Rainbow of Cherry MX switches lines Cooler Master QuickFire XT keyboard

Add another mechanical keyboard to the growing ranks equipped with green Cherry MX switches. The heavily sprung, Model M-like key switches are one of four options for Cooler Master’s new QuickFire XT, which also comes in red, blue, and brown flavors.

Unlike the tenkeyless, blank-cap QuickFire Stealth that appeared in April, the XT is a more straightforward design. It has a full 104-key layout with traditional, laser-etched lettering. There are no programmable macro keys or LED backlight to be found. Instead, you get a handful of media shortcuts, N-key rollover in PS/2 mode, and the ability to disable the Windows key. Cooler Master also includes a key puller and some extra caps.

Perhaps thanks to the limited feature payload, the frame is very compact, with thin bezels all around. Cooler Master makes the USB cable detachable for easy transport, and the whole thing is draped in a matte black finish that looks rather nice.

Starting today, folks in North America should be able to get their hands on versions of the QuickFire XT with red or blue MX switches for $100 and $90, respectively. Cooler Master tells us the brown and green variants probably won’t arrive stateside until August or September. Given the high demand for the associated switches, I’d expect those models to have higher prices.

Comments closed
    • JohnC
    • 6 years ago

    Meh… I like my Logitech G710+. It’s slightly more expensive but has necessary (for me) backlighting (very bright one), useful macro keys and useful volume wheel. Plus its MX Browns already come with silicone noise-dampening “rings”.
    Good to see more options from different manufacturers, though.

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      If it came with an adjustable white backlight, sure. I have a second-gen G15 with orange lighting, and this stuff gets old; so does blue, or red, or whatever else. Personal, I know, but I want white. It’s clean.

        • JohnC
        • 6 years ago

        It does have a white backlight. No rainbow crap. Also, I too had the G15 model (with orange crap) – I threw it away after a couple months. The keys were pretty “loose” and the backlighting wasn’t bright enough for my needs and I really disliked its volume control “buttons”. The G710+ is a HUGE improvement over all of the crappy Logitech “gaming” keyboards of the past. Highly recommended.

        Only issue with this model is that individual LEDs sometimes tend to “die” randomly, but this happens with all such keyboards – I had Deck Legend keyboard and a few LEDs “died” on it after a couple of weeks. I contacted the company, they sent me a bag of new LEDs of same color (I didn’t want to return keyboard to them), I replaced them by myself. Anyway, the Logitech model has a 3 year warranty on it so that shouldn’t be a major problem.

          • Airmantharp
          • 6 years ago

          All of the above for the G15- but none of the above were a reason to own it :). That screen was quite useful for multi-player stuff with Ventrilo, and mushy as it was, it did work well enough.

          And I need to go look at that G710+. I probably looked at it before and stopped reading when they didn’t mention the color of the backlight- but it looks like it has everything I’m looking for, at a decent price and probably on the shelf at Best Buy. If I’m going to pay tax, I’m going to try and keep my local stores open and all.

    • mieses
    • 6 years ago

    The font on the keys is a non-starter for me. It’s unnecessarily decorative and distracting. It has a high-tech aesthetic but it’s decoration nonetheless. Maybe it appeals to adolescents.
    Also, the USB cable should be routed into a groove of some kind to prevent it from pulling out. Most decent keyboards get this right.. leopold tenkeyless, cooler master cm storm, others.

      • Waco
      • 6 years ago

      You look at your keys? I don’t think I even know what the font looks like on mine.

      • Adaptive
      • 6 years ago

      Dear Boss,

      I couldn’t get any work done because the high-tech aesthetics on my keyboard were too distracting.

      Gone home sick.

      Best,

      Dr. Retentive

    • Umbragen
    • 6 years ago

    So how long before we have the option of a Cherry clear or grey switch?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    Now this is a keyboard I can get behind. Standard layout, full-sized keys, not a bunch of extra garbage. I’ll wait for the Brown switch version, and then I might get my first mechanical keyboard since high school.

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      I’m all about the browns- but I have a Rosewill version already. Possibly not as high quality build as the Cooler Master, and it does have a few niggles, but I already own it, and so on :).

      I’m actually looking for (and have found) a standard-layout MX Brown keyboard with white backlighting and N-Key rollover, with some kind of dampening for the keys that isn’t noticeable with normal key presses but keeps the noise down a little (more).

        • frumper15
        • 6 years ago

        Would you care to share what you found? That sounds like something that I would be interested in as well…

          • tay
          • 6 years ago

          I have the tenkeyless version of the quickfire in browns. Excellent for typing although it hurts my hands after 4+ hours of gaming (I’m no spring chicken though).

            • MadManOriginal
            • 6 years ago

            If you were a spring chicken, you’d be scared of having a mechanical keyboard!

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            I use my tenkey, and while it would save desk space to go without it I’d be way less productive in spreadsheets and in a couple apps that use it for navigation/selection controls.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 6 years ago

            I use my tenkey all the time at home, and I don’t even do a lot of spreadsheet work there. Just for entering any kind of numbers it’s waaaaay better than hunt-and-pecking the regular number keys.

          • Airmantharp
          • 6 years ago

          [url=http://www.maxkeyboard.com/max-keyboard-nighthawk-x8-blue-backlit-mechanical-keyboard.html<]This Max Keyboard Nighthawk x8[/url<] can be ordered with white backlighting, and you can also order [url=http://www.maxkeyboard.com/cherry-mx-rubber-o-ring-dampeners-110pcs.htmll<]110 Cherry MX Rubber O-Ring Dampeners[/url<] from the same site, though I had found another place that would put it together for you for a similar price, and this isn't the one I remember. But you get the idea :).

        • derFunkenstein
        • 6 years ago

        Can’t get the Rosewill in Illinois (still!!)

      • Noigel
      • 6 years ago

      Recently bought a “Max Keyboard Nighthawk-X8 White Backlit Mechanical Keyboard (Brown Cherry MX)”

      Love it. Not a lot of frills but each key has it’s own dedicated LED. The “shift” characters on the keys are side by side instead of above and below but I barely notice that. In researching other mechanical LED keyboards (not the Nighthawk) I read that a few of them had wrongly inverted the characters… that would have annoyed me.

      Edit: Also I noticed that some mechanical keyboards advertised being mechanical but actually had cheaper switched for peripheral keys to cut down on the price… beware of that cheapskate tactic too.

    • bhtooefr
    • 6 years ago

    /me gets his cane, waves it menacingly

    Damnit, that is not an XT keyboard.

    This is an XT keyboard: [url<]http://www.vintage-computer.com/images/83key.jpg[/url<]

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 6 years ago

      Pssst…your Depends(tm) is showing.

    • Krogoth
    • 6 years ago

    Buckling Springs and Alp Switches. Anything else, go home.

    • frumper15
    • 6 years ago

    Wow – that looks surprisingly similar to the Rosewill RK-9000BR I’m typing on – right down to the red chassis visible between the keys. [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823201042[/url<] The font on the keys does appear different and it sounds like there are a few features the Rosewill doesn't have, but I wonder if they don't come out of the same factory somewhere.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      I’m 99% certain they do. I was told lots are made by Costar, since you brought it up, I decided to check their site: [url<]http://www.costar.com.tw/index.php?option=com_flexicontent&view=category&cid=52&Itemid=65&lang=en[/url<] I don't see the 'red plate' keyboard there, but they do appear to be the OEM for Das and the 'Sydney' looks a lot like WASDKeyboard's.

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 years ago

      Yeah, I have a Rosewill RK-9000RE and it looks almost exactly like this new Coolermaster, too. I’m guessing the chassis is made by the same ODM.

      • just brew it!
      • 6 years ago

      …and the Rosewill is in turn pretty much a Cherry reference design, AFAICT. (And that’s not a bad thing.)

    • DancinJack
    • 6 years ago

    Sweet. Gonna buy a green variant.

    • Diplomacy42
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]Instead, you get a handful of media shortcuts, N-key rollover in PS/2 mode, and the ability to [b<]disable the Windows key[/b<]. Cooler Master also includes a key puller and some extra caps.[/quote<] Who here read the above as a F___ yoo to MSFT and windows 8 and not as an otherwise useful or desired feature?

      • Farting Bob
      • 6 years ago

      Nobody but you? The windows key is very useful for most situations. Learn a few shortcuts for it and save yourself some clicking. It is however a pain when gaming as it sits right between shift, ctrl and alt and can be pressed accidently, minimising your game (while its still running in the background). An easy way to disable/enable it when needed is a useful thing. I don’t know why you somehow decided it was anti-MS..

        • just brew it!
        • 6 years ago

        Believe it or not, I find the Windows key even *more* useful on Linux. Since most Linux apps don’t use it, it makes a terrific modifier for global hotkeys!

      • mnemonick
      • 6 years ago

      It’s not about dissing MS, it’s about avoiding accidental ‘alt-tabbing’ when in a game. Most gaming keyboards offer this feature.

        • Squeazle
        • 6 years ago

        Well they all have that feature. Some are just more manual than others. I lost that dang key two weeks ago after having my keyboard for 5 years… oh well.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    Wow! ANOTHER keyboard featuring Cherry MX switches!!! 😀

    Ain’t these Cherry MX things ALL THE RAGE these days?? 😀

    • allreadydead
    • 6 years ago

    Are those mechanical switches that expensive over normal ones ? The profit margin for mechanical keyboards seems a bit too much compared to normal switch keyboards :\
    I need a new keyboard but paying $100++ to that keyboard does not make sense to me. If it was das keyboard maybe but.. dunno,

    I can’t get past the feeling that mechanical keyboards are unfairly priced. If I ever buy one, at a point I will have to, I think I never gonna be satisfied because of that feeling.. (Dont have rosewills over here)

      • Diplomacy42
      • 6 years ago

      theoretically, they are more durable and reduce missed keystrokes. that said, I have a keyboard back from when buying a computer meant buying a whole computer and not just the box… you know, monitor, mouse, keyboard and printer included? yeah…

      Anyway, suffice to say its almost 15 years old, still works(still springy in fact), no missing/ broken keys(survived 5 moves), even makes a tap-tap-tap when I type. I can’t see how a hundred-fifty dollar one could beat it.

      I personally find mechanical switches too noisy.

        • Voldenuit
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]I personally find mechanical switches too noisy.[/quote<] I'm using Cherry MX reds on my Rosewill at home, it's no louder than a domecap keyboard, maybe even softer because of the low actuation force. I can type faster and smoother on it than on the domecap I'm using at work, although it takes some getting used to the low actuation force and lack of clickiness. Had a lot of typos until I got used to it. Definitely didn't pay a hundred and fifty for it - was about $60 on newegg when I got it.

          • superjawes
          • 6 years ago

          On the topic on noisiness: [url<]http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/[/url<]. Yes, it would cost more, but that company will sell you dampening rings and tools to remove keycaps. That way you can quiet your mechanical keybaord. Actually, you can even get a custom keyboard from them as soon as they release the V2...

      • superjawes
      • 6 years ago

      You’re comparing a signle piece of rubber to individual mechanical switches, each with its own spring.

      Yes…Cherry switches will always be more expensive.

      Actually, prior to rubber dome keyboards (which you call “normal”), keyboards like the IBM model M had buckling spring mechanical switches. The rubber domes only took over because they were cheap, and since the computer market boomed, cheaper was preferred. Now that the mainstream user is shifting his/her time to mobile devices, marketing to the desktop crowd is more appealing, and we’re getting mechanical replacements to the gummy keyboards.

        • bhtooefr
        • 6 years ago

        And a Cherry-based keyboard has a large PCB.

        Here’s the parts count for just a single Cherry switch:

        Case bottom (injection molded plastic)
        Case top (injection molded plastic)
        Slider (injection molded plastic)
        Click element (on blue and green, injection molded plastic)
        Contact plate (gold-plated spring steel)
        Coil spring (spring steel)

        Here’s the parts count for a single buckling spring switch (you can get a 104-key board from Unicomp for $79 (well, they’re not in stock now)):

        Hammer (injection molded plastic)
        Coil spring (spring steel)

        The BS board has a cheap membrane sheet set, too (just like a rubber dome board, just without the rubber dome sheet), instead of the big PCB.

      • Waco
      • 6 years ago

      I changed over from a regular membrane keyboard to an MX Brown based keyboard a while ago…you couldn’t pay me to go back to a regular keyboard. It’s totally worth the cost if you spend any significant amount of time working at your computer each day.

      The improvement is almost more appreciated than an SSD. No, I’m not kidding.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      $100 for a full keyboard is < $1 per switch, and typing on them is heavenly.

      • internetsandman
      • 6 years ago

      I bought a Mionix Zibal 60 a few months back for around $100 and I gotta say the quality is worth the price you pay. It’s stood up to hours of abuse in games and when I’m typing everything feels nice and uniform, you gotta try it for yourself

      • ColeLT1
      • 6 years ago

      At ~$.50 – $.90 per key, the majority of cost is the cost of the cherry keys.

      Diplomacy42, the cherry browns are nice a quiet, makes less noise than my scissor switch keyboard. My cherry blue keyboard on the other hand is deafening.

      • just brew it!
      • 6 years ago

      Cherry mechanical switches cost around 70 cents each in bulk, and you need 104 of them for a standard keyboard. The switches are through-hole components which in all likelihood need to be placed (if not soldered) by hand; then you have installation of the keycaps (and stabilizers for the larger keys), which is probably a manual operation as well.

      Contrast this with the “switches” on a rubber dome keyboard, where you have a spacer sheet, a contact sheet, and a sheet of molded rubber. Instead of 104 individual switches that need to be individually placed and soldered you have three sheets of rubber/plastic that can just be laid on top of the PCB.

      So parts and labor costs for a Cherry keyboard are both going to be much higher than for a standard rubber dome keyboard. The profit margins are probably no better on a percentage basis, especially now that there are so many vendors selling similar mechanical keyboards.

        • jihadjoe
        • 6 years ago

        This.

        $100 for a mechanical keyboard is actually very reasonably priced. The profit margin on that is far lower than for a normal keyboard, considering the cost of parts and more complicated assembly.

      • bronek
      • 6 years ago

      After I switched to mechanical at home I had to switch in the office as well, because I just couldn’t stand “dead meat” touch of ordinary rubber keyboard any more. The effect was purchase of another keyboard, as well as spare keycaps to match Cherry MX (you can buy Filco keycaps).

        • just brew it!
        • 6 years ago

        Yup, same experience here, except I started out with a pair of Unicomp (Model M clone) buckling spring keyboards. These days I use a pair of identical RK-9000s.

        Edit: And in spite of the fact that I vastly prefer mechanical keyboards, I’ve really gotta hand it to whoever invented the rubber dome membrane keyboard. It’s a clever design that saves an order of magnitude in cost versus individual mechanical switches, while still retaining full functionality. Surely a significant factor in making PCs affordable for everyone.

          • superjawes
          • 6 years ago

          I would consider bringing my own mechanical keyboard to work, but the cubes are very open with short walls, and I would feel bad with how loud things would be…

          Maybe when I build a new PC I’ll pick up a brand new keyboard and fit both with dampening rings. If that seems more courteous to my coworkers, I’ll replace my work keyboard.

            • bronek
            • 6 years ago

            Blue Cherry MX are loud indeed, but brown ones are tolerable, I think. At least my colleagues do not complain, and there are no walls in my office.

            • just brew it!
            • 6 years ago

            With the browns you don’t get the loud “tick” of the mechanism itself, but if you’re a heavy-handed typist the sound of the keys bottoming out will still be quite loud since there’s no rubber sheet to cushion them like in a non-mechanical keyboard. OTOH many people do learn to use a lighter touch after typing on a tactile mechanical for a while; your fingers “remember” where the feedback point is, and you tend not to bottom out the keys as hard.

            • superjawes
            • 6 years ago

            Hmm…now that I am a bit used to the blues, I do notice that don’t bottom out as much anymore, and when I do bottom out, it’s not nearly as earth-shattering as it was when I started. Perhaps the browns would work well…

            • just brew it!
            • 6 years ago

            Yeah, I’m not in a cube. I have an office with walls that I share with one other person who usually has headphones on (and who also has a couple of bench power supplies with really noisy fans), so the clackety-clack of the Cherry blues isn’t much of an issue. I should probably order a set of the rubber rings anyway…

            • MadManOriginal
            • 6 years ago

            I am a bit ham-fisted with my Rosewill RK-9000 Brown and tend to bottom out the keys. I got a set of these: [url<]http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=access,slpads&pid=sl120_cf[/url<] after reading a bit about different dampers. The sound of the keycap stem hitting the switch surround was definitely noticable, and the other dampers I'd read about often had complaints of adding a 'mushy' feel. These Firm soft-landing pads aren't mushy at all and help a lot in quieting down the keyboard.

      • Sabresiberian
      • 6 years ago

      To directly answer your question, yes, they are significantly more expensive than other key technologies, which is why rubber domes and all exist in the first place. You simply can’t make a $20 fully mechanical keyboard. 🙂

      That doesn’t really mean the mechanical key is better – that’s a personal taste kind of thing more than anything else. They are theoretically more reliable, but good quality construction of any keyboard is more important than anything else in that regard. Many people have rubber-dome keyboards that have lasted a decade or more. Comparing the reliability of a mechanical keyboard over a dome-type keyboard is probably like comparing an enterprise SSD to a consumer SSD – yes, absolutely it is more reliable, but for the average home desktop user the price of an enterprise SSD is a wasted expense. (Of course if you think in terms of wanting to buy a keyboard to last a lifetime of, say, 50 or more years, I’d suggest mechanical is the way to go.)

      As to price – there are other specialty keyboards that don’t use mechanical keys that are in the same ballpark. Certainly the top line Logitech keyboards fit in that category (my G15s were $120 retail when I bought them 4+ years ago). I think that while mechanical keyboards ARE generally more expensive to a degree, the fact that they have become something of a fad has made more people aware of the cost of high-end keyboards, so people tend to think of them as more relatively expensive than they actually are.

      To each his own, as they say, and if you are happy with a $10 keyboard, then you shouldn’t upgrade. I simply can’t stand cheap keyboards, myself (or at least the ones I’ve used), which is not a reflection on my sense of quality more than it is on my personal taste, heh (though ergonomics may play a valid part). I just bought my first mechanical, in large part out of curiosity as I have keyboards I very much like (Logitech G15s), but I haven’t hooked it up yet as it is going n a new build so can’t comment on whether I actually like the Corsair K95 better in use.

        • just brew it!
        • 6 years ago

        One other point… while theoretically more durable in normal use, mechanicals are probably a bad idea if you tend to spill stuff in your keyboard. A cheap rubber dome ‘board is more likely to survive a coffee/soda/beer spill, and even if it doesn’t you’re out less money.

        OTOH, a reasonably competent DIYer with a soldering iron can easily replace individual switch mechanisms on a Cherry ‘board. If the spill damage is limited to a few switches it should be possible to get it working good as new for less than the cost of a cheap non-mechanical keyboard.

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 6 years ago

    Somehow missed the March article. Yet another keyboard I have to check out!

    Digging the aural keybaord porn on the previous article.

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