Tom's Hardware Verdict
Lian Li’s latest RGB PSU extension cables are its best yet, providing a vibrant light show, but one that’s fairly expensive.
+ L-Connect 3 hub is affordable.
+ Improved flexibility
+ Easy installation
+ Brighter than the previous generation
Why you can trust Tom's Hardware
Even the best PC builds need some panache. If you really love RGB, Lian Li’s Strimer series of illuminated power extension cables is made for you. Available in both 24-pin ATX and 8-pin GPU varieties, the Stimers feature a layer of addressable RGB lights that sits on top of the cable itself. Since these are extension cables, you can pair them with everything from one of the best PSUs to the cheapest one you find on sale.
The Strimer Plus V2 line adds some new wrinkles to this flair-filled formula, improving the flexibility and brightness of the cables while introducing a new controller hub and custom software. Available for $70 for the 24-pin cable (and L-Connect 3 control hub), $50 for a dual-headed GPU cable or $60 for a triple-headed GPU cable, the new Strimers don’t come cheap, particularly when you consider that a full suite of regular extension cables costs $20. However, if you can afford the price, you’ll get a splash of colorful illumination that makes your PC stand out.
Installing and Using the Lian Li Strimer Plus V2
When I took the Strimer Plus V2 cables out of their packaging, I was really impressed by how Lian Li creates the illusion that each cable itself is lit. Instead, on top of the cables themselves is a thick, silicone cover that tricks you into thinking these are the actual power cables and doubles as a diffuser.
When we reviewed the Stimer Plus, the cable felt a bit too stiff. However, Lian Li addressed this issue on the Plus V2 by changing the material of the RGB covers from PVC to TPE, a particular type of silicone that’s said to increase flexibility. The increased flexibility can also be attributed to a slimmer cable stack. The height of the RGB layer, plus the cable layer is only 8mm, whereas the previous Strimers were 11mm. The last visual change Lian Li made to its new Strimer extensions is the addition of a side light diffuser, which allows color to shine out of the sides of the cables instead of just the front, making the whole display brighter.
While all of that sounds fine and dandy, the measurements of the extensions have to be long enough to reach your components without showing your existing PSU cables. The length of the PCIe cables are 11.8 inches (300mm), which is more than enough for most cases. The 24-pin measures 7.8 inches (200mm), which is also generous.
To install the new Strimers, you just plug them into your PSU’s power cables and connect the little RGB cable to the RGB hub. The extensions feature tiny cables that connect to an RGB hub powered via SATA like on the previous version. You’ll also want to make sure that your motherboard has a 5V ARGB header on board, as you’ll need it to connect the hub. Unlike the original Strimers, you will not use the hub to control the lighting. Instead, all RGB goodness is controlled via Lian Li’s new software, L-Connect 3.
I installed the Strimers into the Hyte Y60, an ATX case with three tempered glass panels that allowed me to get a good view of the bright, vibrant light show. Because these are extension cables, I connected them directly to the motherboard and then looped them through the rubber grommets to my power supply’s cables. Even though the Strimers were cut down in size since we last visited them, I accidentally knocked a rubber grommet out during installation. However, this was only the case with the chonky 24-pin Strimer as the PCIe cables weren’t an issue to install.
I haven’t worked with PSU extension cables in a long time and even when I did, the only cable I extended was my PCIe cables because I love the individually-sleeved cable look. The 24-pin cable had enough flex to create the perfect semi-circular route to the back of my motherboard tray. While the PCIe cables still looked gorgeous, I had my graphics card mounted vertically, so I couldn’t develop a route as pretty as with the 24-pin. Overall, these things really glowed and were full of color.
Since I moved about a year ago, I’ve had my personal rig nestled underneath my desk, so I haven’t felt the love for RGB in my chassis. While the Lian Li Strimmer Plus V2 wires don’t make me want to go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of RGB kits, these cables raised an eyebrow because they provide something different than the usual light-up fans that people use to adorn their builds.
Whenever it comes to adding RGB to your rig, what also joins the party are a bunch of wires that make you question whether or not you should return the kit. However, with the Lian Li Strimer Plus V2, all it takes is a couple of clips and cable routing and you’re done.
Software for the Lian Li Strimer Plus V2
L-Connect 3 is Lian Li’s new software that piggybacks off of its Uni Fan software, but this time it adds the ability to control the Strimers (controlled initially via your motherboard’s software). The level of customization on the Strimer Plus V2 is similar to what you get with a mechanical keyboard that has per-key RGB lighting.
Single mode allows users to control each light channel's color and even features effects from rainbow to ping pong. Honestly, I had a blast experimenting with all of the lighting combos you can create. After I tinkered with the 24-pin cable’s RGB, it reminded me of the Empire State Building when it’s lit up at night. If you already own the previous generation of Strimers, L-Connect 3 is compatible, but you will need to purchase the controller on its own for $20. It comes in the package with the Strimer Plus V2 24-pin cable, but not with the GPU cables.
The Strimer Plus V2 provides a clear indication that Lian Li is listening to feedback as it added flexibility to the cables, side illumination and a high level of customization that the prior generation products didn’t have. If you don’t already have a Strimer and don’t mind spending $70 or more, the Plus V2 cables are the most compelling yet. These extensions provide a unique RGB addition to your system that makes your build stand out from the crowd.
Myles Goldman is a freelance writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews keyboards and cases.
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