Want to know a way to divide a room of PC gamers with just one sentence? Simply say, “I love RGB!”. Half of the room will nod in agreement, while the other will spit in your face. Well, maybe not spit in your face, but I assure you they will think about it! To RGB or not RGB has become a big point of contention in the PC Tech world over the years. Some people love it, arguing that it’s adds another layer of customisation to their builds, but others find it annoying and unnecessary. So, what is the deal with RGB? Is it good or bad? Or is it just part of PC tech? Let’s explore!
So, what is RGB?
Well, for starters it stands for Red, Green, Blue (as most people know) – however the RGB colour mode actually covers even more colours. This is due to when mixing any of these primary colours, you get other colours like pink, purple etc. This means that when something says it features, “RGB” it doesn’t just mean it can do red, green and blue colours. Rather, it can do an entire spectrum of colour options. So, what makes the RGB? Where is the light coming from? Well, nine times out of ten, that would be small LEDs. These can be arranged into simple LED light strips, but are also seen now in RAM, fans and even power supplies. It’s also worth noting that RGB is a relatively new addition to the PC world. Back in the day, PCs were not nearly as flashy (no pun intended) as they are now. Its hard to pin point exactly what began the RGB craze, but a good point of refence is when it started popping up in peripherals. That’s right, blame your flashy rgb keyboards for how we got here if you are anti-rgb!
That was a very brief explanation and history of RGB. So, where does that leave us now? Well, as I mentioned earlier there seems to be a relatively large divide in the PC world. To some, RGB is a necessity for any build, but to others it’s a huge waste of time and money. So, lets explore both sides of this debate.
To me, the biggest benefit of RGB is the customisation it allows. Because LEDs now possess the ability to display all sorts of shades, it’s a great way to accessorize your system. Not everyone wants or can afford the fanciest case or hardware, so a great cost-effective way to add some uniqueness is through RGB. After all, if you already have to own fans, why not just make them a bit fancy too!
There is also a psychological factor to this though. Dr Marcus Carter, Senior Lecturer in Digital Cultures at The University of Sydney, believes that a big part of the RGB obsession also comes from the potential bragging rights. Carter states, ““Like custom cars, the long hours of labor involved in constructing a battle station serve to demonstrate technical prowess and cultural capital within a masculine subculture that finds pleasure in intimate and performative technology relations.” Carter also issued that simply, it could come from our innate human desire to enjoy, “flashy shiny things!”
Dr. Jane Gavan, a senior lecturer at the Sydney College of the Arts, specialises in how light is used in design, art, and product innovation contexts. Gavan puts forth that might even be slightly advantageous using RGB in things like keyboards. Gavan argues that, “the ability to program keys could potentially optimise performance, as the eye sees colour so much faster than we see text.” So, certain lighting on keyboards, may actually aid your eyes in hitting the buttons even faster.
TEAM NO RGB
One of the most common complaints I hear from people is the fact that it makes products more expensive. RGB keyboards for example, are shown to have a 41% markup over their standard counterparts. This is due to the extra cost that it takes to implement LEDs into products. Users who aren’t interested in using the RGB can understandably get frustrated if they are forced to buy a product that has it, as they are effectively paying more for a feature they don’t even want to use.
Naysayers often also argue that it is just pointless. Many point out that it really doesn’t provide any clear benefits in game play, so it just isn’t necessary. Additionally, many people just aren’t aesthetics driven or want to spent hours customising their set up, so it’s a feature that ends up going entirely useless for these types of users.
Finally, many users also just dislike RGB as it is now overrated. Everything has a cycle, and since RGB took off, it seems like everything under the sun has an RGB mode now. Even components like RAM, Graphics cards and hard drives are getting the RGB treatment. For many, RGB has lost its appeal due to its over saturation.
What’s the verdict?
Well, fundamentally that’s for you to decide as the consumer. People often forget that their wallets do a lot of the talking. If you’re over it, make an effort to not buy anything with it. Additionally though, trend cycles exist in every market. What’s hot one year, will eventually rotate its way out of style and you can already see sleek black and white minimalist looking builds and peripherals sneaking their way back into popularity. So, if rainbow is your jam, soak it all in. But if you are just wishing everything went back to the way things were before the rainbow vomit exploded all over everyone’s setups, then perhaps patience is the way to go.
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