Question Fans & Fan RGB, controllers/hubs, what am I missing?

Oct 25, 2019
Hey everyone! I'm building a new gaming rig for the first time in many, many years. After reviewing my parts list several times, I'm still feeling unsure about how I'm going to deal with all the rgb fans I'll be using; this is new ground for me. Here's a short list of the relevant parts:

Case - Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic ATX
Power Supply - EVGA SuperNOVA G3 850 (full modular)
Motherboard - Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro [8 Hybrid Fan connectors, Smart Fan 5, RGB Fusion 2.0]
360mm CPU AIO - Deepcool Castle 360EX
240mm GPU AIO - Gigabyte RTX 2080 Super Aorus Waterforce
Fans (x9) - Pccooler 120mm Fan Moonlight Series, PC-3M120 RGB LED w/ 4-pin PWM

My plan, so far, is to replace the three [3] stock fans on the 360mm rad, the two [2] fans on the 240mm, and add 3 or 4 as intake case fans.
I'm 99% sure I can easily swap the Deepcool stock fans for the Pccooler fans. I'm only 70% sure I can swap the Waterforce stock fans.
I just don't have the experience to know what I'll need to plug where and whether some kind of hub or controller is needed.
IIRC, each 3-pack of Pccooler fans come with a 3 to 1 rgb connector.

So, my questions:
It seems the Aorus Waterforce radiator fans plug right into the GPU card? Is swapping them still okay? How will these fans be controlled?
Do I need, or would you recommend, some sort of 3rd party Fan controller/hub and/or RGB controller/hub?
Can the 3 to 1 RGB connectors be daisy-chained?

Feel free to treat me like a complete fan/rgb noob, because I am.
Thank you in advance for your help and input.


Jun 15, 2018
All the fans can be swapped, as long as the cables are all 4-pin (PWM).
If your pump for your CPU has an additional connector on it to connect the rad fans on it, use it.

If the pump connects with SATA, plug in the rad fans on the CPU-fan header, using a splitter.

If both the pump and the fans are 4-pin, and you have a CPU-fan, a CPU-opt header and/or a AIO header, plug in the fans on CPU-fan and the pump on either the CPU-opt or the AIO header.
Oct 25, 2019
Hey, thank you for the reply, gamerbrehdy. I did much more thorough research about the MB and the replacement fans arrived, so I was able to see the included 3-1 adapters as well. Turns out, if I didn't mind running individual wires all over creation, I could plug-in everything to the MB.

However, since the cost is minimal I decided on a SATA-powered 5V 8x Hub not only for the cable management, but also for unhindered future expansion.

What really helped was sketching everything out. I've included my little diagram in case it helps anyone else. (I went a little overboard w/color but it is easy to read.)
>See Diagram
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There are two major general things you need to consider.

1. Electrical Load
Most fan headers can supply power at up to 1.0 A max total load for all the fans connected to that header. So when connecting several fans using a SPLITTER to a single mobo SYS_FAN or CHA_FAN header, you need to add up the max current specs for the MOTORS of the fans. NOTE that the fans you linked to are of the newer Addressable RGB (3-pin 5 VDC) type. They each have TWO cables from them - one ending in a common 4-pin female fan connectorfor the motor, and one ending in a different wider connector with space for 4 holes, but only three holes open. The latter is for the lights in the fan frames. The specs for these ought to tell you the current max for the motor and the lights separately. IF you need to connect so may fans to one header that the limit is exceeded, you can change to using a fan HUB, a different device that gets power directly from the PSU and avoids the header's limit. HOWEVER, such a device only works with PWM fans (you have those) and with a fan header that is using the newer PWM Mode to control its fans' speeds (most new mobos can do this).

2. Graphics card
Your related problem will be for the fans on the graphics card. NO mobo can control those fans because they have no way to access info from the graphics card on its cooling needs. Normally the graphics card manages its own cooling. Many do this using small fan headers on the card just like those on a mobo case vent fan header, but some use different connection methods. So that's one factor in whether you can use alternative fans for the graphics card. Next is that same electrical load limit for the fan headers on the graphics card. The card may NOT tell you what its limits are, so you have a potential problem there. Then there is control MODE, but there is some leeway on this. IF the original fans on the graphics card use 3-pin connections, you can use either 3- or 4-pin fans as alternatives, because even 4-pin fans CAN have their speed controlled under the older Voltage Control Mode. But IF the graphics card used 4-pin fans to start, you MUST use only 4-pin PWM fans as alternatives.
Oct 25, 2019
Paperdoc, thank you, that was some very helpful info.

My MB has 24V headers (2AX 12V) and while I haven't found the individual rgb/fan power rating, the box says Max 0.45A per fan, so I should be fine with 3-4 per header.

I haven't opened the video card yet but I'm pretty sure the fans are 3pin, so that shouldn't be an issue, but if they're not, I'll know what I need to do. :D

Thanks again!
Oct 25, 2019
Full disclosure follow-up:

After a week or so I was starting to wonder about this red LED on my MB when the PC was shutdown. According to the Gigabyte manual, if the LED is lit while the PC is on, there's a problem. (big help) I wrote to Gigabyte to ask what it means when it's lit while off. Their first reply: "Leds on MB only light up when bios detected error, If system runs fine leds will not light up, if system current runs fine, there has nothing need to be worried. " (big help)

While trying to troubleshoot I discovered that this wasn't the only thing ON when shutdown. The white problem LEDs on my GPU were lit, the GPU AiO fans were still spinning (so quietly that only by accidently hitting one with my hand did I realize it was on), and the PSU fan would never shut off. The ONLY way to get everything to shut down was enabling ERP in the BIOS which caused an interesting issue where I had to play patty-cake with the power switch to get it to power on.

Really long story short: Disconnecting the SATA power from my RGB hub solved everything. I still don't know why, I'm trying to look into it.

Edit: Just realized I never said which hub I ended up going with. It's an XSPC 8-Way 5V 3-pin RGB Fan Splitter