Spruce up your boring PC fans with some Phanteks RGB lighting
Add RGB lighting to your PC without fumbling around with LED strips.
Phanteks makes some killer cases, and the company also has a few handy accessories at hand for PC builders, including its own range of connected RGB lighting. Should you own a motherboard with supported lighting controls or wish to pick up a Phanteks control module, it's easy (and somewhat affordable) to add smart lighting to your PC and make it turn some heads after sundown.
The Halos series of fan covers come in two variants, the standard and cheaper version or Lux. The main difference is the materials used with the more expensive Lux frames being made of aluminum. Also, the Lux frames are compatible with Phantek's control module, while the cheaper Halos made of plastic are not. It's a strange decision on the part of Phanteks but does mean if your motherboard has an RGB dedicated header, you can hook up some RGB lighting for less.
I bought four of the cheaper frames, alongside the controller module (which costs $30 separately) to make sure I wasn't misinformed and they are indeed incompatible. Unfortunately, none of the individual frames came with a bridge for a motherboard, which is strange since the Halos don't work with the controller module. It's an additional $3 and something to bear in mind when totaling the cost.
Here's what you need for normal Halos:
- Halos frame — $9.99 for 120 mm or around $11 for 140 mm.
- Motherboard bridge cable (around $3).
And for Lux:
- Halos Lux frame — $17.99 for 120 mm or around $19 for 140 mm.
- Phanteks controller module ($30) or motherboard bridge cable (around $3).
All that's required is to use the included screws to attach the frames to your fans. Phanteks does do a solid job here with the screws as the company bundles longer ones for installation with a radiator. Once you've screwed them all in place and daisy chained the cabling, the motherboard bridge can connect the main board to your new RGB lighting and the onboard software will be able to alter colors and modes.
I was able to confirm that the module does not work with the cheaper Halos since they rock four pin connectors and not 4-1 pin. A shame. Motherboards can sport both connector headers, making it possible to choose between the available frame types.
The module is a neat piece of kit if you don't have an RGB lighting capable motherboard, and comes with magnetic controls that can be attached to the front or side of a case. It's better to use ASUS, and MSI software, but at least Phanteks considers those who don't have hundreds to splash out on a compatible motherboard. The LEDs themselves are bright enough without being obnoxious or blinding, and the effects are rather impressive.
As someone who doesn't typically enjoy using a ton of RGB lights, I've not hit the point where I wish to disassemble the frames. The only drawbacks are if you do not have white fans and blades, needing to purchase an additional cable to connect to motherboards, and the cheaper Halos frames not being compatible with the controller module. Still, for just $9.99 per frame, it's affordable and well worth the price.
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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.