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another QL/ML question


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Hi everyone,


new on the forum but have been reading a lot about icue rgb since Im building a new PC that I am trying to make 100% icue compatible.


Im going for a STRIX mbo and gfx which will hopefully be compatible with icue, as well as corsair ram, and AIO.


I am ordering the h150i Elite Capellix and as I understand, the ML fans are not compatible with QL fans. As I have ordered 6 QLs my original plan was to replace the 3 MLs with QL and use the other 3 QLs as case fans, all of them connected to the Commander CORE. However, in the meantime, I have also ordered the Commander PRO because I plan to connect the LianLi Strimer plus to it (using a cable adapter). Nothing is delivered yet but in the next few weeks I should have a Commander CORE, Lighting node CORE, Commander PRO, 3x ML120, 6x QL120.

I presume the "not compatible" refers to the ML and QL being connected to the same channel or am I wrong?

Originally I wanted to sell the MLs but now I am thinking the following:


6xQLs connected to the Commander CORE, both rgb and pwm (3 on AIO radiator, 3 as case fans), Commander CORE connected to Commander PRO

3xMLs connected to the Lighting node CORE rgb, Lighting Node CORE connected to the Commander PRO, and ML pwm connected to the Commander PRO. Strimer plus connected to Commander PRO rgb strip port. Is there anything I am missing as why this wouldn't work?

Also, is it advisable to use the Commander CORE pwm to power both case and radiator fans, or will they all be controlled as AIO fans if connected like that?

I presume it would be better to connect QLs to Node CORE and Com. PRO as case fans and leave MLs as AIO radiator fans on the Commander CORE but I want to use the MLs in the bottom of the case where they are less visible.


I know similar questions have been asked a lot on the forum but I read so much contradicting information and even got completely false and misleading info from Corsair support that I just want to get someone's input on my exact case scenario.


Thank you all!

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There are compatible on both a PWM speed control and RGB level. The catch is on the RGB programming I will explain below.


Speed control - Commander Core is 6 individual PWM headers. It does not care what fans on there, as long as they are PWM. No problems mixing ML/QL/HD/SP-Elite in any order.


RGB control - All Corsair RGB fans will light up on the Commander Core. Right now it uses an auto-detect protocol or you can force 1 fan type across all headers. Effectively this make everything Base X # of LEDs for programming. So the ML-Elite that come with Elite coolers are special and have 8 LEDs (normal ML have 4). QL have 34 LEDs, but for this discussion, they act like a 16 LED fan with a matching rear side. So the controller sees 8 and 16 LEDs and will make everything base 16. This means that a light pulse traveling at 8 LEDs/sec will take 1 second to go through a ML-Elite and 2 seconds to pass through the QL. I was pretty critical of this originally, but after putting on some ML #4 with HD #12 this week ( 3 to 1 differential), I barely noticed. For stationary or non-fan to fan patterns, you'll never notice. Where it starts to show a little is when you use fan to fan patterns like visor, pong, gate, or anything moving across the entire sequence. There would appear to a difference in speed at different parts of the sequence. Really, this is something only the perfectionists and those who spend a lot of time programming complex inter-fan effects are going to run into OR if you mix things up on a 6 fan case. Going LL-LL-ML-ML-QL would a bit erratic.


All that said, it won't matter for your build. Chances are you are putting together an O11 build like everyone else and that means 9-10 fans. 6 fan max per controller, so you need two controllers. I just had my ML-Elites in the side panel on my O11 with QL top/bottom. It looks fine. Since you need 2 lighting controllers, you put the QL on one and the ML-Elite on the other. 6 + 3 is the normal split for an O11. This problem works out no matter what. Make sure you get at least 1 triple pack of QL120 to get the Lighting Node Core. That is lighting controller #2. Most of the time, the triple packs are at least equivalent to the 3 singles price. Always take the multi-pack and save the extra hardware. Good to have spares.


Now what this does mean for you and anyone else running more than 1 lighting controller is those do not sync from end to end on their own. So if I have 12 QL fans in two groups of six, "sequential" does not go from 1-12. It goes from 1-6 on the controller I set it for. If I set it on both, each would go 1-6 and 7-12 on their own. Some people are disappointed in this, but as the owner of multiple O11s, I got tired of this pretty quick. It's a long way around and more often deliberately assign lighting patterns to each group of 3 on each side. You always can subdivide you lighting controller into multiple groups, with each fan and each LED being individually addressable and programmable.

Edited by c-attack
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Thank you for the detailed answer. I am almost starting to understand Corsair RGB :thinking: . You definitely got me busted on the o11 - didn't plan to use one initially but then saw the PCMR edition and it was love at first sight.


Can you just clear up one thing, please? When you say "6 fan max per controller, so you need two controllers.", do you mean Commander CORE and Lighting CORE, because that is what I'm getting. I won't have two lighting COREs because the price difference between a triple pack and 3 single QLs was noticeable. Because if I got it right I can plug six pwm + rgb into Commander Core and six rgb + pwm into Lighting CORE and Commander PRO?

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Thank you so much. I cannot sress how much you have helped me. Info on this topic is so contradicting and the only ones actually giving right info was you and the guys that sell cable adapters on ebay. Corsair support actually told me things like:

- "connect the Commander Pro to the RGB header on your motherboard."

- "Only Corsair branded products can have their RGB lighting controlled through iCue." (on asking about asus/icue integratiom)

- "You will need all of he fans to be ML120s to avoid conflict with the fans being selected in iCue." (when asked if it will work if using two separate controllers)


Hopefully I understand enough now to share my basic understanding to others. Cheers!

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