The Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L and Pro S come Gozer approved

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2016 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: coolermaster, Masterkeys Pro L, Masterkeys Pro S, mechanical keyboard, input, Cherry MX, cherry mx rgb

The difference between Cooler Masters Masterkeys Pro L and Pro S lies in the numpad, the Pro L has it and the Pro S is, as they say, tenkeyless.  Apart from that the boards are very similar, using your choice of Cherry MX RGB switches, Brown, Red, or Blues.  You do not need software to program the lighting or macros, they can be adjusted with the use of the Function key in concert with one of the F1-F12 keys but Cooler Master does also offer software which allows you to adjust your lighting.  The Tech Report liked these boards, finding them every bit as good as the major competition, with one notable exception; the prices of the MasterKeys are a bit lower which can make a big difference when you are purchasing a glowing, clicky keyboard.

Pro L_2.png

"Cooler Master's MasterKeys Pro L and Pro S keyboards put Cherry MX RGB switches in no-nonsense chassis. They also expose most of their customization mojo through on-board shortcuts. We put our fingers to the keycaps to see how these boards perform."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Survey Results on Mechanical Keyboard Preferences Released

Subject: General Tech | February 23, 2016 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: survey, mechanical keyboard, Go Mechanical Keyboard, gaming keyboard, Cherry MX

Keyboard enthusiast site Go Mechanical Keyboard recently conducted a reader survey to determine what their readers preferred in a mechanical keyboard, and the results (from 950 responses) provided some interesting data.

survey_graphic.png

The data (which the site has made available in its raw format here) includes results from favorite key switch to preferred form-factor, as well as brand and model preferences. The site created an impressive infographic to display the results, which is partially reproduced here. I'd recommend a visit to Go Mechanical Keyboard to see the full version, as well as links to prior year's surveys.

Getting to a few of the results, we'll start with the all-important mechanical key switches:

switches.png

Cherry MX Blue was the winner for favorite typing experience, with MX Brown switches actually winning both gaming and all-purpose categories. Of course, key switches are a very personal choice and these results are limited to the readers of one particular site, though that does not invalidate the results. The position of the MX Brown surprised me, as my impression had been it was less popular than a few of the other options out there. (I'm curious to see what our readers think!)

Next we'll look at the preferred form-factor (which is accompanied by a couple of other data points):

formfactor_etc.png

Tenkeyless (TKL) slightly edges out the next highest result, which was the "60%" form-factor. Admittedly, I had not heard of this size prior to reading these results, and here's what I found from a quick search (I retrieved the following from the Deskthority Wiki):

60_percent.jpg

"60% keyboards omit the numeric keypad of a full-size keyboard, and the navigation cluster of a tenkeyless keyboard. The function key row is also removed; the escape key is consequently moved into the number row."

I'll skip ahead to the favorite overall keyboard results, which in no way could cause any disagreement or disparagement on the internet, right?

keyboard.png

The Vortex Poker 3 was the winner, a 60% keyboard (there's that form-factor again!) offered with a variety of MX switches. These keyboards run from about $129 - $139, depending on version. A model with Cherry MX Blue switches and white backlighting is listed on Amazon for $139.99, and versions with other key switches are also listed. The CM QuickFire Rapid, a tenkeyless design that sells for under $80 was second, followed by the Corsair K70, a standard 104-key design that sells for $129.

There was quite a bit more info on the full version of the infographic, and the source article (and site) is definately worth checking out if you're interested in mechanical keyboards. I'm curious to know what our readers prefer, too, so I'll be checking the comments!

G.Skill Rolls Out Refreshed Mechanical Gaming Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2016 - 12:48 AM |
Tagged: ripjaws, RGB LED, mechanical keyboard, G.Skill, Cherry MX

Memory maker G.Skill recently announced a refresh of its mechanical keyboard line that tweaks the KM780 series and cuts $10 off of the MSRP pricing. The two new refreshed products are the Ripjaws KM780R RGB and KM780R MX.

GSkill KM780R-MX front.png

The new keyboards use an aluminum plate/base, Cherry MX switches, and a black anodized finish on the frame. The KM780R MX is backlit by red LEDs while the KM780R RGB can have custom per-key backlighting. Both feature a full QWERTY layout plus number pad as well as media playback keys, a LED volume level display, and six macro keys (three on-board key profiles). There is also USB and analog audio pass-through ports.

G.Skill is offering the new gaming keyboards in several models depending on your choice of key switch. Specifically, users can choose from Cherry MX blue, brown, or red switches. Connecting via USB, they employ anti-ghosting and full N-key rollover tech as well.

GSkill KM780R-RGB.png

The every so slightly cheaper KM780R series does away with its predecessors bundled extra gaming key caps and key removal tool. The KM780R MX has an MSRP of $120 while the KM780R RGB model has an MSRP of $159.99 (Note that the brown and red variants are actually $140 on Amazon right now, but the Cherry MX blue version is not on sale.)

While I have not used them, the original models from last year appear to have garnered quite a bit of praise in reviews (particularly from AnandTech). It seems like G.Skill has not changed much and the R variants are more of the same for a bit less, and that's probably a good thing. I'm looking forward to seeing full reviews though, of course.

Have you tried the memory giant's other products before?

Also read: Mechanical Keyboard Switches Explained and Compared by Scott Michaud @ PC Perspective

Source: G.Skill

Corsair Introduces Strafe RGB Silent Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2015 - 11:22 AM |
Tagged: Strafe RGB Silent, mechanical keyboard, keyswitches, keycaps, gaming keyboard, corsair, Cherry MX Silent, Cherry MX

Corsair has introduced the Strafe RGB Silent mechanical keyboard, which is the first keyboard to use the Cherry’s new MX Silent keyswitches.

kb01.jpg

“With a sophisticated noise dampening system integrated into each key, the Strafe RGB Silent offers all the legendary precision and feel of German-engineered Cherry MX mechanical key switches, but up to 30% quieter.”

Corsair says that “you simply won’t find a Cherry MX Silent keyswitch anywhere else”, so if the noise from mechanical key-switches bothers you (or those around you) this looks like a great alternative. So how is it silent? Corsair explains:

“Rather than using rubber O-rings or other quick-fix external fittings to reduce key noise, the Cherry MX Silent uses a patented fully-integrated noise reduction system built into every key, greatly reducing key bottoming-out and spring-back noise. The result is a keyswitch that’s up to 30% quieter, making Strafe RGB Silent the ideal choice for gamers that demand the tactile feel of a mechanical key, but prefer a quieter operation to not disturb their partner, kids or co-workers.”

The keyboard also features full RGB lighting powered by Corsair’s on-board controller, and offers “individual multi-color dynamic backlighting for nearly unlimited lighting customization, effects and personalization”. Lighting profiles can also be downloaded using Corsair’s RGB Share service.

Corsair lists these other features for the new keyboard as well:

  • USB pass-through port allows the easy connection of a mouse, gaming headset or phone to a PC
  • Full-length soft-touch wrist rest offers comfort for even the longest gaming sessions
  • Gaming grade circuitry provides 100% anti-ghosting and full 104 key rollover ensuring every critical key press registers
  • Two included sets of custom textured and contoured keycaps, vital keys offer enhanced grip and feel for FPS or MOBA games

The Strafe RGB Silent carries a 2-year warranty from Corsair and is available now with an MSRP of $159.99 from Corsair’s web store, or exclusively at Best Buy (in North America).

Source: Corsair

PC Gamer Compares Mechanical Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2015 - 10:26 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, Cherry MX, alps, topre, model m, model f

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”.

cherrymx-barekeyswitch.png

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.

Source: PC Gamer

Computex 2015: Corsair STRAFE Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2015 - 08:07 AM |
Tagged: STRAFE, mechanical keyboard, gaming keyboard, corsair, computex 2015, computex, Cherry MX

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”.

STRAFE_NA_01.jpg

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

Strafe_02.jpg

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

Source: Corsair
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction

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

tactic_main.jpg

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.

tactic_key_angle.jpg

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 |
Tagged: Strix Tactic Pro, Strix Claw, strix, mechnical keyboard, gaming mouse, gaming keyboard, Cherry MX, ces 2015, CES, asus

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

ASUS_Strix_Tactic_Pro.png

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_Strix_Claw.png

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!

Source: ASUS
Manufacturer: Multiple

Finding Your Clique

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.

cherrymx-barekeyswitch.png

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 |
Tagged: input, Cougar, 700K, Cherry MX

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.

cougar700k03.jpg

"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

Source: Modders Inc