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Sanity Check on 13 Fan (10 + 3) Setup in O11 XL


RocketMan55
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Hello and thanks to anyone in advance for their help.

I am planning to build the following in a Lian Li O11 XL:
-Qty (10) Corsair QL120s (3x side intake, 3x bottom intake, 3x top mounted to radiator in a push exhaust config, and 1x rear exhaust)
-Qty (3) Corsair ML120s (from the H150i Elite kit) mounted in a pull exhaust configuration behind the radiator.  As the qty (3) ML fans will be hidden, I do not need them to be lit, only PWM controlled via iCUE. My thought here is that it would eliminate the need for additional lighting hubs.

My plan is to leverage (1) Commander Pro, (1) Commander Core (from the H150i kit), and (1) Lighting Node Core (from one of the QL120 3-packs), the USB Y-splitter cable (from the H150i kit), and a PWM 1-to-2 splitter cable, to look something like the attached diagram.

If I wanted to add additional LED strips down the road, would I be able to attach them to the two available LED ports I have open on the commander pro without needing additional lighting hubs? Is my USB cabling/piggybacking accecptable? I have seen people recommend PWM hubs and internal USB hubs but am unsure if I need that in my current configuration. Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

 

 

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You have enough Corsair hardware to make this work and some options.  You must use the Commander Core as it's also the power delivery for the pump on Elite Capellix units.  That's 6 PWM and 6 RGB ports.  Do you have any small RGB fan hubs?  It looks like a mini-Lighting node core and provides 5v power on devices like the Commander Pro and Lighting Node Pro.  If not, then there is one way to connect this.

 

Commander Core - 6 PWM and 6 RGB.  You want your radiator fan speed control on this, but also could offload the current load to a PWM repeater for all 6 fans on the push pull.  All fans will run the same speed and it's effectively a powered splitter.  That may free up more options on connecting other fans.  Remember PWM and RGB wires do NOT need to go to the same controller, but it can get confusing when they don't.

 

Lighting Node Core - 6 QL fans for RGB

 

Commander Pro - 6 fans for PWM, no fans for RGB.  This leaves both LED ports open for strips.  Strips directly connect and do not require RGB hub boosters.  Same thing for custom water cooling blocks, etc.  

 

Your major choice here is how you will split the RGB fans.  There will be two controllers.  These will act like separate groups and one of those groups will be a mix of QL + ML-Elite (8 LED center hub).  Those ML-Elite cannot do the special ring effects on the QL since they have no rings.  My advice as a former O11 + QL fan owner is to group your top and bottom QL fans in one group.  They are highly visible with their side rings and it makes the most sense to run those as a set of 6 for sequential effects.  Then the motherboard side wall QL fans are on their own circuit, plus the rear QL and probably without the ML-Elite.  This allows you to set those to match motherboard, CPU/pump and side wall lighting while the top/bottom fans become the showy fans with dynamic patterns.  

 

1 hour ago, RocketMan55 said:

Is my USB cabling/piggybacking accecptable? I have seen people recommend PWM hubs and internal USB hubs but am unsure if I need that in my current configuration.

That's the question of the past two years.  It's going to depend on your motherboard as this is the complicating factor.  If you are on an AMD platform X570 or newer (including X470 with BIOS updates for 5000 series CPU compatibility), you need a powered USB hub and cannot stack devices on the USB passthroughs.  Those are passive, so it forces all the traffic down the same line without additional support.  If you are on a new Intel Z690 and presumably this is going to be true for Z790 as well, you likely need a USB booster.  Users starting reporting issues.  I don't think USB 2 gets much love in the motherboard department these days.  If you are using a H150i LCD kits (that's 3 devices in that pack), you absolutely need a powered USB hub and some luck in trying to get all devices recognized.  This has been a difficult issue and there are no solid rules for which devices gets recognized on which port.  A lot of users on Intel and AMD must resort to a USB 3-> 2 conversion cable to get some load off the USB 2 pathway.  

 

Edited by c-attack
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Thank you for your detailed respone! Just to further clarify a couple of your thoughts:

4 hours ago, c-attack said:

Your major choice here is how you will split the RGB fans.  There will be two controllers.  These will act like separate groups and one of those groups will be a mix of QL + ML-Elite (8 LED center hub).  Those ML-Elite cannot do the special ring effects on the QL since they have no rings.  My advice as a former O11 + QL fan owner is to group your top and bottom QL fans in one group.  They are highly visible with their side rings and it makes the most sense to run those as a set of 6 for sequential effects.  Then the motherboard side wall QL fans are on their own circuit, plus the rear QL and probably without the ML-Elite.  This allows you to set those to match motherboard, CPU/pump and side wall lighting while the top/bottom fans become the showy fans with dynamic patterns.  

My intention was to not provide any RGB connection to the ML fans as they will be hidden behind the radiator (so essentially having 13 total fans with PWM contrallable connections but only 10 of them with RGB). All that would matter to me for those ML fans would be the speed control. So in my diagram I've got all 6 radiator fans (3x ML + 3x QL) plus the lone rear QL (using a single PWM 2-to-1 splitter) going to the Commander Core but only RGB connections to the QL fans. You mention that PWM and RGB don't necesarily need to be on the same controller but would there be issues with forgoing RGB connections to the ML fans altogether? Does the Commander Core assume that whatever is plugged into port on the FAN side is the same compontent plugged into port on the RGB side? This way I would not need to have a mixed ML + QL RGB group. Aplogies if I've misunderstood you. I do appreciate the layout suggestions, I will need to think further about that but if we're on the same page, I should be able to move the RGB connections around into the 2 groups I finalize on.

5 hours ago, c-attack said:

If you are on a new Intel Z690 and presumably this is going to be true for Z790 as well, you likely need a USB booster.  Users starting reporting issues.  I don't think USB 2 gets much love in the motherboard department these days.  If you are using a H150i LCD kits (that's 3 devices in that pack), you absolutely need a powered USB hub and some luck in trying to get all devices recognized.  This has been a difficult issue and there are no solid rules for which devices gets recognized on which port.  A lot of users on Intel and AMD must resort to a USB 3-> 2 conversion cable to get some load off the USB 2 pathway.

I will need to look into this but thanks for the heads up as I'll be going for one of those Intel boards. Can you clarify what the 3rd USB device on the H150i Elite LCD kit is? I'm counting one from the USB header on the pump, one from the commander core, does the LCD count as the 3rd (24-pin pass-through from the commander core)? Just want to make sure I'm fully accounting for all my USB connections as I don't have the AIO yet. 

 

Thanks again!

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On 10/23/2022 at 5:16 PM, c-attack said:

You have enough Corsair hardware to make this work and some options.  You must use the Commander Core as it's also the power delivery for the pump on Elite Capellix units.  That's 6 PWM and 6 RGB ports.  Do you have any small RGB fan hubs?  It looks like a mini-Lighting node core and provides 5v power on devices like the Commander Pro and Lighting Node Pro.  If not, then there is one way to connect this.

 

Commander Core - 6 PWM and 6 RGB.  You want your radiator fan speed control on this, but also could offload the current load to a PWM repeater for all 6 fans on the push pull.  All fans will run the same speed and it's effectively a powered splitter.  That may free up more options on connecting other fans.  Remember PWM and RGB wires do NOT need to go to the same controller, but it can get confusing when they don't.

 

Lighting Node Core - 6 QL fans for RGB

 

Commander Pro - 6 fans for PWM, no fans for RGB.  This leaves both LED ports open for strips.  Strips directly connect and do not require RGB hub boosters.  Same thing for custom water cooling blocks, etc.  

 

Your major choice here is how you will split the RGB fans.  There will be two controllers.  These will act like separate groups and one of those groups will be a mix of QL + ML-Elite (8 LED center hub).  Those ML-Elite cannot do the special ring effects on the QL since they have no rings.  My advice as a former O11 + QL fan owner is to group your top and bottom QL fans in one group.  They are highly visible with their side rings and it makes the most sense to run those as a set of 6 for sequential effects.  Then the motherboard side wall QL fans are on their own circuit, plus the rear QL and probably without the ML-Elite.  This allows you to set those to match motherboard, CPU/pump and side wall lighting while the top/bottom fans become the showy fans with dynamic patterns.  

After sleeping on your suggestions and deep diving these forums for a few more hours (found many of your contributions in other posts to be extremely helpful btw), it seems that it may not be worth the extra headache to incorporate the qty (3) ML fans into the mix for 1-2 C changes. If I kept the build at qty (10) QL fans, I could do as you said previously and put the top 3 rad mounted QLs on the Commander Core with the 3 bottom QLs. Simplifying further, I think I could use a Commander Core XT to combine the functionality of the CoPro and LNC in my diagram for the 3 side QLs and 1 rear QL. Does that seem correct?

It seems this would simplify the number of hubs in my case (from 1 CoPro, 1 CoCore, and 1 LNC) to (1 CoCore and 1 CoCore XT) while still giving me the ability to add another channel of RGB strips if I so decide to the 3-pin "RGB" header on the CoCore XT (vs. the two that would be available on the CoPro - but this isn't a priority to me). I also wouldn't need to use any PWM splitters or have to deal with the confusion of PWM being on a different controller than RGB as my initial design included.

Any feedback on anything I might not be considering would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

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Admittingly, I have all my fans on radiators (9 fans - 3 x 360mm) but this is how I have both of my machines set up...

  • I x Commander Pro - used for liquid temperature monitoring (and the source for my fan curves), PWM fan & pump control, ARGB headers for case, distro block, (CPU/GPU block ARGB connection for machine 1 only).
  • 1 x Lampton SP105 fan controller (9 of 10 ports used) connected to a single port on the Commander Pro.
  • 1 x NZXT Internal Hub (Gen 3) for USB connectivity to the various controllers.
  • Machine 1: (9 x ML-120 Elite RGB fans) - 2 x LNC for ARGB control (6 on the first, 3 on the second).
  • Machine 2: (9 x Lian Li UNI AL-120 fans) - 1 x Lian Li UNI HUB (set to motherboard control) for RGB control connected to an ARGB port on the Commander Pro.

The reason I use the Lampton PWN fan controller is twofold; firstly, there are only 6 ports on the Commander Pro (I need a total of 10 for fans and pump) and I don't wish to use splitters. Second, I have all fans set to a common fan curve and can set it from one fan port on the Commander Pro if I decide to choose a more or a less aggressive fan curve I have configured in ICUE. In addition, I used EZDIY-FAB Corsair Adapter cables to convert the standard ARGB cables to the Corsair propriety Command Pro ARGB ports. 

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20 hours ago, RocketMan55 said:

Does the Commander Core assume that whatever is plugged into port on the FAN side is the same compontent plugged into port on the RGB side?

No, the RGB and PWM sides are completely independent.  You could do 6 fans for speed control and 6 different fans on the RGB side, although obviously that could be confusing for day to day management.  The same holds true for the Commander XT and the LED ports on a Commander Pro.  

 

 

20 hours ago, RocketMan55 said:

Can you clarify what the 3rd USB device on the H150i Elite LCD kit is?

Not obvious from the product description, but its a LCD top that goes over the actual CPU mounted pump (1), the pump itself (2), and the Commander Core (3).  The intent is the LCD top has a USB splitter to share a path with the Commander Core.  So it's 2 USB connections and 3 devices.  One of the common troubles has been where  the Commander Core or LCD top is not detected.  Many users need to connect them individually not using the splitter and so this requires 2 USB ports and most definitely a powered hub simply to accommodate the number of USB 2 connections.  Be aware the USB ports on the Commander Pro are not likely to work for the Commander Core or LCD top.  It might work just fine for the Lighting Node Core.

 

Commander Pro + LNCore vs Commander XT - So on paper this is fine.  Be aware the XT is like the Commander Core and has 6 PWM ports + 6 RGB ports.  It does not need RGB Lighting hubs like Pro devices.  However, there is only so much room on the controller circuit board so the 6 RGB fans are channel 1 and there is only 1 other LED channel.  You could connect 4-6 LED strips off of this depending on length.  Now the tricky part -- Commander Core + LCD top + Commander XT leads to trouble on detection.  These are the three needy devices and the ones with the bulk of the issues.  When you get to 3 of these in any quantity, there seems to be a genuine problem with detection.  I know one user managed 4 of them, but it was with dual USB 3 -> 2 conversion cables and a powered USB hub.  That's a lot of a fuss for a lateral move.  So while it seems like you are gaining by eliminating 1 USB connection, the Commander Pro and LNCore are easy devices and possibly can be chained naturally.  If you already have them, I would not recommend buying into a Com XT without understanding the risk.  It's not as simple as 1 less USB 2 and 1 less SATA.  

 

 

This is a lot to take in.  I think you have most of what you need.

1) You are going to need a powered USB 2 hub.  The NZXT one is popular.  I know of no auto-failure brands, so pick freely.  Should not cost more than about $20 USD.

2) I am usually quick to downplay the effectiveness of push pull on 30mm radiators.  However, if you are going 13900K the wattage numbers are looking massive.  I might make an exception here and do it.  Either way, you decision on this will not change the required hardware choice now and you can wait until later without consequence.  The only big deal would be if you are going to top mount the radiator and you'd rather do the fan sandwich when the case is still mostly empty.  Incidentally, my recommendation is to put the radiator in the side wall as intake to get it out of the GPU waste heat zone.  There are exceptions to every recommendation, but most people will do better right from the start to keep it out of the GPU hot zone.  That also means you can mount the radiator inside the case and put the push pull fans in the back if you like.  

3) A powered PWM hub (splitter) can take the entire 6 fan array on the radiator or 6 other fans and link them to 1 PWM control header.  This also will allow you to keep RGB and PWM on the same controller, except the LNCore will have 6 QL for RGB while the Commander Pro has those 6 for PWM.  That's something you can probably manage.  You also could check eBay for a RGB Lighting Hub.  That would go into the Commander Pro LED port #1, you drop the LNCore, and it has the same effect as using the Commander XT to replace them both, but with less hassle and more options.  The only difficulty is finding one.  It should be a $10 part.  Scarcity has increased the going rate for a while.  

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On 10/24/2022 at 7:30 PM, c-attack said:

This is a lot to take in.  I think you have most of what you need.

1) You are going to need a powered USB 2 hub.  The NZXT one is popular.  I know of no auto-failure brands, so pick freely.  Should not cost more than about $20 USD.

2) I am usually quick to downplay the effectiveness of push pull on 30mm radiators.  However, if you are going 13900K the wattage numbers are looking massive.  I might make an exception here and do it.  Either way, you decision on this will not change the required hardware choice now and you can wait until later without consequence.  The only big deal would be if you are going to top mount the radiator and you'd rather do the fan sandwich when the case is still mostly empty.  Incidentally, my recommendation is to put the radiator in the side wall as intake to get it out of the GPU waste heat zone.  There are exceptions to every recommendation, but most people will do better right from the start to keep it out of the GPU hot zone.  That also means you can mount the radiator inside the case and put the push pull fans in the back if you like.  

3) A powered PWM hub (splitter) can take the entire 6 fan array on the radiator or 6 other fans and link them to 1 PWM control header.  This also will allow you to keep RGB and PWM on the same controller, except the LNCore will have 6 QL for RGB while the Commander Pro has those 6 for PWM.  That's something you can probably manage.  You also could check eBay for a RGB Lighting Hub.  That would go into the Commander Pro LED port #1, you drop the LNCore, and it has the same effect as using the Commander XT to replace them both, but with less hassle and more options.  The only difficulty is finding one.  It should be a $10 part.  Scarcity has increased the going rate for a while.  

 

On 10/24/2022 at 6:56 PM, BlaiseP said:

1 x Lampton SP105 fan controller

Thanks again to you both for all of the feedback. I ended up picking up the NZXT USB hub along with the Lamptron SP105 PWM splitter mentioned above. I also ordered a couple of RGB hubs on ebay so I think I should have all the hardware I need now (plus some). I redesigned my diagram a bit with the new hardware in mind. Just wondering if this new config eliminates the potential USB issues you brought up previously? Are there any connections (USB or other) that I've not accounted for here (I've decided to add the 3x ML120s back into the mix but have intentionally left out the RGB connections since they will be hidden)? Anything else I might have overlooked?

Thanks!

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And right as I submitted that, I forgot I had one additional question. I'm assuming that the H150i Elite LCD kit only comes with mounting screws for 3 fans (push or pull but not both). I see Corsair has a AIO Cooler Fan Mounting Hardware Kit on their site but it appears to be out of stock. Is this a universal sized set of screws? If not, can your recommend an alternative kit?

Thanks!

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Universal size screw -- for Corsair AIO and most others, it's a 6-32 machine screw in a length to pass through the 25mm fan and just enough to grab some threads.  These are available at any hardware store, but the length can get tricky depending on case thickness or fan peculiarities.  Generally, you're looking for a 28-30mm screw.  To be safe, you can pick up a set of thin rubber washers.  If the screw is too long, you put it underneath the head to push the screw further away from the radiator.  Silicon washers are very cheap.  Most hardware store screws will be shiny metallic.  If you want black, you likely need to order from a specialty PC store or a generic version on Amazon (or the like).  

 

I don't see any pressing USB 2 issues.  If you are lucky, the Commander Core and LCD top on the splitter go direct to MB USB 1 and the Commander Pro to USB 2 and the USB hub is not used.  However, most likely you'll need to put the LCD top and Commander Core on the hub individually and then that to the MB.  Usually the Commander Pro is steady when directly connected, but there are no universal rules anymore.  

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