We are going to need a word describing people obsessed with mechanical keyboards and switches

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2012 - 10:00 AM |
Tagged: corsair, Vengeance K60, Vengeance K90, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx red, input

If you haven't mastered the ability to identify the difference between mechanical keyboard switches then you should check out Scott's primer on the four main flavours of Cherry.  Then you can cheek out a review of Corsair's Vengeance K60 and K90 keyboards at The Tech Report which both utilize the Cherry MX Red variety and are considered a great choice for gamers.  The big difference between the two models is the array of programmable macro keys which exist on the left hand side of the K90 as well as the rubber dampers which are added.  The Tech Report were not impressed with the dampers, they felt it muddied the keystroke and made it feel more like a membrane type keyboard.  Check them both out in the full review.

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"Join us as we rattle away on the lovely mechanical keyswitches of Corsair's aluminum-clad Vengeance K60 and K90 keyboards."

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CM Storm QuickFire Pro: Full NKRO over USB?

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 4, 2012 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, mechanical keyboard

Cooler Master announces the Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard available soon in four different CHERRY flavors. They claim full N-Key Rollover (NKRO) through USB, which is a first to my knowledge.

Higher-end keyboards seem to be growing further and further in fashion as of late.

Cooler Master jumped into the mechanical keyboard market with their QuickFire Rapid release in late 2011. The Rapid was available in Cherry MX Blue and Cherry MX Red switches. The Rapid was a Tenkeyless design, sparing you the width of a number pad if you do not wish to have one.

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Of course only the Pro keyboard would have a numpad… only accountants use it or something.

Cooler Master has obviously found that the Rapid a successful product as they will launch a sister design allegedly sometime this month. The Storm QuickFire Pro is a partially backlit full-sized keyboard. The Rapid Pro will be available in Cherry MX Blue, MX Brown, MX Black, and MX Red switch designs. If you are curious about the differences between keyboard switches then check out my explanation in the Rosewill RK-9000v2 review.

The most interesting feature of this keyboard is their claim of full NKRO through USB. Traditionally in order to press every button down on a keyboard you are limited to using a PS/2 connection. Recent research at Microsoft increased the USB limit to approximately 18 keys from the usual 6kro. I would be curious to see someone put that keyboard through Aquakey to verify those claims.

The QuickFire Pro is expected to have an MSRP of $99.99. If they are like other keyboard manufacturers, that likely depends on the switch used.

Cooler Master slims down the mechanical keyboard; check out the Quickfire

Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2012 - 11:57 AM |
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx blue

The recent move to mechanical keys has really opened up the keyboard market and choosing one is now about more than just a few backlights or media buttons.  Scott has done a great job in showing what is meant by a mechanical keyboard as well as the differences between the main types in a recent article.  One drawback to the mechanical keyboards is their size, they tend to be on the large side and are not the most easy portable of keyboards.  Benchmark Reviews found a keyboard that might offer the best of both worlds, Cherry MX Blue switches on a trimmed down shell.

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"Although mechanical keyboards have been making a comeback in recent years many of the design are quite bulky in comparison to their rubber dome counter parts. Looking to fill this area of the market Cooler Master designed the Storm QuickFire Rapid mechanical keyboard using the venerable Cherry MX Blue switches, fit into a comfortable 14" x 5" design. This makes the QuickFire Rapid perfect for LAN parties or mobile workers who may want a better typing experience than their laptops are able to offer. Benchmark Reviews will evaluate if the Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid is the perfect pint size keyboard or if corners were cut in order to meet size and price goals."

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Manufacturer: Rosewill

Introduction

Rosewill produces a whole lineup of products with seemingly incongruous variety. You can get matching brands for your blood pressure monitor, your wine opener, your DSLR bag, and your computer power supply. The vast majority of Rosewill's distribution flows through Newegg.

Their RK-9000 mechanical keyboard was manufactured by CoStar under the Rosewill branding. With that product, they brought a high quality mechanical keyboard to North America for a very decent price of just under a hundred dollars. For what might as well be considered a Filco keyboard, that is an outstanding price. It did not have media keys; it did not have backlighting; but it was a solid keyboard which felt great to type on and had outstanding performance.

Check out our video review of the Rosewill RK-9000 second generation and read on for the written review

At some point Rosewill decided to discontinue the RK-9000 without an official announcement. Beyond a sudden and sustained drop in availability, there was no evidence that the keyboard was no longer produced. A few silent months went by until Rosewill officially announced a second generation of RK-9000 mechanical keyboards. It was then clear why the RK-9000 was discontinued: it was being replaced and updated.

We were approached by the company to conduct a review of their recently released mechanical keyboards. Included was not just the Cherry MX Blue switched RK-9000, but also its three newly introduced siblings: the MX Brown switched RK-9000BR, the MX Black switched RK-9000BL, and the MX Red switched RK-9000RE. A little under three months ago we have received the review units and have been in the process of testing them ever since.

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What Rosewill was unaware of was that I am a proud owner of the original RK-9000 keyboard. This review is more than a review of Rosewill’s new products, but also will be a comparison between the new product and their original offering. Despite sharing a Newegg product page with its ancestor, the new keyboard is not identical. For good measure, I also have a Razer BlackWidow Ultimate lying around -- slightly dilute the oversaturation of the letter R in tested product names… albeit, not the company names.

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A new contender has enterkeyed.

If you happen to have an original RK-9000, is it time for an upgrade? If you are interested in all of the hoopla about mechanical keyboards, is this the correct time and place to dive in?

Check out our meticulous review of the new Rosewill RK-9000 mechanical keyboards.

There is an elegance in simplicity; Cooler Master's QuickFire Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2012 - 10:31 AM |
Tagged: quickfire rapid, mechanical keyboard, input, gaming, cooler master

If you prefer keyboards with built in fans, sirens, LEDs and a key count somewhere north of 200 then you might as well skip this review.  Cooler Master not only eschews extra function keys on the QuickFire Rapid gaming keyboard, they've also dropped the numpad.  The keyboard features CHERRY MX blue switches which are intended more for typists, with the red and black varieties more for usage by gamers.  Sporting a quick response time in USB mode and true n-key rollover in PS/2 mode, you won't find yourself dying because the game didn't register a keystroke.  If you are interested in a mechanical gaming keyboard and don't mind paying $80 then check out the review at Techgage.  If you want to shop around then check Scott's reivews on out front page.

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"CM's QuickFire Rapid gaming keyboard is unlike any other. It's not flashy, it doesn't have a bunch of bright LEDs, it has no macro support and... it has no numpad. So what is it that sets it apart? Its sturdy design and use of CHERRY MX blue mechanical key switches. Let's see if those features make up for what's lacking."

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Source: Techgage

Just Delivered: Rosewill RK-9000 mechanical keyboards

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2011 - 12:57 AM |
Tagged: RK-9000, mechanical keyboard

This afternoon, I received a 17 lbs. box at the door branded by the good ‘ole Newegg.

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Despite knowing the contents, I could not help but crack it open for all to see. Inside a tree’s worth of brown paper are stacked four Rosewill RK-9000 keyboards. Each keyboard contains a different mechanical switch -- one blue, one red, one brown, and one black; together, they make up the entire RK-9000 product line.

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The Rosewill RK-9000 was in its first revision, and I believe still is, manufactured by CoStar. CoStar also produces, and is most famous for, the majority of Filco's mechanical keyboards. They are known to be typically high quality as was the original RK-9000; the difference is that now there is more choice in how we want the keyboard to respond.

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Awww, a family photo. Jimmy, stop slouching!

There is not much else to say about the delivery except to keep your eyes peeled for a roundup in the near future. What’s your favorite color? Find out soon.

Corsair is a vengeful beast: K90, the (Black)Widow’s maker?

Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2011 - 01:30 AM |
Tagged: mice, mechanical keyboard, corsair

For such an old technology it certainly seems like gaming mechanical keyboards are making a surge into the market lately. More and more hands are in the pot full of Cherries; each hand with their personal set of distinguishing features to set their offering apart from all the others. Some prefer to opt for backlighting; some prefer to opt for ludicrous amounts of keys to be pressed at once; and some prefer to duke it out in switch type, extra buttons, and price. Razer recently jumped in to the fray with their premiere and recently expanded BlackWidow product line. Corsair seems to have their sights directly on Razer, however, with their own mechanical keyboard lineup: The Vengence K60 FPS keyboard and the K90 MMO keyboard the latter with blue backlighting. Also announced are two gaming mice, one to complement each keyboard with similar model numbers: M60 and M90.

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Are your ears burning Razer? This could get bloody.

I must say that upon overviewing Corsair’s claims of a 20KRO keyboard I am quite interested in this product. According to their product page, they have essentially created the basis of an NKRO keyboard by isolating every key from each other (rather than having certain combinations of as low as 3 keys confuse the controller) but instead of using a native PS/2 controller for real NKRO they opted for messing with USB in such a way to allow up to 20 keys pressed at once. While the question still remains of how up-to “up-to” really is, if they really isolated every key it is possible that you simply will not have enough fingers to jam the keyboard without physically trying to make it happen. Such a feat is possible, however: Microsoft has done a similar accomplishment with their SideWinder X4 keyboard, claiming 26KRO over USB.

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I mean honestly, who needs two hands on your FPS keyboard?

It seems very much like Corsair is attempting to ram into the market chest-first like some Cherry-flavored Kool-Aid man. A special one-handed wristguard for the FPS model and replaceable keycaps for the WSAD and number keys knowing that without backlighting they are the first to go show that they thought this through before they made their leap. The backlight K90 also priced nearly identically to Razer’s BlackWidow Ultimate at $129 with the FPS-centric K60 priced at $109 though that price includes the wrist guard. The two mice are priced at $79 for the M90 and $69 for the M60. Update 9/17/2011: I forgot to mention, Corsair said it should be available in October.

Source: Corsair
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

The Mechanics of a Keyboard

During the duration of this review Razer announced two new mechanical keyboards, the BlackWidow Stealth and the BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth. This review is not for those products. Razer ninja’d me with stealth.

Introduction

Keyboards are often overlooked during the purchase of a new computer; for many there does not appear to be any real difference between any two keyboards outside of wireless technology, backlighting, or extra keys. Those who game heavily or those who are typing enthusiasts for work or hobby might be in the market for a more personalized experience. There are whole categories of keyboard styles which allow a tailored solution to your personal style of use right down to the type of switch used to register a keystroke. Razer is no stranger to the production of input devices but they are stepping slightly out of their element with their recent products: The BlackWidow and the BlackWidow Ultimate, the first two from Razer which are based on mechanical switches.

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Popping Razer’s CherryMX?

Membrane keyboards comprise the majority of the cheapest keyboards in the market with scissor-switch taking up the laptop and thin-profile keyboard market. Despite being cheap, these keyboards also have the advantage of being quite silent. A mechanical keyboard on the other hand uses an actual mechanical switch for each and every key. While such as system costs substantially more than a membrane keyboard the cost may be offset by the precision, the response, or the ability to type without “bottoming-out” each keystroke.

If the concept of a mechanical keyboard interests you then you will likely be dealing indirectly with Cherry Corp in the near future most likely with their MX line of switches. I say indirectly as Cherry avoids selling their keyboards except to business, industrial, governmental, and medical suppliers. For the rest of us there exist several companies who purchase large quantities of mechanical switches and manufactures keyboards with them for retail end-users. Some common mechanical keyboard brands include Filco, SteelSeries, XArmor, Optimus, Das Keyboard, and Ducky. Keep in mind that while there are many brands, almost all of their keyboards are produced by iOne, Datacomp, or Costar with a few exceptions. In our situation, Razer’s BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate are produced by iOne who also produces the XArmor line of mechanical keyboards.

Read on for the rest of the review including benchmarks… yes that is possible!

The clicky keyboard is back in a big way

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, input

Once you had to go digging through old keyboard graveyards to get your hands on a mechanical keyboard, or track down the rare and elusive Das Keyboard.  Now many different peripheral companies offer mechanical keyboards, for instance Razer's new BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate.  This new breed of keyboards are not the familiar buckling-spring switches, instead they a combination of springs and metal clips to provide tactile feedback, the click being an optional feature.  These two keyboards not only give you enough travel and resistance to provide tactile feedback for your fingers, they also included the click so that your ears don't feel left out of your typing experience.  The difference in these two models lies in the Ultimate's programmable macro buttons which the basic model lacks.  Read on to see if the Tech Report had heard enough by the end of the review, or would never go without the click again.

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"We've tested both of Razer's clicky mechanical gaming keyboards to figure out whether they're worth the money—and hearing loss."

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Sing the praises of this SteelSeries board in the key of mechanical

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2011 - 10:52 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, input, steelseries

Mechanical keyboards seem to be a hot topic, with round ups appearing to deal with all of the new boards coming out.  Hardware Heaven chose to focus on one particular product, the SteelSeries 6Gv2 Mechanical gaming keyboard, which thankfully didn't take 'gaming' to mean sticking extra buttons all along the side.  The Cherry Black MX designed keys are very common amongst these new mechanical keyboards though the n-key rollover, being able to hit an unlimited number of keys and have them properly register, is not something you find on all USB keyboards.  The 6Gv2 can handle multiple keys for you circle strafers and replacing the Windows key on the left hand side with a 'media key' that is disabled in games is a very nice touch.  Check out the full review at Hardware Heaven since there are some negative aspects to the design of this board.

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"For quite some time the gaming keyboard market has concentrated on products which add macro buttons, re-assignments, profiles, USB and audio pass-through and weighted key actions to enhance the gaming experience. In addition to this we see branded products such as the Razer StarCraft 2 gear and SteelSeries Medal of Honor products however few manufacturers have looked to release high quality mechanical keyboards for the gaming masses.

There have been a few though and these have clearly made an impact with gamers as we are regularly seeing manufacturers launch their own mechanical gaming models. One manufacturer which has historically offered mechanical keyboards for gamers is SteelSeries and they are now back with a new model, the 6Gv2 which we have connected to our system today."

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