NZXT HUE 2 RGB Review
RGB Lighting in the PC is something that will provide your build with with a unique design, that never goes stale. Looking for the correct and complete solution can be the difference between an epic addition and a nightmare.
NZXT has always been one of the front runners when it comes to RGB solutions, and their new line on HUE 2 products is no exception. Whether you’re looking to just add some basic LED strips, or a case filled with RGB accessories, they’ve got you covered.
What is the HUE 2 RGB?
This new line of hardware is technically NZXT’s 3rd generation of RGB products. The HUE 2 RGB, like the HUE+, and HUE controller before are all RGB controllers. They allow you to control RGB colors, and effects of various accessories like LED strips, or NZXT’s popular AER RGB Fans.
In order for you to make changes to colors and effects, NZXT has put together an application, called CAM. This software also has a few more tricks up it’s sleeve, but we will get into that shortly.
The base HUE 2 RGB Kit includes the following Accessories:
- HUE 2 RGB Controller
- 300mm LED RGB strips x4
- 600mm Micro-USB cable x1
- 300mm Molex power cable x1
- 500mm Connection cable x4
- 500mm Extension cable x1
- 300mm Extension cable x1
- 100mm Extension cable x2
- Mounting screws x4
Installation of the controller itself is pretty straight forward. The controller can be mounted to the chassis via built in magnets on the bottom of the controller itself. If you’d rather tuck the controller into a 2.5-inch drive bay, that can also be done so being fastened with the included screws.
Once the controller has been mounted, note there are 4-channel inputs for accessories, along with a power connection and a micro USB connection. The power connection is a molex connector rather than SATA. This can sometimes create a bit of a mess because it’s one of the few accessories that still actually uses molex. This means you will need to have a whole extra harness if you’re using a modular PSU just for this controller.
The HUE 2’s USB connection goes from micro USB to a USB 2.0 header on the motherboard. This is important to note if you plan to have other USB dependent accessories, like a AIO CPU cooler, or front I/O with USB 2.0. Your motherboard may be limited on connections, so just remember to keep this in mind. If you run into a shortage of connections, NZXT also has a nifty internal USB hub which add’s a few extra headers inside the case.
Finally the controller has the 4-channel inputs. Each of these channels can can support up to 40 LED’s or 6 accessories. Something new to this HUE 2 environment, is different HUE 2 accessories can be mix/matched on a single channel. In the earlier gen HUE+, there were only 2 channels. Each would support only 4 LED strips on a channel, or 5 AER RGB fans on a channel.
For those hoping to include older gen 1 AER RGB fans, or LED strips, you can. It is worth mentioning they cannot be on the same channel as HUE 2 accessories. The reason HUE 2 accessories can be mix matched, is each unit has a micro-control unit. These MCU’s allow each accessory to be recognized individually. The lack of an MCU on gen 1 AER RGB fans and HUE+ RGB strips is the reason for incompatibility on the same channel as HUE 2 accessories.
The base kit comes with items mentioned above, but in short will provide a controller and LED strips. This basic kit is the bare minimum if you’re hoping illuminate your case. If you plan to add accessories, you will still need the HUE 2 controller included in this base kit. The price at launch is $74.99 US. Now lets look at the accessories.
HUE 2 Cable Comb
Cable combs are often a key piece especially when you’re spending the money for custom sleeved cables. The NZXT HUE 2 Cable Comb Accessory kit includes:
- 2x 24-Pin – 57 x 10.5 x 14.5mm Combs
- 5x 8-Pin – 20 x 10.5 x 15mm Combs
- 6x Zip ties
As you can see from the list above, there are 2 24-pin combs which allows for two combs on the main power connection. There are enough 8-pin combs for two GPU’s to have two combs each. This finally would leave one 8-pin comb for the CPU 8-pin connection. If you only plan to run one GPU, there is enough length to keep the spare 8-pin’s in the backside of the case.
Unfortunately, these 8-pin connections are not detachable from the leads, so you have to have all connected, or none.
These are designed as slotted combs that you can push your cables down into for a clean organized look. There is a black signal wire that runs from your controller connection to the combs. This wire is pretty obvious if you look for it because there isn’t any way to customize it’s length. With most custom sleeved cables, there’s enough density to carefully tuck the signal wire into the bundle.
In addition to organizing your cables, the main focus of this product is to illuminate your cables and bring emphasis on it’s cleanliness. This is something they do well. If you’re interested in adding the NZXT Cable Comb Accessory kit to your build, they are priced at about $29.99 US.
HUE 2 Underglow
Not only is this something you can install on the bottom of your 96 Honda Civic, now you can also add underglow to your PC. At first thought, this may seem like a gimmick, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. This is where you start to see the full featured RGB solution. First, let’s look at what comes with this kit.
- Primary underglow module w/ connection cable x1
- Secondary underglow module w/ connection cable x1
- Expansion slot bracket w/ connection extension x1
- 100mm keyed to 4-pin adapter cable x1
- 3M double-sided tape x4
- Cable holder x2
These kits include a Primary module, and Secondary module, each housing 15 LED’s. Both modules attach to the bottom of your case with the included double sided tape. Each of the modules then connects to each other with the output/input cables.
As noted above there is an expansion slot bracket which is just an extension cable that will route back to your HUE 2 RGB controller. This put’s an input at the rear of your case in a free PCI expansion slot. Finally, you will connect the primary underglow module to the expansion slot bracket.
If this kit is something you’re thinking of adding to your HUE 2 solution, it’s available from NZXT for $29.99 if you need a 200mm kit or $34.99 if you need a 300mm kit. These options provide a solution for many sizes of case.
AER RGB 2
NZXT first launched their AER RGB case fans almost 2 years ago. These fans were a huge success in being one of the first quality RGB competitors. if you remember, we even included them in our Top 5 RGB fan List.
If you haven’t already purchased the Gen 1 fans, these AER 2 fans would be the way to go. They are essentially the same price at launch, but include the MCU that’s installed on all HUE 2 products. This will again, allow you to install different accessories on the same channel.
Aside from the MCU these fans appear to be the same style. From the pictures online, they appear to be a bit brighter, but it’s tough to say as they aren’t available yet.
These fans will be available in 120mm and 140mm variants. If you aren’t interested in the HUE 2 RGB base kit, it will also be available as a bundle with the AER RGB fans. The AER RGB 2 fans are rated as follows:
AER RGB 2 120mm
- Measurement – 120 x 120 x 26mm
- Weight – 187g
- Airflow – 17.48 – 52.44 CFM
- Fan Speed – 500-1500 RPM
- Noise Level – 22 – 33dBA
- 4-pin PWM
AER RGB 2 140mm
- Measurement – 140 x 140 x 26mm
- Weight – 222g
- Airflow – 30.39 – 91.19 CFM
- Fan Speed – 500-1500 RPM
- Noise Level – 22 – 33dBA
- 4-pin PWM
When they are finally available, the 120mm and 140mm fans will be priced at $29.99 US and $34.99 US respectively. Let us know below if you want a full breakdown on these when they do come out.
HUE 2 Ambient
One big surprise that arrived with this new line-up was the HUE 2 Ambient. We will be covering this controller in a separate article (link here soon to come). The controller itself is very similar looking to the HUE 2 RGB, but with only a dual channel configuration.
The role this controller plays is to add ambient lighting behind your display. This controller can provide a mirrored effect of your System, or can take the image on your screen, and spread it as an ambient background. This will provide a new experience for many when it comes to gaming. Rather than just having your display lit up, the HUE 2 Ambient will now provide a more immersive experience, and additional overall enjoyment.
We will go more in depth with this section in our HUE 2 Ambient article.
Should You Buy it?
As you can see, this kit has plenty of options, which essentially add in plenty of cost to any build. Whether you’re planning to build a new PC, or just want to breath some fresh looks and life into your current build, these kits should definitely be considered.
One of the main complaints is the Cam software that NZXT has developed and improved over the years. Yes, the application is still necessary for making changes. It’s also fair to say that having a manufacturer provide a complete solution eliminates the need for multiple vendor apps. This is where NZXT among few will succeed.
Quality is going to be a huge concern when spending this much on an unnecessary accessory. So far in our testing, these accessories have been very sturdy. For the most part, once the parts have been installed, they most likely won’t be moved, so we don’t foresee many issues arising.
What are your thoughts on the new line-up of RGB products in the HUE 2 line-up? Let us know in the comments section below.
Review of the HUE 2 products are loosely base on the authors review video below: