Green MX switches, blank caps appear on Cooler Master keyboards

While browsing Cooler Master’s suite at the Consumer Electronics Show, our Editor in Chief got up close and personal with the firm’s mechanical keyboards. Cooler Master segments its standard keyboards into three QuickFire families: the full-size XT, the tenkeyless Rapid, and the TK, which retains the numpad but drops the paging block and directional keys. Within each family, variants are available with different switch types. Cooler Master is now adding green Cherry MX switches to the usual selection of red, black, blue, and brown options.

Cherry designed the green MX switch for spacebars, so supplies are apparently limited. The switch requires a heavy 80 grams of actuation force, a few grams more than the buckling spring switches on IBM’s Model M keyboards. Like the blue Cherry MX switch, the green one offers a tactile “bump” and clicky feedback. Scott says the crisp feel reminds him of older keyboards.

Cooler Master claims its QuickFire keyboards have thinner bezels than their Cherry MX-based rivals. The new models are draped in a rubberized black material that replaces the grey exterior of the older designs. There’s also a new Stealth option for folks who prefer blank key caps.

Available first on the QuickFire Rapid, the Stealth keys have their lettering printed on the side, where it won’t wear off or become discolored due to heavy use. This design may not have as much street cred as a fully blanked-out keyboard, but it strikes me as much more practical. Cooler Master is working on backlighting for the Stealth keys, and illumination is coming to standard QuickFire models, as well.

The updated QuickFire Rapid will be available in February, and the XT variant is due in March. Expect prices for those two to be in the $80-100 range.

In addition to QuickFire models, Cooler Master has a gaming-oriented Trigger keyboard that adds backlighting and programmable macro keys to a full-sized layout. You can actually buy a Trigger variant with green Cherry MX switches right now, although only through Cooler Master’s online store. The current $105 asking price is pretty affordable considering the features.

If you’re looking for something a little bolder, check out the “Mech” prototype pictured above. The angular frame is quite a departure from the QuickFire and Trigger designs, and it apparently has a metal finish. There’s also an integrated handle on the left and a USB 3.0 port around the back. We don’t know whether any of those elements will change for the finished product, but Cooler Master says a full range range of switch types will be offered.

Comments closed
    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    Tenkeyless For The Win!

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      ew.

    • XTF
    • 7 years ago

    Am I the only one that uses the context menu key, which CM replaced with a useless to me Fn key?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      You may very well be, since a right click does the same thing, except it puts the context menu right where your mouse already is. It even does the same thing as a right click in Modern UI. I guess you’re just a keyboard junkie 🙂

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      I never use mine…

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    I sure wish I could get excited about these keyboards, but I need a good looking, light-up-at-night-in-whatever-color-I-choose ergo model. Black keys, white keys, I don’t really care. Okay, I prefer black, but I’ll take whatever’s available!

    I see people around the office and they’re all wearing the dumb “pillow” on their forearms, or they have a full brace on their wrists. I use a trackball and an ergo keyboard and have no difficulties using my PCs for long periods of time.

    But now I need a new ergo keyboard. I’ve been using some very old Microsoft ergo PS2 models (with the “hump” design and the “split” keys) for about 12 years now. On one of them, the tactile plastic “bump” on the J key is worn flat, so my right hand misses home position a lot. The white keys have been yellow for about 8 years now, even though they’ve only been subjected to flourescent lighting in an office environment. As if the yellow weren’t bad enough, they’re also getting quite gnarly, with copious amounts of dust and other detritus inside them.

    I’d take them apart to clean them but I’m afraid I’ll break them.
    I’d switch, but these are built like tanks and they just work. New keyboards are often USB and sometimes don’t work correctly when I have to invoke the BIOS or type anything in (like an HDD decryption key/password) before Windows is loaded.

    Yes, this is a plea for help. 🙁

      • Rectal Prolapse
      • 7 years ago

      BIF, cleaning isn’t too bad – at the dollar stores you may be able to find the gooey gel stuff that are advertised to clean out the gross chunky bits in your keys!

      As for ergonomic keyboards, you can try the kinesys keyboards:

      [url<]http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/keyboards.htm[/url<] They make versions with cherry switches! Expensive though. I would love to own one, one day. With one of those, you won't need to worry about backlight - you won't need it!

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      The days of USB keyboards acting dodgy in pre-Windows environments are long gone.

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        It can still be an issue when dealing with older hardware, or if someone has futzed with the BIOS settings and disabled USB keyboard support.

    • bhtooefr
    • 7 years ago

    Here’s the thing about Model Ms.

    The peak force for a Model M ranges from 65 to 80 cN, depending on when the keyboards were produced (the tolerances in the early keyboards were such that stiffer springs had to be used to get the keyboard to reliably register keypresses, and Unicomp and some Lexmark keyboards will be among the lightest), variance from key to key, and how much use they received (at least Unicomp’s keyboards, they have a break-in period of a year or two before the force lowers – my Unicomp board feels barely any stiffer than a Cherry MX blue board – but extremely heavily used IBM keyboards tend to be the stiffest, due to work hardening of the springs).

    Also, something to consider is the force curve. For instance, Model Fs are rated at 70 cN, yet can feel less fatiguing than even the lightest Model Ms for some users, because of the lower initial force, or preload, and also feel more tactile for the same reason (because the lower preload also means lower force after it clicks).

    That said, if you want a Model M, you can get a Model M, albeit with lower overall force than an ancient one, Unicomp sells them today. (But, since about 1994 or so, most Model Ms have had permanent cables. That said, Unicomp does Windows keys and USB, so…)

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      My first Unicomp had a fairly light touch, not much stiffer than Cherry Blue switches. Second one was very stiff (*too* stiff, IMO); this was a major factor in me deciding to switch to Cherry-based ‘boards.

      • mesyn191
      • 7 years ago

      Yea the Unicomp “Model M’s” aren’t bad but definitely don’t have the feel of the older Lexmark or IBM produced Model M’s. The Green CherryMX keyboards are as close as I’ve felt since my old keyboard broke (spilt juice in it). It was one of the uncommon ones that had a track ball on it too.

    • cynan
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Available first on the QuickFire Rapid, the Stealth keys have their lettering printed on the side, where it won't wear off or become discolored due to heavy use.[/quote<] Filco has been doing this for a while with their [url=http://img.ncix.com/images/70725_1.jpg<]"Ninja"[/url<] line of mechanical keyboards. It's nice to see that, apparently, not every sector of the tech industry is bat**** crazy over patents and going to utmost lengths to protecting said patents with litigation no matter how ephemeral, unsubstantial or downright, well, bat**** crazy their case may be.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      Live and let live

      Or in the rest of the world, sue and let sue

    • mesyn191
    • 7 years ago

    I actually got one of those CM Trigger keyboards with the Green CherryMX switches just last week.

    Tactile feel wise they are currently about as close as you can get to a old school buckling spring Model M. Its not exactly the same but the difference is small enough that it doesn’t matter to me. The click is much more subdued than those old Model M keyboards though, which I don’t mind, but you might. The keys and wrist rest all have a thin rubberized coating that feels quite nice. For gaming they’re about as good as a Model M too BTW.

    The keyboard itself is nice and heavy. Feels solid like the old Model M’s. Even has a detachable cable (USB though) like a Model M too. The 2 USB ports are nice as is the full illumination. Apparently you need a 5VDC external power supply, which is not included by CM, to be able to get the full range of brightness options the keyboard is capable of. When powered by just the USB port you only get 3 levels of brightness instead of 5.

    Not much else more to add I think. If you aren’t used to a Model M and are coming from using a cheapo bubble keyboard or one that uses Cherry MX Blues or Browns then typing on this keyboard will feel nearly impossible at first FYI. It’ll take about a week or 2 to get used to it since the keys require much more force to depress.

      • DancinJack
      • 7 years ago

      How and where? It says the greens aren’t on sale yet.

        • mesyn191
        • 7 years ago

        They are on CM’s website. [url<]http://www.cmstore-usa.com/trigger-mechanical-gaming-keyboard-green-switch/[/url<]

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Cooler Master claims its QuickFire keyboards have thinner bezels than their Cherry MX-based rivals[/quote<] Cooler Master didn't look very hard. The bezels look exactly the same as my Rosewill RK-9000, which also has a red plate under the keys. Very likely they just come from the same factory.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, that was my reaction too. The first one pictured looks exactly like an RK-9000 minus the Rosewill logo.

      Edit: I wonder if it is like the original RK-9000 design, or the newer one with the [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=81577<]USB connector issue[/url<]...

        • CMRajiv
        • 7 years ago

        We’re going with a full USB A connector to avoid any issues with bendable mini/micro USB cabes. The thin bezel doesn’t allow us to utilize extra space for cable management, so we will probably have a cable that will line up flush and run to the left or right. Nothing final yet, but it will definitely have a focus on durability.

      • CMRajiv
      • 7 years ago

      No, it might look similar but it is thinner. This is custom made 28mm at thickest and 18mm at thinnest.

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