CES Hands-On: New Corsair Link 4.0 is Worth Installing

By Published January 05, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Corsair’s CES suite warrants a few articles and videos, not the least of which includes a forthcoming interview on the topic of case manufacturing and tooling. The company’s newest lineup of cases – the Spec-Alpha, 600C (that we reviewed), and 400C – largely dotted the room, though our focus is on an update to Corsair Link.

Corsair Link is the company’s software utility for commanding “i” suffixed products and PWM-enabled fans. The H100i and HXi PSUs are enduring examples, both of which have some level of monitoring and control access through the software. It seems everyone’s got their own software these days, too – NZXT has CAM, peripheral manufacturers offer innumerable programs of varying utility and bloat, board manufacturers provide “smart” utilities that tap-in to the higher-level UEFI for OS layer firmware management. The idea isn’t new, but execution at a level of legitimate usefulness and stability is new; outside of reviews, our staff rarely goes on to continue use of applications required to change fan speeds and LED colors due to general sluggishness or instability.

Corsair’s trying to correct that. Link, like all the others, has had its share of instability and spotty resource consumption – but we’re encouraged by the Corsair Link 4.0 update showcased at CES 2016. Link 4.0 has an entirely new codebase, reworking nearly from the ground-up, that has reportedly diminished resource consumption to negligible levels. Operation is now reliably stable, the interface is cleaner and more user-friendly, communication with hardware is consistent – it’s all better. We haven’t tested this independently just yet, but from the contained, hands-on demo today, we can firmly state that Link 4.0 appears genuinely useful for system monitoring and management.

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That’s saying a lot, too. It’s easy to cross the line from “utility” into “bloat that comes pre-installed on your $400 Best Buy box,” and not many of these manufacturers can create consistently stable and usable software. Corsair’s pushing in that direction.

Tabbing through the beta overhaul showed impressively visualized charting of performance data, with user customization options for fan control and thermal notifications. For more novice system builders or users who just generally enjoy visualized software, one of the tabs shows a photo of the case (users may select any Corsair case or upload a photo of competing models) with thermal overlays on the CPU, GPU, RPM overlays, and options for any other controllable or reported metrics. It’s not any more functionally useful than the charts and raw data, but the visualization is certainly ‘neat’ and fun for the right user.

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Performance and metrics are the biggest items on the roster for Link 4.0’s improvements, though there’s no denying that the UI has improved in presentation and usability.

We'll validate performance independently once back from CES.

More Corsair coverage (and NZXT, Thermaltake, and everyone else) to come throughout the week. Check our YouTube channel for supporting video coverage of the event.

Writing: Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.
Video Production: Keegan "HornetSting" Gallick.

Last modified on January 05, 2016 at 3:48 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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