fan headers. They draw power directly from the PSU using the 15-pin SATA power cables.
With this, you can install many high-powered fans without worrying about overloading your motherboard fan headers.
How To Set Up The Fan Hub?
Just like setting up the Y splitter, setting up Fan Hub is straight forward. You need one SATA power connection from the PSU and a 3/4 pin connection from the motherboard header to the Fan hub.
Connect the female end of the Fan Hub to the motherboard and the male end to the fan. With Fan Hub, you can connect up to 10 fans of both 4-pin and 3-pin PWM or DC fans.
These PC Fan Hubs are also cheap, but they require an extra power supply connection. So, it is important to have a spare SATA connector.Expensive offerings provide you with baked-in RGB controller. You can put the fan inside the case and use adhesive tape to attach them to the case.
Like Y fan header splitter, you cannot control the fans connected to the Fan Hubs individually. The fan connected to the master header will control the speed of all other fans connected to it.
Molex Fan Hub
Double-Check All Connections Before Putting On Your Computer
Be sure to check if your connections are correct before powering on your computer. Do not rush to do anything as not being careful and checking the connections can result in a disaster.
If you are looking for how to connect extra fans to motherboard, the above methods are the best.While having an extra fan or two may not significantly reduce your overall PC noise, it will most certainly help keep temperatures down and prolong the life of your computer hardware.
In the end, those are some great reasons to consider adding additional cooling; especially if you are looking to keep your PC components running strong for years to come.