So you have finally decided to build a PC yourself or are looking to get an upgrade. Good for you!
You are not the first one to struggle with connecting RGB fans to the mobo, and you surely won’t be the last one. No matter what 100 hours’ worth of research has led you to believe, the process is actually a no-brainer.
In this guide, I am going to break down the steps of connecting one or more RGB fans to the motherboard. I have done this over a dozen times without fail by following this method!
But before we get to that, let’s brush up on the basics:
- How to Find out If Your Motherboard Supports RGB Fans?
- A Short Note on 3-pin vs 4-pin vs 5-pin RGB Headers
- Can You Connect a 3-Pin Plug to a 4-Pin Header or Vice Versa?
- Is It Possible to Connect ARGB Fans to RGB Headers?
- Step-by-step Guide to Connecting an RGB Fan to Motherboard
- Connecting Multiple RGB Fans to a Non-RGB Motherboard
- In Conclusion
How to Find out If Your Motherboard Supports RGB Fans?
You can either simply refer to the user manual or do a visual inspection. The RGB headers are usually labelled as JRGB 1, JRGB 2 or as RGB_Header1, RGB_Header2 and so on.
They are usually located near the edge of the motherboard. A lot of mid to high-end motherboards can have two or more RGB headers on them.
A Short Note on 3-pin vs 4-pin vs 5-pin RGB Headers
Most RGB-compatible motherboards come with either 3-pin or 4-pin headers or both. Only a few high-end mobos have 5-pin headers, we will get to that later.
In the similar fashion, RGB fans too come with 3-pin, 4-pin, and rarely 5-pin cables. RGB fans with 3-pin cables are the most common. These are called DC fans as their speed is controlled by voltage. 3-pin RGB fans are pretty basic, decently functional, and affordable.
If you are looking for a fan with higher CFM and whisper-quiet operation, though, go for a 4-pin fan. They do cost a bit more but are worth it if you’re aiming for a high-end PC setup.
Fans with 5-pin cables are called WRGB fans, where W stands for white. If you wish to kick things up a notch and don’t mind paying extra for an additional light on your RGB fan, go with a WRGB model by all means.
Can You Connect a 3-Pin Plug to a 4-Pin Header or Vice Versa?
Absolutely yes. As long as the mobo RGB headers are 12V (and not 5V), it will work just fine. However, don’t mix up 12v plugs with 5V headers or you will end up frying the LEDs or worse, starting a fire!
Got a 5-pin RGB header and a 4-pin fan? No worries. Go ahead and hook up the 4-pin fan connector with the 5-pin mobo header.
Is It Possible to Connect ARGB Fans to RGB Headers?
ARGB or Addressable RGB is a slightly more advanced version of standard RGB lighting system. ARGB fans have a 5V 3-pin plug with a gap. To support ARGB fans, your motherboard must have 5v 3-pin sockets, although some mobos feature 4-pin ARGB headers as well.
Can you safely connect a 5v 3-pin ARGB fan to a 12v RGB header? I’m afraid not.
It will do nothing except ruin the LEDs. If you do want to go down the road, consider buying an ARGB controller.
Step-by-step Guide to Connecting an RGB Fan to Motherboard
Now that you have a basic idea of how the RGB system works, let’s get to the business. Here’s how you connect an RGB fan to your mobo:
Step 1: Open the case and secure the fan in place with screws.
Depending on your setup, you can daisy-chain up to 4 fans to one header with help of a simple splitter cable and RGB wired controller. If you don’t want to separately purchase a controller, choose a model like MasterFan Pro 120 Air. An RGB LED controller is included with the fan.
Step 2: Notice that there are two cables running from your RGB fan. The wider one with 3 or 4 pins controls the RGB lights. The small one with 3 or 4 pins controls the fan motor.
if you have empty RGB headers on your motherboard then-
- Connect the RGB connector of the fan to the JRGB or RGB_Header on your motherboard.
- Connect the fan connector to the SYS_FAN or CHA_FAN socket on the motherboard – very important!
And boom! There you have it. Your PC motherboard may or may not have multiple RGB headers and SYS_Fan sockets. Say you have 3 RGB fans waiting to be installed and your mobo too has 3 empty slots, just connect the cables to the correct slots and you’re good to go.
Connecting Multiple RGB Fans to a Non-RGB Motherboard
Now, what if you want to connect multiple RGB fans but there’s no RGB slot on your motherboard?
Solution – get an RGB wired controller with splitter cable!
Let’s assume you’re connecting 3 RGB fans to a motherboard. What you need to do is:
Step 1: Mount the fans as usual.
Step 2: Take the 1-3 splitter cable and plug the RGB connectors of your fans into the female connectors of the splitter.
Step 3: Plug the fan connectors to SYS_FAN1, 2, and 3 or CHA_FAN1, 2, and 3 sockets on your motherboard, as usual.
Step 4: Next up, connect the female connector on the other end of the splitter to the controller.
Step 5: And finally, connect the controller to the power supply.
Now go ahead, turn on the computer and see if it works. It better do!
As you can see, connecting one or more RGB fans to a motherboard is no rocket science. You just need to identify the right slots on your motherboard and carefully connect all the cables to them. That’s about the extent of it.