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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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

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

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2014 - 12:59 AM |
Tagged: TKL, tenkeyless, roccat, mechanical keyboard, gaming, Cherry MX

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.

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.

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.

Source: Roccat

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

Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2014 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: topre, NovaTouch TKL, mechanical keyboard, cooler master, Cherry MX

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.

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"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

Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2014 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: input, ducky, Cherry MX

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.

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"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

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 11, 2014 - 02:16 AM |
Tagged: corsair, cherry, Cherry MX, mechanical keyboard

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.

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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.

Source: Corsair

Razer Designs New Mechanical Switches

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 6, 2014 - 10:22 PM |
Tagged: razer, Cherry MX, cherry, mechanical keyboard

So Razer has a history of doing the unexpected. The peripheral manufacturer has branched out into other segments, including laptops, tablets, software, exercise equipment, and so forth. Their April Fools announcements are often hilarious but their real products sometimes feel as far-fetched, except that they release and apparently find an audience. If Project Christine comes out then it would be the best example, but Project Fiona and the Razer Blade seemed just as unlikely - and I've seen multiple Blades in the wild.

And yet it is their keyboard announcement which surprises me, today.

It turns out that Razer decided to design their own key switch modules, instead of ordering them off-the-shelf from ZF Electronics (Cherry). Razer will not manufacture these key modules, and they look enough like Cherry MX switches that I could guess who their third party manufacturer is, but they did push their own specifications. Razer claims that the main advantage is a higher actuation point, leading to less latency between when your finger starts moving, and when it has moved enough to activate the button.

Razer has developed two switches: "Green", which is their analogy of the Cherry MX Blue, and "Orange", which is analogous to the Cherry MX Brown. The former is clicky while the latter has a relatively silent bump.

The Green switches are available in the BlackWidow, BlackWidow Tournament, and BlackWidow (with the Orange switches in each Stealth variant). Some models will ship in late March with the rest shipping in April.

Source: Razer

CES 14: Corsair & Cherry Partner on RGB-backlit Keyboard(s)

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | December 4, 2013 - 03:52 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, corsair, Cherry MX, cherry, CES 2014

The three little letters that instill fear in tech journalists (and vendors) right around the holiday season: CES. This will be the first of many news posts coming out of that event -- it is still a month away! Companies are already preparing for what will come after the holidays. Brace yourselves!

januaryiscoming.jpg

Corsair and Cherry have just released a preview of their upcoming CES announcement. Mechanical keyboards (at least those based on Cherry MX switches) were only rarely backlit. Pretty much every model of Cherry MX-based keyboard with per-key LED lighting was, at one point, developed by iOne (they produced the XArmor line of backlit keyboards and collaborated with Razer on the BlackWidow). I am not particularly sure what the difficulty was from an engineering standpoint but I do know it was rare.

cherry-mx-rgb.jpg

Cherry, themselves, are assisting the next evolution of this technology. The company has developed a special version of their MX Red-class switch with built-in RGB illumination. The mixture of these three colors allows for a key to be lit by any color in the visible spectrum (up to the precision allowed by hardware and software). Their press release suggests 8-bit per channel control (~16.7 million colors). Their exclusive launch partner for this 2014 debut will be Corsair.

Clearly their K-series keyboards sold well.

If you want to learn more about the Cherry MX switches, be sure to check out our overview from 2012. Also, check out the Cherry website for a ridiculously informative breakdown of the switch all each of its components. Seriously, this puts my animation to shame; it is kind of depressing.

Also, check out the press blast after the break.

Source: Cherry