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Will a 4-pin case fan work on a 3-pin motherboard header?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Is it possible to connect a 4-pin on a 3-pin motherboard fan header, and have it function exactly like a normal 3-pin case fan?

Would I risk short-circuiting the motherboard and other components by doing this?
post #2 of 4
Yes, there should be indents to line up the correct pins that need to be plugged in.

You obviously won't get PWM control of the fan since that is what the 4th pin actually does. Iirc it will spin at max speed.

I might be wrong but that's how I remember it working.
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The Hybrid
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 3770k @4.2GHz Gigabyte Z77x - UD3H Gigabyte 1070 G1 gaming Corsair Vengeance Pro 2x8GB 2400 CL11 
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post #3 of 4
3-pin plugs fit 4-pin header (PWM pin is outside of plug)and 4-pin plugs fit 3-pin headers. (no PWM pin into plug).
The spacing between the ribs on 3-pin and 4-pin plugs is the same, as is the index tab on header.
The first 3 pins of are almost always the same:
1st pin = Ground to/from header
2nd pin = Power to/from header (usually variable voltage controlled)
3rd pin = RPM signal from fan.to header
4th pin is only used when it is a PWM controlled header. 1st and 3rd pins remain the same and 2nd pin fixed voltage:
2nd pin = Constant 12 Volt Power
4th pin = PWM control when 2nd pin is constant 12 volt power.
post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by hsjj3 View Post

Is it possible to connect a 4-pin on a 3-pin motherboard fan header, and have it function exactly like a normal 3-pin case fan?

Would I risk short-circuiting the motherboard and other components by doing this?

The fan will simply operate as a voltage regulated fan - essentially the same as a 3-pim fan. You won't damage anything, you may simply get a smaller rpm band than if using PWM.
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