MasterKeys Crystal Edition lets RGB LEDs shine their brightest

Do you yearn for the simpler times of the mid-2000s, when anything from car wheels to stripper heels were just a little bit better if they were made from clear plastic? If so, Cooler Master has released the MasterKeys Pro L RGB Crystal Edition just for you. The Crystal Edition doesn't have both feet stuck in 2006, as oh-so-2016 RGB LEDs and Cherry MX Blue or Brown switches underpin the unprinted transparent keycaps.

Cooler Master touts a redesigned circuit board allowing tight fitment between the Cherry switches and an extra PCB-mounted LED for each key. The manufacturer claims this combination provides the "brightest" LED lighting around. Those LEDs can display a number of canned lighting patterns without additional software. Those so inclined can apply their C++ skills to create custom lighting effects.

The Crystal Edition keyboard packs its very own ARM Cortex-M3 processor, which Cooler Master says is 25% faster than the Cortex-M0 used in "other keyboards." The manufacturer claims this extra number crunching grunt allows for immediate execution of commands and macros. For reference, the ARM9 CPU in the Nokia N73 smartphone from 2006 was good for somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 MIPS. The 72 MHz Cortex-M3 in the Crystal Edition delivers 90-108 MIPS, based on Cooler Master's 1.25-1.5 MIPS-per-MHz claims.

The MasterKeys Pro L RGB Crystal Edition with Cherry MX Brown switches is available now from Cooler Master. Crystal keyboards with Cherry MX Blues are expected to ship October 10. Lovers of blinkenlights will need to shell out $180 for their RGB fix.

Comments closed
    • JosiahBradley
    • 3 years ago

    After all these mechanical keyboard articles with flashy lights and ARM CPUs and so much excess for a keyboard I just broke down and bought a 38$ mechanical keyboard. I’m going to update you guys on the forum to see if you really need to speed 180$ to type. I didn’t even need a new keyboard. I just finally wanted to join the mechanical ranks.

    This post typed on a 1997 NEC membrane keyboard.

    • Ifalna
    • 3 years ago

    It looks like a 5$ El-Cheapo plastic china import.

    I don’t get why people would want some extra bright keyboard, esp since this product doesn’t seem to have actual letters on the keys. Why the F would I need an illuminated KB if I operate it e/o ever looking at it anyway?!

    For Reference: I have the razer Anansi and I had to tape over the little snake logo at the bottom because it was blindingly bright.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    I want a quad core Skylake-powered keyboard 10 years from now.

    • ImSpartacus
    • 3 years ago

    I wish TR could write all articles like this.

    • Misel
    • 3 years ago

    I know it sounds odd but does it also come in a German layout?

    • Mikael33
    • 3 years ago

    That’s fucking hideous.

    • BIF
    • 3 years ago

    Can I use it to fold?

    • Anovoca
    • 3 years ago

    Wooo, this looks like something that would have come as an optional extra for your iMac in the early 2000s

    • The Egg
    • 3 years ago

    I’m going to buy 3 of these just to troll all the RGB haters on TR, and to help encourage similar products. 😛

    I also plan to overclock the keyboard CPU.

      • Kretschmer
      • 3 years ago

      Blind men can’t troll comment boards.

        • BIF
        • 3 years ago

        Oh sure they can. Never underestimate the will…

        • JalaleenRumi
        • 3 years ago

        Or Eggs, for that matter.

        • The Egg
        • 3 years ago

        I’m hoping to hit 90mhz on the CPUs so they can strobe the colors of the rainbow faster. After that, I’ll arrange the keyboards vertically like |||, put my face 6″ away with my eyes taped open, and sit there with a big stupid grin until drool comes out the corner of my mouth.

    • morphine
    • 3 years ago

    Shine on you crazy diamond…

    • just brew it!
    • 3 years ago

    This keyboard has at least 2 orders of magnitude more processing power than my first PC!

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      You know, I do remember a [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64<]certain computer that had the processor integrated with the keyboard.[/url<] Are you keeping up with it?

        • RAGEPRO
        • 3 years ago

        Whatever happened to that company that was going to sell ITX cases with the C64 design? That could be a killer LAN machine.

      • Wirko
      • 3 years ago

      Your first PC only had one green and one red LED, and only the red one could blink, right? One MIPS was more than enough to drive them both.

        • just brew it!
        • 3 years ago

        It actually had [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMSAI_8080<]lots of LEDs[/url<]. Most of them were driven directly by the system bus though, so it did not require any additional CPU cycles to operate them. 8 of them were programmable; I had them set up to display (in binary) the number of the track the floppy disk head was positioned at. 😉

          • Wirko
          • 3 years ago

          Oh, I wasn’t expecting a pre-PC PC when you mentioned a PC. Looks magnificent though, with more LEDs than buttons!

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            By the time I was done tinkering and upgrading it was fairly full-featured for its day. Keyboard (no mouse, as this was pre-mouse days), 80×40 monochrome text display, dual 8″ floppy drive (the 1200 baud cassette tape interface saw very little use once I got that), and a 1200 baud modem.

            It could compile and run Pascal programs (all of the stuff I wrote for it was in either assembly or Pascal). All the device drivers were hand-optimized to wring as much performance out of the hardware as possible, and I even had my own disk format (sort of like AF for floppies), which allowed me to squeeze about 25% more data onto each disk, which was very important as I was a poor college student and 8″ floppies were expensive back then!

            I also had a copy of WordStar that I had hacked to do direct access to the frame buffer of the video card instead of going through a terminal emulator. Consequently, it ran WordStar better than any contemporary commercial system I’d seen.

          • chuckula
          • 3 years ago

          Based on a raw MIPs count that’s admittedly imperfect, the cortex m3 in these keyboards is roughly equivalent to the original Pentium at 66 to 75 Mhz or so.

          Which is definitely a big step up from your original PC.

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            Yup. The Intel 8080A had pretty low IPC, so at 2MHz it was on the order of only 0.6 MIPS. Or 600 KIPS. 😉

            • ronch
            • 3 years ago

            Still, roughly three cycles to complete an instruction is surprising for such an early CPU.

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            Typical 8080 code contained a lot of register-to-register operations, which helps.

            Still, I think the IPC/MIPS numbers I cited above were probably incorrect, and that the real performance was a bit lower. I don’t remember where I got the 0.6 MIPS figure from, but it seems inconsistent with other sources which indicate that most instructions took 4-11 clock cycles.

            Edit: Maybe the 0.6 MIPS figure was for the 8080B (a much less common variant that ran at higher clock speed).

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    THIS LITTLE KEYBOARD LIGHT OF MINE!
    I’M GONNA LET IT [s<]SHINE[/s<] [u<]BLIND MY ENEMIES LIKE A KOALA BEAR CRAPPING A RAINBOW IN YOUR BRAIN![/u<] P.S. --> [quote<]The Crystal Edition keyboard packs its very own ARM Cortex-M3 processor, which Cooler Master says is 25% faster than the Cortex-M0 used in "other keyboards."[/quote<] Oh yeah, time for some fanboy CPU-in-my-keyboard benchmark wars.

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