Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2012 - 02:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- QPAD MK-50 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone EC03 USB 3.0 adapter @ Bjorn3D
- Thermaltake's Meka G1 and G-Unit keyboards @ The Tech Report
- Corsair Vengeance K60 @ XSReviews
- SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Pro Edition Gaming Mouse @ Tweaktown
- Cyborg M.M.O.7 Mouse Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Roccat Kone[+] Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews
- Corsair Vengeance K90 @ Guru of 3D
- Logitech Cube Grab-and-Go Mouse @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte Aire M1 ultra Portable Mouse @ Funky Kit
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.
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.
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?
Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Corsair Vengeance K90 @ OC3D
- Capsule Review: Rosewill's RK-9000 Mechanical Keyboard @ AnandTech
- Corsair Vengeance K90 MMO Gaming Keyboard @ Kitguru
- Enermax Briskie Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo Review @ HardwareHeaven
- QPAD MK-Series Mechanical Keyboards (85, 80 and 50) @ Metku.net
- Epic Gear Hybrid Pad Mouse mat @ techPowerUp
- Tt eSPORTS THERON Gaming Mouse Review @ Real World Labs
- SPEEDLINK STRIKE FX-6 PS3 Bluetooth Controller Review @ Madshrimps
- Fractal Design Define XL USB 3.0 Upgrade Kit @ Hi Tech Legion
- Warpia Easy Dock Pro - Wireless USB Docking Station Review @ MissingRemote
Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2011 - 03:57 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: RK-9000, mechanical keyboard
This afternoon, I received a 17 lbs. box at the door branded by the good ‘ole Newegg.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2011 - 04:30 AM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 12:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"We've tested both of Razer's clicky mechanical gaming keyboards to figure out whether they're worth the money—and hearing loss."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Razer Mamba 2012 Review - Wireless Gaming Bliss @ VR-Zone
- Gigabyte GM-M6900 Gaming Mouse Review @ TechwareLabs
- Zowie Mico RTS Mouse @ XSReviews
- Tt eSPORTS MEKA Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Tweaktown
- SteelSeries 7G Pro Gaming Keyboard Review @ Real World Labs
- ZOWIE EC1 Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknix
- Akasa Baymaster S USB 3.0 Card & Drive Reader Review @ eTeknix
- Out with USB dongles: HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse @ Techspot
- TP-LINK TL-WN821NC 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2011 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Steelseries Ikari Laser Mouse (White) Review @ t-break
- Cooler Master CM Storm Spawn Gaming Mouse Review @ Tweaknews
- SteelSeries Cataclysm MMO Gaming Mouse Review @ Real World Labs
- Zowie G-TF Speed Review @ XSReviews
Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2011 - 04:15 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, cherry
There is a large amount of choice when it comes to PC components and input devices are no exception to that assertion. You are probably well aware of the multitude of choices when it comes to non-standard mice in terms of number of buttons and resolution of the optical and/or laser sensor. Keyboards have their own higher performance counterparts as well: not just in terms of how many web and media function buttons can be crammed on them, but also how the keys themselves register a press. Recently Tom’s Hardware reviewed a series of mechanical keyboards based on their switches and gave a lot of background information about what advantages and disadvantages each switch has.
Are you a mechanical keyboard virgin? Feeling the MX Blues?
(Logo from the Cherry Corporation)
My first couple keyboards were the old IBM model M buckle spring keyboards. Eventually when I got a later computer I moved on to the cheap keyboards and immediately missed my original mechanical keyboards. Years and a little shopping around later, I eventually settled on the Logitech G15v1 as my first attempt at a higher-end gaming keyboard. It was with the G15v1 that I experienced serious limitations to be had with some, particularly non-mechanical, keyboards: I am a left-handed gamer. The Logitech G15v1 was optimized for right handed gamers as a lot of arrow-key combinations with shift or control did not register by the keyboard; Logitech expected, when they designed the keyboard, that everyone’s mouse would be on the right of the keyboard, and thus the further away WSAD keys would be used. Consider playing as a Scout in Team Fortress 2 but not being able to jump sideways and only being able to crouch-walk in a straight line. While each keyboard is designed with a different set of jammable key combinations it was events like those that led me to go overkill and purchase a mechanical keyboard with NKRO attached via PS/2 port.
Do you have any keyboard stories? Comment below. Otherwise, check out Tom’s Hardware’s guide and review to mechanical keyboards.