Light Up Your PC with RGB Lighting
29 January 2020
Thinking of building a gorgeous new RGB PC? Or perhaps blinging up your existing system? Or maybe you're thinking of buying something that's Ready To Go. Read on as we take a look at some of the basics and things to keep in mind when climbing over the RGB Rainbow!
Remember The Ugly Beige Box?
Isn’t it amazing just how far the humble PC has come? It wasn’t too long ago that even high end PCs were rather uninspiring drab towers. That’s all in the distant past as today’s PC components come with healthy doses of resplendent RGB lighting. Adding RGB lighting to your build is a terrific way to add a touch of class to your build. With over 16 million colors and different patterns to choose from, there’s a combination to suit your tastes and reflect your personality. Be careful though, at the end of the day you need to keep your eyes on your game, and not on your gorgeous gaming PC! Let’s take a look at how to make your PC look its best.
The RGB Basics
Let’s start with the basics. What is RGB? RGB means red green and blue. These three colours can combine to produce over 16 million different colours. This means it’s easy to find some combination of colours that you’ll love. You can choose anything from a discreet single colour to the full kaleidoscope of rainbow colours and patterns. The choice is yours!
In addition to the RGB functionality that’s built into a product, most motherboards and several other products have headers on board for connecting and synchronising RGB equipped parts. There are two different types of RGB header, RGB and ARGB. A standard RGB header is usually a 4-pin 12v connector. It’s adequate but limited in terms of its functionality, particularly the patterns and the way it cannot produce different colours on the same device. It can transition between different colours, but all the RGB LEDs on the device will still be the same colour at the same time. To truly get the most out of an RGB build, you’ll need ARGB, or addressable RGB. An addressable RGB header adds a controller that brings additional flexibility with multiple colours and control over a single device or strip, additional patterns and the ability to synchronise with other ARGB products. Many gaming themed motherboards carry one or more ARGB headers, so this is something to look out for if you’re planning a full on RGB build.
Choosing Your Parts
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, it’s time to look at what you’ll need for your build. Most gaming oriented motherboards and graphics cards have some sort of RGB lighting on board. That’s not all though. All sorts of products are available with RGB including cases, memory, CPU coolers, fans and even things like SSDs, power supplies (PSUs) and of course, peripherals. Mwave carries a full range of RGB equipped products. You don’t need to have RGB built into all of your components though. Even something as simple as adding a fan or LED strip will bring a touch of class to your build. If you really want to show off your build, of course you’ll want a PC case with a tempered glass side panel (or even a TG front panel). Having a beautiful system is no good if you can’t see it!
The motherboard is the heart of the system and your choice of motherboard will go a long way to determining the final look of your build. Many motherboards have their own built in lighting effects, but a key consideration is the central role the motherboard plays in the system, particularly regarding the number and type of RGB headers it has built-in. We’d also consider sticking with the same brand of motherboard and graphics card so that you can use that vendor’s RGB software application to control both.
All of the major vendors have applications to control their RGB implementations. Asus has its Aura Sync, Gigabyte has its RGB Fusion and MSI has Mystic Light. They all function in much the same way and all are quite broadly compatible with different vendors’ kit, but they are not a one –for-all solution. If you’re looking at adding components, it’s definitely worth checking the motherboard manufacturers’ website to see if the RGB of the product you’re adding is supported.
Sadly, without a common RGB standard, you might have to download additional software suites to control the lighting on a particular device. All of the major manufacturers have them including Corsair, CoolerMaster, NZXT or Thermaltake amongst many others. They all have similar RGB control functions, while some may have additional features including monitoring or even overclocking support. Many of these makers also make their own peripherals which include functionality such as per-key RGB support or things like heat mapping.
Whatever your choice of brand or whether you’re after a little or a lot of RGB lighting, check out Mwave’s comprehensive range components, peripherals and accessories. Or if you would rather not build your own system, consider a Ready to Go Gaming PC or a Custom PC. And don’t forget to get in touch with us if you have any questions.
Some Things To Keep In Mind
While addressable RGB is nice to have when looks are the absolute priority, don’t assume that you can’t use a regular RGB header for amazing effects. A well placed RGB strip or fans with the colour(s) you like, or even a rotating spectrum of colours still looks amazing. Where possible, try to limit the number of different vendors products you use. If you can have the same brand of CPU cooler, fans, case and memory etc, you’re less likely to run into any software compatibility issues or quirks + it will make it simpler to control everything. Simplicity and ease of use are strong considerations.
If you’re building a great RGB lit PC, don’t forget the importance of cable management, which means planning the build assembly in the right way from the start. A good case with good cable management characteristics goes a long way. Also, for additional bling, consider adding RGB cable management accessories such as the Lian Li Strimer 24-pin & 8-pin RGB Extension Cables or NZXT HUE 2 RGB Cable Comb Accessory.
It’s highly unlikely that a motherboard has enough RGB headers to control all the components in your system. In this case, consider something like a NZXT HUE 2 RGB Lighting Kit or a Corsair Commander PRO Link Control Unit. These add additional control functionality and are useful for systems with multiple RGB fans. They can also be stashed out of the way behind the motherboard tray along with their connected cables for a cleaner system build. Be aware that they usually require connection via an internal USB header (typically USB 2.0). Most modern motherboards may only have one or two internal USB connections so it may be necessary to purchase an internal USB hub such as the NZXT Internal 5-Port USB Hub.
Just remember to keep your eyes on your screen and not your dazzling gaming PC! Well, at least not all the time. It’s a bit like sitting around a campfire at night, your eyes are constantly drawn to the flickering flames. In much the same way, your eyes will be drawn to your beautiful RGB PC! Browse Mwave for all your RGB needs.