Power Fan Connectors Explained (2, 3, 4 Pins)

A PC motherboard is more like a storehouse, and excessive heat is the byproduct of it. Power fans or cooling fans minimize the overall temperature; undeniably, they are vital for a motherboard to operate normally. Power connectors are the central functional units for fans.

So, what Power fan connectors are? The power supply unit (PSU) has monitoring cables that control the fan speed. Connectors are the ports through which the monitoring cables get connected to the main unit.

The connectors play an undeniable role in safeguarding the life expectancy of a PC. Controlling the voltage supply and rotation is speed is one heck of a task, and there are no alternatives than connectors to do so.

Brace yourself and stick to the last to explore the ins and outs of the power fan connectors.

Why do you need a connector for a Power Fan?

  • Connectors control the power flow; excessive voltage can lead to permanent failure; thus, connectors save fans from being damaged.
  • Connectors maintain the rotation speed of the fans. If a fan rotates at its highest speed for a prolonged time, the lifespan can evidently be decreased. A connector can push the fan’s durability to an extent.
  • A connector reduces noise level while a fan operates through a lower speed level.

Types of Power fan connectors

There are multiple types of connectors, but users should primarily know about four types of connectors. Check out the following segment to more about the prominent types of power connectors.

2 Pin Connectors: These connectors have two indicators; one is power (12v), and the other is Ground. 2 pin connectors are the most basic ones in the market. These connectors cannot regulate the speed of the fans. And the fans usually rotate at the highest speed resulting in lower life expectancy.

3 Pin Connectors: They have three indicators; one for power (4v to12v), 2nd one for Ground, and the 3rd one for Speed sensor or tachometric signal. These indicators are the standard ones to connect fans as they can control the rotation speed as well.

4 Pin Connectors: These immensely famous and widely used connectors have the same three wires as the 3 pin connector, and the 4th indicator is Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).

Overview and specifications of 3 Pin connector

The tachometric signal or the speed sensor in 3 pin connectors maintain the measurement of the power supply. The voltage or power supply, therefore, controls the fan speed. The nominal voltage remains between 5V to 12 V. These connectors are mostly used for power and chassis fans with minimal power consumption. 3Pin connectors are also known as DC connectors.

3 Pin power fan connector


  • Efficiency: Though 3pin connectors can modify the rotation speed, they only work for fans with lower power consumption. But neither these connectors are automatic nor accurate thus are not capable of recent PC models.
  • Noise Level: Computer Fans rotate at the highest speed when the power supply is increased in 3 pin connectors. As a result, the noise level is relatively high with 3 pin connectors.
  • Durability: 3 pin connectors are less durable as it fails to handle the power flow accurately.

Overview and specifications of 4 Pin connector

4 pins are the popular choice among the top CPU cooler brands due to their automatic power supply and modification of RPM. It is no secret that the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) is the magic behind this controlled supply of voltage. When the motherboard is overloaded with other functions and releases heat, 4 pin connectors automatically adjust the voltage supply and speed up the cooling fan rotation.

4 Pin power fan connector


  • Efficiency: 4 pins usually support modern processors with high power consumption. The PWM method ensures optimum results in RPM control.
  • Noise Level: 4 pin connectors do not unnecessarily speed up fans, thus minimizing the noise level.
  • Durability: Again, as the whole process is automatic and simultaneous, these connectors are pretty durable due to the maintained voltage flow.


No doubt, connectors are imperative to install fans that ultimately preserve the motherboards. The 4 pin connectors are the standard ones among multiple options, especially for the new age computers. However, customers must consider their requirements and add or decrease the connectors from the unit.

Leave a Comment