Is your RGB-loaded PC an environmental nightmare?
The efficient power of Light Emitting Diodes
Lighting has come a long way over recent years. We've moved away from traditional incandescent and fluorescent in favor of light-emitting diodes (LED), the same technology used in displays on your phone and PC monitor. This technology has allowed RGB lighting to come into play for PC builders.
Instead of installing fragile glass tubing inside a chassis, all that's required to create a light show in the office is an RGB controller (usually included on a motherboard or using a dedicated hub) and an RGB fan or LED strip. All of these energy-efficient lights draw barely any additional power through the PSU.
The actual power draw for an RGB LED strip is minimal. We're talking less than 3W here — EKWB published a post that details exactly how much power its RGB products draw. To put that into perspective, your CPU and GPU can draw 150W and 200W, respectively. Having just four RGB LED strips installed would add a further 10W or so to your PSU, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things.
The same goes for RGB fans and hubs that control everything. The amount of additional power being added to your overall draw from the mains outlet is insignificant unless you value each watt coming from your supplier. It's perfectly fine to have as many RGB LEDs as you desire inside your PC.
Switch to a renewables-only supply tariff
One thing you could do to help mitigate any impact your RGB lighting could have on the environment, as well as the power-hungry PC as a whole, is to switch to a renewables-only tariff from an energy supplier. Some providers have these available already, allowing you to switch entirely to green energy.
For instance, my supply of electricity comes from UK-based E.ON, which uses 100% renewable energy. Even with a few PCs running through the day for work and plenty of RGB lighting to create a new major airport hub, it's peace of mind to know that I'm not having a substantial negative impact on the environment by burning more fossil fuel.
Kit out your PC
NZXT's HUE 2 and AER RGB fan kit is the perfect place to start when looking to add some color to your PC build. Rocking two 140mm fans and a central hub where you can hook up more fans or LED strips, you'll need to prepare your glow sticks!
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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.