If you build the PC yourself, you can hardly avoid RGB LEDs. We look at the concepts of three manufacturers with which you can get structure into the sea of lights.
"RGBs bring 5 FPS more" is unfortunately just a catchword. But in fact, a good lighting concept can further enhance an already cool PC. Because it actually flashes and flickers in almost every self-made. It looks like the manufacturers are streaking each other with light strips and almost outshining each other in the components. We looked at three concepts from Corsair, Razer and Evnbetter, with which the respective manufacturers want to bring clean structures into the flashing mess.
Razer: Beyond the PC
With its Chroma control software, Razer is no longer limited to PCs and PC components. It all started with the latter: the control software can be used to make the mouse and keyboard pulsate in the same rhythm. In the medium term, headsets and RGB mouse pads were added. In the meantime there are more and more interfaces to external lighting systems, especially to Hue (topic page). The Nanoleaf light panels (theme page) were later integrated and even Alexa is now on board. There are also various other brands from the component sector, such as AOC, Silverstone, Zotac or MSI.
They can all be controlled centrally with Chroma. This ranges from simple patterns, such as spirals or an audiometer, to complex lighting effects that you can design yourself. But what we really liked about the system is the integration into many games. The software can be used to download finished effects that control the lighting of one or more components. If an opponent drops a legendary item in Diablo 3, the keyboard pulsates golden. Different games are designed differently. The Overwatch setting, for example, colors all components orange at the start of the game and brings a different color scheme for each hero. In addition to the visual gimmicks, the integration also helps with orientation. To do this, the keys available on the keyboard shine more brightly, and those that are currently being used are dimmed.
For whom?: Razer is for everyone who wants to create the right mood in the PC environment. The integration in lighting systems such as Hue or Nanoleaf expands the PC and ensures that the entire room is included. The focus is on the periphery, less on the PC itself.
Razer Cynosa Chroma
Razer Firefly V2 Mousepad
Razer DeathAdder Elite
Razer Mamba Tournament Edition
Razer Nari headset
Corsair: iCue lights up and cools
If you screw a new computer together, you get almost everything from Corsair. From housings to memory to water cooling, the manufacturer has positioned itself quite broadly. And around 90 percent of the products should shine in RGB colors, which led to a loving spot and hundreds of Corsair memes on the web.
Corsair bundles control for all its LEDs in the iCue software. It provides both gamers and PC farmers with the opportunity to play their own lighting designs on all compatible lights in the PC and external components (such as a mouse, keyboard or headset) and to synchronize them if required. Not only are impressive lighting effects possible, Corsair offers a whole range of options with which the PC can be monitored during operation. If the system gets too warm, the fans and other LEDs can give a visual warning.
Hobbyists who want complete control over all fans and lights in the computer should take a look at the system. In addition to the integrated functions, the Commander Pro is a device only for control. This means that the iCue functions can be retrofitted in other housings or used with other fans.
In practice, we found the software to be reasonable and easy to use. It is a pity that dynamic lighting macros, such as Razer Chroma, cannot be downloaded. But Corsair is at the forefront when it comes to system monitoring. So if you don't just want fans to light up, but also want to control them, you should take a closer look at Corsair products.
For whom?: The Corsair solution is clearly aimed at hobbyists and do-it-yourself builders, whose PC should not only appeal functionally but also visually. If you look around a bit in the range, you will find almost all the components you need for cooling or lighting, including the appropriate controls to cleanly install and accommodate them in any housing. The periphery can then be fine-tuned to the selected color scheme.
Corsair Gaming K55 RGB
Corsair Vengeance RGB, 16 GB RAM
Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-06 RGB white
Corsair Light Node Pro
Evnbetter: More light, more control
Evnbetter is younger than the two competitors, which promises nothing less than the "ultimate color experience for the PC". And there could actually be something there. Evnbetter has three products: Xcd1, a flat, magnetic LED strip with 12, 18 or 24 individually addressable LEDs. Xcd2 Slimline is a much thicker light strip, in which you can no longer see the individual LEDs, but rather create a kind of light strip. This also applies to the again wider Xcd3 wideline. These strips should not only brighten the PC, but above all the area around the computer.
The centerpiece is the controller, a small box with four buttons. Not only does it get power from a SATA power connector in the PC, it is also the connection to the individual light strips. Thanks to the pleasantly long cables, these can be plugged into the PC as well as outside. The connections are simple 3-pin plugs to which the LED strips are connected with short intermediate cables.
In addition to the controller, the lights can also be controlled by software. The Asrock Polychrome Sync, Asus Aurasync and MSI Mystic Light Sync light controllers are explicitly supported. The system supports all mainboards that have an RGB header with three pins.
We particularly liked the Xcd1 in the test. The LEDs are bright and clear, thanks to the magnetic stripes, the lights can be installed in the PC so that you cannot see them directly, but only perceive the lighting effect.
For whom?: Evnbetter is for the hobbyists who do not want to commit themselves to a system like Corsair. The flexible LED strips can be incorporated into almost any housing and can then be specifically controlled without software.
evnbetter lightcontrol 1.01 baseline 45, set
evnbetter xcd 1.02 baseline 45, 45cm, LED strips
evnbetter lightcontrol 1.03 wideline 45, 45cm, LED strips including controller, RGB lighting set
evnbetter xcd 3.04 wideline 180, 180cm, LED strips
evnbetter lightcontrol 1.02 slimline 45, 45cm, LED strips including controller, RGB lighting set
Of course, this is all useless gimmick. But, an illuminated PC with components in the right color is simply an eye-catcher. Especially if he doesn't blink in any way, but follows a uniform pattern. For many PC owners, case modding was and is simply part of their hobby and beautiful lighting is one of the easiest ways to get into modding.
But what should you choose? Because unfortunately it is the case that you are more or less committed to Razer and Corsair. Razer has the clear advantages of game integration as well as the now quite large ecosystem around Chroma. Corsair, on the other hand, offers a color control that starts on the PC and extends to the components. This appeals to everyone who wants to create a uniform build. Interesting input comes from the newcomer Evnbetter. Not only can you easily equip your system with it, the magnetic LED strips and the cable control invite you to experiment – for example, when you illuminate your own desk from below in the colors of the PC.