A trio of mechanical keyboards from AiZO, the new MGK L80 lineup

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2016 - 07:14 PM |
Tagged: AiZO, MGK L80, Kailh, gaming keyboard, input

The supply of mechanical keyboards continues to grow, once Cherry MX was the only supplier of switches and only a few companies sold the products.  Now we have choice in manufacturer as well as the switch type we want, beyond the choice of Red, Brown, Blue and so on.  AiZO chose to use Kailh switches in their MGK L80 lineup, your choice of click type and also included a wrist rest for those who desire such a thing.  Modders Inc tested out the three models on offer, they are a bit expensive but do offer a solid solution for your mechanical keyboard desires.


"The MGK L80 series is the latest line of gaming keyboards manufactured by AZIO. Available in red, blue or RGB backlighting, the MGK L80 offers mechanical gaming comfort with a choice of either Kailh brown or blue switch mounted on an elegant brushed aluminum surface."

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Source: Modders Inc

Cooler Master Releases MasterKeys Pro L and M Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2016 - 09:49 PM |
Tagged: MasterKeys Pro M, Masterkeys Pro L, MasterKeys, LED keyboard, keyboard, gaming keyboard, cooler master, Cherry MX

Cooler Master has released a pair of new gaming keyboards with the MasterKeys Intelligent White series Pro L and Pro M, both of which feature Cherry MX switches and LED backlighting.


The keyboards are differentiated by size, with the Pro L a full-sized model, and the Pro M a 90% design. Both feature a hybrid anti-ghosting implementation which begins with 6-key, and automatically switches to N-key rollover if 6+ buttons are pressed simultaniously. A 32-bit ARM Cortex processor is onboard to control all functionality, from macros to illumination.

"The MasterKeys Pro White utilizes the on board memory and processor for its advanced On-the-fly System. LED lighting modes, repeat rate adjustment, multimedia keys, macro recording, combined with four profile keys, enable you to control all aspects of the keyboard right at your fingertips."


The Pro L and Pro M are available with Cherry MX Brown, Blue, and Red switches. The USB 2.0-connected keyboard offer a 1000 Hz polling rate, and 1 ms response time.

Full press release after the break.

Computex 2016: Wooting One Analog Keyboard

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | June 4, 2016 - 09:39 PM |
Tagged: gaming keyboard

Wooting, a start-up that is currently running an already-funded Kickstarter, is looking to produce a keyboard with analog inputs. This is not exactly an entirely-new concept. Ben Heck created one back in 2012 by modifying the WASD cluster to include Hall Effect sensors, which were attached to the guts of an Xbox 360 controller to signal thumbstick offsets. The further you press the key, the more intense of an input would be sent to the PC.


The Wooting One, which, again, is a Kickstarter campaign, does it a bit more... professionally. The keyboard uses the “Flaretech” switch, which I've never heard of before now, from Taiwanese manufacturer Adomax. Unlike Ben Heck's Hall Effect sensors, this one measures offset with light sensing. This raises a petty, pedantic argument about whether it's technically a mechanical keyboard, since the activation isn't performed by a direct, mechanical process, but users typically equate “mechanical keyboard” with its quality and feel, which could be achieved with non-mechanical processes. Semantics aside, the light-sensing mechanism allows precise measurement of how far down the key is. From there, it's just a matter of mapping that distance to an input.


This is where the Wooting One looks quite interesting. The firmware and driver will communicate under XInput and apparently other Gamepad APIs, functioning under most games that allow simultaneous gamepad + keyboard input for a single player. They are also expecting to create an open-source system, with an API, that allows games to access the analog input of apparently all keys on the board. This is interesting, because XInput has fairly restrictive limitations of about six axises of analog input (although the two axises corresponding to the triggers are lower precision and, with the Xbox One controller, joined into a single axis). A new API can circumvent all of this for gaming going forward, and it will be required for analog keyboards to get off the ground. It's not a difficult task itself, as there is quite a bit of bandwidth in external IO connections these days, but getting and entire industry's worth of vendors to agree could be a task (unless you're, like, Microsoft). Hopefully it's open, with a permissive license, and a few, big-name engine vendors add support to push it forward.

And, let's be honest -- XInput is limiting. A new API could be good for obscure gamepads, too.


Outside of analog gaming, they are also milking this “know how far down the key is” feature as much as they can. For instance, they are also allowing users to choose the activation distance in digital mode. Users can set their balance between rejecting partial presses and speed of input based on their ability to touch type.

It's a European Kickstarter, and the lowest backer tier that includes the keyboard ships in November and is worth 100 Euro, ~$115 USD. which apparently includes tax and shipping for North America and Europe. That doesn't correlate to a retail price, if the product even gets off the ground, but it's a data point however reliable. Tax-in and free shipping sounds a bit... sketchy for a crowdfunding campaign... but that could just be a sign that they're more affiliated with an existing company (and its supply chain) than they're letting on, rather than business naivety.

G.Skill has a different take on Cherry MX RGB, check out the Ripjaws KM780R

Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2016 - 07:40 PM |
Tagged: input, G.Skill, Ripjaws KM780R, gaming keyboard, Cherry MX, cherry mx rgb

G.Skill have joined the ranks of those who have released a Cherry MX RGB keyboard, you can choose between Red, Brown and Blue switches to accompany the light show. They chose an interesting set of caps, which float above the keyboard allowing more backlighting to show through but The Tech Report noticed that the caps feel like they are rubbing against something.  As the caps are replaceable this can be resolved if you do find it to be an issue, but you will lose some light and the keyboard will not be as easy to clean.  In addition to having audio jacks and a USB pass-through the optional software allows an immense amount of control over your lighting.  Drop by and see if this keyboard meets your needs.


"Established RAM manufacturer G.Skill is branching into gaming peripherals of late. We've already examined the company's Ripjaws MX780 gaming mouse, and now we're looking at the KM780R gaming keyboard. Join us as we see whether this keyboard has what it takes to be a contender in the crowded gaming peripherals market."

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Almost disposable gaming peripherals? Cooler Master's Devastator II mouse and keyboard combo

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2016 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: input, cooler master, Devastator II, gaming mouse, gaming keyboard

If you tend to be hard on your mice and keyboards it seems a waste to invest in a $100 device which will end up dead or at least severely injured within a few months.  Cooler Master has come up with a package that just might appeal to you, the $30 Devastator II keyboard and mouse combo.  The mouse has an optical sensor with 1000, 1600 and 2000 DPI levels and six buttons, including the sensitivity adjustment button.  The keyboard is backlit and the  "mem-chanical" switches Cooler Master uses are Cherry MX compatible so you can swap keycaps if you are so inclined.  Drop by Hardware Canucks for a closer look.


"Cooler Master's Devastator II keyboard and mouse combo claims to do the impossible: provide a capable gaming-grade keyboard and mouse in a package that retails for just $30."

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Logitech G Announces Orion 610 Brown and Red Mechanical Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2016 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: orion 610, mechanical keyboard, logitech g, logitech, gaming keyboard, cherry mx red, cherry mx brown

Logitech has announced a pair of new mechanical keyboards today, with the Orion 610 Brown and Red. Those familiar with mechanical keyboards will probably guess from their names that these are using Cherry MXswitches, with the MX Brown and MX Red switches in the respective models.

Logitech G610.jpg

The keyboards also offer customizable LED backlighting, and while they are not RGB (these keyboards are white LED backlit), each individually-backlit key can be customized with different brightness levels. There are also options to change the lighting patterns and synchronize with other Logitech G products using the Logitech Gaming Software.

Here are the specs from Logitech G:

Product Specifications

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 153 mm x 443.5 mm x 34.3 mm                    
  • Weight: 1.2 Kg (without cable)
  • Cable length: 6 feet    
  • Cherry MX Key Switches:
    • Actuation distance: 2mm
    • Actuation force: 45g
    • Total travel distance: 4mm

System Requirements

  • Optional LGS download works with Windows 7 and higher
  • Powered USB port
  • Internet connection for optional LGS download


  • 2-year limited hardware warranty

Logitech G610_TopDown_FOB__WhiteGlow.jpg

Macro functionality is available via customization of the F1 - F12 keys, and the keyboards feature dedicated media controls as you would expect. So how much will these cost? Retail for the Orion 610 Brown and Red will be $119.99.

Source: Logitech G

Survey Results on Mechanical Keyboard Preferences Released

Subject: General Tech | February 23, 2016 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: survey, mechanical keyboard, Go Mechanical Keyboard, gaming keyboard, Cherry MX

Keyboard enthusiast site Go Mechanical Keyboard recently conducted a reader survey to determine what their readers preferred in a mechanical keyboard, and the results (from 950 responses) provided some interesting data.


The data (which the site has made available in its raw format here) includes results from favorite key switch to preferred form-factor, as well as brand and model preferences. The site created an impressive infographic to display the results, which is partially reproduced here. I'd recommend a visit to Go Mechanical Keyboard to see the full version, as well as links to prior year's surveys.

Getting to a few of the results, we'll start with the all-important mechanical key switches:


Cherry MX Blue was the winner for favorite typing experience, with MX Brown switches actually winning both gaming and all-purpose categories. Of course, key switches are a very personal choice and these results are limited to the readers of one particular site, though that does not invalidate the results. The position of the MX Brown surprised me, as my impression had been it was less popular than a few of the other options out there. (I'm curious to see what our readers think!)

Next we'll look at the preferred form-factor (which is accompanied by a couple of other data points):


Tenkeyless (TKL) slightly edges out the next highest result, which was the "60%" form-factor. Admittedly, I had not heard of this size prior to reading these results, and here's what I found from a quick search (I retrieved the following from the Deskthority Wiki):


"60% keyboards omit the numeric keypad of a full-size keyboard, and the navigation cluster of a tenkeyless keyboard. The function key row is also removed; the escape key is consequently moved into the number row."

I'll skip ahead to the favorite overall keyboard results, which in no way could cause any disagreement or disparagement on the internet, right?


The Vortex Poker 3 was the winner, a 60% keyboard (there's that form-factor again!) offered with a variety of MX switches. These keyboards run from about $129 - $139, depending on version. A model with Cherry MX Blue switches and white backlighting is listed on Amazon for $139.99, and versions with other key switches are also listed. The CM QuickFire Rapid, a tenkeyless design that sells for under $80 was second, followed by the Corsair K70, a standard 104-key design that sells for $129.

There was quite a bit more info on the full version of the infographic, and the source article (and site) is definately worth checking out if you're interested in mechanical keyboards. I'm curious to know what our readers prefer, too, so I'll be checking the comments!

A new Razer Black Widow Ultimate for 2016

Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2016 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: razer, input, gaming keyboard, black widow ultimate

Razer has been pushing out updates to their Black Widow lineup of gaming keyboards and this years model just arrived at Kitguru.  This year they are introducing a new type of mechanical switch for their keys, the model reviewed used their Green switches which click when depressed, there is a Razer Orange model for those who prefer to see their keyboard and not hear it.  This is not an RGB keyboard but you can set effects such as wave, ripple, starlight and reactive through the Razer software.  If you are looking for a new mechanical keyboard and want something a little different you should check out the full review.


"The Razer Black Widow has become very popular over the years, often being touted as one of the finest gaming keyboards around. Today, we are looking at the brand new 2016 edition, using Razer’s own high specification mechanical switches – could this be the best option for gamers in 2016?"

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Source: Kitguru

The silence of the keyboards, a different type of feature from the Corsair Strafe RGB MX

Subject: General Tech | December 22, 2015 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: input, corsair, Strafe RGB MX Silent, gaming keyboard, Cherry MX RGB red

In a world once again dominated by clicky keyboards a new marketing gimmick has emerged, silent keyboards.  The Corsair’s Strafe RGB MX Silent keyboard still uses Cherry switches but these particular switches are linear and so do not make noise when depressed.  If you like Cherry Red switches this keyboard will still feel comfortable as the keys still require 45g of actuation pressure, though they will feel different at the end of the stroke.  The keyboard still retains the LED backlighting of other Corsair Strafe keyboards and you can control your display with the Corsair Utility Engine.  Check out Benchmark Reviews for more on this hybrid mechanical keyboard.


"The glut of mechanical keyboards with per-key RGB lighting continues with the release of Corsair’s Strafe RGB Cherry MX Silent series. In addition to features such as extremely versatile programmable lighting, a pass-through USB port, optional textured key caps, and a detachable wrist rest, Corsair adds a unique to them (for now) “silent” version of the Cherry MX Red key switch."

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Corsair Introduces Strafe RGB Silent Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2015 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: Strafe RGB Silent, mechanical keyboard, keyswitches, keycaps, gaming keyboard, corsair, Cherry MX Silent, Cherry MX

Corsair has introduced the Strafe RGB Silent mechanical keyboard, which is the first keyboard to use the Cherry’s new MX Silent keyswitches.


“With a sophisticated noise dampening system integrated into each key, the Strafe RGB Silent offers all the legendary precision and feel of German-engineered Cherry MX mechanical key switches, but up to 30% quieter.”

Corsair says that “you simply won’t find a Cherry MX Silent keyswitch anywhere else”, so if the noise from mechanical key-switches bothers you (or those around you) this looks like a great alternative. So how is it silent? Corsair explains:

“Rather than using rubber O-rings or other quick-fix external fittings to reduce key noise, the Cherry MX Silent uses a patented fully-integrated noise reduction system built into every key, greatly reducing key bottoming-out and spring-back noise. The result is a keyswitch that’s up to 30% quieter, making Strafe RGB Silent the ideal choice for gamers that demand the tactile feel of a mechanical key, but prefer a quieter operation to not disturb their partner, kids or co-workers.”

The keyboard also features full RGB lighting powered by Corsair’s on-board controller, and offers “individual multi-color dynamic backlighting for nearly unlimited lighting customization, effects and personalization”. Lighting profiles can also be downloaded using Corsair’s RGB Share service.

Corsair lists these other features for the new keyboard as well:

  • USB pass-through port allows the easy connection of a mouse, gaming headset or phone to a PC
  • Full-length soft-touch wrist rest offers comfort for even the longest gaming sessions
  • Gaming grade circuitry provides 100% anti-ghosting and full 104 key rollover ensuring every critical key press registers
  • Two included sets of custom textured and contoured keycaps, vital keys offer enhanced grip and feel for FPS or MOBA games

The Strafe RGB Silent carries a 2-year warranty from Corsair and is available now with an MSRP of $159.99 from Corsair’s web store, or exclusively at Best Buy (in North America).

Source: Corsair