iCUE LINK takes the rage out of cable management by reducing the number of cables in need of control.
Corsair may have just murdered the worst part of every PC build: cable management. They had the motive, means, and opportunity to pull off the perfect crime, and with what we just witnessed in our latest build with Corsair’s new iCUE LINK system, they are so guilty. But we hope that they get away with it!
If you have ever built a PC with Corsair’s iCUE components (let alone any other RGB enabled system), you are going to have A LOT of cables… which means tons of cable management and cable ties. We still haven’t gotten into the cable tie stock market game, but you better believe that we have gone through those suckers when managing cables for RGB-heavy builds. If you want to know, the Robeytech record is 63 and we’re very proud of that number.
At Computex 2023, Corsair announced the next evolution of their iCUE ecosystem: the iCUE LINK. This system promised to cut down on cabling by allowing users to daisy-chain their iCUE LINK enabled parts together, cutting down on cables.
Granted, we have seen this type of thing from companies like NZXT, Lian Li, and Thermaltake, but as of now, these systems only connect fans together. Now, with iCUE LINK, Corsair wants to up their game by offering more than just fan connectivity.
You read that right: the iCUE LINK system would be all you required to connect your fans, water cooling components, and AiO CPU coolers together, and then, send a single cable to a controller module. It’s that simple. And was it mentioned that the connectors and cables are magnetic!?
All of this cool tech does come with a bit higher price tag. Prices for the iCUE LINK AiO range from $199.99 for the 240mm version to $269.99 for the 420mm version - that is if you’re doing a black build. If you want the white version of the AiO, you’ll be paying an extra $10, and you’ll be limited to choosing between the 240mm and 360mm versions.
As for the iCUE LINK fans, the 120mm QX120 and 140mm QX140 fans start at $49.99 and $54.99, respectively, while fan packs can be purchased for $159.99 (3 x 120mm) and $139.99 (2 x 140mm). Each fan kit comes bundled with a 600mm iCUE LINK cable, as well as an iCUE LINK system hub. There are also a number of cables and connectors that are sold separately.
Building with iCUE LINK
There is so much that we love about the iCUE LINK system, so let’s cover what absolutely blew our collective minds.
With six fans, an AiO CPU cooler, and a controller module, we only used a fraction of the volume of cables we would use in a typical build - this is no exaggeration. Some simple math will illustrate what we’re talking about:
A typical RGB-equipped fan has two cables: one fan cable and one RGB connection. That’s two cables per fan, right? With our six fans in total, that puts us up to twelve cables. A typical fan and RGB controller module might have a SATA power cable, an internal USB cable, and a fan header cable – that's three more cables. That brings us up to fifteen. A typical RGB-enabled AiO has a USB or RGB header cable, a fan header cable, and a power cable, not to mention any possible fan splitters that might be built in. Let’s call those three more cables, bringing the total up to 18.
Talk about a mess - and that’s a very basic setup!
With the iCUE LINK system, we used the same setup, yet we used only seven cables. That’s 61% less cabling than we have been using in our Corsair builds! Seriously, Corsair, what witchcraft is this? You’re supposed to be all piratey-like, not wizardry-like... though that would be a pretty cool RPG class concept. Piratey wizards: the wind would always be at your back, because you control it!
So, how did Corsair cut down on the cabling?
Let’s take a look at the process, piece-by-piece.
Our front fans were junctioned together out of the box with small connectors that allow the fans to sit flush against each other. So, with these in place, there are no cables to manage just yet. We had one cable run from all three front fans to the control module. That’s four connection points for the fan and RGB control with one cable.
Our fans for our radiator were also connected the same way, but rather than running a cable to the module, we plugged them into the radiator itself. The radiator acted as a hub for incoming and outgoing connections. That’s two cables now for five fans.
With the radiator acting as a hub, we ran a single cable from the rear case fan to the radiator (that’s three), then we ran a cable from the radiator hub to the control module. We were now up to four cables.
Finally, we got to the iCUE LINK controller module, which honors the traditions of its ancestors with its three cables. From the controller, we had a fan header cable, the internal USB cable, and the power connectors - which is a six-pin connection, direct into your PSU. No more goofy SATA power cables here!
This put us at a grand total of only seven cables! In truth, we could have cut down on one more cable if we had connected the front fans to the rad, rather than connecting them directly to the module, then run a cable from the rear case fan to the module itself. But we're rebels like that.
And that’s it. Everything is connected. Mischief, or shall we say, cables managed!
Corsair has simplified an aspect of the cable management game by creating a thoughtful system that interconnects each component, while limiting the cables necessary for control and power. However, iCUE LINK does introduce a whole other layer of consideration to the PC building experience.
If you are going to build with this system, you will need to think about what extra connectors you might need, what extra cables you may require, at what angles you need those cables to connect, and the lengths of the cabling. In other words, there are less cables to manage, but more cables to consider.
This being said, we were absolutely stunned by the brilliance of the design, the quality of the RGB, and the fans! The QX 120 and QX 140 fans are unbelievably quiet, there are more sensors throughout the system to give more precise readings on thermal performance, and the RGB is positively radiant.
Again, you are going to pay a premium price for this system. However, the iCUE LINK system does deliver a truly premium experience to your build.
So, did Corsair really KILL cable management?
Maybe not in total, but they are killing it with this innovation! Cutting down on cable clutter saves time in the building process, thus expediting you to the place you want to be: actually using your PC!
We can’t wait to see what else is possible with a system like Corsair’s iCUE LINK – especially when considering smaller builds. But we’d love to hear from you. What did you think of it, and what kind of devices would you like to see connected to a system like this? Let us know in the comments below.
We want to give a huge shout-out to Corsair for giving us the opportunity to build with the iCUE LINK system.
And to you: If you made it this far, thanks for reading!