PC Gamer Compares Mechanical Keyboards

August 1, 2015 - 10:26 PM |

Purchasing an expensive gaming peripheral is a bit daunting, especially when it (mostly) comes down to how it feels. In these cases, we cannot resort to benchmarks or any other form of objective score. Instead, we need to classify and describe the attributes of each type of keyboard, letting our readers narrow down their choices by saying, “if you like this, choose from these”.


A couple of days ago, PC Gamer published a breakdown of many types of switches, including a few different types of Alps-style brands. They have force curves for each featured switch, which is challenging to find outside of the Cherry MX brand (as few other companies publish their own that I know of). They also write a short paragraph for each switch to explain what type of use and user they are for, which (as I've said) is the metric that matters most.

For the Cherry MX switches, they have animations to show how they operate from the side, which will give you clues to how it operates. They have been floating around the internet for a while. KeyboardLover is claiming that “Lethal Squirrel” created them before 2011. These animations give a visual explanation for what linear, tactile, and clicky means, to help you imagine how these attributes feel.

Also, of course, we published our own article back in December. Our article includes our own Cherry MX switch animations. They're not quite as good quality as the other ones, but they include synchronized side-on and rear-on cycles. The animations were originally made for a Rosewill keyboard roundup back in early 2012.

Computex 2015: Corsair STRAFE Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2015 - 08:07 AM |

Corsair has announced the STRAFE mechanical gaming keyboard featuring Cherry MX switches, and the company is calling it the “most advanced mono-backlit mechanical gaming keyboard available”.


From Corsair:

“The STRAFE mechanical gaming keyboard’s brilliant red backlighting can be customized to a virtually unlimited number of lighting configurations and effects. Each key can be programmed with automated macros using CUE (Corsair Utility Engine) software. Users can choose from six unique lighting effects or craft their own custom profiles and share them on www.corsairgaming.com.”

The STRAFE features:

  • German-made Cherry MX red switches with gold contacts for fast, precise key presses
  • Fully programmable brilliant red LED backlighting for unrivaled personalization
  • USB pass-through port for easy connections
  • Textured and contoured FPS/MOBA keycaps
  • 100% anti-ghosting technology with 104-key rollover
  • Enhanced, easy-access multimedia controls


The Corsair STRAFE has an MSRP of $109.99 and will be available in June.

Subject: General Tech

The ASUS STRIX TACTIC PRO is a premium mechanical gaming keyboard featuring Cherry MX Brown switches and some serious style.


Keyboards are a very personal thing, and as this is one of the three primary interfaces with the system itself (along with the mouse and display), feel will help decide the experience. Without a doubt mechanical keyboard have become very popular with enthusiasts, but as more manufacturers have started offering them - and the market has begun to saturate - it becomes much more difficult to pick a starting point if you're new to the game. To further complicate a buying decision there are different types of key switches used in these keyboards, and each variety has its own properties and unique feel.


And on the subject of key switches, this particular keyboard built with the brown variety of the Cherry MX switches, and ASUS offers the option of Cherry MX Black, Blue, and Red switches with the STRIX TACTIC PRO as well. Our own Scott Michaud covered the topic of key switches in great detail last year, and that article is a great starting point that helps explain the different types of switches available, and how they differ.

Cherry MX Brown

The Cherry MX Brown switch in action

I'll go into the feel of the keyboard on the next page, but quickly I'll say that MX Brown switches have a good feel without being too "clicky", but they are certainly more stiff feeling than a typical membrane keyboard. While it's impossible to really describe how the keyboard will feel to a particular user, we can certainly cover the features and performance of this keyboard to help with a purchasing decision in this crowded market. At $150 the STRIX TACTIC PRO carries a premium price, but as you'll see this is also a premium product.

Continue reading our review of the STRIX TACTIC PRO mechanical gaming keyboard!!

CES 2015: ASUS Strix Tactic Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Strix Claw Mouse

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2015 - 02:30 PM |

The new Strix Tactic Pro is a mechanical gaming keyboard designed for durability, and it looks the part.


Since switches obviously matter the Tactic pro will be available with a choice of black, blue, brown, or red Cherry MX switches. ASUS states that the keyboard “employs the highest-specification N-Key Rollover (NKRO) technology over USB and has 13 dedicated, easy-to-reach macro keys for fast and hassle-free command customization”. The F1 - F8 keys can also be reprogrammed for a total of 21 macro keys if you need them.


ASUS is also showing their Strix Claw gaming mouse, which features “right-handed ergonomics” (sorry, lefties), Japanese-made Omron D2F-01F switches, a “gaming-tuned” 5000 DPI high-precision optical sensor (adjustable), true 1:1 movement with angle-snap-free capability, and 3 independently programmable buttons.

The Strix Claw is already up on Amazon but no word yet on availability/pricing of the Tactic Pro keyboard, though it is listed on the ASUS site.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!


One of the difficulties with purchasing a mechanical keyboard is that they are quite expensive and vary greatly in subtle, but important ways. First and foremost, we have the different types of keyswitches. These are the components that are responsible for making each button behave, and thus varying them will lead to variations in how those buttons react and feel.


Until recently, the Cherry MX line of switches were the basis of just about every major gaming mechanical keyboard, although we will discuss recent competitors later on. Its manufacturer, Cherry Corp / ZF Electronics, maintained a strict color code to denote the physical properties of each switch. These attributes range from the stiffness of the spring to the bumps and clicks felt (or heard) as the key travels toward its bottom and returns back up again.

  Linear Tactile Clicky
45 cN Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Brown
Razer Orange
Omron/Logitech Romer-G
50 cN    
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX White (old B)
Razer Green
55 cN   Cherry MX Clear  
60 cN Cherry MX Black    
80 cN Cherry MX Linear Grey (SB) Cherry MX Tactile Grey (SB)
Cherry MX Green (SB)
Cherry MX White (old A)
Cherry MX White (2007+)
90 cN     IBM Model M (not mechanical)
105 cN     Cherry MX Click Grey (SB)
150+ cN Cherry MX Super Black    

(SB) Denotes switches with stronger springs that are primarily for, or only for, Spacebars. The Click Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX White, Green, and Blue keyboards. The MX Green is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Blue keyboards (but a few rare keyboards use these for regular keys). The MX Linear Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Black keyboards.

The four main Cherry MX switches are: Blue, Brown, Black, and Red. Other switches are available, such as the Cherry MX Green, Clear, three types of Grey, and so forth. You can separate (I believe) all of these switches into three categories: Linear, Tactile, and Clicky. From there, the only difference is the force curve, usually from the strength of the spring but also possibly from the slider features (you'll see what I mean in the diagrams below).

Read on to see a theoretical comparison of various mechanical keyswitches.

Do not throw this keyboard; it will survive, the target may not

Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2014 - 04:12 PM |

With a plastic body and brushed aluminium top the Cougar 700K weighs in at over a kilo and should handle the most ham fisted of users.  You can choose your favourite flavour of Cherry MX switches, Red, Blue, Black or Brown and swap keys as you see fit and toggle between NKRO and standard USB 6KRO.  The LED functionality is quite impressive, an onboard CORTEX-M0 and the included software allow you to customize your light show, swap key functionality and program macros which you can save into multiple profiles.  Modders-Inc found the keyboard to be well designed, the software even more so but be aware that there is a drawback to liking this keyboard, it retails for $150.


"A product's function is not solely reliant on the designer but also shaped by the intended audience. Problem arises when there is a disconnect between intention, marketing and reception; the result being a product that is supposed to perform well at the intended task but comes up short due to false assumptions on what the intended audience needs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Roccat Offering Ryos Tenkeyless Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard With Cherry MX Switches

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2014 - 12:59 AM |

Roccat recently launched a slick new mechanical keyboard called the Ryos TKL Pro. The "TKL" in the name stands for "tenkeyless" and signifies the lack of a number pad. The new keyboard features your choice of Cherry MX switches in a glossy black (micro dot finish) frame with raised keys and a large palm rest with thumb buttons. The keyboard further packs in two ARM Cortex processors and 2MB of flash to store up to 470 macros and drive the per-key LED backlighting. Developed and tested by professional StarCraft II gamer HyuN, the Ryos TKL Pro is a cool looking bit of hardware that is available now with a MSRP of $140.

[inline:files/news/2014-11-01/Roccat Ryos TKL Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.jpg]

The Ryos TKL Pro measures 23.3 cm x 40.4 cm and holds 91 programmable keys. The keyboard connects via a 1.8 meter braided USB cable. It sits on five rubber feet with two being retractable risers. The mechanical keyboard supports USB report rates of 1000Hz and 1ms response times as well as N-key rollover anti-ghosting technology. The onboard memory allows users to store macros and secondary key functions when using the EasyShift+ and FN keys. The Ryos TKL Pro supports per-key illumination with special effects allowing any number of keys to be lit up while the rest remain dark. It can be configured to illuminate only the keys used in game, for instance.

Roccat has chosen Cherry MX switches for the Ryos TKL Pro like its larger Ryos MK Pro sibling. Specifically, gamers will be able to select models sporting Cherry MX blue, black, brown or red switches.

[inline:files/news/2014-11-01/Roccat Ryos TKL Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Angled.jpg]

Other features include support for Roccat R.A.D. software to display game stats and achievements and Roccat Talk to interface with other Roccat gear.

The Ryos TKL Pro incorporates most of the features of the Ryos MK Pro into a more compact design. (You mainly give up the USB/audio hub and dedicated macro keys). If you are looking to ditch your number pad (and while this keyboard looks cool, I could not live without the good ole' num pad!) it might be worth looking into for your next keyboard. It is available now for $140.

Read more about mechanical keyboards at PC Perspective.

Cooler Master's NovaTouch TKL; we're OK with $240 keyboards becoming common?

October 10, 2014 - 01:23 PM |

That is not a typo, the NovaTouch TKL is currently selling for $240 on Amazon, and you don't even get a numpad.  However if you are a keyboard aficionado, which obviously some people are, the mix of Topre switches and Cherry MX caps may just take your fingers to typing nirvana.  The latter was certainly the conclusion at The Tech Report who found the Topre Cherry MX mix to be uniquely satisfying and preferred it to the other expensive keyboards they have tried recently.  If you are looking for something special to type on and don't have a tendency to drink near your computer then you should check out the review, if you are more prone to spillage you might want to give this one a miss.

CoolerMaster would like to point out that the MSRP for the NovaTouch TKL is actually $199 USD and you can occaisonally find it for a bit less.  Also to be fair, The Tech Report is not kidding when they describe the $200 keyboard market as crowded ... there are a lot of $200 keyboards, just none on my desk.


"This $200 keyboard from Cooler Master features genuine Topre switches modified to fit Cherry MX key caps. Is it a good mix? We investigate."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

For when you need a keyboard that stands out

March 24, 2014 - 01:22 PM |

If you are not satisfied with a plain keyboard that doesn't stand out in a crowd and also care about the quality of the board then the Ducky Shine 3 is a keyboard you should be aware of.  Your choice of Cherry MX switches to ensure a proper mechanical feel to your key presses and an array of LED lights will make this keyboard stand out from across the room.  As you can see from the picture, this isn't just backlit keys, a glowing snake on the space bar and lights on every key make this board rather unique.  If flashy keyboards are your thing, check out Benchmark Reviews article here.


"The Ducky Shine Series, arguably one of the best mechanical keyboards on the market, has released the Ducky Shine 3 DK9008S3. Often referred to as the YOTS or “Year of the Snake”, the 2013 Shine 3 is the offshoot descendant of the 2012 Year of the Dragon Shine 2 DK9087 (a tenkeyless version in the shine series). This model, like it’s predecessor, comes with a wide array of switch options including Cherry MX Black, Blue, Brown, and Red, and a wide array of LED color options including: Blue, Red, Green, White, Magenta, and Orange."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Corsair and Cherry Answer Mechanical Keyboard Questions

March 11, 2014 - 02:16 AM |

A lot of diverse topics arose from the Corsair blogs, lately. This time, they compiled fan questions and enlisted mechanical switch and keyboard manufacturer, Cherry Corporation, to provide answers. Coming in at over two-thousand words, it is quite lengthy.


Many of the questions seemed to come from long-term fans of their mechanical keyboards. One person asked whether a specific ergonomic keyboard (G80-5000) would make a return, while another inquired about Cherry-branded Hall Effect switches (presumably for analog controls). In all, if you are interested in mechanical keyboards, it is worth a read. They kept a little secret sauce, secret, but otherwise seemed pretty open in their responses.