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How to RGB: A system builder’s guide to RGB PC lighting

How to RGB: A system builder’s guide to RGB PC lighting
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Corsair has a lot to answer for.

In 2014, the PC parts specialist debuted the world's first mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX RGB switches. The idea, according to Corsair, was to provide the ultimate in keyboard customisation by individually lighting each key with an LED capable of displaying one of 16.8 million colours. Coupled with some bundled software, users could light up the WASD keys in a different colour for use with shooters, turn the number key row into a real-time cool-down timer, or turn the entire keyboard into a garish music visualiser. Unfortunately for Corsair, so bad was the bundled software that most people simply took to setting the keyboard up with the most eye-searing rainbow effect possible and called it a day.

Which brings us neatly onto the current state of the enthusiast PC. What started with a single keyboard has grown into an industry of RGB-capable components, peripherals, and cases designed for maximum levels of rainbow-coloured nonsense. Indeed, alongside the inclusion of tempered glass side panels, RBG lighting has been the de facto trend for 2017—so much so that it's harder to find components without the tech rather than with it.

Until recently, however, getting all those RGB components to work together has been a slog. There are proprietary standards like Corsair Cue, wacky connectors like those on Phanteks' RGB strips, and components that require special breakout boxes in order to function, like Thermaltake's eye-catching Riing fans. What has changed is that motherboard-makers have finally gotten 'round to integrating standardised RGB connectors and controllers into their motherboards, providing a central hub for all RGB components, and—with the help of software—a way to sync them all together for all manner of flashy visual effects.


While I've personally never been a fan of the garish gamer aesthetic, in the spirit of trying something new as the industry hits peak RGB, I'm giving RGB a go. And not just any old RGB. I've assembled a collection of the biggest and best RGB components the industry has to offer, from motherboards and memory through to keyboards and monitors (yes, there are monitors with RGB lighting). And even if you're not into overblown desktops, as this tutorial should hopefully explain, there are ways to make tasteful RGB systems that don't descend into explosions of colourful unicorn vom.

Let's talk about standards

Contrary to what some component manufacturers might have you believe, there is something of a standard for RGB lighting, which originated from its use in home interiors rather than desktop computer systems. It's a simple four-wire connector with male and female ends, with the wires divided into red, green, and blue signals (hence, RGB), and a 12V line for power. Most LED strips for the home use the connector, which typically has an arrow to indicate which wire is the 12V wire. This matters, because some component manufacturers have decided to implement their own version of the RGB standard, which often changes the order of the wiring, even if the connector itself is identical.

CoolerMaster's MasterFan Pro fans use a PWM header and a standard four-pin RGB header for wide compatibility.
RGB System Specs
CPUIntel Core i9-7900K @4.5GHz
RAMCorsair Vengeance RGB DDR4 @ 3200MHz
HDDCorsair MP500 480GB M.2 SSD
MotherboardAsus ROG Strix X299 Gaming-E
Power SupplyCorsair HX1200i
CoolingCoolerMaster MasterLiquid Pro 280
FanCoolerMaster MasterFan Pro RGB
PeripheralsAsus ROG Claymore Core keyboard, ROG Pugio mouse, ROG Strix XG27VQ monitor

Motherboard vendors typically use the standard connection, although even then there are differences. Gigabyte uses a five-pin RGB connector, with the fifth pin reserved for use with LED strips that use a dedicated white LED, instead of blasting out all the colours together to simulate white. Fortunately, it uses the default 12V GRB order for wiring, which also features on Asus and MSI motherboards.


The best way to tell if your RGB components will work together is to simply consult your preferred motherboard-maker's compatibility page, like Asus Aura. For the most part, all the listed components will either use the standard RGB connector or—like in the case of Phantek's RGB strips—can be converted to do so with a readily available adaptor.

At the time of writing, the Asus Aura list has expanded to cover dozens of different components and manufacturers, including the likes of InWin, CableMod, Bitfenix, CoolerMaster, and Akasa. There are multiple cases with built-in RGB lighting that work with Asus' Aura Sync software, along with RGB strips, case fans, coolers, and even memory and power supplies. Most components use a three-pin RGB connector to function, although some components like memory don't require it at all. Both G.Skill RGB memory and Corsair Vengeance RGB memory communicate directly with the motherboard, which makes for a clean installation (Geil memory, by contrast, requires you to run an unsightly cable to each memory stick).

Corsair's RGB memory is controlled via the motherboard, avoiding unsightly cable runs.

Most motherboards come with two RGB headers, each supplying 12V of power. However, if you have a particularly large PC case that you plan on filling with multiple RGB fans, each requiring its own header, this quickly becomes a problem. Some fans, like In Win's Aurora range, can be daisy-chained together but require a separate breakout box to provide power and avoid overloading the 12V connection on the motherboard. Third-party solutions like Silverstone's LSB01 are also an option, which splits a single RGB header into eight while supplying extra power via a molex connector.

Unfortunately, the LSB01 costs a hefty $35/£35, but it does come with a pair of RGB LED strips. A cheaper option, should you have more modest needs, is to split the RGB headers in two. Cables like this four-pin splitter from Amazon, which costs a mere $5/£4 for two, work perfectly.

Sours: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/09/how-to-build-rgb-pc/

You don’t need expertise in hardware to connect RGB fans to Motherboard. With proper research and basic knowledge, it can be done easily. You can manage to connect RGB fans to the motherboard with the help of this article. However, putting yourself on the line without knowledge doesn’t make sense. Therefore, read the instructions before you jump on the mechanism.

  • Always put the RGB fans and their parts in a secure place.
  • Make sure RGB fans are far away from high-temperature machines (like heaters) or, a place that contains high-temperature.
  • Keep RGB fans at distance to the impeller.
  • Do not tweak any wiring or connection for the experiment.
  • Do not use fans outside the computer case.
  • Keep it safe from any type of liquid.
  • Keep the case of your computer dirt-free.
  • Last but most importantly, keep your system’s power off until installation is done.

RGB fans are of various types, whether you purchase it, come with the case, or already installed.

Steps To Connect RGB Fans To Motherboard

There are three types of RGB fans that can be connected to the motherboard.

  • 3-Pin RGB fans
  • 4-Pin RGB fans
  • Motherboard without the headers

With a 3-pin and a 4-pin fan, you don’t need a spare tool to connect them whereas a motherboard without the headers will need some tools to make the connection work.

Once you have read the instruction and identified properly, you are good to go.

Connecting 3-Pin RGB Fans

3 Pin Connectors

The 3-Pin RGB fans are also called DC fans. These RGB fans are controlled by voltage and are simpler and cheaper in rate. Fans like this produce more noise.

The method connecting 3-Pin RGB fans is applicable only if you have three cables in the connector. Usually, a 3-Pin fan connector is smaller than a 4-Pin fan connector. It has three holes of square-shape on the front and three wires at the back. These pins are black for ground, red for power, and yellow for speed sensors respectively.

3 Pin Connector in 4 Pin Headers

Also, note that you can connect the 3-Pin fan with either a 3-Pin header or a 4-Pin header on the motherboard. It will function the same in both cases. Before you proceed, don’t forget to turn off the power button.

Follow the steps for 3-pin RGB fans installation.

  • Separate the case.
  • Always read the instructions provided in a manual with the packaging. No matter if you are new or an experienced one, you should not avoid the manual.
  • Usually, the manufacturers label the slots/ports. Hence, you can easily find out the RGB mark. It is written over there.
  • Take out your RGB fans and the mounts provided in it. Now, connect the RGB fan connector that has two guides. Connect it with fan headers on the motherboard.
  • Press tight enough that it gets connected properly.

Now, the connections are done, it is time to place the RGB fans in the case. Place the fans in the front or rear side of the case and pack them properly.

Connecting 4-Pin RGB Fans

4 Pin Connectors

The 4-Pins RGB fans are also called Pulse-width modulation (PWM) fans. Such fans are significantly more powerful and have higher RPM. 4-Pins fans are widely used because users have better control over them. These fans are superior to the others, as they do not make noise and function quietly.

The method connecting 4-Pin RGB fans is applicable only if you have four cables in the connector. You cannot put them into a three cable in the connector. Thereby, it has four holes of square-shape on the front and four wires at the back.

Also, note that you can connect the 4-pin fan to a 3-pin header on the motherboard. However, it will run at full speed.

Follow the steps for 4-Pin RGB fans installation.

4 Pin RGB Connector
  • Separate the case.
  • Always read the instructions provided in a manual with the packaging. No matter if you are new or an experienced one, you should not avoid the manual.
  • Usually, the manufacturers label the slots/ports. Hence, you can easily find out the RGB mark. It is written over there.
  • Now insert the 4-pin RGB fans connector into the fan header on the motherboard.
4 Pin Header
  • Press tight enough that it gets connected properly.

Now the connections are made, customize the RGB fan. You can either place the RGB fan at the rear side of the case or in the front for the lights to be seen. Be sure to close the case properly.

The method to connect RGB fans to motherboard without headers is quite different from the above two methods. For such a connection, you need to bring all the tools in one place.

Tools: RGB fan controller that comes with a four-pin dual connector and a power cable.

Follow the steps to connect RGB fans to motherboard without headers.

Connect RGB Fans Without Header
  • Open the case.
  • Bring the 4-Pin dual connector. It is an essential tool for a motherboard without a header.
  • Now, insert the 4-Pin dual connector to the RGB fan’s pin slot cable.
  • After that, the slot-cable has a way to connect, insert the other remaining end to the RGB fan’s controller.
  • The other end of the controller has a slot for power input (a small one) to connect it to the power cable.
  • You can see the power cable has another end that is specifically to connect to the SATA cable of the power supply. The SATA cable provides power to the RGB fan at the time of operation.

Now, the connections are made, place the fan and lead inside the case. Be sure to close the case properly.

Benefits of RGB Fans

The greatest benefit is that you can connect RGB fans to motherboard on your own. RGB fans are important in the PC. They can control the temperature on the CPU by keeping it cool. You can even buy remote-operated RGB fans that are commercially available.

Can I plug RGB fans into motherboard?

Yes, you can plug RGB fans headers into the motherboard.

How do I know if my motherboard supports RGB?

All the information will be available on the manual come along with motherboard in the packaging. From the manual you will know whether a motherboard supports RGB fans header or not.

Can 3 pin fans plug into 4 pin?

Yes, you can plug 3 Pin fans to 4 Pin headers.

Sours: https://fixingport.com/connect-rgb-fans-to-motherboard/
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Mystic Light RGB Gaming PC
Recommended RGB PC Parts & Peripherals

MSI Mystic Light

MSI Mystic Light provides you complete control of RGB lighting of your PC in one software, including your RGB motherboard / graphics card and PC case lighting.
With Mystic Light Sync compatible products, you can build the all around RGB PC and add some glowing vibes to your whole gaming setup.
Still not satisfied? MSI Mystic Light Extension allows you to decorate your gaming PC with RGB LED strips for synchronized lighting, so you can easily customize and control the RGB lights over your RGB motherboard and the system.


Ambient Link

Team up with AAA game publisher, Ambient Link perfectly synchronizes MSI Mystic Light products with on-screen gaming, as well as the compatible lighting accessories, such as Nanoleaf Light Panels and Philip Hue Go. With Ambient Link, it's easy for gamers to create a realistic ambient lighting that is simulated via in-game color schemes, and extend the gaming world into the gamers' RGB PC setup and the whole room.

*Only available in selected models.


Mystic Light Effect Demo

  • Off
  • Breathing
  • Wave
  • Flashing
  • Double flashing
  • Meteor
  • Lightning
  • Rainbow
  • Random
  • Stack
  • Pop
  • Rap
  • Jazz
  • Play
  • Movie
  • CPU Temp

Sours: https://www.msi.com/Landing/mystic-light-rgb-gaming-pc/
Motherboard without 12V RGB Header? - C10L RGB Controller

How do I control the RGB lighting on my system?


There are two possible ways you can control the RGB lighting on your system, depending on the configuration of your MAINGEAR system:

  • Use the remote control. If the remote is not responsive then you will need to switch the RGB controller from motherboard controlled to remote controlled. To do this, remove the rear side panel from your chassis and locate the RGB/Fan controller. On the top side of the controller there is a switch, flip it (On the TURBO this controller is in the rear near the power extension cable).RGB in the system should now respond to the remote. Remember to remove the plastic tab from the remote, if it isn't removed already.
  • Use the RGB control software that corresponds with the manufacturer of your motherboard. The manufacturer of your motherboard can be found branded on the motherboard itself or on your invoice. These are typically pre-installed on your system, but if you've uninstalled them or had to re-install Windows on your computer, you can find links for each manufacturer and the name of the software that corresponds to it below:

ASUS: ASUS Aura Sync
MSI: MSI Mystic Light
Gigabyte: Gigabyte RGB Fusion

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Sours: https://help.maingear.com/article/47-how-do-i-control-the-rgb-on-my-system

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