The best RGB lighting kit will bathe your setup in a glorious rainbow of color. It will sync with your peripherals in an immense, effervescent light show, stopping your PC from looking stale. It's not as simple as slapping any old RGB lighting strip onto your PC; you need one that aligns with your existing color scheme and current color obsession.
Seriously, don't let the gamers sporting bland BeQuiet cases and beige Noctua fans dishearten your quest for luminosity. Shine bright like a freaking tesla arc, mate. You do you. And with one of the best RGB LED kits inside your machine, form, and function can go hand in hand.
If you're just dabbling in RGB, a synced keyboard and mouse light show might be your limit, but it’s another thing altogether to completely engulf your PC case, gaming monitor, and desk in splendid unified brilliance. It is a thing of beauty when you get it right, and it has the power to brighten a long, boring workday.
I've personally saturated my setup with many RGB lighting kits over the years and have now pulled together a list of my favorites so you can decide which suits you. Usually, the options involve RGB LED strips and come with a base station that you can install to add some color to your gaming PC. While you can buy strips of RGB LEDs pretty much anywhere, the best RGB lighting will let you set lighting patterns, and sync them up to your components, usually via software or a remote.
NZXT has been at the forefront of this movement for over six years now following the release of its original HUE lighting sytstem. In late 2015, the company released the HUE+, an industry first for smart addressable RGB lighting controlled by its CAM software. Now the company has unveiled its HUE 2 lighting ecosystem and we couldn't be more impressed.
They may not be as flashy as Lian Li's fully RGB PSU cable, but the HUE 2 cable combs add a beautiful accent to your sleeved PSU cables or extensions. With 18 individually addressable LEDS to configure, the Cable Comb already produces enough light to brighten up your build quite a bit. Once you add the regular HUE 2 strips and the HUE 2 underglow to the equation, that's when the real party starts.
Out of the box, the HUE 2 lighting kit comes with four LED strips for a total of 40 individually addressable LEDs. When combined with the 18 LEDs from the Cable Comb accessory and 30 LEDs from the HUE 2 Underglow, the HUE 2 ecosystem produces a staggering amount of RGB lighting. They are all easily controlled through CAM, which is important as you're definitely going to need to tone things down a bit to prevent too many distractions while gaming.
There's already an excess of RGB going on with the HUE 2, but we would've liked to see a bigger improvement in the LED strips. The HUE+ strips already had 10-LEDs each, so we were expecting higher LED density strips to produce smoother and brighter lighting animations with the HUE 2. Perhaps this is something NZXT already plans to address with one of the unannounced products.
Whether you're a diehard RGB fan or someone that prefers a subtle touch of accent lighting, NZXT's HUE 2 ecosystem has something for everyone. It's definitely on the pricier side of things when you compare DIY options, but unless you're an expert on Arduino, we believe the HUE 2 is the quickest and easiest way to completely flood your battle station with RGB goodness.
Read the full NZXT HUE 2 review.
There are countless variations of addressable RGB LED strips on the market today, but we found the Alitove WS2812B strips to be the most cost-effective and versatile when it comes to lighting up a PC. Each 16.4ft spool comes with a whopping 300 LEDs that can be cut down to fit any sized PC. However, in addition to the LED strip, you'll have to purchase a separate controller and power supply.
Cutting the LED strip to wrap around the interior of the S340, we used less than half of the spool but still ended up with more than double the included LEDs in the HUE 2. With 85 total LEDs, our DIY solution was far brighter with smoother color effects than any of the other kits we've tested.
Several pre-programmed controllers are available that work just like some of the other kits we've tested here but with literally hundreds of patterns and lighting combinations. More advanced users can use Arduino boards or a Raspberry Pi to program their lighting effects. For our DIY setup, we decided to go with the simple route and used a remote-controlled mini controller.
After we attached the LEDs to the case, we connected the mini controller using the included JST connector at the end of the strip. While a 5V Molex adapter may work for some situations, you might need to power the controller and strip with an external power supply with a current of 3A or higher.
With well over 100 unique lighting modes and the ability to adjust speed and brightness, we found the pre-programmed solution to be more than sufficient. You'll have to do without the smart lighting modes found in the HUE 2, but advanced users can replicate those modes and more with custom controllers and programming. The DIY route isn't for everyone, but if you're willing to put in a bit of effort, it can be gratifying and cost-effective.
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Whether you’re looking for a single-color LED strip or an RGB solution to light up your build, we highly recommend the DeepCool RGB350 LED Kit. Priced at around $20, it’s only a few dollars higher than most single-color LED kits but offers so much more.
With two included LED strips, each measuring twelve inches, the RGB350 is capable of lighting up most small to medium-sized builds. We used the mid-sized NZXT S340 for our testing, and the build was easily lit up with just one strip on the top and one strip on the bottom. Installation was foolproof thanks to magnets built into the LED strips and an included extension cord.
The kit uses a wireless RGB controller that allows you to control the LED strips using an included remote control. All we had to do was connect the Molex adapter to our power supply, chain the LED strips together and plug them into the RGB controller, and we were up and running in minutes.
The only things you’ll be able to control with the DeepCool RGB350 are the brightness, color, and various flashing patterns. If you want a single color, you’ll be able to choose from 15 total colors on the remote. If you want multiple colors, you can cycle through the three primary red, green, and blue colors or a seven-color rainbow with 'breathing' or 'skipping' effects in between each color change.
The DeepCool RGB350 might not be advanced as the RGB mechanical keyboards on the market these days, but it inevitably gets the job done if you’re looking to light up your build on a budget.