How Many Fan Connectors Does A Motherboard Have?

Fans are key in any computer, keeping internal parts cool. Motherboards control these fans, making sure they work just right.

When building or upgrading a computer, the number of fan connectors on the motherboard is important. This article dives into the different types of fan connectors, how many you usually find on a motherboard, and what to look for when picking a motherboard for its fan connector options.

Motherboard Size

The size of a motherboard greatly affects how many fan connectors it has. Bigger motherboards like ATX or E-ATX usually have more fan connectors than smaller ones like Mini-ITX.

This is because bigger motherboards have more room for extra parts and ports, including fan connectors. You often see larger motherboards with six or seven fan connectors, while smaller ones might only have two or three.

Form Factor

The type of motherboard, like ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX, also decides how many fan connectors it has.

Usually, the bigger the motherboard, the more fan connectors it has. But, small types like Mini-ITX are made to fit in tight spaces and don’t have much space for extra ports. So, they often have fewer fan connectors compared to bigger ones.

Manufacturer’s Design

Motherboard Manufacturer's Design

The number of fan connectors on a motherboard depends on what the maker decides. Some makers put a lot of fan connectors, while others focus on different things. So, the number of connectors can change between different brands and models, even if they’re the same type or size.

That’s why it’s important to check the motherboard’s details to see how many fan connectors it has before you buy it.

Fan Hub

Besides the number of fan connectors, think about if a motherboard has a fan hub. A fan hub lets you plug many fans into one connector, so you can connect more fans to your motherboard.

Some motherboards come with a fan hub built in, which is great if you need to hook up lots of fans. But, not all motherboards have one, so it’s important to check this before you choose one.

Fan Splitters And Fan Controller

If your motherboard doesn’t have enough fan connectors or a built-in fan hub, you can use fan splitters. These small devices let you connect two or more fans to one fan connector, so you can add more fans to your motherboard.

But remember, fan splitters can make your system use more power. Make sure your power supply can handle the extra load before you use them.

A fan controller is another handy tool. It lets you manually control your fans’ speed. It has several fan connectors and a dial or switch to adjust the speed. Fan controllers are great when you want to control your fans’ speed yourself, without relying on the motherboard’s settings.

Fan Connectors

Before delving into the number of fan connectors on a motherboard, let’s first understand what fan connectors are and how they work. A fan connector is a port on the motherboard that connects the fans to the system. 

Fans are essential components that help regulate the temperature of your system by dissipating the heat generated by the CPU and GPU. Most modern motherboards have multiple fan connectors, allowing users to connect multiple fans to their systems. 

These connectors are usually located in different areas on the motherboard, such as near the CPU socket, the memory slots, or the PCIe slots.

How Many Fan Connectors Does a Motherboard Have?

Motherboard Fans

The number of fan connectors on a motherboard varies depending on the motherboard’s size, form factor, and the manufacturer’s design. Typically, a standard ATX motherboard will have around four to six fan connectors, while smaller motherboards, such as Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX, may have fewer connectors.

It is worth noting that some motherboards may have more fan connectors, while others may have fewer. Therefore, it is essential to check the motherboard’s specifications before purchasing it to ensure that it meets your requirements.

Types of Fan Connectors

There are several types of fan connectors available on motherboards, including the 3-pin, 4-pin PWM, and 5-pin RGB headers.

3-Pin Fan Connector

The 3-pin fan connector is a simple and old type of connector for fans. It gives the fan a steady 12V power, making it spin at one speed. It has three pins: the ground pin, the +12V pin, and the tachometer pin.

Usually, the ground pin is black, the +12V pin is red, and the tachometer pin is yellow. The tachometer pin lets the motherboard keep track of the fan’s speed. But with a 3-pin connector, you can’t change the fan’s speed using the motherboard; the fan just spins at one set speed.

4-Pin Pwm Fan Connector

The 4-pin PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) fan connector is a better version of the 3-pin connector. It lets the motherboard change the fan’s speed by changing the voltage. This makes the fan work more efficiently and quietly. The 4-pin PWM connector has four pins: the ground pin, the +12V pin, the tachometer pin, and the PWM pin.

The ground and +12V pins are the same as in the 3-pin connector, and the tachometer pin is yellow. The PWM pin, which is blue, controls the fan’s speed. The motherboard sends a special signal to the fan, changing the voltage and adjusting the speed.

5-Pin Rgb Header

The 5-pin RGB header is a newer kind of fan connector for RGB (colored lighting) fans. It lets you control the fan lights with software. This connector has five pins: the ground pin, the +5V pin, and pins for green, red, and blue.

The ground and +5V pins are black and white. They power the RGB lights. The green, red, and blue pins control the light colors, so you can customize your system’s lighting.

The number of 5-pin RGB headers on a motherboard changes based on the motherboard’s size, type, and the maker’s design. Usually, fancier motherboards have more RGB headers because they’re used in builds that need lots of custom lighting.

Four-Pin Molex Connector

The four-pin Molex connector is an older kind of fan connector. It’s bigger and just supplies power, without controlling the fan speed. It’s mostly found in older computers with basic cooling setups.

The four pins on the Molex connector are +12V, two grounds (GND), and +5V. This connector powers different parts like fans, hard drives, and CD/DVD drives. It’s common for case fans in older computers since it used to be one of the few choices around.

A good thing about the four-pin Molex connector is that it can power several fans at the same time.

Six-Pin Pcie Connector

The six-pin PCIe connector has a six-pin male end for the power supply unit (PSU) and a six-pin female end for the graphics card. It’s meant to give extra power to the graphics card, which needs a lot of power for top performance.

The pins in the six-pin PCIe connector are +12V, ground (GND), ground, +12V, ground, and +12V. This setup can give up to 75 watts of power. If a graphics card needs more than 75 watts, it might need an eight-pin PCIe connector or both six-pin and eight-pin PCIe connectors.

Advantages Of  Fan Connectors In A Motherboard 

Having fan connectors in a motherboard offers several advantages to computer builders and users, including:

  • Control over Fan Speed: Fan connectors allow users to control the speed of their fans, which is crucial for maintaining a balance between cooling performance and noise levels. 
  • Customization: Fan connectors enable users to customize their cooling setup according to their needs. They can add or remove fans as required, and even connect multiple fans to a single connector using splitters.
  • Improved Cooling: This is especially important for high-end gaming rigs or workstations that generate a lot of heat.
  • Preventing Overheating: Proper cooling is essential for preventing system components from overheating. A motherboard with fan connectors ensures that fans are properly installed and configured to keep temperatures within safe levels.
  • Longer Lifespan: Overheating can significantly reduce the lifespan of system components. By using fan connectors to keep temperatures low, users can prolong the life of their hardware and reduce the risk of costly repairs or replacements.
  • Reduced Noise Levels: Fan connectors help users optimize the performance of their fans and keep noise levels low. This is especially important for users who value a quiet computing environment, such as content creators or professionals working in audio or video production.


The number of fan connectors on a motherboard can vary widely depending on several factors, including the motherboard’s size, form factor, and the manufacturer’s design. As a result, it is essential to research the specifications of a motherboard carefully to determine how many fan connectors it has before making a purchase. Additionally, users should consider whether a motherboard has a built-in fan hub, and if not, whether fan splitters may be a viable option for expanding the system’s fan capacity. By considering these factors, users can choose a motherboard that provides the right amount of fan connectivity for their needs.

Frequently Asked Question

1. How many fan connectors does a typical motherboard have?

The number of fan connectors on a motherboard can vary depending on the make and model, but most modern motherboards come with at least two or three fan headers. High-end gaming or workstation motherboards may come with more.

2. Can I use a fan splitter to connect multiple fans to one header?

Yes, fan splitters can be used to connect multiple fans to a single header. However, it’s important to ensure that the combined power draw of the fans does not exceed the capacity of the header.

3. Can I control the speed of fans connected to a motherboard?

Yes, most modern motherboards come with software that allows users to adjust the speed of fans connected to the headers. Some motherboards also have built-in fan controllers that can adjust the fan speed automatically based on temperature readings.

4. Can I connect a 3-pin fan to a 4-pin header?

Yes, a 3-pin fan can be connected to a 4-pin header. However, 4-pin headers offer PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control, which allows for more precise fan speed adjustment than 3-pin headers.

5. Can I connect a 4-pin fan to a 3-pin header?

Yes, a 4-pin fan can be connected to a 3-pin header. However, without the fourth pin for PWM control, the fan speed will be controlled by varying the voltage supplied to the fan, which may not offer as precise speed control as PWM.

About Henzon

Henzon, affectionately known as "The Hardware Guru," is our go-to guy for everything related to PC components and custom builds. His dedication to this craft is so profound that he once spent three days straight building a PC inside a life-sized replica of R2-D2. When he's not busy crafting the perfect PC, Henzon can be found binge-watching obscure sci-fi movies or playing retro video games from the 90s. With Henzon on our team, we're confident that our readers will never be left in the dark about the latest in PC hardware.

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