Keyboards are an often overlooked peripheral in today’s computer market as most companies are concentrating on the internal components. However there are some that take great pains to strive for ‘the ‘ultimate’ keyboard and many differing ideas are born from this struggle. Many years ago we had the old clunky IBM keyboards of the mechanical type which emitted lots of noise but were extremely responsive. Later these were changed to the more user friendly ‘soft touch’ version. However the responsiveness and the tactile feedback on the latter was never as impressive as the former. As a result of this if one wished to type on the mechanical keyboard then the efficiency and productivity is vastly superior to that of a soft touch version.
Recently there has been a swing back in favour of the mechanical keyboard due to aforementioned properties and the general ‘robust’ feel of the product. As a result many companies are producing keyboards in response to the needs of the consumer market. Companies now are vying for the king of the mechanical keyboard and as such the rush is on. One such company is CoolerMaster and their Storm range of products.
A critical component of Cooler Master’s ability to successfully pursue its mission is an unstinting commitment to quality, as demonstrated by the ISO 9001 certification granted to its main manufacturing plant in Taiwan. It has also enforced ISO guidelines and is in the process of applying for ISO 9002 certification at its second and third plants, located in China. Cooler Master has also implemented a number of analytical and testing protocols to ensure top quality, including at subcontractors, to further ensure thorough quality control. Moreover, Cooler Master’s dedication to quality extends beyond manufacturing to every aspect of its operation, including service.
|Model||SGK-4000-GKCL1-US (Blue Switch)
SGK-4000-GKCR1-US (Red Switch)
|Weight||940 g / 2.1 lbs|
|Interface||USB / PS2|
|Key Switch||SGK-4000-GKCL1-US – CHERRY Blue
SGK-4000-GKCR1-US – CHERRY Red
|Extra Keys||6 pcs|
|N key Rollover||N key in PS/2 mode|
|Polling Rate||1000 Hz /1 ms|
|UPC Code||SGK-4000-GKCL1-US – 884102013683
SGK-4000-GKCR1-US – 884102013706
- Mechanical CHERRY MX switches
- Windows Keys disabled in GAME mode
- Extra key-caps bundled (with keypuller)
- Laser-marked keycaps
- Anti Ghosting
- NKRO in PS/2 mode
- 1000Hz/1ms response time in USB mode
- Multimedia shortcuts
- Rubber coated Keyboard surface
- Removable braided USB cable with cable routing
The Quick Fire Rapid is housed within a striking black and red box, with a nice a high resolution image of the keyboard showing the front of the product and a small inset image displaying that this is a mechanical keyboard.
On the rear of the packaging the most important features are mentioned such as; mechanical switches, N-Key Rollover, a removable and easily routed USB cable, replaceable keycaps and finally a keycap removal tool.
Finally when lifting the box lid we see the keyboard in a white foam pouch (for extra protection and an extra compartment in which houses the USB lead, PS2 adapter and the Instructions.
Well that is it for the packaging let us now move on to the keyboard itself.
With the keyboard out of the box, we can see that it has a differing profile and colour scheme from other mechanical keyboards, namely black keys and grey casing . The font used on the keys themselves is bright and easy to see, even considering that this model lacks the presence of back-lit keys.
The more eagle-eyed amongst you, will notice the absence of a Numeric Number pad. Not that this is a bad thing, far from it as it saves space on the your desk-if indeed that is a premium. In addition to the former the pad is not used much anyway.
All the keys look to be within easy reach of each other and spaced out rather nicely. Whilst we are speaking of these keys, coolermaster have seen fit to include red coloured ones for a long gaming session, such as the directional keys. In order to achieve this they have manufactured a keyboard ‘puller’ in order to safely remove the latter-mentioned safely. This in our opinion is a nice touch and should prevent damage caused by clumsy gamers.
Next we move on to the overall feel of they keyboard and the chassis quality.
As one can see by the photos below the chassis rather than being heavy, it is still rather solid. So much so that one could almost pick it up and brain a passing PC World worker (not that we encourage this of course!) however then they will only try and sell you an inferior product at twice the price of the Quickfire!
Finally another great feature is that Coolermaster have made the USB coard not only removable but braided in order to have a robust feeling and allow the consumer to route the cable wherever they please.
Next we move onto the testing phase of our review.
Testing products such as this is a very hint and miss affair as they are subjective ones at best, whilst then adding to the problem that experiences differ from user to user. Our comparison test model was a Logitech G-19 keyboard.
If we bare the above in mind and then combine the fact this reviewer is probably the worlds worst typist then one can picture that anything would be a boon when using to write reviews.
This was straight forward by typing a short sentence on each keyboard at the writers normal pace in order to find which is the easiest to type upon.
Please click on the youtube link and view in a full-screen format.
As one can plainly see, we find that the Coolermaster Storm product is far easier to type upon and for general use. Agreed that the keyboard doesn’t have any of the features that the Logitech G-19 such as; A full colour Matrix Orbital, LED backlit keys and a programmable interface. However games are not a priority within this website and the only thing that would come in handy would be the aforementioned back-lit keys in order to enable typing in the dark.
After testing we liked the keyboard so much that this has indeed replaced the Logitech G-19 for typing our reviews.
As we have mentioned before the Coolermaster ‘Storm’ Quick Fire keyboard is a rather solid piece of kit. The keys are obviously designed to take a great deal of abuse and for typing our test shows that a Mechanical keyboard is light-years ahead than the soft touch type in terms of typing, especially if a consumer is prone to typos. For gaming we tested (though it is not described in our testing section) it under games such as Skyrim in ‘First Person’ Mode. During gaming sessions the keyboard can easily take multiple directional inputs at the same time and gaming performance is noticeable increased.
All of the keys are within easy reach and the tactile feedback is simply amazing, though a little noisy but this not due to Coolermaster but is in the very nature of the technology used. The braiding on the USB cord is simply icing on the cake. If there is one fault one could lay at the feet of the manufacturer is that they should have included BACK-lit keys in the standard version and not just the more expensive model.
However the proof of the pudding is in the eating and now this reviewer’s old Logitech G-19 keyboard has been replaced by the CoolerMaster Storm Quick Fire Rapid. In addition; due to the small nature of the keyboard and the fact that it’s a mechanical version, it will not be too long before a Steam Punk Modification of this product will be completed by someone in the future.
- Its a Mechanical Keyboard
- All keys are within easy reach
- Braided USB cord
- No number pad
- GREAT for typing
- Fantastic for games
- Solid hardware designed to take lots of abuse.
- No Back-Lit Keys for Lan Gamers
The CoolerM,aster Storm Quick Fire Mechanical keyboard receives a 8.9 out of ten and therefore a classic gold award.
Author : Gilgamesh