Jun 14, 2021

Mood lighting for your TV: Govee Flow Pro light bars


Ever since I saw the Philips Hue HDMI sync demo 6 months ago, I've been wanting to buy them for my TV. However, at $150 for the light bars (which I actually have) and $250 for the HMDI Sync kit, they're a bit much.
Since then a few alternatives came to market but none are good enough, until Govee released the Flow Pro Light bar kit. However, it was unavailable for a while and still a bit expensive so I waited.

Well, yesterday I came across an awesome deal where these can be had for $34! I couldn't pass up such a deal so I bought one.


Thanks to the magic of Prime shipping, I got it today. Yay!


Quick review


Pros:
  • No HDMI pass-through so you don't lose any function between your source and display. With pass-through solutions, you can lose advanced functions such as HDR and HDMI 2.1. Without those, you might as well stick to a 2018 TV. No lighting effect system is worth losing those features.
  • Much cheaper price. At around $64, this kit is about 1/6th the price of a comparable Hue Play + HDMI Sync box.
  • Amazing customizations. There are 6 individually controlled segments per bar for a total of 12. You can also control brightness for each section independently.
  • Music modes are awesome. The best I've seen in any LED products thus far.

Cons:
  • Slight input lag (i.e. display shows blue half a second before light shows blue). Although the latest firmware update greatly improves this area, it's still there. Best mode is to use game + split screen.
  • Some inaccurate color detection. That camera gets it right most of the times but sometimes, it misses. Not too bad though. Accuracy improves alot after I calibrated the set using the included 8 orange squares.
  • This is a nitpick but, 2 bars aren't enough to properly light a 65" TV. I'd like to see them add an extension kit for 2 more bars via a USB Y-cable. I'm sure it can be done.
  • I wish the lights auto turn off after 3 mins of detecting only black screen (i.e. screen off). As is, I have to manually turn it off after use. Annoying.

Overall rating: 9/10
This kit gave me exactly what I wanted ever since I bought my OLED TV: a dynamic background lighting system to match its beautiful pictures. The more I use this system, the more I appreciate how it subtly extends and complements the picture shown. It's a definite improvement on an already amazing home theater experience. 

Kit includes:

  • 2 light bars w/ USB C connector
  • 1 camera w/ USB A connector
  • 1 power adapter w/ typical power plug
  • 2 vertical stand adapters
  • 2 behind-TV stick-on brackets
  • 8 little orange squares with adhesive back (for calibration)
  • Manual and a little paper about Govee

Here's what they look like (stock photos):



How they work:

  1. The webcam (mounted on the top or bottom of your screen) "sees" colors on your display then send signal to the LED light bars to reproduce them.
  2. In between, there is a Bluetooth-enabled controller which controls the lights.
  3. This controller pairs with the Govee app on your phone to give you customize and control the lights, as well as work with Google or Alexa. You can tie them to your smart home setup if you wish.

Here's a demo video as well as a few pictures I took to showcase this lighting system:


Here's a fast action video to show the input lag of this system. It's there but not too bad. This is with the latest firmware update on gaming & splitscreen mode. 

Not shown here but these also have multiple modes including music sync modes, scene modes, as well as timer and voice controls. 


No true white LED so you see a typical purple-tinged approximation of white



Color display is a bit inaccurate here. It's supposed to pick up orange, not purple

Apparently it only reproduced the center color






Installed without adhesive

I don't want anything sticking to my OLED TV so I didn't use the 3M backed mounts. For now, they are resting on the TV's sub. Not ideal but decent enough. 
I'll decide if I want to use the rear mounts later.
Who cares about cable mess behind TV right? 😁
ZEROSVN Tech Enthusiast

Jun 3, 2021

How does a 2018 computer fare in 2021?


I had some time today so I played some PC games. Of course it's been a hot minute since I played any game so I had to do a bunch of software updates.

Here's my gaming pc:


More details can be found in the original 2018 post.

After some light gaming, I decided to update all drivers and even the BIOS to see if there's any performance improvement.

Well, good news and bad news.

Good news is my PC is still fairly competent. It's ranked in the 88th percentile in the world, which isn't too shabby. The driver and BIOS updates seems to have improved some performance, especially in the storage area.

Bad news is 2D video performance is severely limited by the Spectre and Meltdown patches Intel and AMD applied to "fix" inherent flaws in their CPU architectures. This almost halved my 2D graphics performance! 😠
This, plus recent "optimized" graphics card settings from nVidia caused my overall graphics performance to slip. My PC is now in the 88th percentile vs the 97 in 2018. To be fair, a bunch of people upgraded their computers as well as bought new, more powerful computers so yeah, my computer is no longer in the top 3% 😤. Eh, it's all good. My games still run decent.

Here's the current performance benchmark:
While it's still decent, this PC is starting to show its age

In comparison, here's what it used to look like back in 2018 (overclocked of course):


A side effect of updating BIOS is a reset of all my overclocked settings. Doh!
Good thing I wrote down the old overclocked settings for Ryzen 2600 on a Gigabyte Aorus B450 WIFI motherboard. Here it is in case you need it (I'll probably need it later too):
  1. Go into BIOS (press Del when the computer starts up)
  2. Set CPU multiplier to 40 (default is 3.5)
  3. Set Vcore offset: +0.120 (stock voltage is 1.25v so this will bring it up to 1.37v. 1.35 is recommended but I wanted a stable system and have plenty of CPU cooling in my water cooled setup so I added a bit for more stability). That said, I might drop it down to 1.35v later.
  4. Set memory to XMP 1.0 profile, which forces it to run at 3Ghz (rated speed for my memory). I can go further since my memory can handle up to 3.2Ghz but I prefer stability so this is good enough.

Current specs:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Memory: 32GB Patriot Viper RGB DDR4-3000
Storage: 
  1. ADATA SX8200 480GB NVMe
  2. StoreMI array w/ 240GB SATA3 SSD + 4TB 5900Krpm Seagate HDD
Case: BeQuiet Dark Base 700 (inverted)
Cooling: Corsair H110i - Front-mounted with 2 x 140mm fans + 2 BeQuiet 140mm fans in push/pull config.
Cooler Master Fan Pro kit: 1 rear-mounted 140mm + 2 top-mounted 140mm.

Other items:
HP Omen 32" 1440p monitor
Razer Blackwidow RGB mechanical keyboard
Logitech G502 SE mouse
CORSAIR - MM800 Polaris RGB mouse pad


Possible upgrades in the future:
  1. RTX 3070 (when the current GPU shortage blows over)
  2. New motherboard, CPU, and RAM

ZEROSVN Tech Enthusiast