Cooler Master launches a pair of sub-$100 mechanical keyboards

Cooler Master is rolling out a couple of mechanical keyboards that trade frills and fluff (for the most part) for a cheaper price tag. Both the new CK550 and CK552 cost less than $100, while offering mechanical key switches plopped into a brushed aluminum base.

"Our goal with the CK550 [and CK552] was to offer a pro-grade full-size mechanical gaming keyboard with all the core specs that gamers care about without sacrificing quality. Our fans will get the core essentials to compete at the highest level—and look good while doing it," said Bryant Nguyen, general manager of peripherals at Cooler Master.

The main difference between the two planks is the color—the CK550 is a lighter "gunmetal" black, while the CK552 is a darker "midnight" black. Otherwise, both feature a curved top plate with floating keycaps and an overall minimalistic design.

That's to say there are are no dedicated macro/gaming keys or media controls, or things like a built-in LCD panel and whatever else a peripheral maker might be temped to add to the mix.

Cooler Master is using Gateron key switches that are similar to Cherry MX switches. The product pages list Brown, Blue, and Red options on the GK550 and just Red for the GK552.

While there are no dedicated gaming keys, the keyboards do allow users to bind macros to the keys. They also feature per-key RGB backlighting, powered by a 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 processor. Users can save their customizations to the onboard memory allotment (512KB).

The CK550 is priced is priced at $89.99 (€89.99) will be available today on Amazon and Newegg (we also spotted it at Box for £74.99). Cooler Master priced the CK552 a little cheaper at $79.99 (€79.99), available today at Best Buy in the US and select Staples locations in Canada.