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Which fan hubs do I need for new build?


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Hi all,

 

I'm starting a new build in a week or two (first one in over 10 years), and first one using RGB.  I'm new to the various Corsair fan controllers/etc and trying to make sure I have everything I need.  If this question has already been answered, if anyone could link it, I'd greatly appreciate it.  I'm planning to end up with 8 fans.   Here's my setup:

  • Corsair 4000d Airflow case
  • Corsair h150i elite capellix cooler and I will use the 3 ML fans it comes with.  The cooler comes with iCUE Commander CORE.
  • Corsair DDR5 5200 Dominator Platinum 2x32gb memory
  • 5x Corsair QL120mm (bought these in a 3pack that included the Lighting Node Core, and 2x individual QL120s).

The ML120s will be mounted in the front of the case pushing air through the radiator, and I'll have 3 QL120s exhausting out the top/rear.  I'm considering adding 2 QL120s to pull through the radiator to match the rest of the interior case fans (but won't if mixing the push/pull fan types could cause noise/performance issues, and if so, I'll eventually track down 2 more of the same model ML120s that the cooler uses).

 

Is the iCUE Commander CORE that came with the cooler and the Lighting Node Core that came with the 3 pack of QL120s all I'll need to setup my iCUE RBG?  Or do I need to purchase another hub/controller?  Is there a guide somewhere on how I'd setup the connections?  I recall reading somewhere not to mix the QLs and MLs on a single controller and trying to avoid a lengthy troubleshooting process once I start building.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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Each Corsair RGB controller can handle up to 6 RGB fans for Core devices or 2 x 6 fans on Pro devices.  You have one Commander Core you must use since it also powers the pump in the AIO.  That's 6 PWM and 6 RGB ports.  If you buy either a QL140 "twin pack" or a QL120 triple pack, you will get the second controller you need (Lighting Node Core x 6 RGB).  In the case is a small PWM fan repeater.  This is effectively a powered splitter for up to 6 PWM fans.  This is how fans 6-10 will be controlled for speed and it connects back to the Commander Core using 1 PWM header.  

 

1) It won't matter if you get the Lighting Node Core from the QL140 twin or QL120 triple pack.  They are all the same.  Find the best combination on price. 

2) On the Commander Core and Commander XT you can mix RGB fan types.  Those controllers have individually controlled RGB headers and the software will automatically make the necessary compromise.  However, a QL fan is still a double sided ring fans and a ML-Elite is still a 8 center hub LED fan.  Special ring effects for QL/LL won't work for fans that don't have rings.  The wrinkle is the Lighting Node Core is serial like most Corsair RGB controllers, so you don't want to mix and match there is you don't have to.  Mixing QL fans with other types can be difficult because of the odd double sided 34 LED count.  

3) You most likely will want to group your fans on the RGB controllers based on where they are in the case.  Each group will act like a separate lighting zone.  So if you want to be able to send waves up the front, across the top, and to the back fan, those 6 fans need to be on the same controller.  With the 4000/5000 cases you most likely are looking at QLx6 (front/side LNCore) and ML-E x 3 + 1 QL on the Com Core.  All the other combinations come up odd with the rear fans left out, but you may come up with something else.  

 

General Guide

 

Edited by c-attack
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Thanks for the quick and informative response, that helps a lot!

 

Quick clarification and follow up:  I bought the 4000D Airflow, which I'm now realizing doesn't come with a fan controller.  So I think I will need another controller for PWM for fans 7 and 8.  Is that right?  If so, which?

For RGB, I do want to be able to take full advantage of the iCUE software and send waves/etc across the fans, or at least the 5 QLs visible from the side panel.  It sounds like I need to choose between all 5 QL120s on the Lighting Node Core w/ 3 MLs on the Commander Core, *OR* just the 3 exhaust QL120s (rear and top mounted) connected to the Lighting Node Core, with all 5 radiator fans (3 ML at front intake pushing air through radiator and 2 QL pulling) connected to the Commander Core.

If all 5 QLs are on the Lighting Node Core (to be able to send waves across all the interior fans visible from side panel), will the 3 MLs on the Commander Core still be synched with the QLs (but obviously not able to do the same effects b/c no rings and less LEDs/etc)?  Which connection setup would you recommend?

 

Thanks again for the info, it's greatly appreciated!

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Am einfachsten, wäre es meiner Meinung nach, die ML-Lüfter der Elite Capellix gegen Ql-Lüfter zu tauschen ....Die QL-Lüfter haben zwar nicht so den "statischen" Druck, reichen meiner Meinung nach aber völlig aus .

Ich habe zB insgesamt sieben QL 140er in einem 680x verbaut 

 

Gruß Kontio

20201130_121609.jpg

Edited by Kontio
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21 minutes ago, BPags52 said:

I bought the 4000D Airflow, which I'm now realizing doesn't come with a fan controller

It should still have the PWM repeater.  It doesn't look like much, just a small circuit board.  It's in the center of this picture.

4000x-inside.png

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Thanks for the input.  Your setup looks great.

I agree, it would probably be easier to use all QL fans, but I keep hearing about thermal issues with the i9-12900k and I didn't want to risk sacrificing performance for aesthetics (nor buy more fans).  The 3 ML fans will be at the front intake and depending on how I position the tower, might not be visible to me, so I think I'll be ok with those 3 not being QLs.

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53 minutes ago, BPags52 said:

f all 5 QLs are on the Lighting Node Core (to be able to send waves across all the interior fans visible from side panel), will the 3 MLs on the Commander Core still be synched with the QLs (but obviously not able to do the same effects b/c no rings and less LEDs/etc)?  Which connection setup would you recommend?

Let me clarify "syncing".  If you tell both controllers to do "Rainbow Wave", then every fan will do rainbow wave and it will look the same as much as it can.  2 controllers is a non-issue for static effects or any lighting pattern that is local to each fan.  The trickier is bit is sequential patterns that run 1->6 on the controller.  Sequential effects like ping, ping, gate, arc, etc. can not jump controllers and will be local to each group.  There are quite a few QL specific effects and those are the fun ones to play around with when your first get them.

 

So a potential alternative set-up and possible the one I would recommend regardless of fan type is to put the H150i radiator and it's 3 ML-Elite fans on the MB side wall placement as intake.  This has a functional purpose of removing the AIO from the GPU heat zone and it also gives you the option of running the QL up the front/top/rear.  Again you have the 7th fan problem, but you could also only use 2 QL up top to keep it at 6.  If you prefer to have all the QL in the front + side wall spots, you can use them on the radiator and move the ML-Elite to the top.  With a 360mm radiator fan choice is not overly important.  

Edited by c-attack
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Thanks for clarifying the syncing c-attack.  I'll go with all 5 QLs visible from side panel connected to the Lighting Node Core and the 3 MLs at the front intake on the Commander Core.  Also, thanks for pointing out the 4000D Airflow does have the pwm repeater (I haven't opened the box yet).  I think I have everything I need!

Regarding the alternative setup, that won't work for me because the 4000D doesn't have a MB side-wall intake/mount for a radiator (the 5000D does).  The h150i can only be mounted on the front.

Thanks again, all!

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You're right.  I keep mis-reading some of the info and too much unnecessary side fan talk.  We had a forum font shrinkage and it would appear I need glasses now.  

Edited by c-attack
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Haha, no problem!  I checked again and it looks like the 5000D comes with the PWM repeater but not the 4000D.  If that's true, what should I use for PWM for fans 7 and 8?  Maybe purchase a 2nd Commander Core and don't use the Lighting Node Core?

Thanks again and sorry for all novice questions. 

image.thumb.png.bdcde35d5f2b5d6d96b767ceff3ce51e.png

Edited by BPags52
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Hmm... they should remove that picture from the marketing page.  What I linked above is directly from the 4000D web page.

 

So, a few choices here.  1) Powered PWM hubs are inexpensive.  A typical one that powers between 4-10 fans is $14-$20 USD.  It does not need to be brand specific.  It should be powered by a SATA cable.  2) Standard PWM splitters.  You don't want to load up the Commander Core too much, but if you already have 2 of these, running 8 fans should be OK.  If you don't have them, the powered hub is only slightly more expensive and more useful.

 

The Commander XT would not be my first choice.  It is an expensive PWM control device unless you need it for other things.  Most people do not need individual fan control over each fan in the case and there is no need for this on these panels of 3x120.  However, it does work so this is a viable option and would replace the LNCore if you want to do it this way.  

Edited by c-attack
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Ok, I think I'll find a powered PWM hub if I decide to go PWM on all 8 fans but may just leave 2 exhaust fans off PWM.

That gives me options, thanks again!

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The easiest use of the PWM hub would be for the three radiator fans.  Those certainly do not need to have individual speed control.  The hub uses 1 PWM header from the Commander Core, leaving 5 remaining for the rest of the fans.  You will still have full software control over the fans on the PWM hub, but they will act (and show) as 1 fan in CUE.  

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I'll do that ^.  Thank you!

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On 7/16/2022 at 12:20 PM, c-attack said:

Each Corsair RGB controller can handle up to 6 RGB fans for Core devices or 2 x 6 fans on Pro devices.  You have one Commander Core you must use since it also powers the pump in the AIO.  That's 6 PWM and 6 RGB ports.  If you buy either a QL140 "twin pack" or a QL120 triple pack, you will get the second controller you need (Lighting Node Core x 6 RGB).  In the case is a small PWM fan repeater.  This is effectively a powered splitter for up to 6 PWM fans.  This is how fans 6-10 will be controlled for speed and it connects back to the Commander Core using 1 PWM header.  

 

1) It won't matter if you get the Lighting Node Core from the QL140 twin or QL120 triple pack.  They are all the same.  Find the best combination on price. 

2) On the Commander Core and Commander XT you can mix RGB fan types.  Those controllers have individually controlled RGB headers and the software will automatically make the necessary compromise.  However, a QL fan is still a double sided ring fans and a ML-Elite is still a 8 center hub LED fan.  Special ring effects for QL/LL won't work for fans that don't have rings.  The wrinkle is the Lighting Node Core is serial like most Corsair RGB controllers, so you don't want to mix and match there is you don't have to.  Mixing QL fans with other types can be difficult because of the odd double sided 34 LED count.  

3) You most likely will want to group your fans on the RGB controllers based on where they are in the case.  Each group will act like a separate lighting zone.  So if you want to be able to send waves up the front, across the top, and to the back fan, those 6 fans need to be on the same controller.  With the 4000/5000 cases you most likely are looking at QLx6 (front/side LNCore) and ML-E x 3 + 1 QL on the Com Core.  All the other combinations come up odd with the rear fans left out, but you may come up with something else.  

 

General Guide

 

I started the build this morning and I've decided to only use 6 fans (3ML as front intake pushing air through radiator + 3 QLs exhausting out the top and rear.

Quick follow-up dumb question:  since I'm only using 6 fans, should I:

(1) only use the Commander Core?  If I understand your #2 response about individually controlled RGB headers, mixing the QLs and MLs on this controller won't prevent me from using all the QLs features.

or

(2) connect the MLs RGB to the Commander Core and the QLs' RGB to the Lighting Node Core? 

 

Thanks again for all the help.  I'll post a picture of the build when she's done.

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1 hour ago, BPags52 said:

1) only use the Commander Core?  If I understand your #2 response about individually controlled RGB headers, mixing the QLs and MLs on this controller won't prevent me from using all the QLs features.

I would put them all on the Commander Core since it is required to make the pump work and also handles mixed fans better. If for whatever reason you don’t like how the effects are handled between fan types, you don’t need to move one set to another controller. You always have the ability to subdivide the main lighting channel into smaller groups. Fans 1-3 can do effect A while 4-6 do B. This is also a way to create different effects by applying separate instances of an effect to each fan. “Color shift” as a group 1-6 will be quite different than 6 separate color shift effects, one applied to each fan. 
 

To specifically apply the effect to certain fans, use the fan selector in the middle or you can hold CTRL + left click drag to selectively apply (or deselect) fans or individual LEDs. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

New build turned out great (aside from a bad stick of RAM that took me longer than I care to admit to troubleshoot).  Ended up using 6 total fans (3 ML at front intake and 3 QL exhausting top/rear), all connected to the Commander Core.  Thanks again for the input!  My 5 y/o picked "Vader red" as his favorite scene.

IMG_0225.jpg

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