It would seem tenkeyless is now a word thanks to the CM QuickFire Stealth

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2014 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: input, cooler master, CM Storm QuickFire Stealth, mechanical keyboard

As you can see in the picture the word refers to the lack of a numpad, which trims down the size of the QuickFire Stealth, though the 2.1lbs weight may surprise you.  You can choose the Cherry switch colour of your choice, a nice touch for the typing purist and it comes with the standard Vengeance key removal tool for customizing your keyboard layout.  The USB cord is completely detachable making this a relatively portable device and it even has a USB to PS/2 adapter if you are that type of person.  Check out The Tech Report's full review here.

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"With a tenkeyless design and "covert" lettering on the key caps, Cooler Master's QuickFire Stealth isn't your average mechanical keyboard. We take a closer look at how it differs from the masses."

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Razer Designs New Mechanical Switches

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 6, 2014 - 07:22 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

He ain't heavy; he's my keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2014 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: QuickFire Ultimate, mechanical keyboard, input, cooler master

The Cooler Master Quickfire Ultimate has an unexpected claim to fame, at 3lbs it is probably one of the heaviest modern keyboards on the market.  You can choose your preferred type of Cherry MX switches and there is even a Canadian model with a colour scheme perfect for Habs fans.  The LED backlight can perform a number of tricks, from only lighting certain keys to having the lights pulse.  Check out The Tech Report's full review here.

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"With an embedded steel plate and a beefy body, Cooler Master's QuickFire Ultimate may be one of the sturdiest mechanical keyboards around. We take a closer look at this affordable backlit model to see how it holds up."

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

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | December 4, 2013 - 12:52 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!

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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.

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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

CoolerMaster's triple update to the Storm line of peripherals

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: input, CM Storm, aluminium, Pulse-R, headset, mech, mechanical keyboard, Reaper, mouse

CoolerMaster have released a set of aluminium highlighted peripherals; the Pulse-R headset, Mech keyboard and Reaper gaming mouse. The headset is compatible with both 3.5mm jack and USB connections, offering both over the ear audio and a detachable microphone and was rated quite highly.  The Mech keyboard uses Cherry MX Blue switches which are common place now, more unique is the look of the board and the features which include 64 N key rollover, LED back lighting, dual USB 3.0 ports and a charging port along with 128k of on board memory for macros.  Wrapping up the package is the Reaper mouse, 8 buttons and an impressive looking scroll wheel with DPI capability as high as 8200. 

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"A few weeks ago we brought you three reviews from the aluminium loving peripheral range from CM Storm, this includes their Pulse-R headset, Mech keyboard and the Reaper mouse. All three of these products are designed to look great, not only on their own, but also when they’re put next to each other. CM Storm do not sell these three items as a complete set, but today we want to find out what it would be like to live with the trilogy together."

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Source: eTeknix

A pair of gaming peripherals from CoolerMaster

Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: input, coolermaster, CM Storm, Havok, quickfire xt, gaming mouse, mechanical keyboard

Up for review at Overclockers Club is a pair of CM Storm peripherals, the Havok gaming mouse and the Quckfire XT mechanical keyboard.  Their review unit had Cherry Blue switches but you can choose your favourite Cherry switch when you order the keyboard.  For those who prefer a minimalistic looking keyboard with a lot of hidden features this is a great choice.  The Havoc gaming mouse is also fairly plain looking and also hides a variety of features. This model is definitely a right handed mouse and best avoided by those with tiny hands but for right handed folks who like to have a hand full of mouse the Havoc could be the peripheral you are looking for.

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"Overall I really enjoyed the CM Havoc gaming mouse. I usually don't go for the fat mice, but this is one you can definitely be a chubby chaser for and still be thought of as okay. It is definitely set to fancy those with a palm grip and despite having small hands there's not too much there. It is built nice and sturdy and even some rage smashes of the mouse have not shown any instant signs of loss. The little bit of lighting really adds to the mouse in my opinion; for some reason I fall into the category of loving a little bit of customization through a little bit of lighting on my peripherals. The lighting is subtle enough and you can turn it off completely without it looking like it is broken. I didn’t like that I couldn’t have my full RGB spectrum, but I can settle with the standard options provided. The mouse glides quite well even on the cheapest of mouse pads and is great for many hours of game play, work, and whatever else you use your mouse for. It's just a nice simple connection between you and your machine."

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CODE Keyboard Is Probably Pretty Good

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 1, 2013 - 11:12 PM |
Tagged: WASD Keyboards, mechanical keyboard, keyboard, CODE

... But if you read the blog post, you would think it is the one keyboard to rule them all.

The CODE is the product, literally, of a collaboration between Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood and Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards. I recognize the tongue-in-cheek humor and I acknowledge that the team are clearly (that was not a Cherry MX switch pun... that I would admit to) well suited to the challenge of designing a keyboard for programmers.

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Before we run through the opinion, its key touted perks are:

  • Cherry MX Clear switches
    • Similar to Cherry MX Brown with much more resistance. Hard to bottom out.
  • DIP switches to customize functionality without software.
  • White LED backlighting
  • Very stable rubberized ergonomic flaps and angled pads.
  • Detachable Micro USB cable

The thing is, WASD Keyboards already allows users to purchase customized keyboards. As far as I can tell, the CODE is just a variant of the existing WASD V2 104-key Custom Mechanical Keyboard with white backlighting. Both Keyboards are priced at $149.99. The CODE limits your choice but provides you with the illuminated keys and the MX Clear switches, normally a $10 upgrade, in exchange for just taking what you are offered without question. Okay, you can ask for a 104-Key or an 87-Key version, so one question is allowed. Still, the CODE is a good value; as I mentioned, you basically get free key lighting and a free upgrade to Cherry MX Clear.

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But it is still not an epiphany for mechanical keyboard lovers.

At one point, I hoped to take some time for a hobby and modify a mechanical keyboard to fit my specifications. I envisioned an aluminum body enclosing solidly built buckle-spring keys. I did not know about Cherry MX Green switches at the time. For keycaps, I imagined two pieces of glass sandwiching a translucent white plastic sheet masked with a black symbol for each letter. I figure the feel of glass would be more pleasing to the fingers than warm plastic. Each key would, of course, be let from underneath with a soft white (blue-doped-white) LED. Each translucent sheet would softly diffuse the light except for the shadow of whatever characters the key represents.

That would be a revolution... for me. I think I would like the feel of cool glass under my fingers.

So I guess I leave the post with a question for the viewers: What would your "perfect" keyboard be?

Source: CODE

Cooler Master Launches CM Storm QuickFire XT Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | July 3, 2013 - 06:01 AM |
Tagged: quickfire xt, mechanical keyboard, gaming, cooler master, cherry mx red, cherry mx green, cherry mx brown, cherry mx blue

Cooler Master has launched its new CM Storm QuickFire XT mechanical keyboard that joins the existing QuickFire Rapid under the company's CM Storm branding.

The QuickFire XT is a full-sized 104-key mechanical desktop keyboard measuring 17.3" x 5.2" x 1.1" (440 x 132 x 29mm) and weighs 2.43 lbs. The keyboard features a slim design with a matte black finish. More importantly, the keyboard uses Cherry MX switches with laser-etched key caps and an embedded steel plate in the keyboard body for added durability.

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Cooler Master bundles six alternative key caps, a key removal tool, and a detachable USB cable with the QuckFire XT.

Other features of the QuickFire XT include NKRO (N-Key Roll Over) in PS/2 mode as well as 1ms rated response times when used in USB mode. Media functions are handled by the dual-function, well, function keys, and the Windows key can be disabled when in "GAME mode."

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The mechanical keyboard uses Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Green, or Red keys. It appears as though only the Blue and Red switches are available right now, however. The following chart details the switch options and corresponding Cooler Master model numbers.

Cherry MX Switches Used Storm QuckFire XT Keyboard Model Number
Cherry MX Blue SGK-4030-GKCL1-US
Cherry MX Brown SGK-4030-GKCM1-US
Cherry MX Green SGK-4030-GKCG1-US
Cherry MX Red SGK-4030-GKCR1-US

The Cooler Master Storm QuickFire XT mechanical keyboard comes with a 2 year warranty and is available now with a MSRP of $89.99. More information can be found on this Cooler Master product page.

Also read: CMStorm QuickFire Rapid Review: Everything You Need

The return of the ergonomic keyboard, this time it is mechanical

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2013 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: cherry mx brown, Truly Ergonomic, mechanical keyboard, Model 207, input

Ergonomic keyboards go in and out of style, with some adherents sticking to a particular model but for the rest of us we seem to prefer the clumsy QWERTY layout above all others.  The Model 207 from Truly Ergonomic is a mechanical keyboard, so if your fingers can find the keys you will be rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing that key did depress.  On the other hand as you can see from the picture below finding those keys will take some practice.  You can also take a look at the back of the keyboard at the review on LanOC which shows off the customization possible thanks to the inclusion of dip switches that change the function of some keys.

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"When it comes to ergonomic keyboards there are only a few to pick from and, for the most part, all of those are rubber dome keyboards. Ergonomic mechanical keyboards are really limited to two different models, one being the Truly Ergonomic. Today we are going to take a look to see how it compares to everything I have tested to date. I expect an adjustment period just to its shape alone, but as a writer by trade I am very curious how it will affect me day to day. The gamer in me is just as curious on how it will perform in game as well. Let’s take a closer look."

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Source: LanOC

Make your own macros with the Gigabyte Aivia Osmium keyboard

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2013 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, gigabyte, Aivia Osmium, cherry mx red

Gigabyte has added another mechanical keyboard to their family, the Aivia Osmium which uses the quiet Cherry MX Red switches preferred by gamers who don't want a click to slow down their button mashing.  It is definitely aimed at gamers with backlighting, audio in and about and a USB 3.0 port on the side along with sound and brightness wheels at the top.  The Tech Report was very impressed with the macro capability of this keyboard, not bound by a certain set of dedicated keys but instead a full program which allows up to 25 programmed macros which can include both mouse and keyboard input.  Head on over and check out the full review.

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"Most high-end keyboards combine mechanical switches with LED backlighting and programmable macro keys. Gigabyte's Aivia Osmium adds a new twist: USB 3.0 connectivity. We take a closer look at this unique keyboard to see what's what."

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