Question How to setup 6 RGB fans on a motherboard that doesn't have enough pins to control speed and rgb?

Oct 7, 2020
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I've been researching this for nearly a month now and have made 0 progress. I am planning on building a new pc around late November or early December and have all the parts picked out besides case fans. I want at least 6 fans (Case comes with 3 rgb fans preinstalled) and I want to be able to control the speed and rgb on all of them. No motherboard in my price range has enough headers to accomplish both so I've been researching ways to use hub/splitters to compensate and have yet to find a solution. Does anyone who might be reading this have any recommendations on how I can go about doing this?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Your best bet is likely to simply get an aftermarket controller, but this is a significant cost and probably not an option since budget already voids the idea of a motherboard with the right number of headers.

Another option is to use RGB splitter cables, but they need to be compatible with the type of RGB devices you have, as well as the added fans needing to be compatible with the existing fans. You need to know if all these things are three or four pin and whether they are addressable or non-addressable parts, and whether the controller or motherboard is capable of working with devices attached to splitters or not.

Honestly, this is a situation where "I want this" probably means "Then you better save up some more money" because it's not always possible to get what we want for the price we want to get it for. If you want it, then you need to be prepared to be willing, and able, to pay for it. Nothing extra or special is ever free or even cheap, especially right now.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Speed and lighting are totally independent of each other, so don't worry about speed control until you get the fans lighting figured.

First, forget about hubs or control for now, you need to figure the lighting. There's a huge difference between Addressable RGB (ARGB) and RGB, and apart from a few specialized hubs, you can't mix the 2.

Argb is Rainbow. It's a 5v constant where the color per led is seperate for each address. Rgb is a 12v solid color where the source determines the color for every led simultaneously. Unfortunately, some vendors refuse to get with the program and advertise their RGB fans, yet show a picture of the fan with rainbow coloring.

Argb does rainbow, RGB does not. Period. So if keeping your case fans, determine if they are argb or rgb, if they have their own controller or require a motherboard connection etc.

With the way RGB works, unless using an RGB powered hub, you'll generally be limited to 5 fans due to the amperage maximum a daisy chained motherboard header can supply for lighting.

Using ARGB, and powered hubs, it's possible to connect upto 72 fans worth of lighting using daisy chained hubs, since only the addressing signal is bound to the motherboard at the original header.

Figure out what you have, what you want, Then figure out how to control it, if it's even possible.
 
Oct 7, 2020
4
0
10
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Your best bet is likely to simply get an aftermarket controller, but this is a significant cost and probably not an option since budget already voids the idea of a motherboard with the right number of headers.

Another option is to use RGB splitter cables, but they need to be compatible with the type of RGB devices you have, as well as the added fans needing to be compatible with the existing fans. You need to know if all these things are three or four pin and whether they are addressable or non-addressable parts, and whether the controller or motherboard is capable of working with devices attached to splitters or not.

Honestly, this is a situation where "I want this" probably means "Then you better save up some more money" because it's not always possible to get what we want for the price we want to get it for. If you want it, then you need to be prepared to be willing, and able, to pay for it. Nothing extra or special is ever free or even cheap, especially right now.
If it isn't too much to ask, I am still a little confused and think it would help a lot if you took a quick look at the build itself (https://pcpartpicker.com/list/DKkZxc). This is not by any means official, and I plan to switch a bunch of these parts out, but of them, would splitters alone work with perhaps those Coolermaster fans on that specific motherboard? And do you recommend any fans? At this point, I'm not too worried about the budget; I'm just trying to figure out the whole concept of what fans will work in what situation and what I will need to achieve that. Thank you so much for your help.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
That motherboard has ARGB (addressable) header. So if planning on using that, you'll need Addressable RGB fans. This may or may not be the same as your current case fans, or you may have to replace them with Addressable RGB fans. If sticking with ARGB, THIS will work, it hooks to the motherboard and Sata power and will power all your fan lighting.

Fan speeds will be controlled by splitters or hubs as needed, in 1-2-3 groupings, as fans are controlled seperately to lights, different wires.
 
Oct 7, 2020
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That motherboard has ARGB (addressable) header. So if planning on using that, you'll need Addressable RGB fans. This may or may not be the same as your current case fans, or you may have to replace them with Addressable RGB fans. If sticking with ARGB, THIS will work, it hooks to the motherboard and Sata power and will power all your fan lighting.

Fan speeds will be controlled by splitters or hubs as needed, in 1-2-3 groupings, as fans are controlled seperately to lights, different wires.
How about this build? (https://pcpartpicker.com/list/Jhhp9N). It has 0 RGB/ARGB and only has a bunch of fans. I looked at the manufacturer website, and it says that the mobo has five fan connectors and that they're all hybrid. Since I want to put in 6 fans, would a splitter for two of the fans do the trick, or will a hub be necessary? And will all the headers be able to control the speed of the fans?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Yes, you can use splitters for any fan header where you need to use two fans off that header. I don't recommend using three on a single fan header even though technically it CAN support it.

So that should be fine to do to support a sixth fan.

And actually, that motherboard only has THREE chassis fan headers, so if you are going to run six case fans, you will need THREE PWM fan splitter cables to connect to those fan headers. There are a CPU and a CPU OPT fan header as well, but generally speaking you usually don't want to use those for case fans. The CPU FAN header needs to be used by the CPU cooler and the CPU OPT fan header MIGHT need to be used with it, depending on the cooler. I wouldn't recommend getting the D15S. The regular D15 will fit your case, and is only ten bucks more, and has much better performance using two fans on it's twin fin stacks than the D15S does with it's single fan.

I think the end result will be much better with the D15 than the D15S unless you absolutely can't do it due to RAM clearance issues and even then you can probably move the second fan to the rear instead of the front.
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
I'll comment on your last post with the Fractal Design Define Mini C TG case. It has space for five fans (not including an option for one in the bottom by the PSU). That is, 2 x 140 in Front, 2 x 140 on top, and 1 x 120 rear. That fits your component list but not quite. You have two Noctua NF-15 HS-PWM models that have an unusual set of specs to cram a slightly larger fan in. Its mounting holes are spaced like those of a 120 mm fan, but the actual fan frame is 140 mm x 150 mm. The case specs say the front (and presumably top) locations allow fans up to 144 mm wide, which gives just enough clearance for a standard 140 mm fan. But these particular Noctuas are larger in one dimension, and I doubt you could squeeze them in. I suggest you change to the NF-A14 models for those two.

The four 140mm fans all are of the 4-pin PWM design. The smaller 120mm Noctua is not - it is a 3-pin design, and so are the two fans included with the case. (I am not clear where you plan to use those latter two.) That's not really a problem since all the SYS_FAN headers on that mobo can be configured to use either type. The only restriction is that you MUST group them by type on the headers. That is, all the 3-pins should be connected together with a Splitter to a single mobo header configured to use Voltage Control Mode. Then the 4-pin fans can be connected in two groups with Spltters to two other headers configured to use PWM Mode. For this purpose you can use 4-pin splitters all around - those work also for 3-pin fans. Example (2-pack)

https://www.amazon.com/JBtek-Black-Sleeved-Splitter-Converter/dp/B01EF9OI0O/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=fan+splitter+4+pin&qid=1602123910&sr=8-3

IF you are using six fans, a couple of those will do it, with 1 spare of the four. If you are using all 7 fans, take the fourth one and plug it into one of the outputs of another to make a small "stack" with three outputs, and use that for the three 120 mm 3-pin fans. There is NO danger of overloading the SYS_FAN header with three of these fans together.

Note that a Splitter has one input (female) connector that plugs into the mobo header and two (in this case) male outputs with pins for your fans. Do NOT get a HUB, which is a different device that may appear in several forms, but is always identifiable this way: it has a third type of "arm" that must plug into a power output from the PSU for fan power. Those devices only work with 4-pin fans and can handle lots of fans, but you do not need one.

A last note. When you get it all hooked up and running, go into BIOS Setup and ensure some settings are right. See the manual, p. 32. Go to each of the SYS_FAN headers you are using and do these three things. Set the Fan Control MODE to Voltage for the 3-pin fans, or to PWM for the 4-pin ones. Set Fan Control Use Temperature Input to the motherboard temperature sensor, and not the one inside the CPU chip. I recommend you set the Fan Speed Control to Normal so it will use its pre-set automatic controls to adjust fan speed according to temperature. When you have set them all, use ESC back to Main Menu (p. 23), then F10 to get to the Exit Menu (p. 37) and use SAVE and EXIT to save your new settings.
 
Oct 7, 2020
4
0
10
0
I'll comment on your last post with the Fractal Design Define Mini C TG case. It has space for five fans (not including an option for one in the bottom by the PSU). That is, 2 x 140 in Front, 2 x 140 on top, and 1 x 120 rear. That fits your component list but not quite. You have two Noctua NF-15 HS-PWM models that have an unusual set of specs to cram a slightly larger fan in. Its mounting holes are spaced like those of a 120 mm fan, but the actual fan frame is 140 mm x 150 mm. The case specs say the front (and presumably top) locations allow fans up to 144 mm wide, which gives just enough clearance for a standard 140 mm fan. But these particular Noctuas are larger in one dimension, and I doubt you could squeeze them in. I suggest you change to the NF-A14 models for those two.

The four 140mm fans all are of the 4-pin PWM design. The smaller 120mm Noctua is not - it is a 3-pin design, and so are the two fans included with the case. (I am not clear where you plan to use those latter two.) That's not really a problem since all the SYS_FAN headers on that mobo can be configured to use either type. The only restriction is that you MUST group them by type on the headers. That is, all the 3-pins should be connected together with a Splitter to a single mobo header configured to use Voltage Control Mode. Then the 4-pin fans can be connected in two groups with Spltters to two other headers configured to use PWM Mode. For this purpose you can use 4-pin splitters all around - those work also for 3-pin fans. Example (2-pack)

https://www.amazon.com/JBtek-Black-Sleeved-Splitter-Converter/dp/B01EF9OI0O/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=fan+splitter+4+pin&qid=1602123910&sr=8-3

IF you are using six fans, a couple of those will do it, with 1 spare of the four. If you are using all 7 fans, take the fourth one and plug it into one of the outputs of another to make a small "stack" with three outputs, and use that for the three 120 mm 3-pin fans. There is NO danger of overloading the SYS_FAN header with three of these fans together.

Note that a Splitter has one input (female) connector that plugs into the mobo header and two (in this case) male outputs with pins for your fans. Do NOT get a HUB, which is a different device that may appear in several forms, but is always identifiable this way: it has a third type of "arm" that must plug into a power output from the PSU for fan power. Those devices only work with 4-pin fans and can handle lots of fans, but you do not need one.

A last note. When you get it all hooked up and running, go into BIOS Setup and ensure some settings are right. See the manual, p. 32. Go to each of the SYS_FAN headers you are using and do these three things. Set the Fan Control MODE to Voltage for the 3-pin fans, or to PWM for the 4-pin ones. Set Fan Control Use Temperature Input to the motherboard temperature sensor, and not the one inside the CPU chip. I recommend you set the Fan Speed Control to Normal so it will use its pre-set automatic controls to adjust fan speed according to temperature. When you have set them all, use ESC back to Main Menu (p. 23), then F10 to get to the Exit Menu (p. 37) and use SAVE and EXIT to save your new settings.
Thanks for the reply. I want to apologize for a mistake I made in my description; I meant five fans, not 6. This particular build is one that I'm almost entirely copying from someone else. The Noctua D-15 will be using both the A-15's and the remaining Arctic P14's will replace the case pre-installed case fans. I've seen this work, so I already know it will fit (barely at that), but I was only wondering how to power them correctly. Now that I realized my mistake, however, would I not need splitters? And if I were to get the splitters you linked, I would use one for the two A-15's (4-pin), and the other for two of the P14's (3-pin), leaving one left for its own header? If that's all, then thank you so much for the help.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
So, if you have five case fans, you would need two splitters. Two of the motherboard chassis fan headers will each be connected to a splitter cable that in turn would be connected to two fans, and the additional fan would simply plug into the remaining fan header. Then your CPU cooler will plug into the CPU_FAN header. Pretty simple actually.
 

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