Can I plug a 3 pin fan into a 4 pin?

Can I plug a 3 pin fan into a 4 pin and can you plug a 4 pin fan into a 3 pin socket? A 4-pin motherboard connector can be simply connected to a 3-pin case fan. In this setup, the fourth pin is simply left empty. The transition from an RGB connection with three pins to a header with four pins may sound complicated at first, but it is easier once you have some explanations that are easy to understand.

There is no difference in functionality between the RGB header with three pins and the RGB header with four pins. Your ability to change the colour output will be restricted because you only have a four-pin header available. It is also essential to remember that the number of pins required for RGB functionality can vary from motherboard to motherboard. In this article, we will discuss more Can I plug a 3 pin fan into a 4 pin and can you plug a 4 pin fan into a 3-pin socket?

Where can you use 3-pin and 4-pin headers?

Both 3-pin and 4-pin headers are typically used on motherboards. Significantly few have merely a 4-pin header. These motherboards are designed with RGB enthusiasts in mind and are typically used for gaming. To use these 4-pin headers, a 3-pin to 4-pin converter must be connected.

What Makes a 3-Pin RGB Header Different from a 4-Pin One?

The pinouts of the 3-pin and 4-pin RGB headers are unique. While the third pin on 3-pin RGB headers provides power, the fourth pin on 4-pin RGB headers is utilized for customizing and adjusting color and fan speed. Another difference is that whereas a 3-pin RGB header can support up to four LED devices, a 4-pin RGB header can only support two.

This distinction is because 4-pin RGB headers only transport data and not power, while 3-pin RGB headers transfer both. Furthermore, digital control is only possible with 4-pin RGB headers, while 3-pin headers cannot. For this reason, a 4-pin header is required to control an LED’s colour via software, while a 3-pin header is insufficient.

Do 3 Pin Fans Work with 4 Pin Outlets?

A 3-pin fan can be connected to a 4-pin header on a motherboard, but it can also be connected to a 3-pin header. The fan will run at maximum speed permanently if your motherboard doesn’t allow for voltage adjustment on the fan header. Instead, the fan will operate correctly regardless of the fan header type. You should also know that fans with a 4 pin connector but only 3 wires entering the back of the connectors are still classified as 3 pin fans.

A 3-pin fan is controlled by DC voltage, while a 4-pin fan is PWM-controlled. The +12v (yellow), ground (black), and RPM signal (red) pins are the standard pinouts for a 3-pin fan connector to a 4-pin fan connector plus a PWM dial (blue).

Because the first three pins of a 4-pin header are identical to those of a 3-pin header, you can use a 3-pin fan with a 4-pin header. Without the PWM regulation, it’s essentially the same.

Adapter for 3-Pin Fan to 4-Pin Plug:

Connect the fan connector’s pins 1 through 3 to the motherboard’s header’s corresponding pins 1 through 3. In other words, pin 4 should be left unplugged. Typically, the plugs will have a key that prevents the pins from being inserted into the socket in the incorrect orientation.

Can 3 pin fans be controlled using PWM?

With a 3-pin fan, speed regulation is not feasible. The output wires of 3-pin fans monitor the velocity and include power, ground, and a tachometer. For this reason, a 3-pin fan that doesn’t plug into the PWM output on a motherboard built for such control is useless.

Can I Use a 3 Pin RGB Cable With a 4 Pin Header?

Connecting a 3-pin RGB header to a 4-pin header is safe if you use a high-quality converter or construct your Adapter out of high-quality jumper wires. However, your motherboard could be damaged if you buy a low-quality converter or try to create your own Adapter out of cheap jumper wires. A 3-pin RGB cable can be securely attached to a 4-pin header.

Utilizing converters and controllers is both the most effective and secure course of action. However, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to guarantee that everything runs efficiently and without incident.

  • Don’t settle for subpar USB converters, adapters, or other devices.
  • They could overheat your motherboard, inflicting irreparable harm.
  • Extra power consumption from the motherboard or power supply is possible due to converters or controllers.
  • However, certain motherboards may not allow for multiple RGB connections.
  • Their equipment could be damaged if several 3-pins to 4-pin lines are used.


Can i plug a 3 pin fan into a 4 pin? You can use a 4 pin plug to connect a fan with a 3 pin plug. However, before installing the cooler, ensure the motherboard can supply the necessary power from each header. When deciding between a 3-pin and 4-pin header connector, there are a few essential considerations to keep in mind. The most noticeable change is the number of pins, although minor differences in pin layout and spacing can also significantly impact the connector’s performance.


Can you plug a 4 pin fan into a 3 pin socket?

A 3 Pin Fan can be connected to either a 3 Pin or 4 Pin header on the motherboard. No matter which fan header is utilized, the fan will operate smoothly.

Is 3-pin available for fan speed regulation?

PWM drives have the ability to operate 2-wire fans and control 3-wire fans in the same manner as variable dc or low-frequency drives.

What is the operation of a 4-pin PWM fan?

To manage the voltage going to a PWM fan, pulse width modulation (PWM) can be employed. The fan spins at the specified rate when a voltage is applied to the PWM control pin. The heat management of the motherboard can also be improved with this method.