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Best ASUS Z87-PRO Setup with 1 CPU Fan and 7 Case Fans

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October 31, 2013 11:57:54 AM

Hey Everyone,

So I'm putting together a gaming rig fairly soon and I have some questions about the fan setup with my motherboard and case. I'm planning on getting the ASUS Z87-PRO LGA 1150 Intel Z87 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) and the Corsair Carbide Series 500R (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). I'd like to max out the fans on the Carbide 500R which has 7 fan slots (2 x 120mm front fans, 2 x 120mm top fans, 1 x 140mm rear fan, 1 x 200mm side fan, and 1 x 140mm bottom fan) plus the 1 x 120mm CPU fan for the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. I'm trying to figure out the best way to configure the fan plugins to maximize the efficiency and ease of managing the fans. According to the Newegg description for the ASUS Z87-PRO, the plugins list includes:

1 x TPM header
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x DirectKey Button(s)
1 x DRCT header(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x TPU switch(es)
1 x EPU switch(es)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x USB BIOS Flashback button(s)

I don't know what most of these mean, but I'm hoping the good folks at Tom's Hardware can give me some insight. I'm looking to maximize airflow, but also keep noise to a minimum when it's not necessary. I have been reading a bit that certain motherboards offer support for automatically adjusting fan speeds based off of the internal temperature. I've also heard that certain motherboards even have the ability to adjust the PSU fan based off of internal temperature. I've also read that splitters can overload the components of the motherboard so I'm concerned about using this approach. The main thing I'm looking for is to not have to mess around with case fans once they're installed and know that the fans are going to be quietest when they are not needed. Here are my questions:

1). Does the ASUS Z87-PRO support automatic temperature adjustment for CPU and case fans?
2). Does the ASUS Z87-PRO support automatic temperature adjustment for PSU fan?
3). What is the best way to get 1 CPU fan and 7 case fans to work with this motherboard and case setup? Why?
4). Can the optional CPU fan plug be used as a 5th case fan plug?
5). Is the optional CPU fan plug just a borrowed case fan plug (hence it's "optional" to have 2 CPU fans and 3 case fans)?
6). Are splitters safe to use for creating extra fan slots?
7). If one or multiple of the fans in this case can't be automatically controlled based off of the temperature by the motherboard, which fan would be the best to have running at full speed all the time?

Thanks again for your help everyone.

Best solution

a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
November 1, 2013 11:03:25 PM

All of those 4-pin headers are PWM headers. That means if you get a PWM controlled fan, you can go into your motherboard BIOS and say that you want your CPU to aim for this target temperature and your fans to aim for this target speed - the motherboard will then optimize your fan speed automatically and adjust it without you having to do anything.

You could add more fans to the system with a PWM splitter, allowing you to plug 2-5 fans into a single header for control, with power from a PSU molex connection. (Taking power from the motherboard is a BAD idea - those are the splitters with can burn out the mobo. A proper PWM splitter will only take the PWM commands and return an RPM reading.)

However, I highly suggest you DO NOT DO THAT. I started out a lot like you when it comes to fans, figuring the more the better. This is not true. You're much better off having as few fans as possible to get the cooling you want, because fans add noise what feels like exponentially.

I have mini-itx computers that have no case fans - only convective action to bring in cold air and the PSU and graphics card vents to get rid of the hot air. The computer runs hot, but it works just fine.

I have my watercooled micro-atx rig that only has fans on the two radiators - and they're running as slowly as possible. When I had a full-sized computer, I ended up getting rid of most of the fans because I couldn't stand them.

As for the power supply fan, get a good power supply like the Seasonic X-650, which automatically regulates its fan based on heat; in my rig, it often doesn't even turn on even when gaming, which is awesome.

1) Yes. Any motherboard with PWM headers automatically supports PWM control. You have to buy fans that connect through PWM, though, rather than 3-pin voltage control.

2) No. I have NEVER seen a motherboard do that, because in order to do that, it would have to connect to the PSU somehow. No PSU out there lets you do that - the only other way would to connect the PSU fan to the motherboard, but to do that you'd need to open and mod the PSU, which is incredibly dangerous and should never be done without a LOT of research.

It's way easier just to buy a PSU that'll regulate itself, especially since the PSU airflow is almost always isolated - it makes way more sense to regulate the PSU fan based on the PSU temp, rather than the CPU temp.

3) Just don't do it. It's adding unnecessary noise, and here's the big deal, NOT HELPING. More airflow through the case adds absolutely zip after you hit sufficient airflow - it's like system RAM. Once you have enough for whatever task you're doing, adding more does nothing.

I suggest you use the 140mm rear as output, the 200mm side as input for the graphics card, the 140mm bottom as input, and a 120mm top as output. This should easily give you positive pressure, airflow with good direction, no fans directly in front, so it's easier to mask the noise, and mostly larger fans that are going to be quieter.

4) Yes, that's what it's there for - either to control a second fan/set of fans for your cpu cooler or as another case fan. The reason it's labeled CPU_OPT is because in your motherboard BIOS you can set two fan profiles - one for your CPU fans and one for your case fans. The CPU_OPT is controlled by the CPU profile.

5) See above.

6) Yes and no. They're perfectly acceptable as long as they draw their power from the PSU, or if they're only dual splitters that aren't being used to power insanely-powerful fans.

7) You can control multiple fans, but the answer to this one is easy - the ones that should be running at full speed should almost always be the largest fans you have, because they're going to be quieter.

Happy to help, but again, I highly suggest you don't run with that many fans. Another fan setup could easily be two 120 front inputs, 140 bottom input, two 120 top outputs, and 140 back output. That would possibly give better directionality to the airflow, but it uses smaller fans, and so would be noisier. It also probably wouldn't help that much - seriously, unless temperatures are problematic, don't add fans.
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November 5, 2013 9:32:59 AM

DarkSable said:
All of those 4-pin headers are PWM headers. That means if you get a PWM controlled fan, you can go into your motherboard BIOS and say that you want your CPU to aim for this target temperature and your fans to aim for this target speed - the motherboard will then optimize your fan speed automatically and adjust it without you having to do anything.

You could add more fans to the system with a PWM splitter, allowing you to plug 2-5 fans into a single header for control, with power from a PSU molex connection. (Taking power from the motherboard is a BAD idea - those are the splitters with can burn out the mobo. A proper PWM splitter will only take the PWM commands and return an RPM reading.)

However, I highly suggest you DO NOT DO THAT. I started out a lot like you when it comes to fans, figuring the more the better. This is not true. You're much better off having as few fans as possible to get the cooling you want, because fans add noise what feels like exponentially.

I have mini-itx computers that have no case fans - only convective action to bring in cold air and the PSU and graphics card vents to get rid of the hot air. The computer runs hot, but it works just fine.

I have my watercooled micro-atx rig that only has fans on the two radiators - and they're running as slowly as possible. When I had a full-sized computer, I ended up getting rid of most of the fans because I couldn't stand them.

As for the power supply fan, get a good power supply like the Seasonic X-650, which automatically regulates its fan based on heat; in my rig, it often doesn't even turn on even when gaming, which is awesome.

1) Yes. Any motherboard with PWM headers automatically supports PWM control. You have to buy fans that connect through PWM, though, rather than 3-pin voltage control.

2) No. I have NEVER seen a motherboard do that, because in order to do that, it would have to connect to the PSU somehow. No PSU out there lets you do that - the only other way would to connect the PSU fan to the motherboard, but to do that you'd need to open and mod the PSU, which is incredibly dangerous and should never be done without a LOT of research.

It's way easier just to buy a PSU that'll regulate itself, especially since the PSU airflow is almost always isolated - it makes way more sense to regulate the PSU fan based on the PSU temp, rather than the CPU temp.

3) Just don't do it. It's adding unnecessary noise, and here's the big deal, NOT HELPING. More airflow through the case adds absolutely zip after you hit sufficient airflow - it's like system RAM. Once you have enough for whatever task you're doing, adding more does nothing.

I suggest you use the 140mm rear as output, the 200mm side as input for the graphics card, the 140mm bottom as input, and a 120mm top as output. This should easily give you positive pressure, airflow with good direction, no fans directly in front, so it's easier to mask the noise, and mostly larger fans that are going to be quieter.

4) Yes, that's what it's there for - either to control a second fan/set of fans for your cpu cooler or as another case fan. The reason it's labeled CPU_OPT is because in your motherboard BIOS you can set two fan profiles - one for your CPU fans and one for your case fans. The CPU_OPT is controlled by the CPU profile.

5) See above.

6) Yes and no. They're perfectly acceptable as long as they draw their power from the PSU, or if they're only dual splitters that aren't being used to power insanely-powerful fans.

7) You can control multiple fans, but the answer to this one is easy - the ones that should be running at full speed should almost always be the largest fans you have, because they're going to be quieter.

Happy to help, but again, I highly suggest you don't run with that many fans. Another fan setup could easily be two 120 front inputs, 140 bottom input, two 120 top outputs, and 140 back output. That would possibly give better directionality to the airflow, but it uses smaller fans, and so would be noisier. It also probably wouldn't help that much - seriously, unless temperatures are problematic, don't add fans.


Super helpful DarkSable. Thanks for all the information. I have some adjustments to do now. :-)
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
November 5, 2013 10:04:45 AM

Of course, glad that I could help!

By the way, if silence / CPU cooling is a big factor, step up to a 140mm CPU cooler; you wouldn't think it would make that big of a difference, but 140mm fans are MUCH quieter than 120mm fans.
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