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3 Pin Fans vs 4 Pin Fans i have a question

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My Motherboard is a Asus TUF Z270 mark 2 . The mother board has Fan headers with 4 pins. Can i use a case fan that has 3 pin connector ?

A tech at Microcenter told me i that i have to use a Fan that connects to a 4 pin header. So what happens if i buy a fan that only has 3 hole interface and plug it into a 4 header fan interface. Will this work work on a 4 pin header. Here is the Red fan i'm thinking of buying .


i was also told i couldn't use an RGB fan like this since my motherboard has a 4 pin header Fans i was told i would burn out the fan.

I need some guidance thanks

Screenshot 2022-07-31 at 18-47-23 Air Series™ AF140 LED (2018) Red 140mm Fan Dual Pack.png

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A 3 pin fan has a DC motor that is voltage controlled, typically between 5-12v. 5v is the slowest speed and 12v is maximum. A 4 pin PWM motor uses a different means of control. The fan runs at 12v all the time and sends speed instructions down the 4th wire that does not exist on a DC fan.  Nearly all motherboards these days have an auto-detect for DC vs PWM and will check at power on. There are some budget motherboards that might skimp on this and also be aware CPU fan and OPT headers are often PWM only. Do hat said, I would be stunned if your Asus Z270 did not have dual purpose headers. 

If you connect a DC fan like the one pictured above to a PWM only header, it will run at 100% at all times. You will not burn the motor out, but then no one wants their fans a maximum all day either. If you connect a PWM motor to a 3 pin voltages controlled header, you may wear the motor out prematurely. 

One thing you should be aware of is that older style AF LED fan is “12v RGB” on a dc voltage controlled motor. That means it gets its lighting power from the fan header and it will dim as the voltage is reduced to slow the fan down. It will only look like the picture when it’s at 100%/12v. 

Most current RGB fans have shifted over to 5v digital control and that also moves the lighting power off the motherboard fan header. They all have separately powered RGB controllers to provide supplemental voltage. If you are looking for a fan that has constant brightness but don’t want to get into the expense or extra controllers, the Corsair ML-Elite LED is a PWM fan with 12v LEDs. It comes in blue, red, or white and will keep a constant brightness. 

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