I have following PC configuration

  • MB ASUS Z97-P with Intel Core i5-4460
  • Cooler Master X Dream i117

As per here the cooler works well on 1150 socket.

But ASUS Fan Xpert cannot adjust the cooler fan speed, which is constantly about 1900 RPM. I suspect that this cooler does not have adjustable fan speed, since it has only 3-pin power connector instead of 4-pin.

Is it true that 3-pin connector means no adjustable fan speed? Would you recommend replacing the fan of this cooler with something else?


Generally speaking todays motherboards have 2 of the PWM headers for the CPU and any secondary cpu fan item (cpu-opt), these 2 connections are best used with PWM actual fans with 4 pin connections. Because the method of control is via PWM, the feed voltage is the same, so a 3pin fan will run at full speed.

It is true that a 4pin actual PWM connection running PWM (because sometimes you can switch in the MB bios/uefi to voltage control) will not fully control a 3Pin fan which has no PWM capability connected, YES. Because good pwm 4 pin fans even with quality parts are inexpencive , and because it will work the way it is, there is no problem using what you have , then upgrading it with a 4pin actual PWM fan when needed/desired.

Chassis (case not cpu) fan headers come in 3& 4 pin, but many (most but not all) of the motherboards do not use actual PWM for these "other" connections, so control of them does not "require" a 4 pin PWM fan because they will be voltage controlled anyway. They will still work with a PWM 4pin fan or a 3pin fan, either will be in a voltage control mode (not actual PWM).

So in the case of most of these cpu fans, you really prefer and many good coolers come with a 4pin connection and a real pwm operational fan. In most of the chassis connections you can also use a 4pin pwm fan, it just is not likely to be needed/expected like it is for the cpu fan items.

Some fans and cooler items come with an array of connections, for connecting more than one way. A 3 pin fan connection lines up on the 4 pin header just fine, and provided the voltage and rpm readings. A 4pin fan can also be put on a 3 pin header, and the voltage and rpm will still be correct. Either fan can be voltage controlled, a PWM fan though has additional capability to be PWM controlled. They were pretty good about using the best methods for cross compatability.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.