RGB – An Epiphany

This is one of a series of mini-rants by your faithful correspondent, John Morrison. These are part of a series focusing on issues in the SFF niche. All content is entirely opinion of John, not of SmallFormFactor.net, and should not be taken as fact.

Everybody likes to be unique. This desire manifests itself everywhere – clothing, cars, and even our computers. People mod their systems, making them more to their own personal tastes. Lighting forms a large part of this. From illuminating your components, to providing a visual representation of system status, to flashing to the beat of your favourite music, case lighting adds that extra touch of individuality.

What’s really weird to me, is that I could have written this in the early to mid 2000’s, with the CCFL, or cold cathode, craze. Everyone had a CCFL or 5 in their cases, shedding light on their hard earned investment. UV was all the rage, with lurid greens, pinks, oranges and yellows adorning your high-end DFI LanParty, Soyo or Abit motherboards.

This trend seems to have returned, with the more efficient, safer and cheaper LED replacing the glass tubes of the CCFLs. Much like in the CCFL days, I initially responded to this with disgust – why does someone need a system that could replace airport landing lights?

I think this had something to do with the propensity for manufacturers to go too far with the lighting. RGB lights have adorned many products now. Graphics cards, fans, power supplies, nothing is safe. Even rainbows have been seen illuminating high end systems!

But then I started seeing the light (har-har) at the end of the tunnel. People began to use RGB LED lighting in a much more subtle way. Single colour highlights, complementary colours, all started to come out in front of the horrid multicoloured display rigs of years past. Some were built in the early days of LED lighting, hiding in amongst the crowd, and some are being built now, breaking the mould.

Image from W1NN1NG’s build here.

So, yes, I am beginning to soften to the use of ALL OF THE LEDs in custom builds, but with one proviso; the use must be subtle, not garish. Clean, not aggressive, and such forth. Call me a changed man, but it’s the truth!

Love or loathe RGB? Preach to us here in the forum.