I purchased an FX-8150 processor with the liquid cooling kit that is similar to the Antec Kuhler 920. It has a 3-pin motherboard connector, and two 4-pin connectors for the fans to plug into, as well as a USB connector and Windows-based software to control the fans. I'm installing it into an Asus M5A88-M motherboard, and running VMWare ESXi 5.1. As such I have no operating system that can control the fan speeds on the liquid cooler, since virtual machines don't have direct access to the motherboard. The fans always run at low speed and they don't speed up when the CPU temps rise. I'm considering plugging the two 120mm fans into the CPU fan header using a 4-pin splitter, which would allow the motherboard to control the fan speeds. I'm also considering connecting the 3-pin power connector for the pump to my power supply, using a molex-to-3-pin power adapter so the pump has full power at all times. Please tell me if this configuration will work properly and, if so, should I still plug in the USB connector?
Another possible solution: Is there any combination of enabling/disabling “Cool&Quiet” or Q-Fan that would result in the motherboard controlling fan speeds, and saving me from having to introduce a bunch of power splitters/adapters? I tried a couple variations, but none seemed to work.
I tried setting Q-Fan to disabled, and that had no effect. I also set Q-Fan to manual and set minimum fan speed to 100%. Again, no effect. During both of these, "Cool and Quiet" was enabled. I've heard what these fans sound like when running at full speed, and I don't want that. I'm attempting to get them to be temp-controlled.
Just to be clear... variable speed fans usually have a 3+1 pin connector... the usual three pins, plus one more for RPM control. If your fans have that, then just hook them up to the motherboard with a splitter, like you said.
If they don't have that extra pin, then the cooler must be relying on the weird USB widget to control their speed. Either way, I'd find a way to skip the USB setup altogether... It's a useless complication to something that should be fairly straight-forward.
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I ended up hooking the two 120mm four-pin fans to the CPU fan header with a splitter, and connecting the pump to the 3-pin chassis fan header. After that, I was able to modify the Q-Fan settings to ramp up if the CPU got over 40 degrees and that seems to work pretty well. It's dead silent while at idle, and the fans ramp up to full speed while running Prime95. Since temp-sensing programs require direct hardware access, they don't work in a virtual machine, so I set the temp threshold fairly low so the fans would kick in before the CPU got hot. Thanks for the advice.