Have we reached peak RGB? NZXT clearly doesn't think so, as the company took the wraps off of its new Hue 2 series of RGB accessories today, which includes both complete kits and add-ons to bring even more RGB bling. A digital controller on each device is the key improvement over previous-generation Hue components, which allows additional synchronization options. One example is the ability to extend chase mode from the first to the last LED, regardless of the number of strips used.
NZXT’s also adding more components to the mix, including an ambient lighting kit for monitors. The key to its functionality rests in the software, which we’ll touch on after a brief hardware run-down.
Our samples included the Ambient RGB Lighting kit, an RGB lighting kit with four strips and a six-device controller, an additional two pack of lighting strips, an RGB Underglow pack for under-case lighting, and a set of RGB-lit comb-style cable organizers.
The Hue 2 RGB Lighting and Ambient RGB Lighting kits both contain magnetic RGB strips and a controller, and all strips have adhesive backing as a secondary attachment method. The Ambient kit’s strips have a black background and come in both 250 and 300mm lengths, while the internal strips have a white background and are 250mm-only. While the internal kit relies on a 4-pin ATA-style power header and gets is USB control from a row of four pins on a standard 9-pin internal USB header, the Ambient Lighting kit includes an external power adapter and external USB cable. The internal kit's controller has four channels, but the Ambient kit’s controller has only two. Ambient lighting tracks the color profile of the edge of the picture to extend those colors to the wall behind your monitor.
Available in two sizes for longer or shorter cases, the Hue 2 Underglow kit’s lighting strip is built into a black-anodized aluminum channel with frost-white diffuser covering the LEDs. It also differs from internal strips by having no magnetic attachment, and in its inclusion of a card slot plate that allows users to install the lights on the outside of the case without cutting a hole for the cable. The light bars of our ATX-sized sample are 250mm-long.
The LED Strip Accessory pack includes only the parts needed to extend the lighting of the full RGB Lighting kit by two strips. The cable comb kit has a fixed number of connectors, but users can individually remove extra combs that they don’t need.
Lacking enough time to build a pretty configuration, we ran three strips around the sides and back of a motherboard testing platform and used the underglow bars to light the lower section of the same case.
NZXT’s CAM software is meant to be a complete cooling and lighting management system, and does a good job of reporting our Core i7 and GTX 1080 stats (including temperatures). Overclocking functions didn’t function with our motherboard, however.
Lighting modes include traditional patterns, thermal reporting, per-LED customization, an audio synchronized mode, and several game-responsive modes. We ran through these in rapid succession hoping to lock the software up, but it was stable through our repetitive testing. Unfortunately, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the only gaming profile loaded into CAM.
Other accessories that launched today include several fan kits, along with smaller versions of the Ambient RGB Lighting and Underglow Accessory kits. The following MSRPs are from NZXT.
HUE 2 RGB Lighting Kit
HUE 2 Ambient Lighting Kit for 21” to 26” monitors
HUE 2 Ambient Lighting Kit for 27” to 35” monitors
HUE 2 RGB LED strip accessory
HUE 2 Case RGB Underglow Accessory for ATX cases
HUE 2 Case RGB Underglow Accessory for mATX/ITX cases
HUE 2 RGB Cable Comb Accessory
Aer RGB 2 120mm Starter Kit (2x120mm)
Aer RGB 2 120mm Starter Kit (3x120mm)
Aer RGB 2 140mm Starter Kit (2x140mm)
Aer RGB 2 120mm Fan (1x120mm)
Aer RGB 2 140mm Fan (1x140mm)
While we didn't have as much time as we'd like with NZXT's new lighting and accessory line, it's certainly an improvement over the company's existing Hue+ lineup. And the robust selection of options mean that, if you're at all interested in bringing some RGB accents to your PC or monitor, there's probably something for you here. And as always, it's good to see competition in this space, so that customers have comprehensive lighting options other than those from Corsair and its iCue suite.