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where do I begin for case fans?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I was wanting to know, in plain simple English, what all these different types of case fans are all about, I've seen things like PWM, 3pin, 4pin... molex, and really haven't a clue!
What I would like to do, is have about 4-6 fans in one case, 3-5 of which would be thermatically (<<new word?) controlled by one of those nice looking touch screen fan controllers...
So was wondering, which sort of fans should I be on the look out for, what sort of things should I be looking for in the description ?

Many thanks for your time.

Probably should have mentioned, at least one thing I do know about is size, lol, and 120mm would be my choice of size for above mentioned fans.
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post #2 of 6
The standard connectors for computer fans are

3-pin Molex connector KK Family

This connector is used when connecting a fan to the motherboard or other circuit board. It is a small thick rectangular in-line female connector with two tabs on the outer-most edge of one long side. The size and spacing of the pin sockets is identical to a standard 3-pin female IC connector. The three pins are used for ground, +12 V power, and a tachometer signal. Molex Part number of receptacle is 22-01-3037. Molex Part number of individual crimp contacts is 08-55-0101.

4-pin Molex connector KK Family

This is a special variant of the Molex KK connector with four pins but with the locking/polarisation features of a 3-pin connector. The additional pin is used for a pulse-width modulation signal to provide variable speed control.[6] These can be plugged into 3-pin headers, but will lose their fan speed control. Molex Part number of receptacle is 22-01-3047. Molex Part number of individual crimp contacts is 08-55-0101.

4-pin Molex connector

This connector is used when connecting the fan directly to the power supply. It consists of two wires (red/12V and black/ground) leading to and splicing into a large in-line 4-pin male-to-female Molex connector.

If you want to control the fans via a controller you'll want the 4-pin variety.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If you want to control the fans via a controller you'll want the 4-pin variety.
so, I should keep an eye out for the 4pin Molex kind, for fan control (just making sure to be absolutely clear, not having done this kinda thing before)
and thanks.
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post #4 of 6
You don't need 4-pin (PWM) fans if you are planning to hook them up to a fan controller. 3-pin is all you need.


This a PWM(Pulse Width Modulation) 4-pin fan connector that allows you to control the fans through the BIOS or OS utilities:


This is a 4-pin Molex connector, which you would use to hook up a fan directly to the power supply and run it at 100% all the time:


As for the fans, you want fans with high airflow (CFM) and RPM that will undervolt well.

It also depends on budget. You can get low cost fans, such as Yate Loons or Scythe Slipstreams, or you can get some ridiculous fans like Deltas, but they come with a premium price.

One other thing to consider is the type of bearing. Sleeve bearings require maintenance from time to time, but can be very effective. There are also fans with ball bearings, fluid dynamic bearings, Hydro Wave, etc. Most of the names are just to sell the product, but these types of bearings tend to be smoother and quieter than sleeve bearings, and have a longer lifespan with no maintenance.

I can recommend these Zalman fans and Scythe S-Flex from personal experience.
Edited by spaceballsrules - 4/26/11 at 11:16am
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
spaceballsrules, thanks for the info, turns out the link to fan controller, was just the thing I was thinking about.
been most helpful.
thanks again
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post #6 of 6
SVC, Koolertek, Jab-Tech, Directron are all good places to get fans inexpensively. If you decide on a Yate Loon highspeed fan, the only place to go is Petra's Tech Shop.

Look at item 1 in my sig for some comparisons between 120mm fans. Item 4 has 140mm fans. Then there is this review, this review, and this review. Also here and here and here.
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