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How many Commanders? Product advice for new cooling setup..


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Anyways, my old case and setup just had 6 rgb fans, which worked out nice for the Commander Pro (plus lighting node). But now I've got 9, possibly adding a 10th (all QL120 rgb fans). I've also got a pump but don't usually control it through iCUE, as it has its own software suite for advanced metrics and whatnot, but I'm curious if anyone actually plugs their D5 pump into it? Also, I don't need more than 4 temp probes. I don't intend to have any LED strips.. at least, I don't think. My GPU block and CPU block both have RGB, but it's EK so I can't plug those into the Commander, right ??? 

When I bought the Pro, the Core and Core XT did not exist, as far as I'm aware. But either way, here we are:

  1. is one Commander Pro enough to run all of this?
  2. If yes, how do you connect 9 or 10 fans to the 6 fan ports on the Pro?
  3. If no, which extra device is the best choice for my needs, pairing it with the Pro I already have?
  4. Finally, are there any Corsair products that come bundled with the Core or Core XT? 
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Posted (edited)

1, 2, & 3 - In theory you could use four 2-way PWM splitters to connect the fans, but the better method is to use a PWM hub that acts as a powered splitter for 4-10 fans depending on the model you choose.  Most users do not need individual fan control on their radiators or any of the now typical 3x120 or 3x140 panels.  The PWM hub will use 1 fan port from the Commander leaving 5 for to use.  Most users will want their pump on the Commander so they can program it or set a specific level when needed, but if you have an unusual pump with its own control scheme then that may be an exception.  

 

4) A couple of cases come with a Commander XT -- 5000T, 7000x.   Expensive way to get one, but if you are in the market.... still I would choose the case I wanted.  A Commander XT has been hovering around $50 USD.

The Elite Capellix AIO series comes with a Commander Core, but I don't think you're shopping for an AIO.  Commander Cores are meant for the AIO and it has a special power/data port on the side required to operate the Elite Capellix pump.  

 

There are 3rd party adapters that will allow you to connect your EK blocks to the Commander Pro or any other device with a LED port.  The trick is finding a compatible Corsair element to match LEDs counts.  EK uses some odd numbers.  Some older stuff is 9 LEDs.  Those can be set 1 x strip, which is 10 LEDs.  Some of the newer stuff is 14 LED, which is close enough to use a Hydro X blocks (16 LEDs).  It you PM me what you have, I can make a recommendation.  

Edited by c-attack
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20 hours ago, c-attack said:

1, 2, & 3 - In theory you could use four 2-way PWM splitters to connect the fans, but the better method is to use a PWM hub that acts as a powered splitter for 4-10 fans depending on the model you choose.  Most users do not need individual fan control on their radiators or any of the now typical 3x120 or 3x140 panels.  The PWM hub will use 1 fan port from the Commander leaving 5 for to use.  Most users will want their pump on the Commander so they can program it or set a specific level when needed, but if you have an unusual pump with its own control scheme then that may be an exception.  

 

4) A couple of cases come with a Commander XT -- 5000T, 7000x.   Expensive way to get one, but if you are in the market.... still I would choose the case I wanted.  A Commander XT has been hovering around $50 USD.

The Elite Capellix AIO series comes with a Commander Core, but I don't think you're shopping for an AIO.  Commander Cores are meant for the AIO and it has a special power/data port on the side required to operate the Elite Capellix pump.  

 

There are 3rd party adapters that will allow you to connect your EK blocks to the Commander Pro or any other device with a LED port.  The trick is finding a compatible Corsair element to match LEDs counts.  EK uses some odd numbers.  Some older stuff is 9 LEDs.  Those can be set 1 x strip, which is 10 LEDs.  Some of the newer stuff is 14 LED, which is close enough to use a Hydro X blocks (16 LEDs).  It you PM me what you have, I can make a recommendation.  

ok awesome thank you!

Any recommendations on this PWM hub? Im guessing if I go that route, no need for a Core or Core XT, right?

I'll DM you the EK hardware

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You can use any of these PWM hubs.  They all should work, as long as there is a SATA cable for power.  If it's a dangling 4 way straight from the fan header, it's just a 4 way splitter and that will not work.  This will work for all of the Commanders - Pro, XT, or Core.  

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Posted (edited)

Oh ok, by "these PWM hubs" you're referring to the line of Commander products. Ok, I will find one that's being sold separately. 

 

Edit: And about the pump, im using the Aquacomputer D5 Next, which has its own software.. though, I suppose I could try running it throu iCue and see if I like it (https://www.performance-pcs.com/water-cooling/pumps/aquacomputer-d5-next-rgb-aq-41118.html)

Edited by exploiteddna
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10 minutes ago, exploiteddna said:

Aquacomputer D5 Next

No, you're fine.  That is the exception I had in my mind.  I don't have one, but another user may be able to answer if there is a benefit to moving PWM control to the Commander.  I suspect not.  

 

No, by PWM hubs I mean the 3rd party box with SATA and 1 PWM cable.  I've sent you a list of three with one recommendation.  

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Posted (edited)

the Next already has its own embedded water temperature sensor and integrated controller, so you're better off running it hardware mode or with aquasuite, but you dont need the software for it. Just set a pump curve and done.

If you weren't using QL fans i would have told you to go with Aquacomputer entirely, but that can be expensive with QLs because of how many LEDs those fans have.

Since you already have aquasuite, you could have two choices :

-Use a Commander with iCUE for the fans and only have the D5 on aquasuite

-Use lighting nodes core just for lighting control of the QL with iCUE, and get an aquacomputer PWM controller (Octo or Quadro) to manage all the cooling.

iCUE has very basic controls for cooling (fan curve, one temperature sensor, done) so if you're looking for simple, it can work.

For custom loop, Aquasuite is way more powerful so i'd tend to recommend that instead since you already have one foot in the ecosystem. And either controllers have standard ARGB control for your EK blocks. the D5 NEXT also has one channel that can control up to 90 LEDs so you could connect your blocks there too.

And if you got your QL in 3packs, you may already have some lighting node core units laying around to use with iCUE?

Edited by LeDoyen
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Posted (edited)

Hmmm.. yeah those are some interesting options.. Everything makes sense. I guess one thing I'd say is I sorta like iCue over aquasuite. Also my aquasuite license is nearly expired, which means I will stop receiving updates. In my last setup with D5 Next, I had aquasuite and iCUE, but I only really used aquasuite to setup water temp alarms or pump failure alarms. I much preferred controlling fans, LEDs, etc in iCUE. 

 

I have way too many lighting nodes.. I think I've got 4 of them, plus the Commander Pro.

Edited by exploiteddna
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4 hours ago, LeDoyen said:

-Use a Commander with iCUE for the fans and only have the D5 on aquasuite

This is what I did last time. It worked out pretty well. But I do wonder how much control of the pump I'd be able to get inside of iCUE. Id probably still have aquasuite installed, but if I could use iCUE for most of the pump control functions that would be cool. The D5 Next connects to the system via direct link to motherboard USB header. Not sure if iCUE can read this information or not. Though, maybe I'm able to plug it into one of the fan headers on the commander. I need to go look at its wiring options again, its been almost a year since I disassembled the old loop, delayed waiting for system upgrade components.

 

4 hours ago, LeDoyen said:

-Use lighting nodes core just for lighting control of the QL with iCUE, and get an aquacomputer PWM controller (Octo or Quadro) to manage all the cooling.

Last loop I had, I used the aquasuite for controlling the display on the Next, for alarms, and some other basic stuff (rbs on the pump housing). I remember considering those controllers, but as you noted they are kind of expensive. I think thats why I originally bought the Commander instead. My last build only had 6 fans so it was a non-issue, I just used the commander plus a lighting node, IIRC.

 

4 hours ago, LeDoyen said:

For custom loop, Aquasuite is way more powerful so i'd tend to recommend that instead since you already have one foot in the ecosystem. And either controllers have standard ARGB control for your EK blocks. the D5 NEXT also has one channel that can control up to 90 LEDs so you could connect your blocks there too.

yeah i have this weird mix of ecosystems.. I think I'd prefer to stay more in Corsair, I just really liked the Next pump, not so much the entire aquacomputer ecosystem. 

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If you prefer iCUE that's fine ^^

It won't read the NEXT sensors though but you can keep an eye on them with HWinfo or aquasuite.

The choice really lies in your choice of wanting to use what Aquasuite offers or not. It is too different from iCUE to really be compared. iCUE is more user friendly, and lighting setup is stupildly easy if you stick to presets.

Aquasuite is more for cooling powerusers and helpless tinkerers who want to extract every last bit of performance from the radiators, and automate everything.

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Whether you want the pump on a Commander or on its own won't change the hardware list, aside from using one for PWM header.  However, there are a couple points that may nudge you one way or another.

 

1) Do you have any RGB Lighting Hubs?  These were used with the original ML, HD, LL fans to connect to an LED port.  If not, then you won't be able to connect the QL to the Commander Pro for RGB control.  Those LED ports can go to your 3rd party adapters for the blocks so not wasted, but it then makes getting a Commander XT a better idea because of #2.

 

2) The Lighting Node Core RGB controllers that come with the QL multi-packs will light up any Corsair fan, but it is RGB only.  You cannot run a LED/RGB device from it other than a Corsair fan.  

 

 

So that makes the primary options either:

 

A) Commander Pro + PWM hub -> Up to 15 fans for speed control.  2 LED ports on Commander Pro for blocks.  2 Lighting Node Cores from QL box for RGB (6+3 or 6+4 for fans).  This is 3 USB 2 ports and 4 SATA power plugs.

 

B) Commander Pro + Commander XT -> Up to 12 fans for speed control.  3 available LED ports.  6 QL on Com XT for RGB.  Remaining fans on 1 LNCore from QL box.  This is 3 USB 2 ports and 3 SATA plugs.  If you have 1 RGB Lighting hub from before, the LNCore can be dropped in exchange for 1 LED port on the Commander Pro.  

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