Corsair's software has come a long, long way in four years. Early versions of Corsair's software made customizing lighting for RGB keyboards a confusing, overly complicated process. And as Corsair was growing and branching out to different products, it started to get messy. Why did its smart power supplies use different software than its keyboards? Finally, that's all done with: everything's finally linked up in iCUE, the latest version of the Corsair Utility Engine, and controllable in a powerful and straightforward interface.
I got a short demo of iCUE at Corsair's suite at Computex 2018, and it's a vast improvement over the version of CUE I remember debuting a few years ago. Granted, CUE had already improved greatly since then, but iCUE is still a significant update. Almost every hardware company is chasing the same dream: put RGBs in everything, and make sure you can control all of them with the same software. But Corsair has the distinction of making more products than anyone this side of a giant like Asus, and is more component focused. The point is that if you're all about Corsair, you can control just about everything in your system using iCue. That includes:
- Lighting on mice, keyboards, headsets, fans and coolers, and even RAM
- Fan and cooler speed, temperature modding etc.
- Mouse settings and keyboard macros
- Power supply monitoring and fan control
I especially like how drag-and-drop the interface is, and how peripherals are laid out with clear, large icons. The software gives you complexity if you want it, but is also pretty approachable if you just want to slap on a lighting preset and call it a day.
Corsair lighting and fan controllers make those customization options listed above more powerful, if you want everything integrated. I think most gamers likely have more of a hodgepodge build; maybe a Corsair case and power supply, but G.Skill RAM and a Razer keyboard and Logitech mouse. But when you buy new components, Corsair's software makes a compelling case for why you might want to stick with their gear, if you want all your RGBs to play nicely together or simply like your peripheral settings consolidated in one place instead of being spread out across half a dozen apps.
All of Corsair's future peripherals will support iCUE, and anything that supported CUE in the past should work as well. The same goes for the "i" series power supplies that used the old Link software. Corsair demoed iCue putting on a coordinated light show between fans and even its RGB-equipped RAM, which is pretty slick. For pre-programmed light routines, the software can compensate for RAM's slower reaction time and make everything look good in sequence.
Corsair also demonstrated the lighting changing in real time with an integration in Far Cry 5, an idea hardware companies have been trying to push for years without much success. I still don't think this will ever really take off, and unfortunately here the RAM's lighting isn't fast enough to react with the rest of the lights to what's happening on screen in real time.
iCUE's available now, so if you're rocking the older version of Corsair's software, it's a good time to upgrade.