NZXT RGB & Fan Controller review: Light up your PC and make sure everything's cool

NZXT RGB & Fan Controller
NZXT RGB & Fan Controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

Modern motherboards may come with RGB addressable headers, which allows one to synchronize additional lighting accessories with those found on the main board itself. But if you prefer to go entirely external, NZXT has a controller for you. The NZXT RGB & Fan Controller does precisely what the name implies.

Connecting fans and RGB strips or other lighting-enabled components to the hub allows for the controlling of everything using NZXT's CAM software. It's a little on the pricey side, and you don't get any RGB strips or fans included as standard, so is this little device worth it for PC system builders?

NZXT's RGB & Fan Controller is almost perfect for PC builders

NZXT RGB & Fan Controller

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Controlling RGB lighting and fans has been a pain for some since not every motherboard comes with plenty of headers for a seriously cool-looking (and performing) build. This is where RGB and fan controllers come into play, this one from NZXT. The aim of the game is to handle all cooling and lighting effects through a single channel.

This controller allows you to route cooling and lighting through a single channel.

Even if your motherboard comes with RGB and fan headers, it's usually better to go with an aftermarket solution since it's generally easier to fine-tune settings using software in Windows rather than rebooting into the BIOS every time you wish to make an alteration.

NZXT's RGB & Fan Controller allows for exactly this, rocking three 10W fan ports and two addressable RGB channels. Included with the unit are three 1-to-3 fan splitters, as well as Velcro and magnets to stick the controller to your case. It's a small enough device, coming in at just 65mm x 75mm, and enclosed in a black plastic chassis.

It may look familiar to anyone who has considered buying an NZXT 'i' edition case. The H510i, for instance, comes with this controller pre-installed. So does any 'i' chassis from NZXT. So, in essence, you could purchase this controller as an upgrade for your non-RGB enabled NZXT case. The same goes for all other manufacturers, so long as you don't mind using NZXT's own lighting equipment.

All that's required to provide power to the hub and connected lighting and fans is a single SATA cable. The USB needs to connect to your motherboard to allow for control through CAM software on Windows. And that's about it. You'll be good to go once all your fans are hooked up, alongside any RGB accessories.

Things you may dislike about this lighting hub

NZXT RGB & Fan Controller

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Actually hooking up RGB accessories is slightly finickier than it should be if you're not using NZXT products. To use your standard RGB accessories with this controller, you'll need to use a separate lighting connection cable, which transforms the similar four-pin headers you'd find for fans to one better suited for addressable RGB equipment.

NZXT's controller is great for RGB lighting, so long as you plan on using its products.

This wouldn't be a problem if NZXT included two of these cables for the two available RGB ports, but it doesn't. You get three fan splitters, which is excellent, but it would have been the perfect setup if we also had the two RGB connecting cable converters, too, especially for those starting from scratch.

Still, it's an ecosystem NZXT is creating, so it's not really a negative that the company expects you to use its own fans and lighting accessories with the controller. It would have been if its gear wasn't up to par, but it's among the best available.

Well, should you buy the NZXT RGB & Fan Controller?

NZXT H510 Elite

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

I may have complained about the finicky nature of connecting non-NZXT RGB equipment to an RGB controller, which may make you question as to why I'd even recommend this product to anyone building a PC. But if you have such a cable at hand that will do the job or plan on using NZXT's own lighting and fan accessories, the RGB & Fan Controller is a super hub for hooking all your lighting and cooling together.

It's well built, compact, and comes with plenty of fan splitters for even more enthusiast PC builds. There's even the choice of using magnets or Velcro, depending on your chosen case. If you're already rocking a non 'i' variant of an NZXT case, this controller is a great upgrade that'll fit right in. For everyone else, I highly recommend to shortlist this.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.