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Razer teases Chroma RGB lighting system

Razer teases Chroma RGB lighting system

Razer's Chroma system will add software-controllable RGB LED lighting to the company's 2015/2016 product range, including per-key settings on its BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard.

Razer has announced that it is going full-spectrum on its next-generation peripherals, upgrading its devices to support customisable RGB LED lighting with user-definable colours from a 16.7 million-strong selection.

Dubbed Chroma, the new RGB LED lighting is to appear in Razer's 2015/2016 product line beginning with updated versions of the company's BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard, DeathAdder mouse, and Kraken 7.1 headset. Chroma isn't just about the use of RGB LEDs, though, as it comes with a software driving system that promises to enable multiple effects: spectrum cycling, which runs through all 16.7 million possible colours; breathing, a soft pulsing animation; static colours, with each individual key on the BlackWidow Ultimate being individually addressable and configurable; and reactive, custom and wave settings for the BlackWidow Ultimate - along with the option for developers to supply presets that, for example, highlight important keys for a particular game.

'Our new range of peripherals that feature Chroma customisable backlighting is another step towards full personal customisation and to interconnect our gaming tech,' crowed Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and chief executive, at the unveiling. 'Chroma represents more than just multicolour, it opens up limitless personalisation options for gamers to play with - and we even have a Chroma Software Developer Kit for game developers to integrate their games to provide even more customisation in the future.'

The first Chroma-enabled products will be available from Razer starting in September this year, the company has claimed, while the software development kit will launch some time later this year. More details are available on the official website.

13 Comments

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Corky42 14th August 2014, 13:05 Quote
Is it just my eyes or a mouse with poor quality multicolored LEDs that leave me not being able to tell the difference between the main color groups.
Woodspoon 14th August 2014, 14:36 Quote
Read "We've run out of ideas, so were putting pretty colour changing lights on stuff until we think of something"
edzieba 14th August 2014, 15:47 Quote
So, they took the MX knockoff Kailh switches, and switched the through-hole single colour LED with RGB LEDs. Whoopee.
Gareth Halfacree 14th August 2014, 15:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
So, they took the MX knockoff Kailh switches, and switched the through-hole single colour LED with RGB LEDs. Whoopee.
Do me a favour: go get your favourite microcontroller, 110 RGB LEDs, and wire them up so that you have individually-addressable analogue control over every single LED through a 16.7-million colour cycle. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Harder than you thought? That's because for individual-key RGB backlighting, you triple the number of connections you need. You can't just replace a single-colour THT LED with an RGB version: the two-lead single-colour part becomes a four-lead RGB equivalent. That's triple the signal wires, triple the control logic, and every single one of those signal wires needs analogue or PWM control in order to offer control through the entire 16.7 million colour spectrum.

Will I be buying a BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma? Hell no, it's ugly as sin and I can't stand backlit keyboards - never mind rainbow-coloured ones. Do I think that claiming Razer just swapped a few LEDs over and called it a day is unfair, inaccurate and coming from a position of clear ignorance? Yeah.
Margo Baggins 14th August 2014, 16:19 Quote
I saw this board I think yesterday, maybe the day before on some facebook or another, maybe hotkeys project. Looks cool, I can appreciate the engineering but the board looks horrid.

Gareth is quite right - they haven't just dropped rgb led in to an existing keyboard design - someone clever has spent quite a while on that pcb.

I am tempted to get one just so I can take it apart and have a look at the pcb.

I think this is way better than the corsair rgb offerings, individually addressable diodes is a cool thing. even if it is using Kailh switches - which, as it goes, are not nearly as bad as they were years ago. While I would never jump for a board with Kailh switches, they aren't actually that bad.
Xploitedtitan 14th August 2014, 17:16 Quote
My biggest laugh will be if they bring their keyboards out before Corsair. ^^

But if I had to choose, I'd go for Corsair RGB version, I want the non-recessed keys to facilitate cleaning.
Bloody_Pete 14th August 2014, 19:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
So, they took the MX knockoff Kailh switches, and switched the through-hole single colour LED with RGB LEDs. Whoopee.
Do me a favour: go get your favourite microcontroller, 110 RGB LEDs, and wire them up so that you have individually-addressable analogue control over every single LED through a 16.7-million colour cycle. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Harder than you thought? That's because for individual-key RGB backlighting, you triple the number of connections you need. You can't just replace a single-colour THT LED with an RGB version: the two-lead single-colour part becomes a four-lead RGB equivalent. That's triple the signal wires, triple the control logic, and every single one of those signal wires needs analogue or PWM control in order to offer control through the entire 16.7 million colour spectrum.

Will I be buying a BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma? Hell no, it's ugly as sin and I can't stand backlit keyboards - never mind rainbow-coloured ones. Do I think that claiming Razer just swapped a few LEDs over and called it a day is unfair, inaccurate and coming from a position of clear ignorance? Yeah.

Not with Neopixels, they're addressed via a single pin and you can network them together into chains of LED's, so quite simple then...
-EVRE- 14th August 2014, 19:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Do me a favour: go get your favourite microcontroller, 110 RGB LEDs, and wire them up so that you have individually-addressable analogue control over every single LED through a 16.7-million colour cycle. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Harder than you thought? That's because for individual-key RGB backlighting, you triple the number of connections you need. You can't just replace a single-colour THT LED with an RGB version: the two-lead single-colour part becomes a four-lead RGB equivalent. That's triple the signal wires, triple the control logic, and every single one of those signal wires needs analogue or PWM control in order to offer control through the entire 16.7 million colour spectrum.

Will I be buying a BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma? Hell no, it's ugly as sin and I can't stand backlit keyboards - never mind rainbow-coloured ones. Do I think that claiming Razer just swapped a few LEDs over and called it a day is unfair, inaccurate and coming from a position of clear ignorance? Yeah.


Its not as hard as you think when the pixels are individually addressable(Rx +/- TX pins). An arduino with 328p, maybe even an ATTINY85 could handle this.
Even without the indivudual addressable pixels, its still not that hard, a few port multpliers on an Arduino it can be done. Ever seen those RGB LED cube videos on Youtube?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzX_hWKN5ak

Neo Pixel from Adafruit.com
http://www.adafruit.com/product/1559

They say their "Flora" chip hand handle 500 before it would run out of memory.
Gareth Halfacree 14th August 2014, 19:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloody_Pete
Not with Neopixels, they're addressed via a single pin and you can network them together into chains of LED's, so quite simple then...
Aye, via I2C - because they have an embedded controller. In other words, someone has already done the hard work - just as Razer has for Chroma. Still proves my point, though: Neopixels are no more a drop-in upgrade for single-colour keyboards than plain RGB LEDs would be.

-EVRE- - see above. I'm very familiar with Neopixels and LED cubes. Want to show me how easy it is to convert a BlackWidow Ultimate to per-key RGB lighting? 'Cos that was the matter at hand. I've done Charlieplexing. I've used Neopixels. At no point did I claim it was impossible: merely that it's not a question, as claimed, of swapping out some LEDs and calling it done.
ksyruz 15th August 2014, 00:42 Quote
The hilarity of Krapilh switches and their non Gold plating aside, it still begs the question WTF is Corsair is waiting for if these RGB switches if these switches are already being rolled out by their competition. Also, why don't these companies improve the mix keys and add rubber/silicone to the bottom to mask the bottoming out.
Margo Baggins 15th August 2014, 08:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksyruz
The hilarity of Krapilh switches and their non Gold plating aside, it still begs the question WTF is Corsair is waiting for if these RGB switches if these switches are already being rolled out by their competition. Also, why don't these companies improve the mix keys and add rubber/silicone to the bottom to mask the bottoming out.

They are not the same switches I don't think - corsair have clear switches and smd led, I don't think that's the case with teh razer.

Plus the kailh switches can just be swapped out for MX switches. ;)
edzieba 15th August 2014, 11:38 Quote
The MX RGB switches use SMD LEDs embedded into the switch, so the LED illuminates more of the keycap as the switch body acts as a lightpipe (the current through-hole LED setup only illuminates at most one side due to the protruding keyswitch stem blocking the other side)

As for addressing the LEDs: Charlieplexing! 110 LEDs can be addressed with with 11 pins using PWM dimming.
SchizoFrog 15th August 2014, 12:19 Quote
Whether it is was complicated or simple doesn't matter to me, that is for them as the manufacturer to sort out. I want things to look good and to have the options that I not only need but want too, and for me that includes the options of programmable RGB lighting. Will I use it to it's full extent? Of course not, but I am certain that the colour and brightness will be something that I choose and won't be a generic look.

What I like about the Corsair board is that it is going to link through their software and so, unless I am greatly mistaken, should you choose to use other corsair parts such as one of their 'i' series AIO's, you will easily be able to link them together so when you change the colour of one, they all change. That is something I like the idea of a lot. Push a button and your whole system, including peripherals all change from blue to red...
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