How And Where to Plug in All Your Fans on the Motherboard [Updated Guide]

The right PC fan can make or break your system. As with most parts, it’s essential to have a few of them so you don’t end up running into problems down the line when something goes wrong and they’re all unavailable for use!

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of ventilation is how complicated it can be to motherboard headers. Moving air from one place or room, for example, to another, often requires some fairly intricate machinery to make sure everything goes smoothly and without incident at all times!

Then there’s the question of where you should plug in your fan. Do they go on top or bottom? One thing is sure: it has to be close enough, so all wires are within reach when installed! Well, there are many different places where you could potentially connect with your fan.

However, it is essential to ensure they all have enough power and reach before joining them so as not to cause harm or overheat anything nearby! A standard three-pronged plug is the most common way to power a fan.

This goes into the motherboard and provides enough juice to keep things running smoothly without any issues! Another popular option is to use USB port power cables and power buttons. This can be plugged into the back of your computer or even on the front if you have one of those handy!

The last way to power a fan is by using an adapter that goes from the fan itself directly into the outlet. This is great if you have a lot of different fans and need to be able to plug them all using the power connectors without having to worry about finding enough outlets!

Now that we know how to power our fan, let’s talk about where to put it!

The most common place is on the top or back of your computer case. This is because it allows for easy access and also helps to keep the airflow moving in the right direction of the power connectors!

Another great spot is on the side of your desk. This way, you can have a nice steady stream of air coming directly at you while you work!

Finally, if you have a window in your office or room, you can put the fan right next to it so that the cool air from outside can come in and help keep things nice and comfortable!

Where to Connect All Your Fans

So, connect your fan to at least one of those 3-pin or 4-pin headers on the motherboard? You are not alone. Most motherboards have a minimum of 2 (2) locations for this sort of connection—and perhaps even more!

While all of those can power an exponent of manual management, it’s vital to understand that not everybody will do this equally well. The number that seems once “_FAN” is vital. As a result, it tells you which fan or cooling-related element your system wants.

Some fans have different powerful motors, whereas alternatives should add conjunction with other parts to produce adequate flowing through heatsinks and air coolers. Thus, their blades do not overheat!

The system fan does not want the maximum amount of power; thus, it only features a few amperes versus the whole bunch or perhaps thousands of that area unit needed by alternative fans’ power affiliation. The fan headers area unit is designed to keep your system cool by moving air through them; thus, make sure you plug them into the proper spots drive bay.

There might not continually be a delegated header for every single sort or manufacturer’s fans out there; however, if they do exist, then chances are high that these can show up as “PUMP_FAN1” and go between the other 3-pin or 4-pin connectors on either side!

This means that if you’ve got a high-end processor, like an associate degree Intel Core i9 9900K as an example (which features a Thermal style purpose of up to a hundred and forty degrees c), then make certain it’s cooled properly with one or two extra fans.

The added flowing from these would guarantee your system does not overheat before successfully playing necessary alternative tasks like booting into Windows ten! The dynamic fan cooler keeps your electronic equipment cool, and, 1st of all, it wants one to be spinning.

If not? Well, this small guy can try his best to keep the liquid cooler factor Sakers by adjusting speeds on any connected motors! If it can’t do this or if nothing is connected to that, it’ll clean up the computer and won’t let it boot while not a warning.

So it should be connected solely to the fans cooling your electronic equipment. CPU_OPT is the same as CPU_FAN. However, it doesn’t clean up the computer. If you employ it if you’ve got additional fans, then CPU_FAN will handle them due to the excellent management and control of settings.

So, having gotten that out of the manner, here’s wherever you ought to connect your fans.

  • The CPU_FAN header is, because the name suggests, for your electronic equipment fan. If you’ve got a cool rig, this is often wherever you connect the pump. Most AIO (all in one) coolers can keep company with a connective that may plug into either the CPU_FAN or the CPU_OPT header.
  • The CHA_FAN headers area unit for your chassis or case fans. These areas unit those that you usually see on the case’s front, back, and prime. If you’ve got a cool rig, then this is often conjointly wherever you’d connect your radiator fans.
  • The AIO_PUMP header is for, you guessed it, All-In-One coolers that keep company with their pump. This header is for the pump and not for any fans.
  • The SYS_FAN headers area unit for your system or motherboard fans. These units have the smaller 40mm or 50mm fans that you just see on some motherboards stock coolers, which are wont to cool the motherboard parts.
  • The PWR_FAN header is for your power supply’s fan. This is often the fan you just see on the rear of the PSU (power provide unit).
  • Now that you just apprehend wherever to attach all of your fans, it is time to induce them up and running!

CPU Cooler Fans

One of the essential parts of cooling your computer is a fan. Whether you’re running an air cooler, liquid, or even hub-based system, it’s essential that these fans connect directly onto their respective headers on our computers so they can regulate heat output effectively and efficiently!

To ensure an efficient cooling system, make sure you connect all the fans that are not attached to a header or directly overclockable processor part.

The CPU_OPT header can accommodate any pumps without needing additional power from other headers and also allows for the connection of miscellaneous components with 3-pin connectors, such as an excessive number PCMs in case there is no place else. Available on your board access to memory bandwidth!

The more options you have, the better. With three different headers that can be used to regulate the speeds of each fan through BIOS or software-based settings, it’s easy for users like yourself who want one particular mode (like high speed) without having all three powered up at once!

The next thing you need to do is figure out which way the airflow is going to be moving through your case memory sticks. You’ll want to ensure that the air is flowing in the right direction so it doesn’t get stagnant and cause heat buildup inside your rig!

A good rule of thumb is to have the front fans sucking in cool air and the rear exhaust fans pushing the hot air out. You can also have top-mounted fans depending on the layout of your case and how you want the airflow to be!

Once everything is plugged in and installed, it’s time to boot up your computer and get into the BIOS! In the BIOS, you’ll want to ensure that the CPU fan is set to “full speed” so it’s always running at 100%. You can also set the chassis and power supply fans to run at a constant speed or have them ramp up as the temperature inside.

Case Fans

The most important aspect of any good case is airflow; the best way to get airflow is by using fans. Case fans come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common are 120mm and 140mm.

These fans can be mounted in a few different places: on the front of the case, on the top, or the back. The front of the case is where the majority of the air will come in, so it’s important to have at least one fan mounted here using Compatible devices and connectivity options.

The top and back of the case are where the hot air will escape, so it’s important to have fans mounted here as well. Now that you know where to put your fans, it’s time to figure out how to power them. Most fans will come with a 4-pin connector that will plug directly into the motherboard.

Some fans, however, will come with a 3-pin connector. The difference between a 3-pin and 4-pin connector is that a 3-pin connector can only be used to power the fan; it cannot be used to control the speed of the fan.

A 4-pin connector, on the other hand, can be used to both power and control the speed of the fan. If your fan has a 4-pin connector, you can plug it into the 4-pin header on the motherboard. Most motherboards will have both 3-pin and 4-pin headers, so you’ll be able to use either type of fan.

Once you’ve got your fans plugged in, it’s time to power on your computer and get into the BIOS. In the BIOS, you’ll want to make sure that the CPU fan is set to “full speed” so that it’s always running at 100%. You can also set the chassis and power supply fans to run at a constant speed, or you can have them ramp up as the temperature inside.

PWM or DC Fans

You might have noticed that some of the headers on your motherboard are labeled “PWM” or “DC.” PWM stands for “pulse width modulation,” and DC stands for “direct current.”

These two terms refer to the way that the fan is controlled. A PWM fan is controlled by changing the duty cycle of the power that is sent to the fan. The duty cycle is the percentage of time that the power is turned on.

So, if the duty cycle is 50%, then the power is on half of the time and off half of the time. If the duty cycle is 100%, then the power is always on. A DC fan, on the other hand, is controlled by changing the voltage that is sent to the fan.

The higher the voltage, the faster the fan will spin. Most fans will work with the auto-tuning option auto-tuning option with either a PWM or DC controller, but some fans are designed to work specifically with one or the other.

If you’re not sure whether your fan is a PWM or DC fan, you can check the label on the fan or the connector. It should say either “PWM” or “DC.”

GPU Fans

The final type of fan that you might need to worry about is the GPU fan.GPU fans are used to cool the graphics card, and they’re usually located on the back of the case. Some graphics cards will come with a fan already installed, but others will not.

If your graphics card doesn’t have a fan, you can usually purchase one separately and install it yourself. GPU fans typically come with a 4-pin connector, but some might come with a 3-pin connector. If your GPU fan has a 3-pin connector, you can plug it into the 3-pin header on the motherboard.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I use a 3-pin fan on a 4-pin header?

A: Yes, but you won’t be able to control the speed of the fan.

Q: Can I use a 4-pin fan on a 3-pin header?

A: Yes, but the fan will always run at 100%.

Q: Do I need to worry about GPU fans?

A: Not all computers have them, but if yours does, then yes.

Q: Is it necessary to have a fan mounted in every possible location?

A: No, but it is generally recommended. The more fans you have, the better airflow you’ll have.


In this article, we’ve gone over how to figure out where to mount your fans and how to plug them into the motherboard.

We’ve also discussed the different types of fans and how they’re controlled. Now you should have a good understanding of how to set up your fans for optimal cooling.

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