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Will a case fan that is 3 pin work with a 4 pin Motherboard

Posted on 2013-01-18
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Last Modified: 2013-01-27
I have a Corsair 300R case that came with 1 rear case (is this the same thing as a chassis fan), but my ASUS-P8Z77-M motherboard only has a 4 pin CHA 1, CHA2, and CHA3..Which should I use and will a 3 pin work in a 4 pin CHA socket.

If it does work, then do I align it with which pins ?

GND
CHA FAN PWR
CHA FAN IN
+5V
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Question by:upobDaPlaya
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10 Comments
 
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 75 total points
ID: 38795367
The reason for different pins/pinouts is to protect against damage. It could be a different voltage fan or a different current. I suggest you get a compatible fan with the correct plug.

... Thinkpads_User
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Assisted Solution

by:cascadetechsolutions
cascadetechsolutions earned 150 total points
ID: 38795390
The 4th pin on the 4-pin connects is solely for monitoring and is not for voltage regulation. You ARE safe to connect a 3-pin fan to a 4-pin connector or vice-versa.

Daniel Jones
Cascade Technical Solutions
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Assisted Solution

by:Merete
Merete earned 75 total points
ID: 38795391
If heat is a problem just stick a small fan on the side of the case where the holes are so it blows from front to rear
 keep off the carpet floor. Carpet throws up dust increasing heat and noise.
If you need to add more fans look first to the power supply unit watts/volts max output you have there.
Upgrade the PSU and add some external fans like this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgNRz5Omom8&feature=youtu.be
http://event.asus.com/2012/mb/P8Z77_Series_Motherboards/
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Author Comment

by:upobDaPlaya
ID: 38795393
So you are suggesting I need to get a brand new case as the Corsair 300r case is not compatible with the Asus Motherboard..Note this is the fan that came preinstalled on the case..
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Author Comment

by:upobDaPlaya
ID: 38795395
thanks Cascade..i will give it a try...
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 38795493
As Cascade noted, a 3-pin fan will work fine with a 4-pin connector.    The alignment pin won't let you plug it on incorrectly -- so just plug it in and you're fine.    There is NO difference in the voltages or currents for 3 vs. 4 pin fans --- the only difference is the ability to control fan speed via pulse width modulation instead of varying the voltage.

With the 3-pin fan you should go into the BIOS and change the power setting to control the fan via voltage instead of PWM control (PWM control requires a 4-pin connection).   Otherwise the motherboard can't control the speed of the 3-pin fan.

As for compatibility --  case is absolutely compatible with your motherboard :-)
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Author Comment

by:upobDaPlaya
ID: 38795522
thanks garycase we got the fan and everything else in including the case fan plugged in..now its just figuring out all the cords we need to plug in to the motherboard...all the cords from the PSU look like a lot...thats on our agenda tomorrow, then install Windows..

so just so I understand your explanation above..if we did have a 4 pin then the 4th pin would be connected to 5V which would indicate the fan would be controlled via pulse width modulation not voltage...Why would someone want/need PWM..let me guess a gamer would :)
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Accepted Solution

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garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 38795676
PWM provides more precise control than simply varying the voltage => not a big deal, but it's preferable to the older method of simply varying the voltage.

... but absolutely not a big deal.

Only two power cords plug into the motherboard -- the 24-pin ATX connector and the auxiliary CPU power.     Of course, you've also got the various front-panel connections from the power switch; reset switch (if your case has one);  power and disk access LEDs;  USB ports; etc.    The only one that HAS to be connected  to be ready for installing Windows is the power switch.
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Expert Comment

by:cascadetechsolutions
ID: 38795684
PWM controlled fans were originally designed for servers and then the standard moved to desktop motherboards. A majority of the fans sold still are 3-pin connectors... If you need any assistance connecting the other cables please feel free to ask and let me know. I am glad to help you out.
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Author Closing Comment

by:upobDaPlaya
ID: 38825360
Thanks for a promer on Fan Pin connections
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