3 Pin Vs 4 Pin Fan | Who Wins The RPM Speed

Due to the increase in speed and power consumption of the processor, other components of computers would produce a huge amount of heat as a side effect of normal operation.

Therefore, fans are used to control the temperature to ensure reliability, energy efficiency, and speed feedback.

A 3 pin fan as the name implies, has three pins or indicators. The name also shows that there are three wires. Generally, DC fans are used as chassis fans with low power consumption.

  • The first wire is for power
  • The second wire  is for ground
  • The third wire is for the tachometric signal.

The 4 pin fan headers are typically used in modern motherboards. The 4 pin fan connectors are slightly different from 3 pin fan connectors in that the additional 4th wire is PWM (Pulse Width Modulation), which is used to control the power supply of the load and the rotation speed of the fan impeller.

3 pin vs 4 pin Fan
3 pin vs 4 pin Fan

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3 Pin Vs 4 Pin Fan | Who Wins The RPM Speed

Key Points3 Pin Case Fan4 Pin Case Fan
Pin Count3 pin goes any 3 pins or 4 pin motherboard
4 pin goes 4 pin motherboard
NoiseHigher to mid-level fan noiseMaximum quieter fan
Fan Speed ControlControls the fan using DC voltageControls the fan speed using PWM mode
Fan Contro AbilityGeneral control accessSuperior level of control option
PriceCheaperSlight costlier than the 3 pin fan
Power Consumptions3 pin connectors are designed for small fans with low power consumptions4 pin connectors are designed for modern CPUs with higher power consumptions
Life expectancy3 pin fan rotates the fan with high potential thus losing its efficiency sooner4 pin fans change their RMP and voltage as per needed temperature
 CoolersConventional fan coolers can have 3 pin connectors4 pin coolers are most often used to cool the processor

4 Pin Fan

A four-pin motherboard fan connector empowers a component called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). PWM can cycle power on and off very quickly. This permits fan speed control.

Assuming a fan is set to run at 50% of its greatest speed, PWM will cycle the power to such an extent that the fan just gets power half of the time.

This happens excessively fast to see, so maybe the fan is running at a consistent 50 percent of its not unexpected most extreme speed.

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  • PWM control.
  • The supply voltage is constant throughout the operation.
  • Commonly used as a CPU cooler with higher power consumption.
  • Seamless speed control.
  • The minimum speed achieved can be below DC fans.
  • The lowest speed can be less than 20% of the rated speed.
  • No chance of motor stalling.

3 Pin Fan

The 3 connector fan is very commonly used in laptops, it can adjust the fan speed according to the CPU temperature, but the flexibility is poor.

There is a red and black power line based on the addition of a yellow or black yellow line, mainly for speed measurement, through the motherboard can detect whether the fan is rotating and the speed of the fan.

The tachometric signal controls most of what happens within a 3 pin fan. When the fan increases or decreases the voltage, the speed changes.

  • Voltage control.
  • The supply voltage is varied for speed control.
  • Commonly used as chassis fans with low power consumptions.
  • Precise speed control is difficult.
  • Limited in reducing speed below that which corresponds to the minimum threshold voltage.
  • Speed can be lowered up to 40% of the rated speed.


A 4 pin fan connector can greatly impact performance, even though fans seem simple and don’t do much. A cooler computer will last longer and perform better.

Computer fans have a big job, including preventing moisture build-up, overheating, dry rot, and more.

There’s nothing better right now than a 4-pin fan if you want to invest in a good fan. Within the four-pin fan sphere, there is considerable “wiggle room”.

It’s possible to find something that is simple and does the job or one that is decked out with RGB lights and technology for added convenience.

I am a computer science graduate, and I love to play games. As an offline and online marketplace seller of computer hardware, I have the opportunity to help people make informed decisions about what they can use for their needs.