Learn how to use RGB fans without an RGB header on your motherboard. Today I’ll go in-depth on the process of using RGB fans or RGB lighting in your PC without any RGB headers.
Most systems are becoming more and more flashy. By this I mean, they are using more and more RGB LED lighting. Whether it’s inside or outside your PC, RGB lighting typically requires a controller in-order to sync it together.
A big question arises when readers ask, “how do you hook up RGB without an RGB motherboard header?” or “what if you run out of RGB headers on your motherboard?“. These are both valid questions with relatively simple solutions.
In this post I’m going to show you exactly how to do that!
- What is an RGB Motherboard Header?
- What If You Have No RGB Header On Your Motherboard?
- Will RGB Fans Work Without an RGB Header?
- Does My Motherboard Have an RGB Header?
- Can I Have RGB On a Non-RGB Motherboard?
What is an RGB Motherboard Header?
RGB or ARGB headers are connections on your motherboard that power and sync LED lighting.
ARGB headers have a little more control over the RGB’s with their addressable power. And, non-addressable RGB headers don’t have as much control.
However, both can be used to sync-up RGB lighting throughout a computer. Most modern keyboards, mice, headsets and other peripherals can also be synced via internal software. The software can control the motherboard’s headers as well as the peripheral devices RGB lighting.
Types of Headers: 3-Pin RGB vs 4-Pin ARGB
I wrote a very detailed explanation on the difference between RGB vs ARGB, but they are very different. Most newer motherboards will support the new standard of 4-pin ARGB.
4-pin ARGB uses all of the available pins to transfer red, green, blue, and power signals. It allows for complete control over each of the individual LED’s on the chain (addressable).
3-pin RGB utilizes a ground, data and power signal. It does not allow for individual LED control and will change color of the entire strip (non-addressable).
What If You Have No RGB Header On Your Motherboard?
If you don’t have an RGB header on your motherboard, then don’t worry – there are a few simple fixes.
1. MOLEX/SATA/USB-Powered RGB Controller with Remote
If you want to control your RGB fans or devices without an RGB header on your motherboard, then you’ll have to use a separate controller.
These RGB controllers grab power from a MOLEX/SATA/USB connection in your PC, then allow you to control the RGB on your devices via a remote. In some ways, these remotes are more simple to use then going through traditional software.
2. Addressable (ARGB) RGB Hubs
Using an addressable RGB hub is really useful if you have RGB headers on your motherboard, but don’t any space left. Using a hub will allow you to free up existing headers and plug all of your devices into the same place.
3. USB RGB Controllers
One way to maintain control of your RGB via software is to use a USB controller. Razer Chroma’s ARGB controller uses a USB connection to your motherboard to allow control over their software.
You can plug whatever you want into the controller, then adjust settings on your computer in Razer Chroma. This is a bit more complicated because it requires a little more setup, but in the long term is one of the easier routes.
Will RGB Fans Work Without an RGB Header?
Yes most RGB fans will still work even if your motherboard doesn’t have RGB headers or you don’t have any available.
Some fans might come pre-programmed and you might not even able to adjust them. Or, some others might come with fan hubs that don’t require any RGB header at all. These types of fans typically come with an included controller so you can externally adjust the colors or effects for your fans (example).
However, there are a lot of aftermarket fan hubs available if you fans didn’t come with one.
A lot of these fan hubs will even include extra ports for additional RGB lighting. You won’t have to use up multiple 3-pin or 4-pin headers on your motherboard.
Does My Motherboard Have an RGB Header?
How do you know if you have an RGB header? The easiest way to know if your motherboard has an RGB header is to check the manual. If you can’t find it in the manual, then you might want to consider an online search to see if there’s any information out there.
You can also typically see RGB headers labeled with “RGB_header” or “12V_RGB”.
Can I Have RGB On a Non-RGB Motherboard?
Yes you can have RGB on a non-RGB motherboard. You can use various devices, such as a USB controller, or remote RGB hub to add RGB.