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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Fans, fans, all types of fans.

    Why do some fans have 3 pin connector and some have 4? Can all fans be controlled by the mainboard, which can control and monitor the speed of the fan? Are all fans controlled by the heat? I'm a little confused on fans because there are literally thousands of different ones to get and all have different connections and specs. The mainboard I have is the Asus Sabertooth X79. Has like 6 fan headers that can take a 3 pin or 4 pin connection. Which is better?

  2. #2
    Member grumperfish's Avatar
    10 Year Badge
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    South Florida
    Heatware Profile
    4-pin fans are PWM fans, so they can be controlled by a motherboard's 4-pin socket. 3-pin fans have positive, negative, and sensor wires so you can hook them up to a motherboard socket or a fan controller (or directly to the power supply with a molex adapter).

    The ones that are controlled by heat (IE: 4-pin fans hooked to a motherboard's CPU header) are controlled by the board itself, speeding up or slowing down the fan going by the board's temperature sensor(s).

    Whichever is "better" depends on your usage. If you want a fan controlled by the motherboard for a 4-pin header, you'd want a PWM fan. If you want something with more power (38-mm thick San Ace, Panoflo, or Delta), you'd need a fan controller as the board's headers won't output enough power. For most standard 120mm x 25mm fans you'd just get whichever one you need between PWM and non-PWM/standard for your board headers. So just use whichever you want really.
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  3. #3
    mjw21a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Australia, Brisbane
    I've a preference for PWM fans. I love things like 260CFM Sanyo Denki San Ace fans which two lots of connectors. 1x connector for PWM speed control and a molex to hook into the PSU for more power. This allows you to run the fan at very low/near silent speeds yet ramp up for whenever more airflow is requred.

    PWM rocks!
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  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Thanks very much. After reading and more reading I'm beginning to like the 4 pin fans since my mainboard has 6 of them and all can be monitored/controlled by the program that came with it. Thanks!

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