How to connect extra fans to motherboard?

Proper thermal management is the only way to fully overclock a computer and utilize its true potential to get optimal performance. In most cases, when you’re playing high-end games on a rig or doing content creation, the temperature level increases and may damage the system. At this spot, you can try some tricks to sculpt a good-quality cooling structure to maintain adequate cooling. One way to do so is by connecting some extra fans to the motherboard.

By doing so, you can boost the airflow throughout the motherboard and connected elements, enhancing heat dissipation. Apart from that, many tech enthusiasts were asking about how to connect extra fans to motherboard? If you’re one of these users, we can help you gather all the necessary knowledge that you may need during the process. In this article, we have added all the benefits of more fans, how to connect, and more–keep reading until the end.

Why connect extra fans?

There are many reasons for connecting extra fans with the motherboard. In this section, we will be looking at all the important ones that lead a user to invest in some extra fans or coolers.

Effective airflow: The first and most important reason for connecting extra fans is to increase the airflow. In this way, you can easily take the hot air out of the motherboard and all the connected elements like the processor and volatile memory.

Cooling: The fact is that more airflow means more cooling performance. So, when a user is connecting extra fans to increase the airflow, it causes the system to cool easily. In addition, when your system has adequate cooling performance, it can perform impressively well.

Overclocking: All gamers or content creators who aggressively overclock their systems aggressively can take help from extra fans. If you’re one of them, more fans will give you adequate cooling and it ultimately helps you overclock your system beyond the limits.

Upgrade older fans: Another reason why many computer users connect fans with the motherboard is to replace their older ones. It gives them freedom from the stock fans since they can install new fans with higher quality, larger size, and less noise.

Add RGB lighting: Many of the additional fans come with RGB lighting that can help you enhance the system’s overall look. If you want to add some lighting to the system, adding some extra fans with RGB can help you.

Things to remember

What about the fan headers and their type?

A fan header is a terminal on the motherboard and is used to plug and accommodate the cooling fan. You can connect the same number of fans with the mother circuit as the fan headers. So before purchasing the fans make sure to check how many fan headers are there in the motherboard. To check this aspect, you can read the specifications table given with the motherboard and note down how many it offers.

In addition, there are two types of fan headers, 3-pin and 4-pin. If we compare both types, there is an extra pin with the 4-pin headers which is used to provide the PWM signal to the fan. The 3-pin headers don’t have the extra pin for the signal so the connected fans can’t control their speeds automatically. The 4-pin headers allow the fans to automatically vary their speed which ultimately provides better cooling control and low noise.

How many cooling fans do I need?

The number of fans you need totally depends upon your usage. If you use your system for usual word processing, internet surfing, or multimedia uses, you can work out with two fans. You can use one to take cold air into the PC case and another to bring away the hot air being an exhaust fan. In contrast, gamers or content creators must have three fans in their system–two to bring the cold air in and the other as an exhaust fan.

Quick buying tips

Go for bigger fans: In general, bigger fans can provide more airflow than smaller fans. In this way, you can push more air into the system plus pull more out of it with lesser spin motion. In this way, you can perform the same task at lesser speeds and lesser noises.

Airflow vs Static pressure: There are two types of fans, airflow and static. If you want to push the air through tighter spaces like the coolers or radiators, the static fans are for you. In contrast, airflow fans are more effective in moving the air across a large surface area.

4-pin vs 3-pin fans: If the motherboard has 4-pin headers then go for the PWM-based fans since these are effective in terms of speed management and noise. But if the board offers 3-pin headers, you must avoid the PWM-based and save some money.

Size-wise compatibility: As I mentioned earlier, the bigger fan is better than the smaller fan but it is one part of the statement. It’s only beneficial for you if it sits and fits perfectly with the system. So, ensure to buy the fans that are compatible with your system.

How to connect extra fans to motherboard?

I have discussed four ways to connect the fans with the motherboard. Remember, method 1 is applicable only if the board has enough headers. In contrast, if it doesn’t have the extra connectors, you can use method 2 and method 3 to complete the task.

connect extra fans to motherboard
how to connect extra fans to motherboard

Method 1: Plug the fan power connector into the fan header

This is the simplest and easiest way to connect some extra fans with the motherboard. In addition, this is only applicable when some fan headers are available on the mother circuit to connect the extra fans.

  1. Simply look at the motherboard, locate the fan headers, and connect the fan’s power connector with the header.
  1. Once you have connected the header with the connector, then use the BIOS or software to control the fan speed.
  1. If it’s running appropriately, you have done the job beautifully.

Method 2: Connect the fans using Y-splitters

This method is quite similar to method 1 but instead of using the simple power connector wire, we use Y-splitters. We are going to connect two fans simultaneously to one fan header using the extension, Y-splitter.

  1. There are two male connectors on one side of the splitter and one female connector on the other end.
  1. To establish a proper connection, just plug the female connector into the fan header on the motherboard and then connect the male connector to the fans.

Precautions: This is an affordable way to connect extra fans even when the mother circuit has no extra fan headers. But you have to ensure some factors to bring this method into a working state. Check the amperage of the header. If it is delivering let’s say, 2 amperes, make sure that the collective amperage of the two connected fans is either equal or less than the header. If the fans have collective amperage lesser or equal to 2 amperes, you’re good to go.

Method 3: Connect fans using fan hubs

The last method to connect extra fans with the motherboard is by using the fan hubs. A fan hub is a smaller circuit that is used to connect multiple fans to the motherboard simultaneously. One more thing about it is that you won’t have to worry about the amperage or input power to the fans. It’s because the hub takes power directly from the power supply instead of the motherboard.

  1. Connect the fan hub to the motherboard using any of the 3-pin or 4-pin headers on the motherboard.
  1. The next step is to connect the fan hub to the power supply. To do this, connect the 15-pin SATA power connector of the fan hub to the available SATA power connector on the power supply.
  1. In the end, connect the fans with this hub. Both 4-pin and 3-pin headers are available with the hub. You can use any to complete your task.

Precautions: Since the fan hub isn’t the system’s internal component so there is no socket to hold this element. To take care of it, make sure to place it at a convenient place inside the PC case so you can connect the fans plus protect it.

Conclusion

Proper cooling management is a necessity for a system to perform well during high-end gaming sessions and content creation. If you’re facing thermal issues, connecting extra fans with the motherboard can help you out. These extra fans increase the airflow and ultimately maintain suitable temperature levels throughout the system. We have tried our best to answer how to connect the extra fan to motherboard plus mentioned other related aspects. 

If I summarize this post, adding more fans not only improves the overall thermal management but also improves the overall aesthetics if fans have RGB lighting. But you have to follow some methods plus know their precautions while connecting the external fans. You can check three methods to connect the fans. If the mother circuit has extra fan headers, you can follow method one; otherwise, go for the second or third method.

Zohaib Hassan
Zohaib Hassan is a staunch tech enthusiast and has been writing about his interactions with computers for years. He has been serving the PCIdeaz, GamingSilk, and BesTechReview as a content writer and manager along with experimenting and testing numerous tech masterpieces. Indeed, he often forgets about eating his spicy snacks when has his head on the computer screen.

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