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Case Fan Woes

Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:46 pm

So here's the deal:

I am using an old alienware motherboard in a new case (Fractal Define R4) and put in a new water cooling unit (Corsair H60) on it. I got everything hooked up and it runs great and looks way better than that tacky old case. The only problem is that the motherboard itself only has one fan connector for the CPU fan. It relies on a sisterboard that connects to the old alienware case for additional fan options.

So I thought no big deal. I only have one other fan (the big case fan that goes on the back and attaches to the radiator on the water cooler) and I can just hook it up to the case itself which has a fan control unit built in. Unfortunately the case only has male plugs for 3 pin outlets and the fan is 4 pins. I have been all over town and I have found plenty of other 4 pin fans and even fan with a Molex, but no 3 pin fans. So I went ahead and bought a fan with a molex plug to temporarily solve the problem so at least it would have SOME kind of fan and could be used in the meantime.

The problem is that this molex fan is running straight from the power supply meaning that it is always on high and kind of defeats part of the purpose of this new case, which is that it is a case designed specifically to be very quite.

So my question is that I want to know what the best options are to remedy this problem. As far as I know there are three possible solutions:

1. Buy a 4 pin PWM male to 3 pin female adapter like this one: ... 4-pin_PW...

2. Buy a PWM pin splitter and split the CPU fan outlet on the motherboard to both the water cooling unit (which is currently using it) and the fan.

3. Buy a fan controller and hook the fan to that one.

So here are my questions:

1. Which one of these will be the the quietest option/allow me the most control over sound.

2. Would all three of these options actually work?

3. If number 3 is suggested, any recommendations for a good fan controller? The few I looked at online don't seem to have good reputations and reviews.

4. If there is another alternative that i could jerry rig to use the case controller, I'd also be interested in that.

Here is my current watercooling unit:

Corsair H60

Here is my case:

Fractal Define R4

Other specs:

Corsair 600W power supply

This is not designed as a huge gaming rig (I already have one of those) but the goal of this build is a really quite modest PC that will play some games. I'm building it for my partner who will be back home from a trip tomorrow. I was hoping to have it totally finished by then and give it as a surprise but unfortunately it looks like it will just have to be a loud case with a constantly running fan until I can fix this problem.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Case Fan Woes

Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:45 pm

It sounds as if you've connected your Corsair Hydro CPU cooler incorrectly. You need to hook up the water pump to a constant +12V supply so that it runs at full speed all of the time. The fan on the radiator should be connected to the CPU fan header on your motherboard so that it can speed up and slow down to control the temperature of the CPU. If you need another source of power for the pump, you can use a cheap adapter like this: ... 6812189119 ... 6812201009 ... 6812201036 ... 6812311003
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Re: Case Fan Woes

Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:57 am

4-pin fans can connect to 3-pin fan headers without any pin just hangs off the side. But, as JAE said, the fan itself should be connected to the CPU fan header on the mobo, then you can plug the pump into either: a molex->3/4 Pin adapter or plug it into the daughter board.
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Re: Case Fan Woes

Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:17 am

don't forget the 7v trick for quieting loud fans also. all you have to do is re-arrange a few wires on a 3pin to molex adapter and then your fan will run at 7v instead of 12v and they will be much quieter. see here for a guide...
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Re: Case Fan Woes

Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:35 am

Zalman makes a cheap Molex-to-3pin fan splitter which offers two 12V and two 5V outputs. I use this to run my front case fans at 5 volts, which makes them nearly silent.

They also make an adjustable single fan controller which allows you to pick any voltage between 5V and 11V. I use this on my back case fan.
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