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May 17, 2023


The War on Cables is raging, aiming to make the main chamber of your desktop PC

The War on Cables is raging, aiming to make the main chamber of your desktop PC as clean as a vegetarian's barbecue grill. Corsair's newest idea is on display at Computex: A system of fans, AIO coolers, and other gear that can be daisy-chained across an entire desktop with one string of cables. Gordon went hands-on at Corsair's booth on the show floor to see what it's all about.

The whole thing starts with the iCue Link System Hub, a little plastic gadget about the size of a matchbox. This takes a standard PCIe power rail from your power supply (maximum 168 watts), plus a MicroUSB cable that plugs into the headers on your motherboard. The hub can fit more or less anywhere in your case thanks to a magnetic bottom.

Further reading: Best of Computex 2023: The most intriguing and innovative PC hardware

With power and data going to the hub, it can power and manage every cooling and lighting gadget in your case. There are two slots for Corsair's proprietary single power/data cable exiting the hub, and each one can handle up to seven devices chained together (for a maximum of fourteen on two different lines). That includes all-in-one liquid cooler systems, case fans that are either on their own or connected in banks with fancy magnetic connectors, and even advanced components like coolant reservoirs and GPU water blocks. Additional cables go between each connected component, providing power and data along the line.

But it's not just basic power that's being provided. With the iCue software managing the components via the hub, plus embedded temperature sensors in each fan, it can actually adjust the speed of the fans individually to provide even temperatures across the system. If that's too practical for you, Corsair has a few new strobe lighting tricks that can make it look like your fans are standing still.

The iCue Link hub and compatible fans and AIO units are scheduled to be released later this month, with more advanced components following. How much is all this fancy tech going to cost? It won't be cheap, certainly, but Corsair says it’ll be only about 10 percent more than its comparable hardware without the Link goodies. For more updates on the War on Cables and live coverage of Computex, be sure to subscribe to PCWorld on YouTube.

Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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