In a belt driven configuration, the motor exists independently of the fan blades and at least one belt – sometimes more – connects the motor to the fan’s moving parts. Belt driven fans offer greater flexibility in terms of RPM speed. They’re also typically more silent than the alternative.
Belt drive fan motor replacement is typically easier. Unlike direct drive fans, though, you do not have to remove the fan from the system, there is no airstream contact, and there is no disassembly of the fan.