First Looks: NZXT Hue RGB LED Controller

First Looks: NZXT Hue RGB LED Controller

First Looks: NZXT Hue RGB LED Controller

Rig builders who like to embellish and accessorize their rigs, can opt for cooling fans with LED lights to illuminate the interior of the casings of their systems. Besides such cooling options, companies like NZXT also offered sleeved LED kits that come in different colors. These kits are rather straight-forward to install; however, the color of their illumination is fixed. In order to change the color of the illumination to suit the taste of the rig owner, the sleeved LED would have to be replaced with one of a different hue of illumination.

In order to overcome the shortcomings of its earlier LED kits, NZXT came up with an ingenious solution in the form of its NZXT Hue RGB controller. This new LED kit features a LED controller that is bundled with a self-adhesive sleeved LED strip. The sleeved LED is two meters long and its length cannot be customized. The controller fits into a 5.25-inch drive bay and has three knobs to control the operation of the attached LED strip. We first chanced upon its psychedelic display of LED illumination in Computex this year.

The NZXT Hue RGB controller features three knobs and each knob has a primary function of controlling the amount of color saturation, while their secondary function (activated by pushing the knob like a button) allows you to control brightness, usage mode and powering the controller on/off.

The NZXT Hue RGB controller features three knobs and each knob has a primary function of controlling the amount of color saturation; the first knob controls the red hue, the middle adjusts the green hue while the rightmost knob controls the blue hue. To find out what's the resultant color from fiddling with the knobs, you can find out from attaching the sleeved LED strip.

Each knob also doubles up with a secondary function as labelled above the knob. You activate them treating the knob as a push button before adjusting the knob as required. Pushing the first knob toggles brightness to five degrees, the second knob allows the user to switch on or off the lighting of the sleeved LED strip, and a press of the third knob switches between the different illumination modes featured on the sleeved LED. According to the kit's operating manual, there are a total of five illumination modes; custom color display, custom color flashing, custom color fading, flashing color changing and fading color changing. The only niggling point here is that you had to guess the mode of operation engaged from how the sleeved LED reacts to your mode changes as there's no other forms of indication.

Also, when the controller is powered on and in operation, there are recessed LEDs beyond the knobs that illuminate in unison with the sleeved LED strip.

 We engaged the Mode knob to what we assume was its "flashing color changing" mode. After that, we sat back to enjoy the color 'show'.

 

Straightforward Setup Process

There are two cables that extend from the rear of the controller. One of them terminates in a SATA power connector header that will draw power from the system's PSU. The other cable will connect to the bundled sleeved LED strip.

 The NZXT Hue controller features a SATA power connector, instead of a Molex power header for its power needs. This is in assumption that most modern PSUs tend to provide more SATA power connectors than the traditional Molex power connectors.

This is the four-pin plug that connects to the sleeved LED that regulates its power and color. Note the white arrow denoting the positive terminal.

The end of the sleeved LED has clear indicators to ensure proper connection with the four-pin cable. We line up the positive pin that is indicated by the arrow on the cable, with the corresponding positive terminal of the sleeved LED strip, and the connection is made in a jiffy.

 The sleeved LED, in its illuminated state.

The ends of the sleeved LED are the same; hence, extending the sleeved LED by attaching another is possible if NZXT is able to come up with a simple 4-pin connector for them.

We are fairly impressed with the NZXT Hue as it makes adding LED lighting to a chassis a simple and straightforward affair. Furthermore, you get to control how it functions and to the tune of a color that suits your mood any point of time. The kit is currently available from local retailers for S$49 only. The controller comes only in black and for this edition, there is no way to connect another sleeved LED to the bundled one. We hope that NZXT will release a version that will feature more 4-pin cables so that we would be able to overcome this shortcoming (cue for NZXT to release a Pro edition perhaps).

The installation of the NZXT Hue will take up a slot in the 5.25-inch drive bay; hence, if you intend to purchase and install this LED controller kit, we advise you to keep a spare drive bay at hand. Given the decline of optical media usage, you're likely to have a drive bay free (unless you had them all converted to house your hard drives).