bit-tech.net

Hands-on with NZXT's Aer RGB fans

Posted on 30th Dec 2016 at 09:59 by Antony Leather with 8 comments

If you thought 2016 was an RGB-fest, then wait until you see 2017. In fact, even as we say goodbye to this year, we're struggling to deal with all the lights given there's usually wine, cider or some other alcoholic substance close at hand this time of year. We jest, of course, but the short story is that NZXT has joined Corsair and Thermaltake in offering multi-coloured fans, courtesy of the Aer RGB range.

Hands-on with NZXT's Aer RGB fans Hands-on with NZXT's AER RGB fans

While NZXT's and Corsair's offerings are different in ways we'll get to in a minute, there are some similarities in the way they work. Specifically, they both require each company's RGB controller to work - you can't use motherboard RGB headers from the likes of Asus here, which is a bit of a pain. When we connected the Aer RGB's to an Aura-compatible Asus board, not a lot happened.

For the Aer RGBs, you'll need NZXT's Hue+ controller as well, and remembering that the triple set of Aer RGB 120mm fans we're looking at here already retails for £70, the added expense for the controller, albeit along with four 30cm RGB LED strips, at around £40 means that to kit your PC out with three RGB fans will cost over £100. You can do this with a trio of Corsair HD 120 fans for £70, including the controller.



However, there's one big difference between the NZXT Aer RGB fans and Corsair's HD 120s, which is that the former are fully RGB - you can select from the usual massive colour pallet, choosing practically any colour you like, while the Corsair controller is only able to cycle through a few colours and effects. A set of HD 120s can lay on some very funky effects, mind you, and can also spread these across the fans in wave effects down your PC - the same is true here with the Aer RGB fans, except they're more flexible with even more effects and colours to choose from.

To get them working, you'll need to power each fan with the usual 4-pin PWM connector, then hook up a separate cable to the controller. Thankfully, you can daisy-chain the fans rather than each one requiring a physical connection to the controller, so if you're connecting them in series along a radiator or multiple fan mounts, it's actually fairly easy to deal with the lighting side of things.

Hands-on with NZXT's Aer RGB fans Hands-on with NZXT's AER RGB fans

This is especially so given that NZXT includes 10cm and 50cm fan-to-fan/daisy-chain cables, so whether the fans are right next to each other or in the roof and rear fan mounts, you just need to run a cable from one to the other. Corsair's fans, meanwhile, require you to connect each fan to the controller, which is a bit of a nightmare if you're trying to build a clean PC.

Hands-on with NZXT's Aer RGB fans Hands-on with NZXT's AER RGB fans

The Hue+ controller uses a DC input that's powered from a standard 4-pin Molex connector, plus you'll need a free USB 2.0 motherboard header so software, in the form of NZXT CAM, can talk to the fans. All the cables you need are included and the fans come with a trio of resistor cables too, which is a nice touch.

Hands-on with NZXT's Aer RGB fans Hands-on with NZXT's AER RGB fans

The CAM software works well with Windows 10 but we've had issues with it on Windows 7 before now. In short, make sure the OS is up to date and all drivers are correctly installed, and you shouldn't have any problems. With the controller and fans connected, head to the Hue+ section at the bottom, click on 'Change Mode', and you should be met with the lighting channels, with the 'Edit Settings' button taking you through to the customisation.

Hands-on with NZXT's Aer RGB fans Hands-on with NZXT's AER RGB fans

Here you can select from 10 effects, with several such as Marquee and Covering Marquee sending light waves down the fans in turn, which looks rather cool. You're able to select from any colour you can create too, with some effects sporting multiple colour options as well as the ability to control the speed of the effects and how many LEDs are involved. You don't need to stop at the fans either - the effects can be synchronised with the four included RGB LED strips too, although you may need sunglasses as well in that case.

Hands-on with NZXT's Aer RGB fans Hands-on with NZXT's AER RGB fans

At face value, the Aer RGB fans seem expensive, but while they're certainly more pricey than Corsair's efforts, there's a lot more customisation on offer here plus a more polished package too. The fact you can daisy-chain the cables is a huge boon for cable tidying, plus you have access to the full RGB colour spectrum. You also get four RGB LED strips, fan speed reductions cables and all the cables you need. Well done, NZXT.

Read more

Hitman, I love you, but your Elusive Targets are getting me down

Posted on 22nd Dec 2016 at 11:01 by Jake Tucker with 1 comments

Jake Tucker
As I write this opening paragraph, a timer is ticking. It's The Guru, you see. He's only in Sapienza for another 60 hours, and then he'll vanish forever.

I'm tapping away at some work. In a little under nine hours I have to leave for a flight to Berlin and what constitutes Christmas holidays for a freelancer. Honestly, I want nothing more than to leave the work, finish packing, and go to bed, but then I'm reminded of the timer. 60 hours and The Guru escapes. I'll never get another chance to claim the contract on his head, and I'll never be able to claim the successful reward, either.

Read more

Blood Bowl 2 is the best eSports I've watched in 2016

Posted on 8th Dec 2016 at 17:15 by Jake Tucker with 2 comments

Some friends and I have recently started up a Blood Bowl 2 league. The 10 of us started it last Friday night, and we're already halfway through the season, playing the games wherever we can fit them in, slid into a lunchtime or evening.

One thing has become clear: Blood Bowl 2 is the best eSport I've ever watched, and I say this as someone who's been sat in decent seats for CS:GO and League of Legends tournaments, basking in the atmosphere.

Blood Bowl 2 is the best eSports I've watched in 2016

Read more

Cooler Master Case Mod World Series 2017 Tower Mods

Cooler Master Case Mod World Series 2017 Tower Mods

We take a look at some of the tower mods being worked on in Cooler...
Mod of the Month March 2017 in Association with Corsair

Mod of the Month March 2017 in Association with Corsair

We've picked some of the best projects recently completed in our project...

Browse articles by company