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Corsair shrunk the RGB LED down to be as small as the head of a pin

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The Corsair Capellix LEDs are brighter, more efficient, and smaller by an order of magnitude

An array of dozens of Corsair Capellix LEDs next to a regular RGB LED strip with 10 lights on it.
Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Can I interest you in some genuine innovation here at CES 2019? PC gaming specialist Corsair brought a new RGB LED technology to the show, which would usually draw an epic eye-roll from me, but in this instance, it’s left me delighted. This is because of how much of a step change Corsair’s new Capellix decorative LEDs represent over what’s currently on the market. In the space where you could previously fit four regular LEDs, you can now accommodate one hundred Corsair Capellix lights.

The Capellix are up to 60 percent brighter, 60 percent more efficient, and require up to 40 percent less power than existing RGB LEDs. Their space-saving is huge: current LEDs require an assembly that makes each one occupy a space roughly the size of a fingernail, 2.8mm cubed, whereas the Capellix stuff is stripped down to a shockingly tiny 0.2mm cubed.

The implications of this stupendous new efficiency are the production of much fancier and brighter wireless mice and keyboards — where the previous battery power limitation is greatly loosened — as well as prettier and faster RAM. Wait, why faster RAM? Well, Corsair’s first product to feature Capellix LEDs is a new Dominator Platinum RGB memory stick, which the company says has been tweaked with more aggressive timings because of the extra power headroom allowed by the LEDs consuming next to nothing. I’m not sure if I’m entirely convinced by this explanation, but the fact is that Corsair will be running these new sticks at speeds up to 4,800MHz and will feature 12 individually addressable RGB LEDs per module. If, as the company hopes, you buy a bunch of Corsair fans and other lighting, you’ll be able to sync up your case’s interior lighting with even more granular control.

Eager to secure Capellix as an advantage over other gaming peripheral and component makers, Corsair has gone to the trouble of basically purchasing the production line of its manufacturing partner. So, for a while at least, Corsair will have the snazziest, most power-efficient RGB LEDs in the business. The Capellix-equipped Dominator Platinum RGB RAM sticks are launching in February 2019.

So far at CES, the Capellix announcement is the thing that’s struck me as the biggest upgrade over the status quo. Granted, it’s not going to change the world in terms of functionality, but it’s shrinking decorative LEDs to a size that’s in the neighborhood of the LEDs that are used for the latest TVs and displays. Now it’s up to Corsair’s designers to make the most out of their expanded design horizons.

The standard RGB LED light strip, the Capellix array, and some human fingers for scale.

Photography by Vlad Savov / The Verge