G.Skills svelte Ripjaws KM570 mechanical keyboard

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2017 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: G.Skill, Ripjaws KM570 RGB, gaming keyboard, RGB

G.Skill learned from the feedback offered from users of the KM780R and incorporated it into the KM570.  They've simplified the design and added back the top plate to protect the switches, though they did replace the volume wheel with buttons, a decision The Tech Report were not wholly enthusiastic about.   The keyboard sports two USB plugs, one is for transferring software settings to the keyboard and is not needed unless you are updating your settings.  The lighting has five different brightness settings as well as the all important off setting.  It retails for $120, which is less than much of the competitions offerings; as odd as it is to say.

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"G.Skill's KM570 puts an everything-you-need, nothing-you-don't board in the company's gaming-keyboard quiver. We tried out this distilled gaming board to see whether it has what it takes to stand out in a crowded field."

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Is picking up Bloody's B820R gaming keyboard a bright idea?

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2017 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: bloody, B820R Light Strike RGB Animation, gaming keyboard, input, LK Optic Switch

We have seen a handful of Bloody keyboards on the market, with their unique take on switches.  They use an LK Optic Switch as opposed to a mechanical switch, it detects keypresses when an  photosensors detect an interruption in the beam emanating from the infrared LEDs within the keyboard.  The other difference in the design comes from the RGB feature, instead of being integral to the key they are actually installed in the body of the keyboard.  Benchmark Reviews have become somewhat expert at Bloody keyboards, check out what they thought of this model in their full review.

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"In this article for Benchmark Reviews, we’ll take a closer look at the Bloody B820R Light Strike RGB Animation Gaming Keyboard, and determine if this latest offering has what it takes to set itself apart from the rest of the mechanical keyboard market."

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Mass Production for the Wooting One Analog Keyboard

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 18, 2017 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: keyboard, gaming keyboard

About nine months ago, we reported on the Wooting One Analog Keyboard. At the time, they were expecting to ship the keyboard in November, but that has apparently slipped. Of course, creating products is difficult, and even the big companies have production issues (the difference with crowd-funding is that these issues are publicly obvious). They are expecting to start shipping in April.

The hook with this keyboard is that doesn’t just know whether a key is up or down, but how far it is. This can be mapped into the driver as an XInput device, emulating an axis rather than a button. This is actually where today’s issue arises: a batch of keyboards fail to register the full range of motion, and, thus, QA. They released a video, embed above, to explain the issue, and complain about small pizzas?

Mate, those optical switches are Bloody loud on that B840 keyboard of yours!

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2017 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: bloody, B840, gaming keyboard, input, A4Tech

The Bloody B840 is a bit of a chimera, having optical switches which incorporate a metal knob in each key to produce a click when a button is fully depressed like a mechanical keyboards keys.  Their LK Sound Creator Tech makes the keys similar to Cherry Blue in terms of travel distance and actuation force, but the actual keystroke is registered with the infrared beam that comprises the optical switch.  TechPowerUp is working on proper testing for keyboard response times, the tests they tried showed that the optical technology on the Bloody keyboard is technically faster to register a keypress, but not so much that they noticed it during use.  You can see their full review here.

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"Bloody is a new gaming peripherals brand A4Tech recently introduced. Today, we take a look at their new B840 keyboard with the new optical Bloody LK2 switch. It promises a long lifespan, extremely fast response times, and a clicky response, which is new for optical switches."

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Source: TechPowerUp!

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

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2016 - 03:14 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.

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"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 - 05:49 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.

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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."

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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 - 05:39 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 - 03:40 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.

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"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 - 02:33 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.

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"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 - 07:48 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.

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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

Warranty

  • 2-year limited hardware warranty

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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