You’ve spent all your savings on the most expensive hardware you could fit in your budget. The bootup of your PC has been successful and thus, has enlisted you as a member of the master race. But something is afoot. Although the specifications of your setup shout 60+ frames per second, the obvious blandness of your rig is leaving a sour taste.
RGB lights for a PC case is a neat little addition, albeit not an integral one. However, it still can cause wonders and amplify the aesthetics tenfolds. The craze of the RGB lights does not seem to be coming to a halt anytime soon. Vendors, for not only cases but peripherals too, have jumped on this bandwagon. So, we’ve taken the liberty of collecting the 5 top of the line lighting solutions for your case.
1. NZXT HUE 2
- Adhesive can stick with most casing materials
- Software is quite easy to use
- Magnetized strips and HUB
- Support for Gen 1 accessories
- Cable Comb blends only with white cables
Software Compatibility: Yes | Number of strips: 4 | Number of LEDs: 10 per strip | Length: 30cm
NZXT has been the vanguard for the aesthetics of the PC, and is responsible for cases, motherboards and many other components. Upon seeing their products, it is evident why NZXT has been leading the charge. With their new addition in their HUE line, NZXT has allowed your monitor to join in and embrace the RGB goodness.
With the HUE 2 comes the central lighting unit, HUE 2 Ambient, Cable Comb, LED strips and the Underglow. Following this, NZXT has hinted some more announced products to be released compatible with their HUE 2 ecosystem. With the purchase of the central HUE 2 RGB lighting kit, comes 4x 300mm LED strips. The strips come with double tape adhesive and magnets which make mounting easily flexible. The central HUB supports up to 6 additional accessories. The unit is thin enough to be able to fit in 2.5” drive bays. The inclusion of magnets in the strips can allow the users to position them however they deem fit.
The LEDs are, without a doubt, the best in the market right now and can make your setup flamboyant enough on their own. If this wasn’t enough, there is an additional LED strip accessory which provides two additional strips for even more radiance. The HUE 2 Ambient, as NZXT claims go, can give an even more immersive and vivid RGB atmosphere. This pack comes with LED strips that go to the back of the monitor, making the monitor play along with your vision. Immense possibilities are granted with the CAM software as with its use, lights can gorgeously blend with the content being displayed.
Next up, there is the Cable Comb accessory which is basically a clip-on for the GPU and CPU cables. The combs are daisy chained together with the connector being plugged in the main unit. This is quite an innovative add-on since sometimes, the non-glowing cables stand out and distract from the otherwise colourful setup. And finally, there is the NZXT Underglow which helps stick LED strips under the PC chassis. All of these add-ons coupled with CAM seamlessly blend together in harmony and provide beautiful lighting control. However, there are compatibility and installation technicalities with the under-glow. Since the stips are external, you are required to attach a PCI-E bracket inside the case. The ease of this bracket might cause some problems as most of the cases do not support cutouts at the bottom.
The NZXT HUE 2 most certainly is the best of the best when it comes to RGB lighting control. But most of these extra accessories are quite a bit overkill. For almost all the users, just the main unit with its LED strips will be sufficient. The HUE 2 will certainly satisfy the craziest desires of the RGB fanatics however, it will do just that. For the average users, with a price tag like this, the features offered are quite unnecessary and needless.
2. CORSAIR Commander Pro
- A lot of connectivity options
- Thin wires make for easy cable management
- Comes with adhesive tape
- Software can be a bit buggy at times
Software Compatibility: Yes | Number of strips: 4(Lighting Node Pro) | Number of LEDs: 10 per strip (Lighting Node Pro) | Length: 41cm (Lighting Node Pro)
CORSAIR gives you tremendous flexibility with how you want to customize your setup. They’re is no stranger to giving you the option to really bring your setup to life. With their RGB ecosystem growing more and more, it seemed fitting that their Commander Pro be given a place in this list. And with CORSAIR peripherals so vastly popular among the PC community, you just can’t go wrong with expanding your lineup.
The Commander Pro, right out the box, comes with a lot of cables. You get 2x RGB LED Hub cables, 4x fan extension cables and 4x thermal sensors. And of course, the Commander Pro central unit itself. The unit sports 4 temperature sensor inputs, 2 USB headers, 6 fan headers and 2 LED channels for lighting. You’re not supplied any RGB strips with the Commander Pro – that you can get with CORSAIR’s Lighting Node Pro. This central unit is powered by a SATA connector which is attached to it. The Commander Pro measures 133 x 69 x 15.5 mm, which means it can fit inside your case quite easily. It does not take up a lot of space, which is a good thing.
The included cables that come with the Commander Pro are thin and easily bendable. This makes up for easy cable management as you can easily tuck them behind and not have them be visible. However, there can be an awful lot of wires that you’ll have to deal with and there are no additional cable ties provided in the box. The Commander Pro unit can pump fans of up to 12W whereas the RGB channels can handle 24W. To power the unit up, you plug the unit into a SATA connector whereas an internal USB header is required for Link functionality. And once done, you can see how marvellous and vibrant the colours are. Like it or not, CORSAIR is pushing out RGB wherever possible and it is clear that the RGB craze is here to stay.
CORSAIR’s iCUE software is what you will need to download to run the Commander Pro. With the iCUE, you can monitor your temperatures, control fan speeds, monitor the fan status and control the RGB lightings. The overlay with the iCUE app showing the status of each fan is quite nice. And it helps pinpoint how well each fan is doing. Additionally, you can set up profiles as well which you can view in the “Profiles” tab.
The CORSAIR Commander Pro is a premium, top-quality unit that gives you immense connectivity options. With 6 fan headers, thermal sensors and USB ports, you’re really getting the full pack here. Users with previously owned CORSAIR products should definitely look into getting the Commander Pro lighting solution because of how seamlessly all your CORSAIR devices can be synced up. You may experience some software problems here and there but they’re really nothing that major.
3. ASUS ROG Addressable LED
- Strong and flexible magnets
- Superior quality LEDs
- Adhesive tape has to manually added
- Compatible only with 3 PIN RGB headers
Software Compatibility: Yes | Number of strips: 15 for 30cm and 30 for 60cm | Number of LEDs: 10 per strip | Length: 2x 30cm and 1x 60cm
With all the major peripheral proprietors doing their part in satisfying the lighting solution demands, Asus too has taken a bite out of the pie. As our third contender for the best lighting solutions, Asus’s ROG Addressable RGB LED has quite a pack to offer. With their flourishing Aura Sync ecosystem, this one fits right in.
Fitted in the strips are the 5050 RGB LED strips which, right now, are at the very top. Using 3 chips fitted inside, the LEDs can offer millions of bright and radiant colours. The central HUB being in line with the Republic of Gamers products has the iconic ROG logo on it. The controller does need the MOLEX connector however there is also an option for a 45W adapter to be plugged into a wall socket. The motherboard and the controller are connected with a USB 2.0 port. There are 4 headers for lighting strips providing a total of 90 RGB nodes per channel. Overall, the design and construction of the central HUB are quite unique and pleasing to look at, with the RoG logo lighting up as well.
In the box are 3 LED strips- 2x 30cm and 1x 60cm, which can magnetically be attached to any metallic part of your system. The 30cm strips contain 15 nodes and the 60cm strip contains 30 nodes which all blend perfectly together with other Aura Sync supported products. The LED strips can be attached to the back of the monitor as well with the provided adhesive tape. The magnets in the strips are of great quality and stick to the surface in the most uneven places as well.
The Halo software is a definite bonus point for the Asus LED lighting. The RGB strips can be attached to the back of the monitor, giving users beautiful and reactive lighting using the Halo software. Upon installation and configuration, the lighting behind the monitor can vary and react depending on the task being done on the screen. This results in very uniquely blended colours being outputted at the back wall during gaming or watching movies.
Although the Aura Sync is one of the best interfaces available for controlling the LEDs etc, there is no support for individual component lightings. Since all the Aura Sync supported products are connected, a preset for one component means the same effects throughout. This can, however, be counteracted by using individual software provided by Asus but that can get rather tedious. This setback can be subjective but still, this product is one to not look past as the presets and the quality of LEDs connected can surely turn some heads.
Up until now, we have discussed how LED strips can give you that little extra flair you’re looking for. Installing them might just be what you’ve been looking for. But, with the increase in price, you get more features and alas, more complexity in installation. That certainly is not the case with BitFenix’s Alchemy 2.0. They were among the first to introduce the idea of magnetized LED strips and make installation child’s play.
BitFenix’s Alchemy 2.0 come in various sizes – 12, 30 and 60 cm. BitFenix has dubbed these LEDs as TriBright LEDs. The idea behind it is that triple modulator is used in the strips. These are quite easily the easiest to use LEDs we have on our list. Order the Alchemy 2.0, unpack them, connect them with the MOLEX connector and you are fired up. What we really liked with these is that they come with the 4 pin MOLEX connector and a 70 cm extender as well. These extending cables are very durable and are easily bendable as well, making cable management very tidy.
Alchemy 2.0 are certified Aura compatible. This means that if you have an Asus Aura Sync-enabled motherboard, you can simply connect these LEDs to that and control them via Asus’s Aura Sync software. It is as easy as that. If not, you can always get them with the external controller to change the lighting schemes. The 4 pin MOLEX connector ensures high current flows through the wires for brighter LEDs and greater colour correction. Also, using the 4 pin connector, you can daisy chain them all together with one MOLEX connector at the end. This lighting solution is easily the most flexible, easy to get up and running and to top it off, these have proven to last for an incredible amount of time.
There really isn’t much to dislike about the Alchemy 2.0. These are simple, durable, bright and very radiant. All you need to do is stick them to your chassis and power them up with a free MOLEX pin. It can not get simpler than that. BitFenix has definitely set the bar high for affordable strips, offering top of the line efficiency and customer support too. These strips cost extremely low, given how amazing and glowing they are.
On the spectrum of extremely high and dominant tier versus as cheap as they come products, DeepCool lies somewhere in the middle. DeepCool’s products are sort of a closeted treasure among the gamers and the RGB 360 falls in that category too.
The RGB 360 might not possess the flash and bling that others in this list have, but it still manages to pack a punch. The wireless controller, in this lighting solution, is comprised of several buttons for changing the presets. The installation is thus made easy and capable of being completed in a few minutes. The remote has the options for power, brightness, colours, and selection of modes. The remote also has a neat little feature which makes it go in power saving mode if idle for 20-30 seconds. The power can be restored with a gentle shake. It is also worth noting that the remote can execute commands omnidirectionally.
The 3x 50cm LED strips in the box can easily be cut and customized to perfectly fit the case. The LEDs may not be of the best quality but they get the job done. There are a total of 18 LEDs attached per strip. It is worth mentioning that despite the LEDs being RGB, there is no option for transitioning between colours. However, room for variations is cut short as one colour is dominated and spread throughout.
The DeepCool RGB 360 may not be able to compete against the top vendors but it gets the job done under a very cheap price. It is a cheap alternative for people looking to brighten up their builds on a budget and are looking for an easy way out. The DeepCool RGB 360 might just be able to satisfy your desires if all you’re looking for is a way to emit some light out of your setup at the cost of omitting some customizable options.
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