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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2015 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, aoris, thunder k7, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx red
Aorus is expanding the mechanical keyboard market with their Thunder K7 which uses Cherry MX Red switches and has a removable numpad which you can attach to the left or right of the board, or completely separated from the main board if you so desire. The 20 keys on the numpad can all be programmed with macros, to help you copy and paste the UbiSoft game keys given away during our podcasts. The brightness of the keyboards backlighting can be adjusted with the wheel located at the top of the keyboard and the numpad as well. Modders-Inc found themselves liking this board, you can read about it right here.
"What do you look for in a keyboard? Do you look for items such as mechanical switches, dedicated macro keys, and LED backlighting? Do you want silent keys or loud keys? There are plenty of keyboards on the market with more features than you can shake a stick at. Some are useful, while others are gimmicky."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cougar 700K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Kitguru
- COUGAR 600K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ OCC
- Speedlink Parthica Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Quickfire Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard @ eTeknix
- Cougar 600K Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- orsair Gaming Sabre Optical RGB Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte FORCE M63 FPS Laser Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Cougar 600M Black Edition Gaming Mouse @ Modders-Inc
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | January 16, 2015 - 06:59 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: CES, ces 2015, monoprice, ips, 4k, 120hz, mechanical keyboard, touch screen, drawing
So CES has ended over a week ago, but somehow we missed Monoprice. While they are known for cheap cables that are also good and reliable, the retailer has been pushing out some interesting, self-branded products. At this year's CES, they advertised a multi-touch pen display, a cheap 4K 60Hz monitor, a 30-inch IPS panel that is guaranteed to work at 120Hz 1600p (16:10), and an RGB-backlit mechanical keyboard.
First up is their 22-inch multi-touch pen display. Not too long ago, I noticed that they had a 22-inch pen display without a touch screen, similar to my Wacom Cintiq 22HD, for under $600. Of course, this got me looking at its product page because that is significantly cheaper than what I paid for mine -- like, several times cheaper. In that page was a warning that it was not suitable for multi-monitor setups, and suggested that users clone it (rather than extending their desktop). Yikes. Okay. That's problematic.
Well now it no longer has that warning, and neither does their new, higher-end version with built-in multi-touch. Hopefully this means that they sorted out their driver (or configuration) issues under Windows.
The display itself is a 22-inch, 1080p, IPS panel with 16.7 million colors (so not 10-bit). It has a 5ms response time, which is good for IPS, but no listing of sRGB or AdobeRGB coverage. This could be problematic for someone looking to use it for professional applications, but being an IPS display it might be okay.
The current price is $550 for the pen-input monitor, and $750 for the pen or 10-point touch model. Both are also compatible with 75mm x 75mm VESA wall mounts, because the writing's on the wall or some pun like that.
Also launched is a 28-inch 4K display for $449. They do not state the panel technology, but with a reduced vertical viewing angle, which is bad, and a 1ms response time, which is good, it pretty much must be TN. It is a bit sad that it is not IPS, IGZO, PLS, or another high-end panel type, but it is also $449.
Image Credit: Anandtech
Keeping on the topic of displays, Anandtech was shown a 30-inch, 1600p panel that is guaranteed to run at 120Hz. While we are starting to see a few high refresh rate IPS panels pop up this year, it was the domain of display overclockers before then. Enthusiasts would purchase monitors that were shipped directly from smaller South Korean manufacturers (who typically purchase lesser-binned panels from LG, and so forth) and cross their fingers when they give it a higher refresh rate. This one is guaranteed by Monoprice to run at 120Hz, but it does not yet have pricing and availability.
Image Credit: Anandtech
Lastly, Anandtech also saw a mechanical keyboard with programmable RGB backlighting. It uses Kailh RGB switches, which are based on the Cherry MX design after the patents expired. Again, no pricing or availability on this one.
Subject: General Tech | December 22, 2014 - 12:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: steelseries, mechanical keyboard, Keyboards, 6gv2, 10 days of christmas
Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!
Mechanical keyboards are popular these days, and complex enough to be confusing (just me?). Thankfully, our own Scott Michaud recently broke down the different keyswitches involved with the various keyboards, which should help with the difficult buying decision. Another thing that helps with difficult buying decisions? Letting us tell you what to buy! So for today's "10 days" pick, we're going with one of these mechanical keyboards.
The SteelSeries 6Gv2 is a classic-looking keyboard (minus the beige color scheme of the 80's) that offers fast response and true mechanical switches, and is built to last with gold-plated switches and some of the heaviest construction I've seen. Best of all, it's consistently available for less than $100, which puts it on the more affordable side of these often pricey keyboards. So what kind of switches are in use here, exactly?
The MX Black switch in action - notice how it actuates almost immediately (left)
The 6Gv2 uses a linear-mechanical switch (again, see Scott's article to know what the heck this all means) so it responds very quickly and allows for rapid presses of the same button. It does not offer the same feel of some of the other switches and isn't really designed for typing, though preferences differ widely here. Regardless, this keyboard is built like a tank, and even if you don't end up liking it as a keyboard it would make a serviceable (and compact) replacement to the classic baseball bat home-defense system.
- SteelSeries 6Gv2 Mechanical Keyboard - Amazon.com ($94.95)
If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)
Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?
Day 1: Google Nexus 7 Tablet
Day 3: Intel Core i7-4790K
Day 4: Google Chromecast
Day 7: Amazon Kindle
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.
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.
|45 cN||Cherry MX Red||
Cherry MX Brown
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX White (old B)
|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).
Subject: General Tech | November 13, 2014 - 06:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Cherry MX clear, WASD Keyboards, CODE, input, mechanical keyboard, tenkeyless
Scott posted about the WASD Keyboards CODE with Cherry MX Clear switches but until now we have not found a review of this keyboard. The Tech Report has changed that with this review which takes a look at the new type of switch which sits between the Brown and the Green, Clear switches need more force to bottom out that a Brown but not as much as the clicky style Green switches. That is not all this tenkeyless board offers, there are LEDs that can be activated by the dip switches in the recess found on the back of the keyboard. In fact those dip switches can do more than just enable a nice glow, you can disable the Windows key or even immediately switch to different layouts such as Mac, Dvorak, and Colemak though sadly they left Sinclair ZX off of the list. If this type of switch interests your fingers and you are willing to spend $150 on a keyboard check out the full review here.
"We've been meaning to try out Cherry MX's clear key switches for a while, and now, we've finally gotten our wish. Join us for a look at WASD Keyboards' Cherry MX clear-infused Code keyboard, a tenkeyless offering with more than a few tricks up its sleeve."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- COUGAR 700K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Techgage
- Cougar 700K Mechanical Keyboard @ Hardware Heaven
- AORUS Thunder K7 Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Thrustmaster Ferrari GT Cockpit 458 Steeling Wheel @ eTeknix
- Corsair Gaming RGB M65 @ Kitguru
- GAMDIAS ZEUS Laser Gaming Mouse @ Tech ARP
- Tesoro Gandiva H1L Laser Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTec
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2014 - 12:59 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Mobile | October 30, 2014 - 03:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, GT80 Titan, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx brown, gaming laptop
The full details are still a little sparse but we do know one thing for sure, the MSI GT80 Titan will be the first gaming laptop with an integral mechanical keyboard, it also happens to be backlit. The laptop is an 18" model and though it may look large in the pictures MSI reports it will be 17% thinner and 22% lighter than similar machines. They have also incorporated the SteelSeries Engine with CloudSync to allow you to save and synchronize settings via SteelSeries cloud storage. Check out the full PR below.
City of Industry, Calif. – October 30, 2014 – MSI Computer Corp, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, unveils the GT80 Titan, the world’s first gaming laptop with a mechanical keyboard.
First of its kind, MSI’s GT80 Titan ushers the future of gaming by integrating a SteelSeries gaming keyboard with Cherry Brown MX switches into the 18-inch gaming beast. Mechanical keyboards provide superior tactile feedback, increases durability, and enhances overall gaming experience by eliminating key jamming even during the most heated battle sessions.
“Performance is key for gamers and the GT80 Titan will forever change the mobile gaming experience,” says Andy Tung, president of MSI Pan America. “We are proud to be at the forefront of the gaming evolution and will continue to provide solutions that deliver the most outstanding gaming experience in the world.”
MSI’s newest gaming laptop uses standard Cherry switches and a standard keycap with 27mm of thickness, nearly 5 times of traditional laptop keyboards. It is also the world’s slimmest and lightest 18-inch gaming laptop, measuring 17% thinner and 22% lighter than its closest competitor. To fully optimize the keyboard, the GT80 Titan features an enhanced SteelSeries Engine with CloudSync, allowing users to save and synchronize settings via SteelSeries cloud storage.
Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2014 - 01:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- CM Storm NovaTouch TKL Premium Keyboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- Tesoro Lobera and Gandiva @ HardwareHeaven
- Tesoro Lobera Supreme Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- Corsair Gaming Vengeance K70 RGB @ Kitguru
- ROCCAT TALK FX @ Bechmark Reviews
- Roccat Tyon Mouse @ HardwareHeaven
- COUGAR 700M Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- Cougar 700M Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- GAMDIAS ZEUS Laser Gaming Mouse @ Tech ARP
- Zowie FK1 @ HardwareHeaven
- Aorus Thunder M7 Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2014 - 04:04 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, logitech, g910 orion spark rgb, g910
The newly announced Logitech G910 Orion Spark RGB mechanical keyboard is based on their own mechanical switch, developed in partnership with Omron, dubbed "Romer-G". It supports 16.8 million colors in the backlight under each individual key. Logitech will provide software to control this lighting and an SDK for developers to integrate custom functionality into their game. It includes nine macro buttons with three profiles.
The Romer-G switch is (at least currently) exclusive to this keyboard. It is designed with a very small actuation point, 1.5mm from the top of the key. This means that you finger will need to travel less distance, and thus take less time, before the action is registered. From a feeling standpoint, they have a soft spring and a tactile bump at the point of actuation, but no click. Logitech did not comment on whether the G910 contains o-rings to further dampen the sound.
The switches are designed for high durability as well, with an expected lifespan of 70 million keystrokes (compared to 50 million advertised by Cherry and 60 million for Razer). That said, mechanical switches are designed to be put in industrial and medical devices and left unmaintained for decades, so I am not sure how practical that advantage will be.
Their partner, Omron, also collaborates with Logitech on mechanical switches for mice.
The Logitech G910 Orion Spark RGB in planned to be released this November for $179.99.