As more and more of your peripherals adopt colorful lighting, getting them to work together grows increasingly difficult. If you want to “get into” RGB with your set-up, it’s best to opt for a certain ecosystem early on. Don’t know what to look for, and where exactly? We’ll help you get started, as we list some of the best RGB software for synchronization and customization.
Personal preferences aside, we mostly look for widely supported RGB ecosystems. It’s not about just lighting up your keyboard with a neat gradient, it’s about pulling all your peripherals together, and creating interesting light shows. Bonus points are awarded for ease-of-use and additional variety, but we will mostly focus on synchronizing your entire set-up.
Most of these applications are connected to certain hardware manufacturers, but don’t limit their software to their own products exclusively. In recent years, we’ve seen most individual RGB programs “open up” to the peripherals of their competitors, as well as integrating smarter plug-ins and out-of-the-box collaborations. We will list some notable cross-brand support, as it comes along.
Being one of the first gaming brands to lean heavily on RGB, Razer can be seen as the granddaddy of RGB suites. That’s not without reason. Through Razer Synapse 3 and its built-in Razer Chroma RGB suite, users can spread immensely complex light shows over a multitude of different devices.
Although the Synapse software might seem cumbersome to many, Razer excels in ease-of-use, as you slap layers upon layers of effects onto your entire set-up — or just a few keys. Even if it’s just one RGB light-up scroll wheel, there is always a way to make it dance along to the rest of your lights. The suite even has plug-ins for further tweakability, like audio visualizers, or Ambilight-like capabilities around your screen.
Anything marked as “compatible with Razer Chroma RGB”, can be tweaked through Razer Synapse 3. This covers Razer’s own line-up of products ever since 2016, but goes well beyond that. Later integrations brought along the Philips Hue ecosystem, the smart “fairy lights” from Twinkly, a myriad of hardware companies, and even voice control over your RGB through Amazon Alexa.
Razer paves the way towards more integrations in games themselves. Popular titles like Overwatch, Apex Legends, Fortnite, and many others already come with Chroma effects baked into the game. This of course is purely optional, but it’s already a win for Razer to see the Chroma ecosystem being adopted by gaming developers too. Optionally, tech-savvy gamers can create their own integrations through the Razer Chroma SDK.
The Aura Creator software — as well as Aura Sync — can mostly be seen as ASUS’s own take on what Razer’s already doing. It’s roughly the same attempt at the same grand RGB ecosystem, just a bit earlier down the road. Support-wise, it’s mostly bound to ASUS’s own Republic of Gamers (ROG) branded products. That includes some external peripherals, but the majority of compatibility is found on internal hardware like motherboards and video cards.
ASUS too offers a “what you see is what you get” interface, where users can smack on multiple layers of RGB effects. The difference with Razer, is that the Aura software proves clunkier, and features less possibilities with different kinds of products. You can still create some neat light shows with Aura Creator, but it’s less hassle-free than some of its competitors.
ASUS also opened up their Aura ecosystem to different brands through Aura Sync, but the collaboration is mostly found on cases, fans, and some other internal components. The same goes for Aura Ready games. There are some games promising native Aura support, but ASUS can’t compete with the collaborative efforts from brands with bigger ties to gaming developers.
Alongside ASUS, there’s also Corsair, roughly following the same steps. Both companies allow most of their RGB products to synchronize with the other, but Corsair seems more RGB-bound than ASUS. Through the iCUE branding, Corsair makes a strong case for RGB aficionados. Because, well — Corsair also makes cases.
Corsair iCUE features roughly the same level of synchronization that Razer does, but adds specific hardware to it, at a higher pace. As opposed to other brands, Corsair produces their own aRGB case fans, as well as light-up headset stands, high-end internal memory, lighting strips, and many different types of peripherals.
Corsair’s products might sync through different RGB suites as well, but they’re mostly built for iCUE. As such, Corsair might pull in gamers that already own some Corsair products in their existing set-up. The fact that iCUE might hoard a relatively big chunk of RAM is a slight turn-off, but the possibilities in customization might make up for it.
Corsair promises some game integrations too, but iCUE lacks the big guns that Razer’s already boasting. It seemed Corsair had strong bonds with Ubisoft and Blizzard to implement the iCUE SDK in the majority of their games at some point, but recent titles from these publishers seem to have dropped that support.
Even though it does let you customize a myriad of “LightSync” profiles, Logitech’s G Hub is more than just RGB customization. Competitors offer programming of macros and keybinds too, but it seems like Logitech focusses a tad bit more on that, while foregoing a drag-and-drop interface of lighting layers.
The Logitech G Hub stands out with its focus on gaming profiles. It’s less about synchronizing a rainbow wave over multiple — although it can — and more about tailoring settings to certain games and activities. Dedicated G buttons can be mapped to Discord interactions, and even streaming shortcuts for software like OBS. In addition, most of those settings can easily be shared with other users through the G Hub itself.
As such, Logitech doesn’t really open up LightSync to many different manufacturers or even game developers — with some exceptions from time to time. You can still create some complex light effects through the G Hub, but Logitech keeps their RGB synchronization and implementation rather narrow. Don’t expect that rainbow wave to step over to your case fans — at least not through G Hub.
If you’re already on Logitech peripherals, but are still looking for broader RGB syncing, you’ll probably have to opt for third-party software, and partly ditch the G Hub.
Speaking about the third-party software, there of course are ways of synchronizing different ecosystems together. JackNet RGB Sync is one of those tools that brings together other peripherals, without getting too technical for everyday users. Through the free application, users can synchronize RGB products from the likes of Razer, Logitech, ASUS, Corsair, MSI, and a few others.
Specific implementations might differ from product to product, although it’s well-documented through their own RGB Sync Wiki. The suite itself doesn’t let you “paint” on all these peripherals, but lets you mirror effects from one ecosystem to other (groups of) LEDs. With some effort, this will still let you pull together many different peripherals.
JackNet RGB Sync is free of charge, but does offer additional features against monthly fees or a small, one-time payment. As of now, these paid features are personal themes for the software suite itself, as well as the ability to tweak your RGB lighting over LAN.
Another third-party tool is Project Aurora, often shortened to Aurora. This free application is a little bit older, and mostly set out to give other peripherals the gaming implementations that Razer brought along. The tool has built-in profiles for popular games, like Overwatch, Rocket League, DotA II, and Grand Theft Auto V.
Project Aurora’s open-source software works natively with popular products from the likes of Logitech, ROCCAT, Corsair, NZXT, Cooler Master, and even Sony’s DualShock 4. The results might be finicky at first, but the volunteering programmers offer great documentation on GitHub, that can help you tweak the tool to your needs.This includes some nifty visualizers and other complex settings, although not everything is equally compatible out of the gate.
As such, Aurora can hardly be seen as a plug-and-play alternative, not unlike JackNet. Both pieces of RGB software require some hands-on tweaking, especially if you want to tailor the specific behaviour of different RGB peripherals.
And with that, we close our list of the best RGB software to synchronize and customize your gaming peripherals. Choice-wise, it could have been worse. As more manufacturers open their products and ecosystems to new collaborations, gamers can expect increased cohesion between different products. For RGB aficionados, what’s not to love?
If that’s not enough synchronization for you, our third-party recommendations might bridge a gap that you’d thought impossible before. It might require a night of re-adjusting your peripherals, but the possibilities in RGB synchronizing are bigger than you might have expected.
We hope our list got you up to speed. Should you still feel like you’re left in the dark — don’t be shy, and talk to us. Over in the comment section, we’d love to hear from you. Whether it’s specific syncing questions or great suggestions to our list, just shine a light on what you think we missed.
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