The LED (short for light-emitting diode) is not only very popular in domestic light bulbs and car headlights, but is also finding its way into the PC and gaming sector – where it solves outdated problems such as fluorescent or UV tubes.
In addition, this technology allows a variety of options, such as computers and other components to be immersed in atmospheric light and to provide them with various effects. This is made possible by RGB LEDs, which can be controlled by a controller both in terms of luminous intensity and colour.
For a smooth installation of these eye-catchers, however, there are a few things to consider. There are a number of different connectors and standards – both for mainboards with corresponding RGB headers and for stand-alone controllers. Since almost every manufacturer cooks his own soup here, this guide should give an overview of technology, installation and fields of application.
Light in 16.7 million colors
The abbreviation RGB stands for the colors red, green and blue. At the same time, RGB is a color space in which the individual primary colors add up to a hue. LEDs in the primary colors can be used to create a variety of color combinations: Each LED can be controlled in 256 power gradations. With three basic colours, this results in 256 x 256 x 256 different possibilities, i.e. around 16.7 million different colour tones.
In fact, however, the human eye recognizes only about half a million individual nuances. Added to this is the fact that, for example, pure white in conventional RGB LEDs is mixed from the three primary colors and thus does not reach the luminosity and color temperature as RGBW LEDs do. The letter “W” here stands for white – so there is another LED that emits only white light.
From a grey plastic housing to a colourful eye-catcher
In the course of time, PC cases developed from practical use to a real eye-catcher. Not only visually, but also technically many details were optimized. For example, modern cases are easier to maintain and operate, or hardware components can be changed with little effort compared to earlier models. After all, the purpose of housings at that time was merely to protect the often expensive and sensitive hardware from external influences and to hold together the even larger number of individual components at that time. In addition, more recent models offer a wide selection of different high-quality materials, extensions and sophisticated ventilation systems.
In the mid-90s, grey plastic and boring beige-coloured metal fronts gradually gave way to visually appealingly designed front panels. The colour changes from white-grey more and more to darker tones. But it was only within the last decade that modified cases with all imaginable gimmicks aroused the interest of the masses. A real trend is emerging in the course of time, in which design elements no longer focus exclusively on viewing windows and interior lighting. Meanwhile, there are a handful of RGB variants of almost every hardware component on the market. But that’s not the end of the diversity: The colourful lighting spreads to the periphery, illuminated mice and Keyboards and does not even stop at the entire room lighting. The secret lies in flexible LED strips and their controllers – the first of which can be attached flexibly at almost any point and the latter inconspicuously away from the lighting effects.