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ARGB vs RGB | What’s The Difference?

Most gamers either love LED lighting in their rigs or they hate it. If you’re here, then chances are that you love it but are a bit confused about what ARGB is, and how it differs from RGB.

I’m going to cover all of these topics further down, and provide some recommendations on the best RGB and ARGB lights.

Before that, though, let’s take a look at the main differences between these types of lighting.

What’s The Difference Between RGB And ARGB?

The difference between ARGB and RGB lights is that each individual light in an ARGB strip can have its color and intensity changed, while an entire RGB strip has to have the exact same color and intensity. This means ARGB is a lot more customizable than RGB.

RGB, as you probably know, stands for Red, Green, Blue. When PC gamers and enthusiasts refer to RGB in a build, they’re talking about lights inside of the case and on peripherals like the mouse and keyboard. RGB lights usually come in strips with many LEDs, and the strip plugs straight into the motherboard.

Every LED in an RGB strip will have to be the exact same color. You can still set up animations with RGB strips. For example, your lights can start blue, fade out to pink, and then fade back into red. However, you cannot have half of your strip be blue and the other half be red, because all of the lights take instructions from the same chip.

ARGB, on the other hand, allows you to control each individual light. The “A” in ARGB stands for addressable. This means that each LED light can be addressed individually and told which color to change into.

Being able to change individual lights lets enthusiasts create very awesome and beautiful designs. One of the most common uses of ARGB is to create multi-colored fans.

In summary, if a single fan or LED strip has the exact same color (even if that color changes), then it is probably an RGB setup. If a fan or strip has two or more colors, then it is an ARGB device.

Is ARGB Or RGB Better?

ARGB is better simply because it is much more customizable than regular RGB. Since each individual light in an ARGB strip can take on its own color, ARGB allows for more complex animations. Not everyone will want to create fancy or elaborate designs with their ARGB devices, but having the option is very nice.

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when deciding between ARGB and RGB, but overall I think we can all agree that more customization is better. ARGB can do anything that RGB can do, while RGB will always be limited to a single color at a time.

Even if you prefer a simple, single color look, ARGB will be able to handle your needs and there is almost no downside to the technology. This also allows you to change your mind or sell your rig later if the buyer is a color enthusiast.

Is ARGB Or RGB More Expensive?

Since it is more advanced, and more expensive to manufacture, ARGB lighting is typically more expensive than RGB lighting. The exact price difference will depend on the brand and the device that is being purchased.

A quick look around Amazon and you will see that even when searching for RGB specific products, many ARGB products will show up as well. The truth is that RGB seems to be phasing out and ARGB products are taking their place.

Something you need to keep in mind when purchasing RGB and ARGB products is who makes them, and the quality of the product. There are many generic-brand fans and RAM out there, and a lot of them have RGB and ARGB products for a much more affordable price than name brands like Corsair and even Cooler Master.

Some of these products are high-quality, while some are absolute junk. Companies can get away with selling low-quality RGB and ARGB products because many people that purchase them are too infatuated with the cool lights to care much about the actual product.

I recommend looking around all corners of the internet (Reddit, and other forums) for the product you’re thinking about buying. Make sure that the device lasts, isn’t a hassle to setup, and is easy to use.

Which Affects Computer Performance More: ARGB Or RGB?

ARGB and RGB do not affect performance in any significant way. Motherboards give ARGB and RGB strips/devices the power they need to light up, but there is no computing or processing effort required to power the lights so they will not impact performance at all.

Usually when something weighs down a computer’s performance, it is because the processor or graphics card has to spend time sending instructions to it. RGB and ARGB devices plug into the motherboard directly or via an adapter. This means ARGB/RGB does not need to interface with your graphics card or processor.

There are some RGB and ARGB devices that use drivers and run as a process on the computer. These will use some processing power, but the processing power used is insignificant and will not be noticed. 

The only time an ARGB or RGB device would have any impact on performance would be if something was wrong. This could happen if the process or program that handles the RGB or ARGB lighting has a significant bug in it. This is so rare that I’ve never heard of it happening.

Is The RGB Header The Same As The ARGB Header?

The RGB Header and the ARGB Header are not the same and cannot be interchanged. The RGB Header is 12V and has 4 pins for attaching an RGB device. The ARGB Header is 5V and usually has 3 pins for connecting ARGB devices.

The pins are the same on ARGB and RGB headers, although most of the time RGB Headers will have one more pin than the ARGB header does.

More importantly, RGB Headers send 12V of electricity, while ARGB Headers send 5V of electricity. This is important because ARGB devices expect 5V of electricity, and if they receive 12V nothing good can come of it.

Plugging an ARGB device into an RGB Header will probably result in the ARGB device being fried and could even result in damage to the motherboard.

Most motherboards make it extremely easy to tell the difference between the RGB and ARGB Headers. They will almost certainly list “12V” or “5V” under the pins, and will name their ARGB Header JRAINBOW (MSI) or ADD GEN2 (ASUS).

If you’re ever in doubt about which Header is for RGB and which is for ARGB, take a look at your motherboard’s manual. Most of the time these can be found online.

Do You Need ARGB Header For RGB Fans?

RGB fans do not need an ARGB Header, they need an RGB Header. ARGB Headers run on 5V, while RGB Headers run on 12V. These voltages will be listed under the Header on the motherboard most of the time. RGB Headers also have 4 pins compared to ARGB’s 3-pin Headers.

There are many reasons why RGB devices and ARGB Headers are not compatible. There are different numbers of pins, and the voltages do not match up. This is usually not something you want to play with.

If a device expects 12V, you should send it 12V to prevent frying anything in your device or on your motherboard. The good news is that most motherboards have more RGB Headers than ARGB Headers. On top of this, splitters are always an option if you still need to plug in more RGB devices.

If you need to plug in more ARGB devices and have no ARGB Headers left, there are adaptors and controllers available that can help out. Controllers usually plug into a USB header on your motherboard and allow you to control your ARGB strip normally.

There are also RGB Header adaptors available that will allow you to plug an ARGB device into an RGB Header, but you will only have RGB functionality. This means your ARGB device will only be able to run one color at a time.

Can You Plug RGB Into ARGB?

You cannot plug an RGB device into an ARGB Header. RGB devices expect a 12V analog signal. ARGB Headers are 5V and send a digital signal, so they are not compatible. There are adaptors available that will allow you to plug RGB devices into ARGB headers on your motherboard.

Most people wouldn’t recommend messing with adaptors that convert ARGB to RGB because it’s usually cheaper and easier just to replace the RGB device with an ARGB one. However, they do exist and are always an option.

Another option, which is probably going to work out better, is to purchase an RGB splitter or controller. These will plug into a USB header on your motherboard and allow you to use more RGB devices than your motherboard can natively support.

The only downside is that these controllers force you to set a single color, and you will not be able to change the color with software. If you plan on keeping a single color or pattern, though, then there is no real downside.

Which Should You Get: ARGB Or RGB?

You should get ARGB because it has all of the functionality of RGB with some added bonuses. If price and space on your motherboard isn’t an issue, then there is no reason to choose RGB over ARGB. Even if you do not think you’ll use the added functionality of ARGB, you never know if you’ll change your mind.

ARGB can always be set up to act exactly like an RGB device, only displaying one color at a time. On the other hand, RGB will never be able to act like an ARGB device because the LEDs are not addressable.

The only upside to RGB is that many motherboards have more RGB Headers than ARGB, but this is easily resolved with the help of controllers and splitters.

You never know when your taste will change, or when you’ll want to sell or give away your PC. So why not spring for the extra customization of ARGB? There are so many amazing designs and patterns that can be created when every single light can be changed.

Best ARGB Light.

The Phanteks NEON Digital-RGB LED Strip is the best ARGB light you’ll find, especially for ARGB beginners. Its very easy to set up, and can be easily routed however you need inside of your PC. On top of its ease-of-use, it’s also one of the best looking LED strips on the market.

The Phanteks Neon strips come with a decent length that will be able to run through just about any build. On top of this, the strips are built to easily connect with each other, so you can get just about any length you need out of them.

Where the Phanteks Neon strip really shines, is its lights (no pun intended). If you want a beautiful, crisp, classic RGB look, then these are the strips for you. These are among the best on the market when it comes to light diffusion and leave very little to be desired.

The only real downside with these strips are how thick they are. If you do not have a lot of wiggle room in your case, you may have an issue trying to squeeze them in.

Best RGB Light

The DeepCool RGB350 Strips are the best RGB strips on the market right now because they look fantastic, come with an extremely convenient remote, and take about 3 minutes to set up.

These DeepCool strips are magnetic, which makes them extremely easy to install anywhere inside of your case. They also come with a remote that will allow you to change a huge number of settings.

These lights can change colors, intensity, and even have breathing, flashing, and fade effects. All of these effects can also be controlled straight from the remote, which is much more convenient than most RGB strips which either need software or need to be set via the hardware itself.

If you want to learn even more about ARGB lighting then check out my article here or click on my article here to see my complete list of the best ARGB lighting.

If you have any questions, or just want to hang with me, follow me on Twitch here. Also, for streaming tips and how to’s make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.