What Do You Call A Connector On A Motherboard That Consists Of Pins That Stick Up From The Board?


A connector on a motherboard that consists of pins that stick up from the board is often referred to as a pin header or a header connector. These connectors are used to attach various components and peripherals to the motherboard, such as a case fan, LED lights, or a front panel audio module.

They are typically labeled with an abbreviation or acronym that indicates their function, such as “PWR” for power, “USB” for Universal Serial Bus, or “SYS_FAN” for system fan.

The number of pins in the header will depend on the type of device and its needs. For example, a USB port would require more pins than an LED light in order to function properly. Pin Headers are also used to connect cables and wires between components which makes it easier for data transfer.

What are pin headers?

Pin Headers can be found on most motherboards, making them essential components of any computer system.

Pin Headers should be handled with care in order to ensure proper connection and avoid any damage that might occur from mishandling.

It is important to check the number of pins in a header before attempting to attach any components or cables – incorrect pin numbers can cause damage to the component or device being attached.

Additionally, some Pin Headers require a special tool to attach them, so it is important to check the manual or instructions for your motherboard before attempting any connections.

With proper handling and attention, Pin Headers are a reliable and secure way to connect components on a motherboard. They provide an efficient and convenient way to integrate additional devices into the system while maintaining their integrity. Pin Headers are an invaluable part of any computer system.

What are the various pin headers found on a common motherboard?

Front Panel Connection Headers  (F_PANEL)

The front panel connection header allows you to connect your case buttons to the motherboard. These include both motherboard power switch pins and reset buttons, as well as pins for hard-drive LEDs. The number of pins will vary depending on the manufacturer; some motherboards may have up to 10 pins while others might have fewer.  

USB Headers 

USB pin headers allow you to connect additional USB ports directly onto your motherboard. This is useful if your case has limited USB ports or if you need extra connections for peripherals such as keyboards or mice. The most common type of USB header is the 9-pin header, but some motherboards may feature different numbers of pins depending on their design and the number of available ports they support.  


Installing a CPU fan is one of the most critical steps in building a computer as it ensures proper cooling and optimal performance of the hardware. The CPU_FAN header on a motherboard provides an essential connection point for all fans, allowing them to receive power so they can run.

Without it, even the most elaborate fan setup will be useless. Fortunately, these headers are now standard on almost all motherboards and consist of 2 or 3 pins.

It’s important to take your time when connecting a cable to the header making sure that it aligns with the correct pin and that none of connections become blocked by other components inside your case. Doing this correctly will allow you to start enjoying your new build without any thermal-related worries!


The “CHA_FAN” header on a motherboard is usually used to connect a case fan to the motherboard. The “CHA” in “CHA_FAN” stands for “chassis,” which refers to the case or enclosure that houses the motherboard and other components of a computer.

The “FAN” in “CHA_FAN” stands for “fan,” which is a cooling device that helps to keep the temperature inside the case within a safe range.

By connecting a case fan to the “CHA_FAN” header, you can ensure that the air inside the case is being circulated and cooled properly, which can help to prevent overheating and improve the overall performance and stability of the system.

USB 3.0 Headers

USB 3.0 headers are becoming increasingly popular for motherboard use, as they enable data rates that far exceed the capabilities of previous generations. The trend is good news for users who want faster device connectivity, such as external storage and high-end camera systems. Furthermore, USB 3.0 headers mean significantly reduced power consumption, making them more energy efficient and cost effective in the long term. With more tech manufacturers beginning to incorporate this technology into their design plans, we can look forward to a future of quick and easy networking with USB 3.0 headers.

AAFP Header

The “AAFP” connector is an abbreviation for “Analog Audio Front Panel.” This connector is typically used to connect the front panel audio module of a computer case to the motherboard. The front panel audio module is a small circuit board that is usually located on the front of the case and includes connectors for headphones and a microphone.

When you plug a headset or headphones into the front panel audio connectors, the audio signals are routed through the AAFP connector and into the motherboard, where they are processed by the on-board audio codec and sent to the speakers or headphones.

COM Header

The “COM” connector on a motherboard is typically used to connect a serial device, such as a mouse, keyboard, or printer, to the motherboard. The “COM” in “COM” connector stands for “communications,” and the connector is used to transmit data between devices using a serial communication protocol. Serial connectors are not as commonly used as they were in the past, as most devices now use USB connectors for communication. However, you may still find a COM connector on some older motherboards or in specialized applications where a serial connection is required.


From CPU_FAN headers to AAFP connectors, the motherboard is home to a variety of different ports and connectors that serve various purposes. Understanding what each of these components does can help you build a computer that runs optimally while avoiding potential problems caused by wrong connections or incompatible parts. Whether you’re using USB 3.0 technology for faster data rates or connecting an external device via COM port, understanding how your motherboard works will ensure better performance and stability in the long run. So take some time to familiarize yourself with all the pins, plugs, and ports on your board – it’ll pay off!

If you find this all so daunting, get in touch with a computer technician.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...