How to install SilverStone ARGB fans?

Many recently released SilverStone cases with a “PRO” in its product name indicates that it comes equipped out-of-the-box with ARGB fans and a 4-port ARGB controller hub, hence we get asked quite frequently on how to properly install the ARGB fans. In this article, we will explain the installation process as well as other information that may be helpful to you, so that those SilverStone ARGB fans can shine beautifully in your setup.

Pictured: SST-FAR1W-PRO (Left), SST-FAH1MB-PRO (Right)


Firstly, before we begin the installation process, it’s important to understand the connectors each SilverStone ARGB fan has and their functions.

FAN POWER CONNECTOR

3 pin connector

A 3 pin connector consists of power, ground and signal. The signal pin measures the speed of the fan, and power is used for controlling the fan speed by decreasing or increasing its voltages. Depending on the fan design, a fan with maximum speed of 1000 RPM at 12V may be able to spin down to 600 RPM when applied with 7V. This connector is not as common on SilverStone ARGB fans.

4 pin PWM connector

A 4 pin PWM connector - can be seen on majority of all SilverStone’s ARGB fans today; has an extra PWM wire/pin to normal 3 pin DC fan, which allows for the power being sent to the fan to be pulsed instead of a steady flow of power. PWM controlled fans pulses at 12V and the rate at which it pulses determines fan RPM, meaning the fan can spin down to lower RPMs if needed. Simply put, a 4 pin PWM connector provides tailored performance on demand.

ARGB LED CONNECTOR

4-1 pin ARGB connectors

The ARGB connectors you see on most SilverStone ARGB fans today use industry standard 4-1 pin ARGB connectors. Each pin represents 5V, data and ground.


SO HOW AND WHERE DO I CONNECT THESE CABLES?

To power up the fans, simplest way is to connect the 3 pin connector or 4 pin PWM connector (depending on the ARGB fans you have) directly to the motherboard’s fan headers (CHA_FAN1, CHA_FAN2…etc).

If a 3 pin connector is plugged into these fan headers, the fan will operate at full speed unless the motherboard supports fan speed adjustment by voltage control, if a 4 pin connector is plugged in, you should be able to control fan speeds via PWM control in the BIOS / UEFI.

If the amount of fans in your case is greater than the fan headers on your motherboard, alternatively you can use a splitter to power up multiple fans on one motherboard fan header or connect using a fan hub that has adequate ports for the fans to connect to.

Please note that you can power up as many fans as you want on a single motherboard fan header, as long as the amps drawn are under the header it’s intended to output. By looking up the motherboard manual and the specifications of the fans, you can find how much amps can be drawn from the header you wish to connect to and how much amps the fans are rated for.

Let’s use our Air Penetrator 140i-ARGB as an example: AP140i-ARGB is rated for 0.27A @ 12V, so using two will draw 0.54A @ 12V. If the motherboard header supports 0.6A of power, then this header can power up 2 x AP140i-ARGB fans no problem.

Pictured: SST-CPF02 – 1-to-3 PWM fan splitter (left), SST-CPF04 – 1-to-8 PWM fan hub (right)

For powering up the ARGB LEDs, there are 2 options similar to powering up the fans mentioned above; connect to the ARGB header on the motherboard or a dedicated ARGB fan hub. Most motherboard manufacturers will include at least 1 ARGB header on their motherboards, and that usually tolerates a current limit of 3.0A.

For our AP140i-ARGB fan, the LEDs are rated for 0.36A @ 5V, so if you have 8 of them, it’ll draw 2.88A @ 5V, which is perfectly fine as it doesn’t exceed the current limit of 3.0A. The downsides to this are that there aren’t many ARGB splitters on the market that supports more than 4 ARGB fans, and it’s also not ideal to use splitters for users who are passionate about cable management.

The 2nd option is with the use of a dedicated ARGB fan hub which allows users to congregate multiple ARGB connectors into one source, which also eliminates the problem for people without ARGB headers on their motherboard.

Pictured: SST-CPL03 – 1-to-4 ARGB splitter cable (left), SilverStone ARGB fan hub (right)