Introduction

Corsair was founded in 1994. The company started as high-performance DRAM manufacturer. Now they are the provider of enthusiast-grade PC components and peripherals. The company launched their Corsair Gaming brand in 2014 and targets the eSports professionals and gamers alike with the products like keyboards, mice, headsets and mouse mats. Corsair is now a leading manufacturer of PC Enthusiast products like Chassis, Power Supply Units, DRAM, Solid State Drives, Cooling solutions for CPU and Graphics Cards, sleeved cables for their PSU units, and various gaming peripherals using cutting edge technology.

Ever since the RGB madness has taken over the PC Industry, we are continuously seeing the innovation in this area from simple RGB LEDs to Digital LEDs all the way up to possibilities to syncing the various RGB LED enabled devices to be controlled using a software to create stunning visual effects inside the Chassis. That was the approach that was taken by the NZXT when they introduced their NZXT Hue+ and later on their popular AER RGB fans. Corsair was not behind any of such innovation. They introduced their SP120 RGB fans and HD RGB fans which took over their fans with joy. But with these early releases, there was no software controlled and customers were continuously expressing their desire to have software base control for these fans particularly for the HD RGB fans as these fans have individually addressable RGB LEDs and this feature was not programmed using the default controller. This has another aspect to it as well as Corsair was giving the hint of what is coming next. Yes, software-based control. Corsair introduced their Lighting Node Pro to address all these desires by bringing the users what they have been demanding in quite a stunning manner. Their Command Pro and Lighting Node Pro has enabled the users to almost do everything that could be possible from a single software control be it controlling the fans to drive the cooling solution or creating and customizing the stunning visuals inside the chassis by color coordinating their RGB Fans, RGB LED Strips, RGB RAM, RGB features on their coolers and what not.

Today, we will be taking a look at their Lighting Node Pro. The idea is as simple as it could get which is using the Corsair Link to create vivid lighting effects and custom color combinations. They not only built the functionality of connecting multiple RGB LED strips onto a single channel or header but to have the flexibility to connect their RGB fans like LL120, ML RGB, HD120 RGB and SP120 RGB at a time and create stunning visuals by color coordinating among the lighting devices. This could be further augmented should a user happen to have their RGB RAM and new coolers.

  • Product:              Lighting Node Pro
  • Manufacturer:      Corsair
  • Price:                  $59.99 [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The packaging box is a typical Corsair design that we can see on their latest products. It is made of a cardboard box and comes in yellow and black colors. The front side has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left side. RGB Lighting is printed on the top right side inside a rectangular box with multiple colors on its border signifying the RGB effects. There is a picture of the device and the 4 RGB LED strips in action at the top. The device is compatible with the Corsair Link. Lighting Node Pro RGB is printed on the yellow color background in the upper part of the lower section. The device includes a control module and 4 RGB Lighting Strips.

The backside of the packaging box has a picture of the device on the top right side. A Corsair brand name and logo are printed on the top left side. Lighting Node Pro RGB is printed on the top right side. There is a picture of a single RGB LED Strip on the left side showing the multiple colors on the strip. Salient features of the device are printed in 6 different languages in the main section. The device has Dual Channel Lighting capability, individually addressable RGB LED Strips and multiple mounting options for the ease of installation.

The left and the right sides have the Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top side. Lighting Node Pro RGB is printed in the middle. There is a picture of the device and 4 RGB LED Strips in action printed at the bottom.

The top side has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the left side. The Lighting Node Pro RGB is printed on the right side. Unlike many other packaging boxes, this is not the opening side of the box. The bottom side has a Corsair brand name and logo printed on the top left side. There is a UPC/EAN and a serial no sticker pasted on the right side. The product is made in China. There are two seals on this end. The inner box is slid into the main packaging box. Remove or cut the seals to slide it out.

Corsair has given due diligence in the presentation of the device. This I give to them. When it comes to the overall packaging, my impression is made not only from how easy it is to take the content out but more importantly how easy it is to put them back in the right manner. Corsair has delivered on this aspect. I am impressed with this presentation. With the inner box taken out, we can see the controller nicely placed inside a transparent sheet placed at the bottom of the box exposed. There is a cover with a Corsair brand logo in the middle of it. Take off the cover and you will see 4 RGB LED strips placed inside a plastic sheet and placed in a reverse U shape with connector ends being under the cover. The SATA power cable of the controller is nicely placed in the middle. This part of the inner box is actually a tray like and taking it off would show the other contents. The user manual is placed on the top along with other documents. Removing them will show some more cables. One is the USB 2.0 connector cable, the ones in the middle are used to connect the RGB LED Hub of the HD/SP fans with the device and there are 4 RGB LED extension cables.

 

Accessories and Contents

  • 1x Lighting Node Pro
  • 4x Indvidually addressable RGB LED Strips
  • 4x RGB LED Extension Cables
  • 2x HD RGB LED Fan Hub Adapter Cable
  • 1x USB Mini Cable
  • 2x Mounting Tapes
  • User Manual
  • Warranty Guide

Closer Look

The Corsair Lighting Node Pro RGB is a controller that allows the users to either connect up to 6 HD/SP  RGB Fans or a combination of the provided individually addressable RGB LED Strips and the RGB fans to control the lighting using the Corsair Link software, definitely a handy and much-desired feature. Software control allows true customization than the hardware-based controllers like ones provided with the HD/SP RGB fans in their packing box. Particularly the controller supplied with the HD RGB fans lacks the functionality of the individual control of the addressable RGB LEDs on the HD RGB Fans. The Corsair has responded to the users’ feedback in the form of the Lighting Node Pro and Command Pro. Let’s take a closer look at the device and the contents.

 

The controller itself is small size device in black color measuring 55mmX31mmX12mm. The top side has two LED headers labeled 1 and 2 with text LED written in between the labels. The labels are important, pay attention to that as they appear in Corsair Link software by numbers. Each LED channel is a 3-pin header. The headers are implemented on the right side no, in the middle. There is a Corsair logo embossed above the LED text. It does not light up in case you are wondering about that. There is a small pinhole above the Corsair logo. It is not needless at all rather has an important function which unfortunately was not mentioned in their user guide. There is a reset button inside this hole. Thankfully, Corsair adopted the smart approach and provided the users with the hardware level reset functionality removing the software dependency. By the way, using software, you can’t reset the device. You would need a pin like a thumb pin etc to insert in this hole and press the button. You will get to feel the button pressing. In case you ever experience any issue with the device, resetting it would be helpful. There is another hidden functionality. Disconnect the SATA power of the device and unplug the USB cable as well. Now, place a pin inside and while pressing the reset button, connect the USB cable only and you will see a new drive in the Windows Explorer or My Computer labeled CRP Disabled. It would have current firmware file on it. In case you are having trouble with updating the firmware using the Corsair Link software or wanted to go back to previous version or more stable version, you can do that manually by following the above steps. Once the drive is accessed, make a backup of the current firmware and copy paste the downloaded firmware file in the drive. You can download the firmware file from the Corsair Forums section on Lighting node pro.

The backside of the device has a sticker pasted on it. The Corsair brand name and logo are printed on the top left side. Part/Serial No of the device is printed under the brand name. The device is made in China. The rear side has a mini USB port or header on the left side whereas the SATA power cable is coming out of the device from its right side. The SATA power cable has 440mm of the length. There is no connectivity option on the left and right sides of the device. The unit draws 4.5V to 5.5V input power. The Corsair has provided two double-sided mounting tapes so that user can easily install the device inside the chassis in a proper and secure manner.

I would take this opportunity and would address one misconception about this mini USB. The standard implementation on these devices is that they can only be connected using the onboard USB 2.0 headers and many peeps would find themselves in the situation of lacking or not having many USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard. Many would take this implementation for granted which is not the case as you just need a USB header to access the functionality. You can connect the mini USB cable with the other end having regular USB cable connector (not provided) with the device, though you would have to figure out on how to route the cable from behind the chassis and connect it to the USB header on the motherboard’s rear IO panel.

Let’s take a look at the Cables provided with the unit. The first one is the mini USB cable. It is following the USB 2.0 protocol and it can be connected to the spare USB 2.0 header of the motherboard. It has a length of 375mm. Its mini end is connected to the device and the other end with 9 pins is connected to the USB 2.0 headers of the motherboard. There are two 485mm cables that are used to connect the RGB LED Hub of the HD/SP120 RGB fans to the Lighting Node Pro. Connect one end to the node pro and the other end to the Hub. Please, note that going that route you won’t need controller provided with the SP/HD 120 RGB fans as it will be taken over by the node pro. Lastly, there are 4 RGB LED Extension Cables each of 345mm length. These are helpful in case you have more space to cover. Use them between the provided individually addressable RGB LED strips.

Let’s take a look at the individually addressable RGB LED strips. The Corsair has provided 4 such strips with the Lighting Node Pro. Each strip has 10 addressable RGB LEDs on it. Both ends of the given strip are designed such as they can be daisy-chained to each other. The RGB LED Extension Cables are also featuring the same design on both ends. Corsair was really considerate in giving the users multiple mounting options with these strips. Each strip has 4 powerful magnets in addition to the 3M adhesive backside as well. Depending on the situation, the user can mount the strips either using those magnets or peel off the adhesive cover and paste the strips on the surface. I am more in favor of the magnetic mounting but having both options is a plus and user should not be concern about the mounting provision what so ever. There is an arrow indicator which shows the start point of the strip.

 

Setting up the device is easy and straightforward. Connect the addressable RGB LED strip on LED channel 1 or 2. Daisy chains the strips. Connect the USB mini cable to the device and the USB 2.0 header of the motherboard. Connect the SATA cable with the power cable from the PSU. Download the latest version of the Corsair Link from the Corsair website and install it. You may have to restart the PC as well. The addressable RGB LEDs should light up in their default effect upon PC’s power on. In case you want to add HD/SP 120 RGB fans as well then connect the RGB LED Hub of the fans with the lighting node pro on the available channel. Connect the hub to the power source using SATA cable. Connect the fan(s) in order starting from port no 1 of the hub. You are all set up and ready to go. There is only one caveat to all this functionality, dealing with so many cables at a time and they would require you to be good at accepting this challenge if you are a cable management freak.

Lighting Effect

The addressable RGB Lighting is what the Lighting Node Pro RGB is all about by offering to control the lighting aspect of the software. We have used three addressable RGB LED strips inside the Phanteks Evolv ATX case in addition to the three HD120 RGB fans. All hooked up with the Lighting Node Pro RGB. Installation was a breeze and we were not concerned about the cable management as this CoffeeLake based build is still going through revision. The lighting effect on the addressable RGB LED Strips is subtle and vivid but not overly done. In fact, you may feel that they could use more brightness than what is provided. At the end, it comes to the personal taste and preference. Two RGB LED Extension Cables were used for this demo. The unit seems to have some power limitation as after using 3 strips and 2 extension cables, we connected the fourth strip but it did not light up. The fourth one is not faulty as we earlier checked each cable separately for proper functioning. Here is a demo video that we have prepared for you eye pleasure. It is not doing the justice but still will give you a hint of what the Lighting Node Pro RGB can do for you. Following modes are available for the lighting:

  • Rainbow Wave
  • Rainbow
  • Color Shift
  • Color Cycle
  • Color Pulse
  • Static
  • Temperature
  • Visor
  • Marquee
  • Blink
  • Sequential

Some of these effects would require your RGB LED devices to be connected in a proper order, for example, the rightmost fan on the top side in our case is connected to the port 1 of the RGB hub. The second fan on the top is connected to the port 2 of the RGB hub and the rear fan is connected to the port 3. Effects like Visor, Marquee, Sequential would take this order in consideration and light flow will be in that order.

Software

The Lighting Node Pro RGB brings the functionality at few of your mouse clicks. The functionality has been built right into their popular Link software. Thankfully, no separate software was introduced for this purpose and Corsair has my praise for letting the users control every aspect of their Corsair RGB LED enabled devices through one interface. Once you have properly setup the device and installed the Corsair Link version 4.6.0 or later, you will see the Lighting Node Pro on the main page of the software. In our case, we can see the 3 addressable RGB LED Strips and 3 HD120 RGB Fans.

Click on the Configure button to bring the main window for controlling all the aspects of the connected devices. The user would have to select the correct device for each channel first. Click on the list located on the right side of the LED Channel # 1 and 2. In our case, the addressable RGB LED strips are connected to the channel 1 and the HD120 RGB Fans on the Channel 2. Next, you will have to click on the + button add the correct no of connected strips/fans per channel. Once it is done, you are all set to configure the lighting effect. The brightness of the connected devices can be controlled using the slider against each channel. Click on any addressable RGB LED strip and you will get to see the lighting modes at the bottom section. Click on the list to see all the available color modes. By default, the selected mode will be applicable on the currently selected addressable RGB LED strip. If you want to have the same effect on all the strips or even on the fans, click on Copy To button and select the devices that you would like to have the same effect. You can also set each profile with different lighting effect. Some effects have further control options like the direction of light flow, the speed of the effect and selecting between two colors or random color cycling. The Temperature effect would let the user decide from the plethora of temperature sensors from the motherboard and would let to create up to three brackets for the temperature control, each with different static color as a visual aid to the user. It could be helpful during summer season or overclocking session. The user can click on the color to open the color palette and virtually one can select or make a combination of 16.8 Million colors.

Click on the Options button menu of the Corsair Link software and click on the Devices. It will pop up a new window with the connected devices. Select Lighting Node Pro and click on Check for Updates. If the new firmware version is available, it will update the firmware after downloading it. There is a Force Update option which is handy if the last update leaves the device in ever updating mode and could not come out of it.  A user can download the firmware file from the internet and use the Force Update method to update to the given firmware.

Conclusion

The Corsair Lighting Node Pro RGB is a controller that allows the users to either connect up to 6 HD/SP  RGB Fans or a combination of the provided individually addressable RGB LED Strips and the RGB fans to control the lighting using the Corsair Link software, definitely a handy and much-desired feature. Software control allows true customization than the hardware-based controllers like ones provided with the HD/SP RGB fans in their packing box. Particularly the controller supplied with the HD RGB fans lacks the functionality of the individual control of the addressable RGB LEDs on the HD RGB Fans. The Corsair has responded to the users’ feedback in the form of the Lighting Node Pro and Command Pro. The controller itself is small size device in black color measuring 55mmX31mmX12mm. It has two channels labeled as 1 and 2. They are cross-referenced in the Link software using the LED Channel # 1 and LED Channel # 2 respectively.

The unit draws 4.5V to 5.5V input power and is using the SATA power cable. It has a mini USB port on the rear side. One end of the supplied mini USB 2.0 cable is connected to this min USB port and the other end is connected to the USB 2.0 header of the motherboard. Each LED channel is a 3-pin header. The headers are implemented on the right side, not in the middle. There is a Corsair logo embossed above the LED text. It does not light up in case you are wondering about that. There is a small pinhole above the Corsair logo. It is not needless at all rather has an important function which unfortunately was not mentioned in their user guide. There is a reset button inside this hole. The Corsair has provided two double-sided mounting tapes so that user can easily install the device inside the chassis in a proper and secure manner.

The Corsair has provided all the required cables in the bundle. There is one mini USB cable of length 375mm. It is following the USB 2.0 protocol and it can be connected to the spare USB 2.0 header of the motherboard. There are two 485mm cables that are used to connect the RGB LED Hub of the HD/SP RGB fans to the Lighting Node Pro. Lastly, there are 4 RGB LED Extension Cables each of 345mm length. The Corsair has provided 4 addressable RGB LED strips with the Lighting Node Pro. Each strip has 10 addressable RGB LEDs on it. Both ends of the given strip are designed such as they can be daisy-chained to each other. The RGB LED Extension Cables are also featuring the same design on both ends. Corsair was really considerate in giving the users multiple mounting options with these strips. Each strip has 4 powerful magnets in addition to the 3M adhesive backside as well.

The Corsair Link Software is used to control and customize the lighting effects to create stunning, vivid visuals inside the chassis and they have done it with almost perfection. The user can customize the color effect on each connected device on each of the channels or let them sync altogether. This all comes down to the users on how to produce the looks that they want as Corsair has provided enough features in the Link software to do all that. All of this functionality is just a few mouse clicks away. Corsair is providing 2 years of warranty on the Lighting Node Pro. I did not experience any glitches while installing the device or using the software.

The device is listed at $59.99 at the time of the review. The closest competitor solution, NZXT Hue+, is also listed at $59.99 at the same time. This can’t be a coincidence! Right? For basic PC Chassis lighting, this is an expensive solution but this is definitely not for basic lighting but for advanced lighting that is allowing the users to sync all their Corsair compatible RGB LED devices using software and a single unit. It is a premium price for the premium product. Period. If there is one thing that I would like to state against the device, it is that one would have to deal with lot many cables and this could be an issue with chassis that lacks proper cable management provision on their backside.

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