Build a PC Hardware questions from a first time builder


Posts: 12   +0
I have been researching and planning for quite some time now and everything is finally coming together, but I have come across a few elements the likes of which might be too specific for guides. I was hoping to find some answers here on Techspot forums! So here we go-

First off deals with case fans and headers. My Asrock X58 Extreme3 motherboard has one 3-pin chassis fan header available, while my Cooler Master Haf-932 case has a whopping 4 case fans. My question is, without buying 3 Y splitters, is there a way to attach all the fans to the motherboard? I would really like to have the speed control given to the motherboard so the fans don't have to run 100% all the time.

My second also has to do with the fans. I have plugged all four fans into molex connectors from my PSU and plugged it into the wall. When I hit the switch on the back they do not activate. Is this a problem? I have not received the CPU yet so have not had first post to bios yet, but logically I'd think the fans should act separate when not plugged into the mobo.

This brings me to the third. While I am sure I know the answer, does the motherboard require a CPU to run bios?
Quite specifically to my motherboard (Asrock X58 Extreme3), I would like to know if red LEDs on the power/reset/ & reset CMOS is normal, or if it designates a problem.

I apologize for any seemingly obvious mistakes I am making and greatly appreciate any help :)


Posts: 7,600   +719
TS Special Forces
Just use three splitters.

The fans aren't going to turn on when the switch on the back of the PSU is on. Otherwise they would always be on until you turn off the back switch.

Yes, the motherboard requires the CPU with it's heatsink/fan to run the BIOS. It also needs onboard graphics or separate graphics connected and one RAM module to post.


Posts: 12   +0
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  • #3
Thanks for the response!
I'd really like to not use three splitters because the extra cabling doesn't sound too appealing and I have read that there can be power issues with multiple splits. I'm assuming a fan controller would be an appropriate alternate to that?

Ah makes sense. Can't act, think, or display without the three.


Posts: 2,006   +18
A fan controller can be a simpler solution because you can just manually turn them to desired speed, rather than going to software, or relying on profiles. It would also avoid some extra clutter on the motherboard as you could route the wires from the controller to the fans off to the side.

I've been very happy with this model (but then I have six case fans):


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  • #5
Precisely what I was thinking. A fan controller seems to be the best option here. That one looks great, but I would worry about not knowing the temperatures in the system while turning the fans down and possibly causing over heating.
I'm thinking something like the NZXT Sentry-2 5.25" Touch Screen fan controller would give me more information on when it is a valid time to reduce fan speed

Plus that has an automatic fan monitoring feature if I'm understanding it correctly, that way I wouldn't have to be sure to turn all the fans back up before doing something intensive. What do you think?


Posts: 2,006   +18
That one looks good too. I've never used their controllers so I can't speak of actual experience.

Main things to worry about are CPU and GPU temperatures. Your case has really big fans that move a lot of air. They don't need to move as fast as 40mm or 80mm fans. I'm pretty sure that your system will be just as cool when you turn down the fans to a lower setting.

You might want to go and check out some user forums for the case that you have. They may have some good cooling tips.

As far as actual usage goes, if you're going to be doing some heavy gaming or other CPU or GPU intensive tasks, you can probably turn the fans up (as long as the noise doesn't bother you), and for everything else, turn them down. But I don't think you'll be checking your temperature all the time after a few days, you'll pretty quickly see what sort of effects your typical computer usage has.

Are you planning on overclocking your CPU?


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  • #7
That makes sense. Just turn em up to a good amount when gaming and down when not doing so. One of the main reasons I bought this case was the cooling so I guess I don't have too much to worry about.

Eventually, yes I will be overclocking. I'm thinking of hitting about 3.5-3.8 until I invest in a little water cooling, then look too go higher


Posts: 2,006   +18
What you can always do is run Prime95 with all the fans on low, and all the fans on high, and see what the difference is. Then run 3D Mark twice, and again check the results. You should then be able to find a good medium of sound and cooling. I suspect you'll end up keeping the fans pretty low.

Are you planning on eventually watercooling the whole system? Cause if not, you can always invest in one of the Corsair H50 or H70 sets. They're a bit more than an air cooler, but not too much more than the high end ones.

Its pretty efficient at higher temps, I maybe go about 5 degrees hotter on idle when OCing to 3.8 than standard 2.66. I got it up to 4 and while the system did not run very stable, the heat was still ok. ( I heard those C0 920s weren't as good for overclocking as the later chips.)


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  • #9
I'll make sure to do that as soon as I can. The only piece left in my build to get it up and running is the OS.

I don't plan on watercooling the entire system, it is just a bit over my head and I feel like if I don't know 100% what I'm doing and cause a leak or something theres just no second chances lol. I have looked at those and that is what I will eventually get once I look to get a decent overclock out of my i7-950.
Wow that is pretty high quality cooling right there. I'd like to see similar results when I get down to it ;)
I've also heard that the 920s were extremely stable for OC, but after the price cuts on the 950 I couldn't resist.

Just a note here, I had first post to BIOS today. My CPU and Monitor came and I used an old Intel graphics card I had lying around to display. All fans started up wonderfully, everythings installed well, and CPU temp is looking normal. Pretty rewarding feeling :)


Posts: 3,357   +116
If I was to watercool my next build, I would assemble the water cooling components with everything in place (so you can get the right lengths of tubing between components) and then remove everything bar the power supply, fill it with coolant, and then run it for a day or so first, to make sure there are no leaks.

Once happy its not leaking, you can put everything back in the case, and connect the water cooling components like the CPU cooler etc, knowing they're not leaking, and your hardware is safe.

I've never done it before, but that seems the only logical way of going about setting it up, and then making sure its working before you mix electrical circuits and coolant. :haha:


Posts: 5,403   +41
I just wanted to add that if you feel you need a good mix of silence and cooling, you should invest in some new fans as well. Panaflo and Scythe have great fans that push pretty large amounts of air while being relatively silent.


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  • #13
Lol good plan Leeky. If I ever go whole system h20 that sounds like the best bet to play it safe.

I'm not sure if I'd wanna go changing the fans in this case, considering 230mm fans aren't so readily available. I'd have to get a whole lot of smaller ones to replace em and I doubt they'd be as quiet.

Right now I'm using the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus. I ended up getting that one for christmas and it is pretty well reviewed so I'm using it till I invest in the H70


Posts: 1,116   +13
if you lap that 212 you could get 4 Ghz out of your 950 easy i would think since the 212 cools so good also if you set it up in a push pull configuration with 2 fans you could really lower the cpu temp.