Mechanical keyboards

Cooler Master joins mechanical keyboard club

Adam Oxford at

Once upon a time a mechanical keyboards seemed to be typing their way into extinction. Their loud and bouncy buttons appeared very old fashioned and expensive against a legion of slender Apple clones. Now, no serious peripherals company can be taken seriously without a mechanised letter rack to its name, and barely a week goes by without another one joining the fray.

The latest firm to do so is Cooler Master. Better known for its cases and power supplies, it's been slowly building up its Storm gaming brand over the last couple of years, and just like Corsair before it has announced a Cherry MX Black-toting keyboard as its premiere gear du guerre.

The PC Gamer Rig: Upgrading the keyboard

Adam Oxford at

How come when we come to planning a new PC, we almost always skimp on the components that really matter? Yes a better graphics card might give you 10 more frames per second, but a decent keyboard will improve your game and keep you playing for longer. It's the most used peripheral you own, and your fingers hate you not buying a good one.

The PC Gamer Rig is the best value PC you can build for under £1,000/$1,550, and thanks to some recent juggling of components and suppliers there's been a fair bit of that budget left to play with in recent weeks. Since we can afford it, now that the Microsoft X4 - a long time favourite in the office - is getting harder to get hold of and more expensive it's time to find an alternative.

Things you could type on one key of a mechanical keyboard before it breaks

Adam Oxford at

For some reason, the last couple of months have seen a glut of mechanical keyboards pass through the PC Gamer labs. From Razer's Battlefield 3 branded Black Widows, through Corsair's elegant Vengeance K60, to Qpad's MK-85 which arrived on my desk today – if I was any good at planning ahead I'd have organised a group test.

All of the keyboards that have come through lately have had one thing in common – Cherry's MX switches, which have a light action and that familiar clackety clack sound that evokes an old fashioned typewriter. They come in different flavours – my favourite are the smooth action Cherry MX Reds of the K60 and MK-85 – but they all make standard plastic dome keyboards feel like typing in treacle. If only there was a relatively good value ergonomic keyboard that uses them – I'd struggle to write without the layout of my Microsoft 7000 typist's friend these days.