Fan components 101:
This is a 3-pin fan connector. It is standard across most fans suitable for PC cooling. It gains power typically from the motherboard, though it can also be powered by some special PC power supplies, which aren’t as common these days. If your motherboard does not have enough power connectors for your extra case fans, you can purchase a molex adaptor, converting this plug into the one pictured below.
This is a Molex power plug. It has one “male” end while the other is “female”. This means you can daisy chain fans together and power them off a single cable from your PC power supply. While using this method, you may notice the fans do not all spin up fully. This may indicate a low amperage on your power supply, and you should use separate cables for each fan. These can also be converted back to the 3-pin power cable.
There is often confusion when mounting a fan as to the correct way it should face. The answer is surprisingly simple: often a fan will actually have marking or arrows etched into the plastic depicting the front and back (intake and exhaust) of the fan. For those without a diagram on their fan, the front is usually the exposed side, while the rear (exhaust) contains the “structure” of the fan – the motor, bearings and the like.
The red plug pictured here is the power source for 3-pin fans. The sharp-eyed will note that the red plug actually has four pins – the fourth is a ground pin though, and not all that common on modern fans. For reference, the motherboard connectors aren’t always red, though should usually contain some clues next to them in the text. Fan_AUX, Sys_Fan,Pwr_Fan and anything with “fan” in the wording is a safe bet.
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