RGB

Good RGB – Installing A-RGB fans with a non RGB motherboard

Today we’re setting up some ARGB fans with a motherboard that doesn’t have any RGB or ARGB headers to see what’s involved. We’ll also be controlling these via software, so we can enjoy all the customisation options that come with the latest addressable RGB kits!

For this we’re going to be using our favourite Cooler Master ARGB 3x Fan Kit as it has a fan controller included, before we get stuck into the install we’ll just take a quick look at what comes inside the box.

– A-RGB LED Small Controller
– SATA & Thermal Detection Cable
– 1 to 3 A-RGB Cable & Cable to sync MB
– 1 to 3 Fan Power Cable Splitter
– Thermal Detector
– 3x 120mm A-RGB Fans
– 12 Fan Screws
– User Manual + Warranty Information Booklet

OK let’s get into it! (insert great pic from manual)

First, we connected the ARGB Cable (it’s got 3 pins, shown below) and the Fan Power Cable Splitter (ignoring the Asus and Gigabyte connectors) to the appropriate connectors on the fan cables. The ARGB and Fan Power connector types are clearly marked on the cables with white tags. The green arrows below show the little triangles that match up.

We then connected the ARGB Cable 5 pin connector and the SATA & Thermal Detection Cable 4 pin connector to the controller.

Finally, we connected the SATA & Thermal Detection Cable into the Thermal Detector and SATA power connector from the PSU.

When turning on the PC we had success, the fans were running fine and the LEDs lit up – able to be controlled through the buttons on the ARGB controller.

With everything running as it should, we then started fitting these new components within the gaming PC. For maximum visibility, we’ve replaced both fans on our CPU cooler and installed the third fan onto the rear of the case. Given this setup involves the CPU cooler, the splitter cable was removed and the power cables for the fans were instead connected directly to the motherboard.

The ARGB controller is easy to mount into the case as it is magnetic, and with you’ll have a few static colours, cooler effects and the beautiful ARGB rainbow mode – but we want software controls for more customisation options!

The Manual that comes in the box states you can download software on Cooler Master’s website. We definitely wanted to see if we could make use of the controller to configure the fans through software, so we loaded up Cooler Master’s website to take a look. However, the download tab on the ARGB Controller and this Fan kit’s page had no software or firmware to download (we’ve let them know, by the time you read this it has quite possibly been updated)

After searching the MasterLiquid ARGB pages we found that they had the following downloads though, so we continued on!

ARGB BOX Firmware (This is a newer version than the one we originally used, which was v1.0.0.1)
ARGB Lighting Control Software v0.0.86

This fan kit doesn’t actually come with a MicroUSB cable or internal USB Header adapter but luckily we had one, after connecting the controller via that cable and adapter we installed the Software but weren’t able to detect the controller...

So we then went on to installing the firmware which allowed us to detect the controller as the larger 4 port version 🙂

PLEASE NOTE: This may affect the functionality of the temperature detection

Now, onto connecting the Fans and Controller through the software 🙂

Here we opened up the detected controller and then navigated to the configuration page.

Once on the configuration page, we added the single MasterFan ARGB option (indicated by the double light bulb icon) via the + symbol. (The MasterLiquid options also work but aren’t really needed since the controller only has one port to control.)

This will add the fan into the top left-hand corner, next, we click on the light bulb icon of the added fan.

Then connect that to the first controller port by clicking on the light bulb icon with the A1 next to it.

OK, now that tricky bit is done, we can begin changing the LED modes and individual LED colours! As we have our fans connected to the first port on our controller we can configure and customize through the overview tab.

From the overview tab, you can select the different patterns for the LEDs.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to changing the firmware the button on the controller that cycles the modes is changed to match this order.

– Motherboard (Dark Blue)
– Spectrum Cycle
– Single Slide Mode
– Double Slide Mode
– Breathe Mode
– Accumulate Mode
– Demo Mode
– Customization
– Turn Off

If you select the Customization option you can select the colour for each individual LED!

Ahhh that was both tricky and fun 🙂 ARGB fans can definitely work on motherboards that don’t have RGB or ARGB headers and can be configured using the software. Remember that the Cooler Master ARGB MasterFan Kit includes a controller, but you might need to get your own MicroUSB cable and internal USB Header adapter for it to look super clean 😛 (cowboy mode plugging the micro USB cable into a USB port on the outside of your PC work though)

LED ON!

 

 

Good Gaming Speakers – Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC Speakers

The new Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC RGB Speakers deliver amazing audio for PC games and thanks to in-game integration that can actually give a visual representation of what’s happening in a range of games that support these smart new features.

Brightness adjustments and further customisation is all accessible via the Logitech Gaming Software, with a large selection of animation effects to choose from and the standard 16.8 million colour wheel 😛 All this is able to be tweaked to suit your own personal preferences over the four lighting zones and then saved to profiles so you can hot swap with ease later on.

The two rear lighting zones on the speakers are intended to deliver rear ambient projection to further enhance your environment and the front-facing lights are more for active and informational lighting.

Right now the compatible games list includes Tom Clancy’s the Division, GTA V, Battlefield 1 and 18 other titles. The way in which each interact with the speakers is quite unique and you can check out a couple in action within this G560 review video.  The satellite speaker also serves as a bit of an audio controller hub as well, with access to the volume controls, a Logitech programmable G-key, and also a handy 3.5mm headphone jack. Bluetooth pairing is done the usual way with the touch of a button, but these speakers can pair to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously which is a nice touch.

We can’t wait to see what brilliant ways people come up with to use these new lighting options, with the SDK available to all it’s just going to take a few talented devs to jump in and it’s game on.

 

 

Good Gaming PC – RGB fans that show temperature and system usage

Recently we teamed up with our friends at PB Tech for a quick YouTube Guide on How to Make Your PC Dust Free and in this we used their cheapest RGB triple fan kit, the Segotep RexGB to sidestep the issue of running out of fan connections on a motherboard so the video would be more helpful.

Now this led to a question on why it was significantly cheaper? compared with something like the Cooler master MasterFan Pro Triple Fan Kit ($48.99 vs $138.99 at time of writing this)

Before we get into the advantages offered by the Cooler Master Kit below is a quick video showing some of the lighting options offered by the Segotep RexGB.

We can all agree the Segotep RGB fan kit is pretty awesome to look at and they definitely provide excellent cooling for the price also, however… The Cooler Master MasterFan Pro RGB fans can be used to allow for a visual indication of system component usage, PC heat levels and more! When you install the Cooler Master fans, you’ll notice these have two cables coming off each, one is a standard 4pin fan header and another is a special RGB header connection – the kit also includes a HUB but we won’t use this for AURA features so be sure you’ve got 3x fan headers ready to go.

This connects to the RGB header on our motherboard, not all motherboards have the right version of these though, double check the motherboard says either AURA for Asus and FUSION for Gigabyte or Aorus.

In our testing system we’re running an Asus X370F Motherboard which only has 2x RGB headers, however, so we’ll be adding in the Cooler Master 1-3 RGB Splitter Cable – this will leave one of our motherboard headers free for future upgrades too. (TIP! There are little arrows on the RGB cables that align as shown in the image below, if you do one of these backwards the colours won’t sync!)

Because we’ve got the Asus Motherboard we’ll be using the software package called AURA in our guide, looking at the Cooler Master Fan box again you’ll notice this logo appears here as well.

Finding the AURA software package can be a little tricky, it’s not on the official drivers or utilities website for your motherboard or your fans – instead, you’ll want to go to this dedicated Asus AURA Download page, then select the download tab up top, then select the most recent version to trigger the download.

This will download as a zip file so unpack that, then run ‘setup’, it’s small and quick.

With our Aura software installed, you first need to calibrate our RGB before jumping into the special features. To do this simply select the ‘Settings’ tab in AURA, then click the calibrate button, from here it will ask you what colour your fan is, after you select each option it will change the colour and ask again, very easy!

How to calibrate your RGB Header with AURA at PB Tech

let’s start off with something useful, system component usage. Using these settings we can choose the colours displayed when the PC hits various marks under stress – at idle it’s a calm green, firing up moderate task gets us into a cool yellow, so we know our PC is processing things, but it’s still got plenty of power to use, firing up big game gives us a vibrant red signalling we’re using everything our PC has to power this task.

Show RGB depending on CPU load at PB Tech

Looking GOOD and also useful!

How about temperatures? For this one, it turned out to be a tough demo to do because along with all this RGB the fans also provided excellent airflow through our chassis… In the end we have to tweak our lighting zones markers as shown in the sliders below and even blow hot air into the PC via our trusty custom water pipe bending gun!

Show temperature through RGB at PB Tech

Pretty cool right? or maybe hot… anyways!

This is made possible by the technology built into the motherboard, and fans aside for a brief moment this same software can control other AURA ready components connected to the motherboard like our G.Skill ram, and it’s easy to sync every compatible part all from the one software package, this can be used to make your PC dance to music and all the usual pulse, strobe strobe, flashy flashy stuff.

There’s a lot more that can be done with Asus AURA with a little tinkering too, it’s actually pretty limitless as those fine folks at Asus also made the software development kit available.

We hope you enjoyed this quick guide on RGB PC fans with a purpose, be sure to keep your eyes on our Gaming PC Blog for the latest!

Good Gaming Motherboard – Asus Ryzen ROG PUGIO BONUS!

**THIS PROMOTION HAS NOW ENDED**

Those fine folks at Asus have a sweet bonus for those looking to build with Ryzen in their new system, a BONUS ROG Pugio RGB Gaming Mouse with selected Asus AM4 and TR Motherboards!

This is a register to redeem promotion so once you’ve got your awesome new hardware simply head to the Asus Redemption Site and follow the steps along to get your awesome new mouse, you’ll have to provide the receipt for your motherboard in this promotion so if you’re having a system builder assemble your new PC be sure to get the full parts list included on the invoice.

Asus Motherboards included in promotion as below

ASUS PRIME X370-PRO

ASUS ROG STRIX X370-F <- Excellent features and value

ASUS Prime PRIME X399-A

ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VI HERO

ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VI Extreme

ASUS ROS STRIX X370-I GAMING Mini ITX

This  ROG STRIX PUGIO mouse is pretty special too, it first appeared in New Zealand around the time of TechXpo 2017 and was a hit at the show, an ambidextrous gaming mouse it’s got some sweet configurable magnetic side buttons that let decide on your own side button layout, with exclusive push-fit switch sockets offer variable click resistance. The PUGIO also features some truly stunning aesthetics to match its performance – including angular ASUS Aura RGB light channels that can be controlled with Aura Sync!

Good Gaming PC Case – The SilverStone RVZ-03 Mini

Another great SilverStone chassis called the RVZ-03 has just landed in New Zealand and we couldn’t resist opening it up to see what improvements they’ve made over the already excellent Raven series we’ve been loving since it’s original release back in 2014!

Starting off with the packaging this little chassis comes in a very sturdy black box which is easiest to open up from the large flat sides, rather than the top like regular sized cases we usually see. Once you’ve opened it up you’ll see a neatly foam packed chassis inside, enclosed within a scratch safe protective black bag.

Removing the outer protective packaging and opening every up reveals a massive assortment of goodies inside, all neatly arranged within clear bags. Amongst all this we’ve got all our essential screws, cable ties and brackets but also SilverStone have included 3x magnetic fan dust filters which are great to see, especially considering this small form-factor gaming chassis is very likely going to end up in the living room 🙂

Taking a closer look at the chassis itself we find an additional 2x 120mm low profile fans have been included with this case, both along the graphics card bay. These SilverStone LP fans are thin but extremely good at both moving air (1500rpm) and remaining pretty quiet (800rpm sweet spot) – which is quite the task for any small build like this as the CPU and GPU chambers can get pretty warm when you’re gaming – from our previous experience building in small chassis, the graphics card fans have to work quite hard and without adequate ventilation like this, they can get pretty darn hot!

Even though it’s really small the case is able to fit long graphics cards up to 33cm long, including aftermarket versions with various degrees of thickness still fitting (we’ll check just how fat you can go in our first build) and to hold these firmly in place you’ll find a four pack of 3M adhesive domes that can be positioned as needed to hold your chosen graphics card securely.

For the CPU bay we have space for cooling options up to 8.3cm tall, so if you’re thinking of grabbing a new Ryzen 3, the included Wraith Spire cooler is going to fit, Ryzen motherboard wise with the case having ITX form factor we recommend getting something like the GA-AB350N which also features WiFi onboard.  

When choosing a power supply for your build you’ll also need to ensure this fits within the 15cm caddy, something like the EVGA SuperNOVA 550w is perfect – going modular here will free up more space inside your build for better airflow.

The RVZ-03 Mini PC Case has two front USB 3.0 ports on the front of the case along with twin 3.5mm ports, for connecting a gaming headset, but this latest version now also sports a really nice looking RGB trim along the front which is connected to an included LSB01 RGB controller!

We can’t wait to show you our mini PC builds with this exciting new case (as I write this we’ve already begun building some cool GTX 1050Ti, GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 builds with a range of different power supplies) and will update this blog with pictures from each, but anyways – onto the best bit – Those talented engineers at SilverStone have created an exceptionally good chassis here, not only is this one of the best options for building a small Gaming PC, but they’ve improved upon their already excellent Raven mini series by allowing for that larger power supply to be fitted, often reducing the total system cost and providing more options to those wanting to build a PC that’s small. The RGB lighting is nice to see also (pun intended), even more so with such a nice controller included in the kit, combine that with the 3x 120mm fans included and the value of the chassis really shines – on that note we happily give this case our GGPC Recommends Award  – The SilverStone RVZ-03 is GOOD!

Good Gaming PC – The ROG GR8 II Mini Gaming PC!

The Asus Republic of Gamers GR8 II is a Gaming PC that packs excellent gaming performance into a very cool, very small package.

Perfect for those who want all the power of a desktop Gaming PC, but are looking for something really small it’s pretty similar in size to current-generation consoles standing at a short 29cm tall. Unlike many of the little PC we see though, this one actually fits a real desktop i5-7400 CPU inside perfectly paired with a 3GB GTX 1060 which gives us excellent performance in games. Built in 802.11ac Wi-Fi provides a fast, stable connection while playing online games or streaming movies, the GR8 II also sports a handy Bluetooth v4.2 for connecting everything from smartphones to headsets – speaking of headsets, the shape and size of the GR8 II make it a pretty good headset holder too!

On the back of the chassis, you’ll find 2x HDMI outputs making it ideal for a Virtual Reality setup, you can connect both your HTC Vive VR Headset and a TV for really good group gaming session in the lounge 🙂 It’s upgradable too, simple slide-off covers make for easy access to the M.2 SSD and additional 2.5” HDD/SSD storage slots for quick upgrades.

Looking good with a clean matte black finish, the chiseled, sharply-angled side panels and plasma copper-coloured centre come together in an eye-catching way, even though it’s much smaller than most other gaming desktops the perfectly-framed ROG Eye on the side panel along with some sweet Aura effects across the front face make this mini Gaming PC stand out from the rest!

GAME ON!

 

 

Good Gaming Speakers – Creative Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 RGB!

Just landed in New Zealand! The Sound BlasterX Kratos S5 Gaming Speakers is the latest, best-in-class 2.1 gaming speaker system from those talented audio wizards at Creative. This new set is designed to sound great and look good too with an Aurora Reactive lighting system 😛 The pack contains two 4” satellite speakers and a 6.5” subwoofer built entirely out of wood for better resonance damping delivering clear highs, detailed mid-range, and deeeeep bass.

Setup is easier than ever, the left and right speakers connect to the subwoofer and from there to your Gaming PC via a USB cable. Optionally if you want to connect them to a something via a classic 3.5mm it also includes a dual RCA-to-stereo adapter which is nice.

You can use the speakers ‘as is’ or optionally install the Creative Sound Connect software package which has preset modes for specific games like Overwatch (brilliant!) and Dota 2 but also additional modes for concerts, movies and much much more. Power and volume control is done directly from the handy control pod with a twist of a large knob, you can also connect your Gaming Headset and/or Microphone via this pod to help keep everything convenient and tidy 🙂

 

Essentially, Creative have made a really nice set of speakers and then added RGB lighting just to top it all off. The Aurora Reactive system gives customisable RGB LED lighting along the base of the satellite speakers , you can choose from six presets or tweak colours and patterns to match your other RGB savvy gear – you could even integrate it with other Aurora Reactive enabled gaming gear like the Creative Sound BlasterX Siege M04 Gaming Mouse or Vanguard K08 Gaming Keyboard \o/

GAME ON!

 

Good Motherboard – Massive ROG Towel Bonus

GGPC ROG Motheboard Bath Towel BONUS

UPDATE: Promotion extended, now 1st June 2017 to 31st July 2017.

Asus Republic of Gamers have a sweet new bonus offer available now for those gearing up with selected ROG STRIX series motherboards, it’s BIG, RED and is the leading cause of dry skin in the world – a giant ROG towel \o/

With all the rain lately in NZ this promo really couldn’t have come at a better time, when summer returns it’ll also be great for the beach, it’s certainly easy to spot 🙂

Asus ROG STRIX motherboards have killer looks and an all important feature which allows you to control a host of RGB devices from a single software package – we’ve done some special builds to demonstrate this and we know you’ll agree, when building a PC around Asus AURA RGB things really do look good!

GGPC ASUS ROG AURA SYNC

Getting your ROG bonus is pretty easy, once you’ve geared up with your killer new motherboard simply visit the ASUS Redemption Site to fill in your details on the form below.

Not all the motherboards listed in this promotion on the Asus website are available in NZ right now and others have just arrived making them a little hard to find, below are quick links so you can check them out – we’ll add to this as more arrive 🙂

ASUS STRIX Z270E GAMING

ASUS STRIX Z270F GAMING <- We used this one in the build above

ASUS STRIX Z270H GAMING

ASUS ROG STRIX H270F GAMING

ASUS ROG STRIX Z270G GAMING

ASUS ROG STRIX Z270I GAMING

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS IX HERO <- We used this in our Corsair Black Sails build \o/

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS IX CODE

ASUS MAXIMUS IX FORMULA

GAME ON!

 

 

GOOD GAMING PC – CORSAIR RGB RAM WITH GIGABYTE AORUS FUSION!

GGPC RGB RAM Corsair Vengence and Gigabyte Aorus Fusion

If you’re lucky enough to be packing a Gigabyte Aorus Motherboard in your Gaming PC there’s a really cool update that will let you tweak Corsairs new RGB Vengeance RAM kits within the existing Gigabyte FUSION app we already use to customise our zone lighting. These new kits light up in one entire colour at a time rather than having individual zones, so we’re limited to showing a single colour per stick but we could still have four fitted each with their own colours, the Corsair RGB currently does four standard light effects — static, rainbow, breathing and colour shift.

Right now those with GIGABYTE Fusion enabled motherboards will be able to control their Corsair Vengeance RGB RAM as well, you can still control things via Corsair Link software but having one software package to control everything is the goal, just like we did with the MasterCase Pro 6 PC Part Picker build so we can’t wait to try this out with Fusion here at GGPC 😛

GGPC PCPartPicker Trident Z RGB Ram Build

The FUSION desktop app itself is really easy to use, but what makes this one sooo appealing for us is it actually has a smartphone companion app as well and with it you can customise things from your android smartphone – you can download the Gigabyte RGB Fusion Smartphone App on Google Play \o/ It’s important to note that this app will likely need an update to add the new ram functionality and there is sometimes a little tinkering you must do around permissions in order to pair your system with the app, thankfully Jon Colón left a review on the app which explains it with details “UPDATE: In order for this program to work, open windows firewall with advanced security. Under inbound rules click “New Rule” – Click port then next. You need to add TCP 9009, UDP 1980 and UDP 19801″

GGPC Gigbyate Aorus RGB Fusion App

Fun times ahead for sure – if you just can’t wait to start playing around with this awesome new tech below are links to some of our favourite FUSION ready motherboards and also the G.Skill RGB kits which are available in New Zealand right now!

Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 <- Ryzen ready!

Gigabyte GA-Gaming B8 <- Perfect for Nvidia themed custom PC

Gigabyte GA-B250N Phoenix-WIFI <- Best small form factor motherboard

Gigabyte GA-H270-Gaming 3 <- Great for Black/Red themed builds and excellent value

Gigabyte GA-Z270MX-Gaming 5 <- Mid sized and SLi ready

Gigabyte Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming K5 <- We used this in our GeForce Custom Gaming PC Design \o/

Gigabyte Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming 5 <- Excellent for the Black/White base theme with RGB on top

G.Skill RGB Trident Z 2400Mhz Kit -> 2x8GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB

 

 

Good Gaming Mouse – Getting into grips with the MasterMouse Pro L

Cooler Master MasterMouse NZ

UPDATE: The Cooler Master MasterMouse Pro L is available in New Zealand now!

Another awesome piece of gaming gear from Computex is here!

Arm yourself with the MasterMouse Pro L and customise your grip with modular top and side covers.  This new kind of gaming mouse reminds us a bit of the James Donkey 007 and includes 2x unique top covers combined with two pairs of magnetic side panels. This allows for several grip configurations so you can make a mouse that works best for you and the games you are wanting to play 🙂 Another cool bit is that Cooler Master have made 3D Print models for the MasterMouse Pro L available freely if you would like to make things for yourself, just like they did with the recently announced MasterPulse Headset.

Nearly every inch of the MasterMouse Pro L’s body is covered in a matte UV coating – this is highly durable and won’t peel, wear, or tarnish. Both of the main buttons are equipped with Omron switches guaranteed to last 20 million clicks and the cable has been built to endure even the most dedicated gamer 😛 We shall see CM… Challenge accepted!

The MasterMouse Pro L offers 8 programmable buttons that can be easily expanded up to 14+1 switch button thanks to the Storm Tactix function. Assign the Storm Tactix button based on your preference and press it to enable your secondary button functions. There is also a DPI switch which is found on the bottom right side of the mouse but even this can be reassigned to any other button, great news for the snipers among us who are looking to switch DPI levels on-the-fly.

On the inside you’ll find a PixArt PMW3360 optical sensor delivering up to 12000 DPI with no interpolation and no acceleration and a 32-bit ARM processor which allows you to record and play back complex macros, as well as save all of your settings for use on any computer without software, 512KB on-board memory allows you to take your macros with you wherever you go 🙂

If you do jump into the software package you’re in for a treat and can customize DPI levels, illumination, button functions and advanced sensor settings (lift of distance, angle snapping, angle turnability, sensitivity) within, you can also tweak the RGB lighting on the mouse wheel together with the back beam and then for both front sides – and then save up to five separate illumination profiles with multiple effects options and switch between them at will \o/

Cooler Master MasterMouse Software

Lucky for us we were able to get hands on with this one a little early and it’s very impressive! On that note we happily give this new breed of Cooler Master gaming mouse our GGPC recommends award – The MASTER MOUSE IS GOOD!

GGPC Good Gaming Mouse Cooler Master

Keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog for more of the latest and best in Gaming Gear!