Question newbie build questions

Kalik212

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Sep 28, 2015
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I have all my parts ready to go for my new system...this is my first new build in literally 10.5 years (I've upgraded my GPU, SSD, monitor in between) and I have some final newbish questions...

1) I got the Fractal Design Meshify S2 case...this is the first time I'm building in a case that has a built-in fan hub...the fan hub has three 4-pin PWM headers and six 3-pin headers...any issues with installing all or most of my fans into the fan hub?...or if I have the available headers on my motherboard is it best to install them there?

how does the Hub work?...is it pretty much the same as using a fan splitter?...is it safe in terms of power draw to plug 9 fans into that Hub? ( I'm not using 9 fans but since the Hub has 9 headers I'm curious)

2) do Realtek LAN drivers get updated automatically through Windows Update or do I need to manually update to the latest driver through the Realtek website?...the Realtek website is very disorganized and confusing to navigate

3) when looking at the MSI X570 Tomahawk motherboard support website it shows that the latest AMD Chipset driver version available is 2.9.28.509 (11/09/2020)...but when checking the AMD website it shows the latest chipset driver version available as 2.10.13.408 (10/19/2020)...does MSI use a custom chipset version?...why does MSI have an older version listed but with a more recent date?...I'm assuming it's best to use the AMD website version regardless of the version number and date?
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
1| No issues. The hub is to reduce cable clutter, so long as they are all connected the right way, you're fine! As for connecting, read page 7 on your chassis' manual.

2| You're advised to install any and/or all drivers manually in an elevated command. You will need a donor system(like a laptop) to download the necessary drivers meant for your motherboard onto a pen drive and then use that to move drivers to the new system.

3| You're always advised to source the latest drivers, be it from the motherboard maker or from(in your case) AMD's support site.
 
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Paperdoc

Glorious
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I'll deal with the fan hub. MOST fan Hubs like this do things this way. The get power for all their fans from the PSU via that cable you plug into a SATA power output from the PSU, and they draw NO power from the mobo fan header. This avoids the normal limit of 1.0 A total load from a mobo header. The limit for a Hub supplied from a SATA connector is 4.5 A, so even nine normal fans will NOT be any problem. (Most current fans draw 0.10 to 0.25 A max per fan motor.) The Hub has one input from a cable to a mobo 4-pin fan header and it only gets the PWM control signal from there to share out to its fans - no load limits on that. (This also means that, in BIOS Setup, that fan header you use for this must be set to use PWM Mode, not Auto or DC Mode.) It also returns to that mobo header the speed of ONLY one if its fans - in this case, the only 4-pin output recommended for use with your CPU cooler fan.

Side note here. Any mobo header can deal with a fan speed signal sent back to it from ONE fan - more signals make for bad errors. So any Splitter or Hub will send back only one fan's speed. You will never "see" the speeds of any other fan on the Hub. This has NO impact on ability to control the speeds. It DOES, however, affect one other function of a mobo fan header - failure detection. The header watches the speed signal it gets to be sure it does not stop which would signal a failure, and cause warnings and sometimes more drastic protective action. But since a Hub gets only one fan's signal, that is the only one it can monitor for failure. Then YOU should check all your fans from time to time to be sure they all still are working.

Because of design differences, a HUB normally can be used only with 4-pin fans. Any 3-pin fan plugged into a normal Hub will always run full speed. This particular Hub has six ports for 3-pin fans, as you say. It is very unlikely that they did this with a simple "normal" Hub design. My guess is that they included an extra feature to "convert" the control signal system for those 3-pin ports to use the older DC Mode for controlling those fans properly. Now, that means that you CAN, if necessary, plug 4-pin fans into those ports and their speed will be controlled, too. This is not the ideal way to run 4-pin fans, but it does work.

I recommend that you make one connection change from what their manual says. It says you should plug the cable from the PWM input port of the Hub to the mobo CPU_FAN header. Then you should plug your actual CPU cooler fan into the one port marked for that. That way the CPU_FAN header, which pays special attention to possible failure of the CPU cooler, can monitor the real CPU cooler properly. BUT this has a disadvantage. The CPU_FAN header's automatic fan speed control system is based on a temperature sensor inside the CPU chip, which is ideal for the CPU cooling fan, but is not best for case cooling fans. So I recommend this change. Do NOT connect the actual CPU cooling fan to the Hub. Connect it instead to the CPU_FAN header so it is guided properly and monitored for failure. For the Hub's connection to a mobo header, use one of the CHA_FAN or SYS_FAN headers and ensure it is configured to use PWM Mode. This type of header bases its controls on a different temperature sensor on the mobo, best for case vent fans. Just be sure to connect one 4-pin case fan to that one Hub port that does send a speed signal back to the mobo header.

We don't know how many case ventilation fans you have, nor how many mobo fan headers you have available. If that matches up, then you do not need a Hub at all. You can simply plug each fan into its own individual mobo header if you have enough. If you do that, you will be able to "see" each fan's speed separately, and they each will be monitored for failure.
 
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Kalik212

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Side note here. Any mobo header can deal with a fan speed signal sent back to it from ONE fan - more signals make for bad errors. So any Splitter or Hub will send back only one fan's speed. You will never "see" the speeds of any other fan on the Hub. This has NO impact on ability to control the speeds. It DOES, however, affect one other function of a mobo fan header - failure detection. The header watches the speed signal it gets to be sure it does not stop which would signal a failure, and cause warnings and sometimes more drastic protective action. But since a Hub gets only one fan's signal, that is the only one it can monitor for failure. Then YOU should check all your fans from time to time to be sure they all still are working.
thanks for the deep dive information...so based on what you're saying about potential fan failure detection issues, it sounds like it would be best to install as many fans as I can using the motherboard headers first...if I run out of headers on the board then I should use the Fan Hub...am I understanding correctly?

I plan on installing 5 Noctua PWM case fans (three 140mm front, one 140mm top, one 140mm rear)...I have 5 fan headers on my MSI X570 Tomahawk motherboard- four 4-pin system fan connectors and one 4-pin water-pump connector (along with the CPU fan header)...can I install my 5th case fan using the water-pump fan header?

I haven't decided yet but I'm also considering installing the two 140mm Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 case fans that come with my Meshify S2 case (for a total of 7 case fans)...problem is they are both 3-pin (not PWM)...so would installing only those 2 case fans using the Fan Hub make more sense while leaving the other 5 PWM fans connected to the board fan headers?...I'm guessing with 3-pin I would not be able to control the fan speeds as it's based on voltage so they would pretty much be running at 100% speed all the time?

as far as connecting the Hub to the CPU_Fan header I had read about that issue previously so my intention is, as you recommended, to install it to one of the Sys_Fan headers instead
 

Paperdoc

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Thanks from more details. There are a few items that are not completely clear, so I'll suggest alternative options.

The mobo PUMP_1 header may be in question. On some mobos the PUMP header does NOT do any speed control because a pump normally is supposed to run full speed all the time. On others, it CAN operate normally as a header that controls speeds, but the PUMP one MAY be tied solely to the CPU temperature sensor. Neither or these items is answered completely in the mobo manual. It certainly indicates that the general options for headers apply to ALL the headers. Those options include the ability to control fan speed, and the ability of the user to specify which temp sensor is used by each header. So if that does apply to the PUMP_1 header, then yes, you can use it as a fifth case fan header. Otherwise you would need either a simple SPLITTER to connect two or more fans to one of the other headers, or use the Hub included with the case.

The easiest way to ensure that the speed of 3-pin fans IS controlled is to connect it (them) to a mobo header and ensure that header is configured to use the DC Mode option. For your purposes, a simple 2-ouput Splitter can connect two such fans to one of your SYS_FAN headers, but that does mean that you then have three other headers for five 4-pin fans. Now, IF the Hub is designed as I have suspected and it CAN exercise proper control of speed of both 4-pin AND 3-pin fans, that is your easiest path. You would use it, connected it to a SYS_FAN header configured to PWM Mode and use of the mobo temp sensor, and connect the two 3-pin fans plus one or more 4-pin fans to its appropriate ports. You could put other 4-pin fans on the remaining three SYS_FAN headers.

One hint you MAY need with that Hub. I have seen some reports that this Hub or similar ones may not work properly unless there is a 4-pin fan connected to that one output port that does return a speed signal to the mobo header. This may or may not be true of the Hub you have. But just to be sure, do that and avoid any worries.
 
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Kalik212

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Thanks from more details. There are a few items that are not completely clear, so I'll suggest alternative options.

The mobo PUMP_1 header may be in question. On some mobos the PUMP header does NOT do any speed control because a pump normally is supposed to run full speed all the time. On others, it CAN operate normally as a header that controls speeds, but the PUMP one MAY be tied solely to the CPU temperature sensor. Neither or these items is answered completely in the mobo manual. It certainly indicates that the general options for headers apply to ALL the headers. Those options include the ability to control fan speed, and the ability of the user to specify which temp sensor is used by each header. So if that does apply to the PUMP_1 header, then yes, you can use it as a fifth case fan header. Otherwise you would need either a simple SPLITTER to connect two or more fans to one of the other headers, or use the Hub included with the case.

The easiest way to ensure that the speed of 3-pin fans IS controlled is to connect it (them) to a mobo header and ensure that header is configured to use the DC Mode option. For your purposes, a simple 2-ouput Splitter can connect two such fans to one of your SYS_FAN headers, but that does mean that you then have three other headers for five 4-pin fans. Now, IF the Hub is designed as I have suspected and it CAN exercise proper control of speed of both 4-pin AND 3-pin fans, that is your easiest path. You would use it, connected it to a SYS_FAN header configured to PWM Mode and use of the mobo temp sensor, and connect the two 3-pin fans plus one or more 4-pin fans to its appropriate ports. You could put other 4-pin fans on the remaining three SYS_FAN headers.

One hint you MAY need with that Hub. I have seen some reports that this Hub or similar ones may not work properly unless there is a 4-pin fan connected to that one output port that does return a speed signal to the mobo header. This may or may not be true of the Hub you have. But just to be sure, do that and avoid any worries.
thanks again...general question (not related to my specific situation): so if I connect a 3-pin fan to a 3-pin header on a board that means it'll run at 100% speed at all times with no control at all?...but connecting a 3-pin fan to a 4-pin motherboard header means I can only control it via voltage (DC)?

as far as DC vs PWM: using PWM means I can control them via fan curves?...meaning I can set it up where if it hits a certain temp the fan can ramp up to certain speeds...with DC it means if it hits a certain voltage then the fan speed can be ramped up?...controlling via voltage doesn't sound as safe (plus I don't like messing with voltages on my mobo)...doesn't PWM give you finer control over the speeds vs DC?

2) is the Ryzen Master software the best way to monitor CPU temps etc?...or is HWinfo better?...I hear MSI Dragon Center is bloated and to avoid that
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
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OK, a more general look at fan and cooling controls on a mobo.

All mobos have headers on them to plug your fans into. Each does three jobs. It supplies the power the fan motor needs. It controls the speed of that fan. And it monitors the fan speed signal returned to it from the fan for failure. It does not actually use that fan speed reading for its control purposes.

Generally there will be two groups of fan headers. One group that ALWAYS has a CPU_FAN header and may have other related is guided in its automatic control actions by the temperature measured by a sensor inside the CPU chip. The other group, called either SYS_FAN or CHA_FAN, usually has several identical headers that should be guided instead by a sensor on the mobo. Some mobos allow you to change which temp sensor a particular SYS_FAN header uses, and some even add extra temp sensor at particular points on the mobo for special uses. SOME mobo headers (notably some named for PUMP use) may do NO speed control since their load (a pump) is supposed to run full speed all the time.

We talk about fan speed control. But the truth is all these automatic controls are TEMPERATURE control systems. That is, their sole aim it to keep the TEMPERATURE at a sensor on a specific target; to do that the manipulate the speed of their fan (and hence its air flow, and this the rate of heat removal). They do not care what the speed is, they only care about the temp reading. Each fan header comes pre-programmed for a particular target temp for the sensor in use, and a group of settings of what fan speed signal it should send out for what measured temp. This is called the STANDARD or NORMAL PROFILE. In the BIOS Setup configuration options for each fan header you normally also get three other options: Turbo for max speed always, Quiet for fixed slow speed always, and Manual or Custom, which allows YOU to set your own "curve" of speed vs measured temp. Until you have experience and need, I suggest you stick to the Standard Profile.

Now, that is about the strategy the system uses to decide what the fan speed should be as temperatures change. The METHOD of changing the fan speed depends on the type of fan connected - 3-pin or 4-pin. In the configuration options, this is called the header's MODE. A 3-pin fan's speed can be controlled only by changing the VOLTAGE supplied to it from Pin #2 of the mobo header, from 12 VDC max for full speed down to about 5 VDC min. The system will not run that voltage lower because it could cause the fan to stall and fail to re-start without some additional actions (it can do this). That is called Voltage Control Mode or DC Mode. For 4-pin fans, there's a different method. The power on Pin #2 is always the full 12 VDC, but the fan receives a new signal called PWM from Pin #4. Inside the fan there's a small chip that uses that signal to modify the flow of current from the 12 VDC supply line though the motor windings to reduce its speed when told to. So, as long as you can and do set the fan header's MODE to the correct one for the fan you connect to it, the header CAN control the fan speed according to the strategy (Profile) it used (above).

If you mis-match fan type with header MODE, this is the result. A 3-pin fan connected to a header using PWM Mode will always run full speed because its power is always 12 VDC and it cannot use the PWM signal. A 4-pin fan connected to a header using Voltage Control Mode will actually be under speed control because it gets no PWM signal to use, and its Voltage supply is varied according to what the header has decided the speed should be. But you really should not connect both fan types to one header if you can avoid it, because you can't have that header do both Modes at the same time.

By the way, on mobos these days virtually all fan headers use 4 pins. But what they send out on those depends on how the header MODE is set, so they can act like either 3-pin or 4-pin headers.

So most mobos now offer you the choice of Modes on each header, and thus any such header CAN control the speed of either fan type if the Mode is set correctly. And YOU don't actually set voltages or PWM signals. The mobo does that according to your settings, whether you use the Standard Profile or one of the other three options.

Ryzen Master is a utility to allow you to overclock your system, so it will give you some info on temperatures and cooling fan speeds. But the basic way to set fan controls is through the configuration options for each header that you access in BIOS Setup. The problem with that is: you cannot use BIOS Setup under actual real-world conditions. So a utility supplied by the mobo maker (like MSI Dragon Centre) can be run under Windows to show you current operating conditions and allow you to customize the settings you would otherwise change using BIOS Setup. Such a utility can be relied upon to tell you the truth about your mobo operations. Third-party utilities like HWMonitor can do the same job, although a few require some attention to calibrating their readings to ensure you see the truth. I do not use HWMonitor so I can't tell you anything specific, except that many do use it and are happy.
 

Kalik212

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Sep 28, 2015
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anyone using the Noctua NH-D15 CPU cooler with the MSI X570 Tomahawk motherboard?...any clearance issues as far as the main x16 GPU slot or NVMe slot?...looks like it might cover up the NVMe slot which would make it difficult if I ever needed to upgrade/replace the NVMe SSD inside
 

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