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Help With My First RGB Build


Woodyz82
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Hi All,

Go easy on me! Hope this makes sense!

Looking for some help with my first RGB build please, done plenty of build over the years but never a full RGB. I have ordered a 4000x RGB case which comes with x3 SP120 RGB Elite fans in the front which are PWM, I have ordered an extra one of these for the rear of the case also, the case comes with the lighting node core. Last of all I have the H100i RGB Platinum, which I believe comes with x2 ML120 Pro RGB fans, again PWN.

 

Board wise I have the ASUS Stix Z270E Gaming. This board has x2 4 pin RGB headers for aura sync and x6 headers for fan / pump connections, which are - AIO Pump / CPU Fan / CPU Opt / CHA Fan 1 / CHA Fan 2 and H_Amp Fan. 

 

So after much reading through various forums I was going to go with running the H100i Pump off AIO Pump header and both its cooling fans off the CPU Fan and the CPU Opt header (these mirror each other) then connect the pump to a motherboard usb header for the RGB etc. Then run the remaining x4 case fans off CHA Fan 1 and CHA Fan 2 and then run a PWN splitter off the H Amp header. Then RGB for the case fans to the lighting node core and that to another motherboard usb header.

Would all that work and sync ok in iCUE?

 

But this is where it gets confusing for me! I have also looked at the option of getting a commander pro in an effort to tidy up wiring and using all my fan and a couple usb headers, I am aware I can't put the SP120 fans and the ML 120 fans on the same lighting node core unit as you can't mix fans, but could I put all fans and even the pump power and pump usb into the commander pro and then run the x4 case fans from the lighting node code to the commander pro led channel 1.

 

Too many options and I now have brain block! Few options below I can't get my head round!

 

  • Run the H100i as it states in its manual (fans and rgb connections to the pump) or the method I read and stated above using motherboard headers.

 

  • If I get a commander pro what options do I have available? Will I need two lighting node cores for full rgb? Or can I run the H100i rgb by hooking up everything to the pump then then it's usb header into the commander pro? 

 

  • Better / safer options for running the pump and its fans - is it safer on the board or is the commander pro ok? Read an article stating use the board as iCUE could crash therefore not controlling the pump and fans cooling correctly.

 

  • Would the motherboard rgb headers which are aura sync work? Believe iCUE can now sync / work rgb with aura sync.

 

Mind blown - maybe I have too many options! Seen so many different diagrams!

 

Help me out guys!

 

Cheers Simon

 

 

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20 hours ago, Woodyz82 said:

I have the H100i RGB Platinum

If you are interested in fan control for the entire system, you would be better off looking at the H100i Elite that has replaced the Platinum AIO line. It comes with a Commander Core RGB/PWM controller for 6 fans. It also comes with two ML-Elite fans that are a match for the SP-Elite from the case.  They all can be used together on the Commander Core. 
 

With either platinum or elite AIO, the motherboard header does not supply power so the choice doesn’t matter much. The correct placement is on cpu fan so the bios will send you a warning if the pump doesn’t start. With either cooler you should use the AIO’s fan controller for the radiator fans and not the motherboard. 

20 hours ago, Woodyz82 said:

Would the motherboard rgb headers which are aura sync work? Believe iCUE can now sync / work rgb with aura sync.

CUE does not work with motherboard 5v D-RGB headers and the Corsair RGB products use a different type of connector than other products that don’t have their own control system. CUE does have an integration plugin to control the MB’s native LED zones. 
 

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Thanks for the reply - much appreciated. 
 

I already have the H100i purchased new / unused so I will have to stick with it unfortunately.

 

So just to clarify run the pump to the motherboard header, I assume I can do this on the AIO pump header or either of the CPU headers on my board, setting them up in bios to alert me if it fails as you say. And leave the fans on the AIO wiring loom as such.

 

Are the fans on the H100i Platinum I have a match with the SP120 Elite do you know? If so could get a commander pro and run all the fans and rgbs off that. If not I could still run all the case fans off it and then I assume icue will pick up the h100i and the case fans on either the lighting core or a commander pro and I can control both and get them all synced in icue? (Sorry I have never used icue before) I assume the usb headers do all the control work.

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On 12/22/2021 at 4:15 PM, Woodyz82 said:

I assume I can do this on the AIO pump header or either of the CPU headers on my board, setting them up in bios to alert me

No.  This is a function of the CPU fan header on the motherboard and a safety feature of the BIOS.  If you choose not to use the CPU fan header for this, you will need to deactivate or it it won't let you boot.  AIO_FAN and W_Pump and the like are simply standard chassis fan headers that are set to 100% by default.  5 years ago this might have some value, but these days all the AIO units will get their power from a SATA connector and all the motherboard connector does is pass a tachometer reading on to the MB.  AIO_FAN is just a marketing gimmick and most boards will let you unlock it and convert it back into a chassis fan header.  This is very different than the unique CPU fan (OPT) nature that is programmed to act like the fan control for a CPU air cooler.  Using it for regular case fan control tends to make it react very aggressively to CPU temp changes, something it does not need to do.  Since the CPU fan header is not useful for case or radiator fan control, it makes a lot of sense to stick the AIO tach wire on it and satisfy both the safety feature and leave open a header than might have more use.  Both AIO units will control their radiator fans from the pump controller and liquid temp value -- the proper one for water cooling.

 

The fans on the Platinum AIO are not a match for the SP-Elite.  They are the older style ML-PRO high speed with 4 LEDs in the center hub.  It will look OK, but as far as control goes it would be a bit messy.  The Platinum has it's own internal fan controller and RGB controller for its two fans, so you have two RGB controllers.  However, that will make the pump LED + 2 fans act like one group and the front 3x120 + rear like another.  They will not integrate sequentially, but you can make them do the same thing in two separate effects.  It is possible to force CUE to read them a 8 LED fans by setting it up as 8 LED fan x 5 and the two 4 LED fans are grouped together, but see the paragraph below.

 

If you want fan control, you will want the Commander Core XT.  The Commander Pro will require additional RGB lighting hubs to power the 5v for the fans and you won't have any.  They are hard to come by right now.  The Com Core XT is a newer controller and will automatically try to balance your RGB LED count between the fans.  You could conceivably use the 8-8-8-4-4-8 arrangement from front to back and the program will make the necessary adjustment for you.  I usually caution against this with some fan combinations, but 4/8 all center hub is an easy one to do.

Edited by c-attack
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Thanks again - legend! 
 

So H100i to the CPU FAN header then, and leave the CPU OPT and AIO PUMP headers unoccupied. I have attached a picture of my boards fan headers.

 

Shame the fan’s aren’t all compatible RGB wise, but I was expecting that answer after doing some more digging this evening. So basically in cue I will have two devices showing up - the H100i and the node core that comes with the 4000x case and I can get them working similar’ish by setting them both to the same effects. Sorry I have not used cue as yet so only clocked a few screenshots.

 

I think I understand what you mean about the commander pro - are you saying I would need another lighting node core to plug the H100i RGB plugs into and then that into the commander pro led channel 2, with led channel 1 being occupied by the node core on the 4000x case as such? 
 

So fan speed control wise I may as well just use my motherboard headers which are all PWM, unless I can get my hands on the commander core XT. Are your saying I can plug all my case fans (X4) into this for fan control and also all x6 fans rgb and it will do the led balance for you and act as one group?

 

Will cue let you control your fan speeds and set profiles from the motherboard fan headers which mine are all PWM? If I go with the option of no commander pro or XT? 

 

 

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Edited by Woodyz82
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Been doing some digging - so I think I’ve got my head around this now at long last.

 

So if I get the XT, the setup would be as follows - all x6 fans, that’s the case fans and the AIO fans both their PWM and RGB connections into the XT.

 

AIO pump to CPU fan and still connect the pumps usb to the mobo.
 

Overall I will need x2 mobo headers, pump and the XT. Which is fine as I have x3 on the mobo.

 

Then icue can control all the lighting and fan speeds, albeit I appreciate some lighting won’t be perfect due to the led counts being different.

 

Have I got all the right?

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15 hours ago, Woodyz82 said:

I think I understand what you mean about the commander pro - are you saying I would need another lighting node core to plug the H100i RGB plugs into and then that into the commander pro led channel 2, with led channel 1 being occupied by the node core on the 4000x case as such? 

Sort of.  The RGB Lighting Hub is like a mini Lighting Node Core.  The Commander Pro and Lighting Node Pro were the original devices that could supply small amounts of 5v for things like strips and water blocks, but needed the SATA powered booster (RGB hub) to power 6 RGB fans.  Years later we get the Core devices that are meant to be simpler.  A lighting node core is a larger RGB hub with it's own controller and does not need a Pro controller.  A Commander Pro is still valuable for custom water cooled builds or those with a lot of RGB hubs laying about, but for a normal user with 6 fans or less, the Commander Core solves all the requirements in one package -- which was the design intent.  All 6 fans would connect to it for RGB.  4 of the 6 would connect to it for PWM speed control.  Your two radiator fans stay on the Platinum pump splitter for speed control (this is the native controller and works at all times, software active or not).  It also resolves your LED count issue on the fans and they will run as one zone.  The pump LED always will be its own lighting group.  The lighting will be nearly seamless between 8 vs the two 4 LED fans up top.  This is very different than when pairing ML-PRO (4) with LL (16) or QL (34 LED) fans.  

 

You only will need the CPU fan header for the Platinum.  That will satisfy the MB's safety boot feature and warn you if the pump does not return a signal to the MB.  The Commander Core XT will not require a MB header.  It will require a USB 2 connection so it can talk with the software.  

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Actually reading your post through  a couple more times I think you have and answered that!

 

I thought I would need x2 usb headers, one for the platinum and one for the XT, unless I put the platinum on the XT pass through.

 

So my only query really as I’ve been told / read a couple different versions, is about connecting the platinum fans - some say run them off the XT but you mention run them off the platinum splitter. Does it make a difference which I choose? Why the platinum splitter over the XT? 

 

Aware all the RGB will go to the XT. And I will have x2 groups, one being the pump itself and the other all x6 fans on the XT

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16 hours ago, Woodyz82 said:

Does it make a difference which I choose? Why the platinum splitter over the XT? 

On the Platinum’s fan controller. The correct control variable for your radiator fans is coolant or liquid temperature (H1xx Temp). This is a measure of how much heat is in the system relative to the ambient room/case temp. The cpu is cooled by conductivity across the cold plate. The radiator, fans, and coolant are waste removal, not direct cooling. So if the liquid temp does not increase, then the system is already expelling all the added heat from the cpu and you don’t need more fan speed. More radiator fan speed will not stop voltage at the pins from heating the cpu.
 

The Platinum has a native liquid temp sensor it responds to at all times. If you never install the software, it would still increase/decrease fan speed along its native program curve. The Com Core XT can fetch this data from the Platinum when the software is running, but it must be running to get it. It’s much better to have the cooler instantly react to a problem then to wait for the OS to load and then cue, and then the fans respond. It also will keep the fans on your curve when you shutdown or quit cue. 

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