Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2016 - 11:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, cooler master, mechanical keyboard, RGB LED
Back in September, we mentioned that the CoolerMaster QuickFire XTi was launched worldwide. They have now launched three more keyboards. Two of them have Cherry MX switches and RGB LEDs, while the third uses a supposedly high-quality membrane switch.
According to The Tech Report at the show, Cooler Master has apparently used their own LED solution, rather than just purchase Cherry MX RGB switches directly. They also say that they needed to change the housing to fit those. The MasterKeys Pro L and S are fairly minimalist keyboards. I assume L stands for long, and S stands for short, because the S is the tenkeyless version of the L (which means it is cut off to the right of the arrow keys).
The Devastator II has switches that Cooler Master calls “Mem-chanical.” They apparently created high-end membrane switches that are supposed to feel like tactile mechanical ones. I guess this means that they were trying to emulate the Cherry MX Brown force curve. This doesn't say what quality the keyboard will end up being, that said, one of the most precise keyboards I've had (according to my straight-edge test) was a Microsoft Media keyboard from the early 2000s.
The Devastator II also has an ambidextrous mouse. Not sure about pricing and availability, though. The Tech Report claims $30, which is right around what the original Devastator costs today.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2015 - 03:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: poseidon Z RGB, thermaltake, mechanical keyboard, input
The keyboard market has changed drastically over the past year with the introduction of mainstream mechanical keys and improved LED backlighting features. Where once the market was not that competitive and only a few major players were offering products we now have a wide variety of brands to choose from. This makes it hard to stand out in the market without adding extra features to your keyboards, which leads us to the Thermaltake Poseidon RGB. This particular keyboard has an integrated 32-bit processor which allows you to choose between 16.8 million colors for each key. The keys use Kailh Brown RGB switches, a less expensive clone of the Cherry MX Brown switches more commonly found on these types of boards. Find out if they are good enough over at Benchmark Reviews.
"Just a few months ago, full RGB mechanical keyboards were rare beasts, and the inclusion of full per-key RGB lighting commanded a very high price, with some keyboards selling for almost $200.00. Now, prices are coming down rapidly and vendors are starting to compete on features, but how many more features are there left to add?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TT eSports Challenger Prime @ Kitguru
- G.Skill Ripjaws MX780 RGB Laser Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Razer Mamba Chroma Mouse Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Corsair Gaming Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2015 - 11:22 AM | Sebastian Peak
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).
Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 06:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cherry mx brown, G.Skill, ripjaws, KM780, input, mechanical keyboard
G.SKILL has extended their Ripjaws family beyond RAM with the introduction of the KM780, a mechanical keyboard sporting some unique features. For lighting enthusiasts the Cherry MX Brown keys are clear instead of black which allows the backlighting to show through significantly more than on other boards. There is a bar at the back of the keyboard which adds an interesting aesthetic and allows for a cord holder to be incorporated into the design. As well, not only can you program macros using the software there are keys which can be depressed to allow you to program a macro on the fly while playing a game. The lighting is perhaps a bit much for some but if you are a fan of keyboards that are seen and not heard you should check out the full review at Overclockers Club.
"Upon first look at the KM780, I was taken aback by the design. The bars looked odd to me, but in use they didn't bother me, in fact I had many ideas as to possible uses for them including using them as tie downs for traveling, such as to LAN parties, and for locking the keyboard down to a surface using clamps on the bars – great for systems where the keyboard will move a lot such as gaming PC chair rigs."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TteSports Commander Gaming Gear Combo Keyboard & Mouse @ eTeknix
- Element Gaming Beryllium Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- E-Blue Mazer K727 Mechanical Keyboard @ Modders-Inc
- Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2015 - 06:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: cooler master, quickfire xti, mechanical keyboard
Once again, a mechanical keyboard with 104-key rollover claims to have 100% anti-ghosting, because that is expected from a marketing perspective. Once you have a key matrix that has each key isolated, which 104-key rollover strongly suggests, then ghosting cannot occur so “anti-ghosting” is meaningless. Unfortunately, keyboard companies are still compelled to advertise the feature on the box, but I hope our readers understand the difference.
Regardless, Cooler Master has launched the QuickFire XTi mechanical keyboard. It uses official Cherry MX switches, but not the Cherry MX RGB switches that were once exclusive to Corsair. Instead of 16 million colors in the typical human spectrum, it allows for 35 colors on the red-blue spectrum. This could be a problem for people who want yellow, white, or green keys, but acceptable if you'll keep it at colors in the range of red, blue, or magenta. I'm not particularly sure why they cut so much of the spectrum away, but it clearly made sense to them. The lighting can be animated, though.
Cooler Master is proud of their cable management, though. The cable is detachable with a micro USB head and braided. They also have a few different ways of routing the wire under the keyboard, allowing the cable to come out on the side that makes the most sense for your desk, which is particularly good for lefties.
The Cooler Master QuickFire XTi is available now for $150 USD. I've found it on Amazon for $123.86, though.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 5, 2015 - 11:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: corsair, gaming mouse, mechanical keyboard, gaming headset
At Gamescom in Germany, Corsair announced the Strafe RGB mechanical keyboard, the Void RGB headset, and the Scimitar RGB mouse. As you can guess, each of these have colored lighting with a full range of 16.8 million choices. The devices will be trickling out over the coming months, but we should have everything by October and their prices are all competitive.
First is the Strafe RGB mechanical keyboard. This device comes in three versions: Cherry MX RGB Red and Cherry MX RGB Brown for $149.99, or the “Cherry MX RGB Silent” switch for $159.99. What is a “Cherry MX RGB Silent” switch? No idea. I cannot find anywhere that says whether it is tactile or linear, so who knows. It allows 104 key rollover on USB, which means that you could press any combination of keys and each will be recognized. USB has a limit of about six, but Corsair probably registers the keyboard as several input devices to communicate the extra events. They are scheduled to launch in October.
Next up are the Void RGB headsets. The analog stereo one is available at $79.99, 7.1 USB raises the price to $99.99, and wireless 7.1 bumps the price up further to $129.99 (or $149.99 for a special Best Buy edition). The analog one doesn't do RGB backlighting, though. They are scheduled for later this month (August).
Last is the Scimitar RGB Gaming Mouse. This one is more interesting. Basically, Corsair took the number pad layout of the Razer Naga and Logitech G600 and did their own version of it. Its sensor is higher-precision at 12,000 DPI, but that metric has maxed out long ago for basically everyone. The number pad on the thumb side will allow a little more than a quarter inch of adjustment. This means that you can align the buttons slightly to match your grip. Each button is also mechanical, like the Razer Naga 2014, which is good for me because I have a problem with side buttons wearing out. Its price comes in at $79.99 and it will be available in September 2015.
Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2015 - 10:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, Cherry MX, alps, topre, model m, model f
Purchasing an expensive gaming peripheral is a bit daunting, especially when it (mostly) comes down to how it feels. In these cases, we cannot resort to benchmarks or any other form of objective score. Instead, we need to classify and describe the attributes of each type of keyboard, letting our readers narrow down their choices by saying, “if you like this, choose from these”.
A couple of days ago, PC Gamer published a breakdown of many types of switches, including a few different types of Alps-style brands. They have force curves for each featured switch, which is challenging to find outside of the Cherry MX brand (as few other companies publish their own that I know of). They also write a short paragraph for each switch to explain what type of use and user they are for, which (as I've said) is the metric that matters most.
For the Cherry MX switches, they have animations to show how they operate from the side, which will give you clues to how it operates. They have been floating around the internet for a while. KeyboardLover is claiming that “Lethal Squirrel” created them before 2011. These animations give a visual explanation for what linear, tactile, and clicky means, to help you imagine how these attributes feel.
Also, of course, we published our own article back in December. Our article includes our own Cherry MX switch animations. They're not quite as good quality as the other ones, but they include synchronized side-on and rear-on cycles. The animations were originally made for a Rosewill keyboard roundup back in early 2012.
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2015 - 08:07 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: STRAFE, mechanical keyboard, gaming keyboard, corsair, computex 2015, computex, Cherry MX
Corsair has announced the STRAFE mechanical gaming keyboard featuring Cherry MX switches, and the company is calling it the “most advanced mono-backlit mechanical gaming keyboard available”.
“The STRAFE mechanical gaming keyboard’s brilliant red backlighting can be customized to a virtually unlimited number of lighting configurations and effects. Each key can be programmed with automated macros using CUE (Corsair Utility Engine) software. Users can choose from six unique lighting effects or craft their own custom profiles and share them on www.corsairgaming.com.”
The STRAFE features:
- German-made Cherry MX red switches with gold contacts for fast, precise key presses
- Fully programmable brilliant red LED backlighting for unrivaled personalization
- USB pass-through port for easy connections
- Textured and contoured FPS/MOBA keycaps
- 100% anti-ghosting technology with 104-key rollover
- Enhanced, easy-access multimedia controls
The Corsair STRAFE has an MSRP of $109.99 and will be available in June.
Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2015 - 03:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rosewill, RK-9000V2, mechanical keyboard, input, cherry mx brown
The Tech Report has had some less than positive experiences with Rosewill's RK-9000, while the actual keyboard is quite functional there have been many issues with the USB connectors. Rosewill has now released the RK-9000V2, very similar to the original model but with an improved cord and connector. The model they were sent to review has Cherry MX brown switches, with other flavours available if you prefer a different switch. Currently the RK-9000V sells at $99.99 for the red, black, and blue variants and $109.99 for the brown, making this an affordable option for those who want a mechanical keyboard.
Scott rightly pointed out that the 9000V2 is the third incarnation of this keyboard, he reviewed the second generation back in 2012.
"Rosewill's RK-9000 is one of the most popular mechanical keyboards around. Now there's a new version, the RK-9000V2, and we've gotten our hands on one to see how it compares to the original."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cougar 500K Keyboard @ Modders-Inc
- COUGAR 600M – The Great Orange Gaming Mouse Review @ Techgage
- Corsair Gaming Sabre Optical RGB Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- ASUS ROG Sica gaming mouse w/ Whetsone mouse mat @ Kitguru
The ASUS STRIX TACTIC PRO is a premium mechanical gaming keyboard featuring Cherry MX Brown switches and some serious style.
Keyboards are a very personal thing, and as this is one of the three primary interfaces with the system itself (along with the mouse and display), feel will help decide the experience. Without a doubt mechanical keyboard have become very popular with enthusiasts, but as more manufacturers have started offering them - and the market has begun to saturate - it becomes much more difficult to pick a starting point if you're new to the game. To further complicate a buying decision there are different types of key switches used in these keyboards, and each variety has its own properties and unique feel.
And on the subject of key switches, this particular keyboard built with the brown variety of the Cherry MX switches, and ASUS offers the option of Cherry MX Black, Blue, and Red switches with the STRIX TACTIC PRO as well. Our own Scott Michaud covered the topic of key switches in great detail last year, and that article is a great starting point that helps explain the different types of switches available, and how they differ.
The Cherry MX Brown switch in action
I'll go into the feel of the keyboard on the next page, but quickly I'll say that MX Brown switches have a good feel without being too "clicky", but they are certainly more stiff feeling than a typical membrane keyboard. While it's impossible to really describe how the keyboard will feel to a particular user, we can certainly cover the features and performance of this keyboard to help with a purchasing decision in this crowded market. At $150 the STRIX TACTIC PRO carries a premium price, but as you'll see this is also a premium product.