Cooler Master expands clicky keyboard lineup

Mechanical keyboards are all the rage these days, and Cooler Master is eager to get in on the action. The company had a number of clickety-clack designs on display at CES, including the numpad-less QuickFire keyboard introduced last year. That particular design features Cherry MX blue switches and carries an $80 asking price, making it a reasonably good value if you can live without a numpad. For those who can’t, the QuickFire Pro and Trigger provide full-sized layouts at higher price points.

For $100, the Pro offers Cherry MX brown switches that have the same tactile "bump" as the blues, but without the click. The Pro also sports an LED backlight around the WASD triangle, and it has an adjustable polling rate for particularly picky gamers. Like the standard QuickFire model, the Pro’s USB cable is removable for easy transportation to LAN parties, and the like.

If you’re in the market for something a little more exotic, the Cooler Master Trigger extends LED backlighting across the entire keyboard. This puppy has a removable palm rest and a series of media keys, too. 64KB of onboard memory is capable of storing multiple macros and profiles, and those macros run directly from the keyboard without the need for auxiliary software. A configuration application is included, of course, but it’s only required to load macros and profiles onto the keyboard.

Cooler Master says the Trigger will sell for $120 when it hits the market in the second quarter of this year. The Pro will arrive around the same time, giving the company a trifecta of mechanical offerings. As a fan of Cherry MX brown switches, I’m eager to see how Cooler Master’s designs compare to my Das Keyboard and the other mechanical models collecting in our labs.

Comments closed
    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    “and those macros run directly from the keyboard without the need for auxiliary software. A configuration application is included, of course, but it’s only required to load macros and profiles onto the keyboard.”

    YES. Yes, THIS. More please.

    I do not want to run your cute little daemon or tray app 24/7. Letting your product be fully functional with only default out-of-box software is a very good thing, and I’ll buy one of these keyboards the minute I am able.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Weird how a lot of manufacturers have absolutely zero aesthetic taste. I mean that wrist rest is gawd awful and the top right corner of the first keyboard looks completely ghetto.

    It is interesting how manufacturers are also charging a premium on browns, which I consider to be the best switches out of all of them. Is that because they’re in demand or they cost more to make? I can’t imagine them being more expensive them other cherry switches.

      • bobboobles
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, not the best looking keyboards.

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      AFAIK the Cherry mechanisms are all very similar. I thought it was odd that the browns cost more too.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        Rosewell added a $10 premium onto their browns as well

        • TakinYourPoints
        • 8 years ago

        Switches all cost the same. If you go to some Asian electronics sites they offer Cherry switches individually. Some people manually replace switches or make their own custom keyboards.

        Keyboards with brown switches have a premium because those are the ones that sell the best, not because the components cost more. Simple supply and demand.

          • Bensam123
          • 8 years ago

          Why are most of the keyboards made with blacks or reds then? It seems like only Rosewell and Cooler Master are offering browns.

            • TakinYourPoints
            • 8 years ago

            Browns are the most common I see, followed by blue and black. Reds have been pretty rare up until the last few months, and clears are still the toughest to find.

            Filco, Leopold, Das, Cherry, Razer, there are loads of major mechanical keyboard brands offering browns.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            Razer doesn’t offer a keyboard with browns, they use blues. Leopold and Filco can’t even be found on Newegg.

            [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007651&IsNodeId=1&srchInDesc=mechanical&page=1&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&Pagesize=100[/url<] Almost all the keyboards are black, including Cherry. I don't see any Cherry listings for Brown.

            • TakinYourPoints
            • 8 years ago

            Razer sells a keyboard with browns for $10 more: [url<]http://www.razerzone.com/minisite/blackwidow/stealth_edition[/url<] You need to look at places that cater towards people who want mechanicals. Elitekeyboards is one. They used to sell Filcos but couldn't keep enough inventory supplied, so they recently switched to Leopolds: [url<]http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=leopold[/url<] As you can see with their full size keyboards, the browns are the ones consistently out of stock and are priced $10 more than everything else. Das is also very popular, and again their browns cost more than their blues. You can also buy Filcos from Amazon, and the top results there are for brown switches. Amazon has a much better selection of mechanical keyboards than Newegg btw. Whether or not something is available at Newegg is a poor way to judge popularity of certain mechanical keyboards since they have such a poor selection. It makes sense though since they mostly sell cheap membrane keyboards and they cater more towards bargain hunters.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            I disagree… Newegg is essentially the biggest online tech vendor. If you send in a request they’ll usually stock the item within a month. Amazon doesn’t specifically deal with tech and when you order from amazon you purchase from other vendors.

            The stealth edition isn’t for sale yet, they have preorders up listed as ‘back order’.

            • TakinYourPoints
            • 8 years ago

            My last build was all from Amazon and my next one will be as well. Better prices, better customer service/RMA, no sales tax (I live in CA), and Prime shipping makes it an easy choice for me.

            On top of that, just because you say Newegg has the biggest tech selection doesn’t automatically make it so, their weak mechanical keyboard selection compared to Amazon’s is proof.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            Best prices more then likely, I don’t believe you’ll have the best customer service experience from amazon. Amazon uses third party companies to do everything. Newegg customer service is in house and exceptional… I don’t have sales tax on Newegg in WI…

            Newegg stocks what is in demand for the most part. Send them a email and they’ll more then likely stock it at your request. Amazon doesn’t stock anything, they simply relist what other people sell.

            • just brew it!
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Almost all the keyboards are black, including Cherry. I don't see any Cherry listings for Brown.[/quote<] FWIW... there may be a lot of blacks on the market [i<]now[/i<], but it seemed to me that a couple of years ago when mechanicals started their resurgence in popularity most of the choices were either blues or browns. Rosewill offered the RK-9000 with blues first; the other switch types were only added to their lineup recently.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            I never saw browns till Rosewell came out with their lineup. :l

            • just brew it!
            • 8 years ago

            Doesn’t the Das Model S use browns?

            [b<]Edit[/b<]: Yes, it does. Just checked their [url=http://www.daskeyboard.com/model-s-professional-silent/<]product page[/url<].

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      Not nearly as fugly as Saitek stuff – Das has a weird look to it too. I’m not sure about how the Trigger would look in person but it kind of reminds me of my Fiero. 🙂

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      Any regular asian readers here?

      As a european, pretty much everything coming out of asia is ugly. The ultrabooks are better, but only because they’re blatantly copying the styling of USA designs.

      It might just be a case of cultural prferences. Are asian companies putting out designs that appeal to asians, or are they just ugly to everyone?

        • Rageypoo
        • 8 years ago

        Maybe you’re just racist

      • deathBOB
      • 8 years ago

      I thought GAM3RZ love tacky shit like that?

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        lol… that could definitely be it too. Gamers don’t like tacky shit, they like elegant stuff too… but if there is a misconception that they do, then that’s what they’ll attempt to make a product look like.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 8 years ago

          There’s a huge market among gamers for tacky gear. No other explanation for CCFLs, the bulk of popular case designs, etc etc. There’s a reason why companies like Razer and Thermaltake are still in business, someone has to be buying their stuff.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            Razer makes some pretty sexy looking stuff. It doesn’t survive long, but it definitely looks nice. Thermaltake on the other hand definitely makes some gaudy stuff.

            I don’t think it’s just gamers keeping them in business though. I am one for instance and prefer sleek and elegant designs by Lian-Li, Antec, and Corsair.

      • bhtooefr
      • 8 years ago

      The blues actually cost the most to make – there’s an additional piece in there for the click action.

    • Gershwin
    • 8 years ago

    Because these are perceived as luxury items, the price is way out of line with cost to manufacture. 10 to 25 years ago, buckling spring, Alps and Cherry switch tactile keyboards were common and shipped with standard PCs from many manufacturers. These old keyboards sold as standard keyboards for 1/5 to 1/3 of what they are going for now. In today’s money, these should really should cost far less if they can ramp up sales and production numbers. That, however, is a big if–especially when competing against $5 – $10 ultra-low-end units.

    Of course for the new ones, if you factor in individual LED backlights for each key, the costs *should* be higher–just not this high. Additionally, factor in that the new keyboard’s case and caps are likely to be ABS, letters are likely pad printed and other middling to low quality features.

      • TheBob!
      • 8 years ago

      I think they are worth the price. I am in love with my ABS M1 and I wanna pick up a newer keyboard with cherry reds when I get my taxes back.

      That said as mechanical keyboards are getting more popular as of late they seem to be getting more flashy rather than cheaper. Which is not the direction I would like them to go. I actually like the spartan look.

        • FuturePastNow
        • 8 years ago

        I love my M1, too, but I got it for under $20 when Newegg was fireselling its remaining inventory of them after it was discontinued. I don’t think I’d want to pay more than that.

          • TheBob!
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah they sold them off and came out with the Roswell boards which are the same exact board with any variant of Cherry keys. I also got it then. Before that I used a old old Dell keyboard with mechanical keys because I really don’t like rubber dome keys.

        • just brew it!
        • 8 years ago

        I agree. And FYI the Rosewill mechanicals are about as basic as it gets. My only complaint is the blinding bright blue LEDs for Caps/Scroll/Num lock (I have them covered with a piece of tape).

      • Vasilyfav
      • 8 years ago

      I really believe there’s some price fixing within mechanical keyboards going on. With all the recent hype, the price should go down with the economies of scale, not up.

      I got my mechanical KB for $20 on sale at newegg, and now they are literally all over $80, even the most pedestrian ones, with no features.

        • just brew it!
        • 8 years ago

        Must’ve been an overstock or something; the key switches alone are worth more than $20.

          • Vasilyfav
          • 8 years ago

          The ABS M1 does not use Cherry MX switches, it uses lower quality simplified ALPS, which, I assume, are cheaper.

          I still expect cherry KBs to reach ~ $60 range which will be my sweet spot.

      • shank15217
      • 8 years ago

      These keyboards are heavy and aren’t required for most people. There is a reason they were phased out, this is the pc version of vacuum tube amps.

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        Except these things have advantages, where tube amps have none.

          • Thrashdog
          • 8 years ago

          Wait, are we talking about tube guitar amps? Because in my experience, a nice tube amp sounds [i<]lovely.[/i<]

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            So do a lot of other things.

            • Deanjo
            • 8 years ago

            Tube amps (and old tube radios for that matter) do sound lovely although Meadow’s teenie bopper “music” probably doesn’t sound any better on them.

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            Tube amps are inferior to newer designs. And I’m not sure where the insult needed to come from, but I find it hard to accept.

        • TheBob!
        • 8 years ago

        What does the weight have to do with anything. Most people don’t even move there keyboard. And for those people the weight would be an advantage because it keeps it from sliding.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Best part about those old keyboards was that when you clubbed a co-worker with one, THEY STAYED DOWN!

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t think you could *ever* get a decent mechanical keyboard for $20 back in the day, at least not new. Back when PCs all cost more than $1,000, the cost of the keyboard didn’t matter as much.

        • TakinYourPoints
        • 8 years ago

        People forget what things cost back in the 386/486 days. A PC and 14″ CRT cost quite a bit. A Focus 2001 or something like that was a part of that. They certainly weren’t only $20 or whatever.

          • trackerben
          • 8 years ago

          I keep an old beige Focus-type keyboard with Alps White keyswitches and these things cost $40 back in the 1990s. This model has an onboard LCD using numpad keys for calculator functions. But even the non-calculator models cost more than $30. Compared to contemporary non-linear Cherrys, these Alps keys are stiffer but allow more accuracy for certain styles of typing.

          I qualify this because I have a G81 with MY linears which have been characterized as whack-a-mole thudders in feel and yet are industrially rated for error-free input. Softening my typing does makes it so, and it’s quieter than my Dell QuietKey and Logitech G11.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Sorry, but that’s not true. As JBI points out, when a basic 4.77MHz 8088 PC cost $2K+, keyboards cost a lot more than they do now — and you didn’t have much choice.

      And I have proof: [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/wandergeist/2373941595/sizes/l/in/photostream/<]here's an ad found in Byte magazine[/url<] from 1986 (hey, 25 years ago). Look down at the bottom: a 5151 keyboard... for $159. Now it's true the 3rd party (Keytronic etc) keyboards were a little cheaper, but I still recall them being closer to $100 than $20. They certainly weren't "1/5 to 1/3 of what they are going for now."

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