The magnets enable the panels to easily attach to any steel surface inside your case. In addition to the regular connectors, you also get two slightly larger versions of the connector on each panel, which allow you to hinge a pattern of connected panels over a 90-degree angle. You get the same array of panels in the Expansion Kit, but without the Lighting Node Pro, which is the controller and the means by which the whole system interfaces with the iCUE software.
There’s an immediate and comforting easiness to the process of setting up the panels themselves. You easily can tile them into place, with each one having two powered sides for connecting. What’s more, because it’s all done with magnets, no mistake is permanent.
The trickier part of the setup lies with hooking up the power and control system – the Lighting Node Pro needs to hook up to a USB header on your motherboard for control, and then it draws power from a SATA connector. The main panel also needs a SATA connector for power, and one of the pair of three-pin ports on the Lighting Node, so there’s some wiring that you’ll need to tuck away in your case somewhere.
The effect of them in use is amazing – there’s a muted tone to the panels that diffuses and softens the individual LEDs, allowing for flowing colour transitions and patterns. Used in coordination with other iCUE devices, you can set these patterns to carry across different parts of your system, but even on its own the LC100 is very cool. The iCUE LC100 Lighting Panels are a great way to cram more lumens into a PC – they’re entirely unnecessary, but they look lovely.