What is ARGB vs RGB? In ARGB lighting, the LED’s are addressable, meaning you have complete control over the colors of each individual chip. With RGB lighting, the entire LED strip responds as one chip.
When it comes to LED lighting, there can be some confusion with the types of programming these chips have. Some strips will say RGB, some will say RGBIC, some might even say addressable. And, most of the time a lot of these terms can be interchangeable.
However, today I’ll be exploring what the main differences of ARGB vs RGB is, along with some easy explanations of why each is different. Then, we’ll go through which one you should pick if you’re looking for PC case fans, RGB strips, or any other LED application.
What is ARGB?
ARGB is a type of LED that allows you to completely control the colors on each individual chip on a strip. So, if your LED strip has 264 ARGB LED’s, then each 264 chips can have a different color assigned to it.
- Complete individual control over LED lights
- Variety of cool patterns/effects due to individual color changing
- More premium feel/look
- Can be used for TV/Monitor backdrops with zoned lighting
- Can be expensive
What is RGB?
RGB, in contrast, is a type of LED that has the ability to change colors between the red, green, and blue spectrum. However, each chip on the 264 LED strip will be the same color.
- Easily set up for standard back lighting or under-glow
- Can be found for very inexpensive prices
- If one chip goes out, you might not notice
- Less customizable
- Less premium look/experience
- Not as many applications
3-Pin vs 4-Pin Headers
If you’re attaching an ARGB or RGB device (such as RGB fans), then you’ll want to make sure you’re using the correct headers on your motherboard.
ARGB uses a 5V 3-pin design. RGB uses a 12V 4-pin design.
They are quite easy to tell apart because they are labeled on your motherboard. And, the female connectors coming from the device will have a 3 wires vs 4 wires.
You want to make sure you hook the correct headers up, so that you don’t damage your motherboard or devices.
How Do I Know If I Have ARGB or RGB?
The easiest way to know if you have ARGB or RGB is to look at the lights. As you can see above, ARGB lights are more vibrant and can display multiple colors at one time. RGB lights cannot perform the same effects due to their ability to only show one color at once.
Another simple way to tell is to check your product information. Search your fans or strips and see if the manufacturer supports addressable RGB. For example, Govee uses RGBIC to describe their addressable lights.
Examples of ARGB LED Strips
One of the best examples of ARGB is practical use is in Govee’s line of products. They have an exceptional suite of ARGB LED products including: TV back-lights, LED light panels, floor lamps, and NEON strips.
Additionally, a lot of the best RGB fans use ARGB lighting to provide a really cool design.