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Posted (edited)

Given the keyboards role as the most used peripheral attached to a computer, it's surprising that a majority of users are happy to go with cheap everyday keyboards for their typing needs. When my third Razer keyboard gave out due to heavy usage, I decided to look into the re-emerging market of mechanical keyboards to see what all of the hype was about.

Keyboards are one of the few areas in computing where technology appears to have receded rather than progressed. The first keyboards on computer systems used mechanical switches to detect the depression of the keys. As time passed, economics took over and cheaper alternatives to mechanical switches were found. The cheapest of these alternatives is the dome-switch; which took over as the mainstream technology. These dome-switches are by all accounts an inferior technology. Whilst not in the scope of this review, a full recounting of the benefits of mechanical switches is available: http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/mechanical-keyboard-guide

Having researched thoroughly the available mechanical keyboards, and taking into account my bad track record with Razer products, I finally decided on Corsair's K90. Without further ado.

[size=5][b][u]Specifications[/u][/b][/size]
Courtesy of Corsair's product page[list]
[*]Light, responsive Cherry MX Red mechanical switches for fast, efficient gaming action
45g actuation force
2mm to actuation and 4mm to bottom
Rated for 50 million operations
Gold contacts
[*]Tuned silicon dome key switches: F1 through F12, Esc, PrtScn, Scroll Lock, Pause/Break, Insert, Home, Page Up Page Down, Delete, and End
[*]Three banks of eighteen G Macro Keys with Macro Record and Bank Select hot keys
[*]36Kb of on-board memory for storing up to three sets of eighteen G keys for gaming on the go
[*]Laser-etched, backlit keys with four illumination levels (off, 66%, 75%, and full illumination) selectable from the keyboard
[*]Six multimedia keys Edited by articuno1au
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Posted

Sorry for the poor camera work. Turns out the camera on my Trophy 7 is pretty average :\

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Posted

No questions or comments?

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Posted

Looks nice, thanks for the post.
I'll be looking into this keyboard soon.

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Posted

Huzzah, a reply :p

If you have any specific queries, just shout :)

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Posted

I haz this board along with the k90 mouse.

Both are freaking awesome.

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Posted

Wouldnt ever go back to old school keys, mechanical is the only way. Ive had this Steelseries 7G for like 4yrs+ now and aside the odd bit of "aaa" or "ss" where single letters should be its awesome. I get the extra letters mainly over the wasd keys which kinda figures, but it normally means Ive got a crumb stuck in the switch.

The lightness of the key strokes is what makes the difference tbh.
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Posted

Is there one without the Macro keys?

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Posted

[quote name='Neobond' timestamp='1338105556' post='594890761']
Is there one without the Macro keys?
[/quote]

Yeah the Vengeance K60, but it is not backlit and it has highlighted "FPS" keys - [url="http://www.corsair.com/vengeance-k60-performance-fps-mechanical-gaming-keyboard.html"]http://www.corsair.com/vengeance-k60-performance-fps-mechanical-gaming-keyboard.html[/url]
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Posted

Mechanical is all I really like... right now I am using the HHKB Pro which is perfect for my small space. I've been a user/programmer for nigh on 27 years and I miss the mechanical keyboards of yore. :) But this little HHKB is great. I also like the Tactile Pro series.

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Posted

Nice review. I can't really say I like the design of this keyboard. Also the fact that not all keys are mechanical is disappointing. But I'm going so search for other mechanical keyboards. I'd like to try a mechanical keyboard. My current keyboard is "ok", but not much more. I hate the fact that on many dome-switch keyboards the key's are hard to press when you press on the corners of the keys instead of in the middle. Can you say how this is on the K90? Do the key's get (a little bit) stuck or hard to press when you press on the corners of the keys?

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Posted

Is there any particular reason for these keyboards to be so pricey apart from the novelty value? It strikes me as being a touch odd that a technology that was commonplace is now so expensive.

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Posted

[quote name='Phasma' timestamp='1338140132' post='594891531']
Nice review. I can't really say I like the design of this keyboard. Also the fact that not all keys are mechanical is disappointing. But I'm going so search for other mechanical keyboards. I'd like to try a mechanical keyboard. My current keyboard is "ok", but not much more. I hate the fact that on many dome-switch keyboards the key's are hard to press when you press on the corners of the keys instead of in the middle. Can you say how this is on the K90? Do the key's get (a little bit) stuck or hard to press when you press on the corners of the keys?
[/quote]
I can't say I have had any issues with this. Quite the opposite actually, I fat finger multiple keys sometimes :p

I have had one instance where I pressed backspace and the key stuck down, but only one >.< Luckily Ctrl + Z brought back my work :p
[quote name='Javik' timestamp='1338248898' post='594893799']
Is there any particular reason for these keyboards to be so pricey apart from the novelty value? It strikes me as being a touch odd that a technology that was commonplace is now so expensive.
[/quote]
The cost of the individual switches is a lot higher than the single piece required for dome switches. A dome switch keyboard is manufactured as a single "slab" of circuitry that you just stick under the board. Mechanical boards required 1 switch per key, thus making them far more expensive :)

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Posted (edited)

See my next post. Edited by Raa

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Posted

What? O.o

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Posted

[quote name='articuno1au' timestamp='1336527477' post='594854095']
Whilst not in the scope of this review, a full recounting of the benefits of mechanical switches is available [b] <:address here:> [/b][/quote]
I'm interested in reading more. :)

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Posted

/headdesk

http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/mechanical-keyboard-guide

Excuse the link to another forum. It's just the best resource I have found to date >.<
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Posted

Brilliant review.

I have to say though, gaming keyboards are just flat out ugly as a rule. This is no exception - I would never ever buy that.

Myself, I have a custom WASD keyboard - doesn't have all the macro keys (of which there are far too many on the Corsair anyway) but it looks so much prettier. It has better build quality too, as it uses the same backboard that Filco use on their mechanical keyboards.

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Posted

I'm glad you liked it :)

I might just do some more as I get new hardware >.<

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Posted

If I could only find a mechanical 'natural' keyboard.

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Posted

[quote name='Dashel' timestamp='1338308547' post='594895063']
If I could only find a mechanical 'natural' keyboard.
[/quote]

Are these what you're after?

http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?6653-Ergonomic-mechanical-keyboard

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Posted

Thanks for the link, still thumbing through but found this statement that fits me to a 'T'

[i]A MS Natural 4000 with Cherry browns would be money.[/i]

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Posted

[quote name='articuno1au' timestamp='1338269107' post='594894189']
The cost of the individual switches is a lot higher than the single piece required for dome switches. A dome switch keyboard is manufactured as a single "slab" of circuitry that you just stick under the board. Mechanical boards required 1 switch per key, thus making them far more expensive :)
[/quote]

Makes sense, thanks. As an owner, do you believe that the benefits justify the cost?

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Posted

[quote name='Javik' timestamp='1338334470' post='594896117']
Makes sense, thanks. As an owner, do you believe that the benefits justify the cost?
[/quote]

For me, absolutely. The quality and feel of the typing is amazing and it's an absolute godsend if you do a lot of typing (this is not on the Corsair though, I don't own that, but rather referring to mechanical keyboards in general) - they also have a much longer lifespan.

The average membrane keyboard has a keystroke life of 20,000,000 per key ( and tend to last nowhere near that long - I had to replace even Logitech keyboards once a year because it broke), while mechanical switches bump that up to 50 million.

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Posted

[quote name='Javik' timestamp='1338334470' post='594896117']
Makes sense, thanks. As an owner, do you believe that the benefits justify the cost?
[/quote]
I think that's a question of how much you use your computer.

I think it's an enormous improvement, much like when you go from a normal mouse to a gaming mouse. I think it would be a waste if all you do is facebook and check your emails though :) I do a lot of work on my computer, so it's well and truly worth it for me :)

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