Macro pads are popular among streamers, and for good reason—mapping shortcuts to a single button press makes life easier. The one of the best-known pads is the ever-popular Elgato Stream Deck, but its time as the reigning accessory might be over. Cooler Master just unveiled its MasterHub device at Computex, and it takes the concept of a macro pad to a whole new level.
Unlike the Stream Deck, the MasterHub is modular—a running theme at Cooler Master’s booth this year. You snap different modules onto a base (i.e., the “hub”), creating your own custom combination and layout to suit your needs. Macro keys, physical volume sliders, control knobs, scrub bars, and touch screen displays are just some of the options. It provides plenty of flexibility, enough so that you could swap modules based on how your work changes during the day. Paul’s Hardware took the hardware for a spin, which you can see below.
At launch, three MasterHub bundles will be available—one for streamers, one for video editors, and one for photographers. Each has a different configuration, tailored for the usual needs of each kind of creator. If you want to adjust your setup, you can buy additional modules from Cooler Master; the company says nine types will be available for individual purchase on its website. Cooler Master also plans to eventually offer a variety of base sizes, which could help eliminate the need for different types of control decks at your desk (Stream Deck, volume controller, etc). You can have just one central device.
To tweak settings for your MasterHub, you’ll use Cooler Master’s upcoming MasterControl software, which will arrive first in mid-July (Paul took at peek at it before the hub in the video above). The MasterHub will follow in late November. Cost has yet to be announced, but Cooler Master’s plans are ambitious for this new piece of kit. Controlling your PC is just the start—eventually, that will expand to your room environment in 2024, then full smart home automation, in 2025. The final price tag could reflect these ambitions.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter—when she’s not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she’s scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.