5 Ways to Make Your PC Glow With Programmable LEDs
LED strips are a great way to brighten up your PC and personalize it to suit your style. But if you want to use LED strips for lighting in your PC then you’ll need special software to control then.
Different manufacturers have their own software options for controlling LEDs, so here we’ll walk you through five of the most popular so you can choose the right components for your needs.
LED strips can be used for everything from ambient lighting to illuminated dog collars , and plenty of PC components these days are RGB-enabled too.
Asus’s Aura Sync software works with a big range of Asus products as well as the ROG addressable LED strips. This includes motherboards with RGB features, peripherals like keyboards, mice, and headphones, ROG all-in-one coolers, and pre-built laptops and desktops.
The software is fairly basic but it does the job. In terms of LED control, you can choose the static colors for your LED strips and also try out a range of other color options:
- Breathing, where the colors fade slowly in and out
- Color cycle, where colors fade from one to the next
- The rainbow mode, if you want something brighter, is as colorful as it sounds
- The comet, flashes, and wave modes have each LED lighting up in turn to give the impression of movement along the LED strips
- The starry night mode is a unique feature in which the LED twinkle like the stars at night
For more functional modes, the smart mode changes color based on the temperature of your CPU or GPU, and the music mode pulses to the beat of the music you are playing on your system.
2. NZXT CAM
If you use NZXT RGB LED products like the Hue, Hue+, or Hue 2, then you can control your LEDs with the CAM software. CAM is a PC monitoring suite as well as a LED controller that works with other NZXT products like the Kraken all-in-one cooler or the Aer RBG fans.
The CAM software has many features, but unfortunately it has a reputation for being kind of buggy. Sometimes you’ll need to restart the software to get it to work correctly. But once you get it working you can use it for all sorts of functions.
It has the basic modes you would expect:
- Static color
- Fade in/fade out
It also allows you to individually address every single LED, which means you can customize to your exact specifications.
The smart modes are fun too, with a mode which changes color based on the temperature of your CPU or GPU. A nice feature of this mode is that you can choose the color scheme yourself, so for example you can have cool temperatures represented by pink and warm temperatures represented by purple instead of the usual blue to red.
A music mode is also included to change illumination based on volume or gain of system sounds, but it’s a little buggy.
3. CORSAIR Link
The Link software from Corsair is the way to control your Corsair Link Lighting Node or Corsair Link RGB Lighting Kit LEDs. In addition it can control the LEDs on other hardware like Vengeance RAM or the Corsair RBG series fans. And, like CAM, it’s also designed to monitor and control your PC.
The software has many options so it may take a while to familiarize yourself with it. To control your RGB hardware, you’ll want to look in the Configure tab. Here you’ll find a Configure LED option to program the colors and modes of your LEDs.
The options for colors are more limited than other software featured here. You can choose from:
- Single color
- A rotation of two to four colors
- Steady or pulsing lights
- Color change based on the temperature of your CPU or GPU
Alternatively, if you want to individually address each LED in your strips, the software makes this easy to do and instantly visible from the dashboard.
This software is designed to work with the Cooler Master RGB LED controller, into which you plug your RGB strips. It also supports Cooler Master’s LED fans.
In the Main Control panel you can set the color of your LEDs using a color picker, and change the speed and brightness of the effects.
The effects available include:
- A static mode, a customize mode where you can have a different color for each strip or fan
- A stars mode which makes your LEDs twinkle between a base color and a star color
- Color cycle mode which changes between colors
- A breathing mode in which the color fades gently in and out
- A multilayer mode which lets you have different modes for different components
- Mirage mode where you can pick the colors of individual LEDs.
That’s pretty much it. The software is fairly minimal and only controls RGB components, and it doesn’t offer a hardware overview or PC controls like some of the other software does.
More advanced users who want greater customization options can try the Aqua Computer Farbwerk RGB controller. This is controlled using the Aquasuite software which has the greatest number of options of any of the programs shown in this article. It’s a bit more technical than the others but it gives you the best customization choices.
Aquasuite is also a PC monitoring program, letting you see data about your CPU core usage, CPU core temperatures, and fans as well. To control your RGB components, you’ll want to head to the RGBpx menu. Here you can pick the color of your LEDs from a color wheel or choose from preset colors. You can also adjust the brightness of the LEDs and address each strip individually.
The number of LED preset options is where Aquasuite really shines. There are modes for:
- Rotating rainbow
- A bar graph to show various sensor inputs such as temperature
- Sound bar mode which reacts to sounds from your system
- A swiping rainbow
- Basics like breathing, fading, and wave modes, plus lots more
In addition, the AmbientPX mode is particularly nice for those who have backlighting behind their monitor. The software detects which colors are on the edges of your screen and uses those colors for the backlights, giving the illusion that your monitor is spilling light onto the wall behind it.
One challenge with using this software is that Aqua Computer is a German company, so a lot of the information about the software is in German. However, you can find information about using the software in English on the Aqua Computer forums.
Light Up Your PC With RGB LED Software
Depending on which RGB components you buy, you can use one of these pieces of software to control your LEDs and light up your PC in the color scheme of your choosing. Remember that most LED controllers are proprietary so you’ll have to either stick with one brand to coordinate every component, or else install multiple different pieces of software to control different components.
If you’d rather DIY your own solution using non-proprietary LED strips then that it possible too. Check out our guide on how to add wi-fi controlled lighting to your PC to learn more.