Last Updated: 5/8/2023
Author: Jim Resiter
In 2021, the broad availability of Addressable RGB-enabled components, peripherals, and external illumination platforms enable system builders to create thematic builds which incorporate customizable lighting into the overall experience. Unfortunately, the approach and supporting software has not dramatically improved in most instances. Prior experience with Corsair’s lineup offered the easiest method to unify the lighting within builds that leveraged their RGB and ARGB products. Stepping outside of Corsair’s well-integrated tandem of controllers and software results in a potential hodgepodge of issues when trying to achieve a comparable outcome without the slight price premium involved in an all-Corsair setup.
Most motherboard manufacturers offer a software solution that aims to synchronize component and internal peripheral lighting schemes. Depending on your preferred vendor of choice, this may consist of ASUS Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light, NZXT CAM, or AsRock Polychrome. Signals sent over the ARGB headers may differ from what the fan, cooler, SSD, case lighting, intends to show. These software suites have options which can be enabled to overcome potential mismatched illumination. However, these products may not control external peripherals such as the mouse, keyboard, or other third-party input or output devices. Heading down this path may require adopting a platform-neutral software solution, such as OpenRGB, to simplify the overall effort.
Whether you love them or hate them, Razer’s Synapse 3 suite supports modern external peripherals produced by the company. The Connect element of this solution can interface with the motherboard-specific software to ease synchronization efforts. The Razer Chroma Addressable RGB Controller encompasses Razer’s first attempt to get closer to parity with the Corsair experience. Based on some anomalous illumination challenges with a niche cooling solution contained within my 2021 gaming build, I purchased this controller to tackle the following objectives.
- Obtain the capability to support the total number of LEDs (56) present on the Cooler Master MasterFan SF240P on a dedicated ARGB channel.
- Reduce or eliminate the number of 1-to-x ARGB splitters which require cable management on the backside of the case.
- Minimize dependence on the motherboard manufacturer’s ARGB solution. In this event, AsRock Polychrome is the software that I’m trying to avoid.
- Better utilization of the already-installed Synapse 3 for keyboard, mouse, mousepad, mouse bungee, and headphone stand.