If you are building a computer, one important thing that you should pay close attention to is cooling. Case fans create an airflow inside your case that takes in cool air and exhausts hot air. And all those fans plug into the motherboard. So, how to tell how many fan headers a motherboard has?
The easiest and best way to check how many fan headers some motherboard has is to go to the manufacturer’s website. You can type in the exact model of the motherboard you are interested in. Once you find it, find the specifications list. Look for “CPU fan header” and “system fan header“. That is how to tell how many fan headers a motherboard has.
But if you already have the motherboard, you can check it yourself as well. You can find out more about this topic down below.
How to Tell How Many Fan Headers a Motherboard Has?
Basically, all motherboards have at least one CPU fan header and one system fan header. That is because your CPU needs a dedicated cooler due to the massive heat generated by it. The CPU cooler consists of a heatsink that takes the heat away from the CPU and a fan that cools the heatsink itself.
And the rest of your computer has to exhaust the excess heat generated by your CPU, GPU, and other components somewhere. That’s where the system fan comes in. It is usually mounted in the back and the fan header for it is fairly easy to spot too.
It is important to make a distinction between 3-pin and 4-pin fan headers. 3-pin and 4-pin fans are compatible with both 3-pin and 4-pin headers. The only difference is that the fourth pin on a 4-pin header serves for fan speed. Without it, the fan always runs at 100%.
You will typically see a 4-pin fan header next to your CPU and 3-pin fan headers everywhere else. Bear in mind that there are many different layouts and designs in the world of motherboards, so you may see multiple 4-pin fan headers on the motherboard.
So, you can find all the information you are interested in by simply finding the manufacturer’s website and finding the motherboard you have or want to buy there. You can check the number of CPU fan headers, system fan headers, and even water cooling and water pump headers.
But if you already got the motherboard in front of you, why don’t you go ahead and count the number of fan headers yourself? Different motherboards have different layouts, so you have to look over the whole board slowly and carefully to count all fan headers.
And since basically all motherboards are well-labeled nowadays, you will not confuse an RGB led strip header with a fan header. Look at all the different pins on the motherboard and count the number of “SYS_FAN” and “CPU_FAN” labels and you will know how to tell how many fan headers a motherboard has.
But what should you do if you found out that your case has more fans than your motherboard has fan headers? You can get a 4-pin molex to 3-pin fan adapter and just connect the fans like that, without connecting them to the motherboard.
It is not really an issue and it is a very common workaround that people use to power their fans. After all, the more fans you have, the better the airflow.
So, if you found a motherboard that you like and that suits your needs but it does not have enough fan headers, you do not have to skip it and look further for that one reason.
Finding out how many fan headers a motherboard has is not that difficult. You can check the specifications on the manufacturer’s website and it will have all the information you need.
There are system fan headers and CPU fan headers, so just add the numbers together and you will know how many fan headers there are in total. If you need more fan headers than what the motherboard you want offers, you can always get a molex adapter and you will be good to go.