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Rosewill Second Generation Mechanical Keyboard Review: RK-9000, RK-9000BR, RK-9000BL, RK-9000RE

Manufacturer: Rosewill

Rosewill RK-9000 v2 Introduction/Design

Upon receiving the new RK-9000s, it is abundantly clear that this keyboard has been redesigned around customer feedback. The most common complaint was the lack of PS/2 adaptor included in the box. To address this issue, they made the entire cord detachable from the unit interfacing with a standard USB B-mini connection. Inside the box they included two cables: a USB A to USB B-mini braided cable and a PS/2 to USB B-mini braided cable. Why include an adaptor when you can have a whole second cable?

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Rosewill also listened to customer feedback about the lack of choice beyond the Cherry MX Blue switches. The new RK-9000 comes in four Cherry flavors to suit your tastes. Your typical typist will likely head toward the Cherry MX Blue variety (RK-9000); your typical gamer will likely prefer the MX Red (RK-9000RE) or MX Black (RK-9000BL) switches; and the MX Brown (RK-9000BR) is for the middle ground between the Blue and Black switch. Your decision relies solely on your specific needs out of a keyboard.

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I was somewhat nervous about getting my old RK-9000 confused with the review unit so I blotted out the Rosewill logo with permanent marker while the second generation set was still in transit. In hindsight I should have waited until I received the new keyboards as they are easy to tell apart. Even beyond the detachable USB cable, the physical case of the keyboard has a smooth plastic finish unlike the rough finish of the original.

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Old on the top, new on the bottom. Bumpy vs Smooth Case, same keys.

The feel of the second generation keyboards are quite similar to the original. I cannot detect any real difference between the feel of the keycaps with the original keycaps. Both keycaps are laser printed and have very hard edges rather than the rounded corners of a Razer BlackWidow. While I barely prefer the rounded keycaps of the Razer, I definitely enjoy the typewriter feel of the Rosewill keycaps.

In terms of extra features: there are none to speak of. I tend to type in a somewhat darker room which makes it difficult for me to use non-backlit keyboards. I also occasionally control music from RDIO’s desktop application while typing or playing a game so media keys would be nice. I never use macro keys on my keyboard so the macro keys can stay gone for me. A wrist guard would have been nice, even as an optional purchase, but that is not so.

The second generation still supports NKRO over PS/2 connections. This was testing using AquaKey and pressing down as much of the keyboard as I possibly could. Sure enough, it was able to register dozens of key presses at once.

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The keyboard advertises as anti-ghosting, though when a keyboard is NKRO being anti-ghosting is pure marketing. Ghosting occurs when a keyboard has too many buttons of specific combinations pressed that it looks to it like bunches of other buttons are also pressed. An anti-ghosting keyboard registers this spam of fake buttons as an error and ignores everything; this is called jamming. Since an NKRO keyboard can see each and every key uniquely, the conditions to cause ghosting are never present.

We have experienced a problem with our batch of second generation RK-9000 keyboards. On three of the four keyboards we received the backspace and spacebar keys tend to squeak quite loud, reproducibly. We have been in contact with Rosewill and they stated that they have identified the problem and it is fixed in the very next production run. The squeak also has mostly gone away for two of the three squeaky review units already.

Other, older reviews and customer feedback of the second generation RK-9000 have mentioned other problems including ghosting on the lower row of keys. That problem was fixed even before the batch that I have received my review units from. I never experienced it. It should not exist anymore.

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Old on the left, new on the right.

The only other complaint I have is that the rubber feet on the two little riser flaps of the RK-9000 are not present in the new generation. Because of the lack of rubber feet the second generation does not feel as stable when the riser flaps elevate the keyboard. They are fine, particularly because of their weight, but slide more than the original.

February 14, 2012 | 03:09 PM - Posted by Eggrenade

No input lag test? With high speed cameras as cheap as they are today? For shame.

February 15, 2012 | 11:37 AM - Posted by ToiT (not verified)

Great review Scott, thanks & keep up the good work!

February 16, 2012 | 08:22 PM - Posted by tigerbalm

$99.99...really? I bought the Corsair K90 for $99 at Fry's and it is far superior to the cheap Rosewill in every way! The Corsair is like an Audi, while the Rosewill is like driving a Hyundai. I thought the Rosewill would be $50, considering it offers nothing other than mechanical keys! The Corsair K90 is the best looking, aluminum chassis, MMo buttons, blue backlit keys, USB port, wrist support, etc. it just looks awesome! Not sure if the Rosewill is even worth more than $40, IMO...when compared to Razer, Corsair, etc. Rosewill doesn't look like it offers any features or creative design value for the money. Sorry for the harsh opinions, Rosewill, but you have to a LOT better and think outside the box!

March 23, 2012 | 09:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Unfortunately the corsair IS NOT fully mechanical.

October 14, 2012 | 08:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Don't listen to this guy people. For one thing, are you a gamer? If you are, then by all means... Razer and Corsair will offer you more features because they are geared towards you! However, if you are not a gamer, but a serious workaholic, like me, who has a bit of money to splurge on a superior, serious looking keyboard than the Rosewill fits your niche. The Rosewill is an excellent keyboard in every way and on top of not making you look like a 16 year old, it comes with Newegg's excellent warranty as well as superior internals, in my opinion, and better construction. The Rosewill has a very excellent red back plate that makes that occasional deep cleaning much easier. To each his own, but I say that keyboards like Rosewill RK 9000 are what seperate the keyboard enthusiast men from boys. The men can truly see and appreciate the engineering and aesthetic behind Rosewill's design instead of just looking at how many backlit LEDs and Macro keys your keyboard has. To each his own.

February 23, 2012 | 06:47 PM - Posted by TinkerToyTech

great animated GIFS! Great breakdown of what eash swtich is and how they work

April 17, 2012 | 03:08 PM - Posted by MeNotYou (not verified)

Great review

April 17, 2012 | 03:16 PM - Posted by tater2sacks (not verified)

Would love to Win one
How?
"Join us as we rattle away on the lovely mechanical keyswitches of Corsair's aluminum-clad Vengeance K60 and K90 keyboards."

April 21, 2012 | 02:15 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

... what?

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April 22, 2012 | 12:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I would have loved to see a new IBM type M keyboard (they are still made by Unicomp) as a compairison in this test as well. Those are the keyboards that all other "clicky" keyboards are measured by.

December 30, 2013 | 09:34 AM - Posted by Allthunbs

I grew up with the IBM keyboards. They weren't that fantastic. I did use a sponge pad keyboard for a while until it burned out and found it to be the fastest and most accurate keyboard I'd ever used. They had to be cleaned periodically so that made them unpopular. They were also huge, heavy, ugly but they worked like a charm. They are no longer available and not compatible with any of the PC/Mac/Unix worlds of today.

I'm having a huge problem and would welcome comments by anyone:

I'm looking for a production level dual-detent keyboard. It used to be available with hall effect switches but I cannot find that configuration any more either. The problem with the cherry switches is that the detent happens before the character is registered. I used to use the detent to register the character and then began to withdraw my finger. I can't do that with the cherry switches. The only thing I can do with them is use an "o"ring. The action would then be depress, detent would pull the key away but that would not signal my finger to withdraw so I'd have to use the o-ring for resistance but that's too strong so it becomes an effective bottoming out.

I'm also thinking that I add a foam pad under the keycap to replace the O-ring and that would serve as the soft bottom but if I'm thinking about it, surely someone has already done it so I'm wondering how that's working out?

Any other suggestions/comments?

January 31, 2014 | 11:31 PM - Posted by Georgetta (not verified)

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after
I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again.
Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!

Review my webpage: seo

August 15, 2013 | 01:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If you want a full mechanical keyboard you should check out http://www.dsi-keyboards.com/mechanical-switch-keyboards.aspx they have a few one them on their site.

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