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Corsair's New Gaming Keyboards Promise Blazing Speed

When you're taking fire in a first-person shooter, you don't want a keyboard slowing you down. Corsair's latest mechanical keyboards look to squeeze even more milliseconds out of every key stroke, giving gamers an input device that responds quickly to every press.

Corsair took the wraps off a trio of new keyboards today (April 21) — the $170 K70 RGB Rapidfire, the $140 K65 RGB Rapidfire and the $130 K70 Rapidfire. All three keyboards feature Cherry MX Speed key switches for faster key strokes.

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A Cherry MX Speed key switch boasts a ridiculously small actuation point (the distance the key travels before it's recognized by the keyboard). On the Cherry MX Speed, that actuation point is 1.2mm, compared to 2mm on standard Cherry MX switches.

That 40 percent gain in speed may not seem like much when we're talking milliseconds, but Harry Butler, Corsair's senior manager for PR, points out that "milliseconds add up when you're gaming." It's no wonder then that Corsair believes its new keyboards will appeal to eSports enthusiasts where fast key presses can mean the difference between victory and defeat. First-person shooter and multiplayer online battle arena gamers may also appreciate the textured keycaps for the WASD and QWERDF keys that come included with the Rapidfire keyboards.

Sitting down for a quick game of Counter-Strike on the K70 RGB Rapidfire, I noticed immediately how responsive each keystroke was as I hunted down terrorists around an abandoned factory. Typing felt natural, too, with the keys not requiring a lot of force to register. (Corsair says the new keyboards have an actuation force of 45 grams.) Playing The Typing of the Dead, I mistyped a few more words than I normally would, but I chalk that up to only having a limited time with the Rapidfire combined with the specter of zombies ready to attack me with each mistyped key.

The new keyboards sport the familiar brushed aluminum frame and detachable soft-touch wrist rest as other Corsair models. The 17.2 x 6.5 x 1.5-inch K70 RGB weighs in at 2.65 pounds while the more compact K65 RGB does away with some dedicated multimedia keys and the numberpad to weigh 1.9 pounds.

Both the K70 RGB and K65 RGB have new controllers that give them more expanded lighting capabilities compared to the previous generation of Corsair's keyboards. With per-key multi-color backlighting, you can customize the color and pattern on every key. The lower-cost K70 Rapidfire features red LED lighting. A large font keycap is designed to bring in more light on each key when you're using the keyboards' lighting effects.

The new Rapidfire keyboards pick up a feature from Corsair's Strafe keyboard — a USB 2.0 pass-through port at the top of the keyboard where you can plug in a mouse, headset or other USB device.

All three Rapidfire models are now shipping. We look forward to putting Corsar's latest keyboards through their paces, so stay tuned for our final verdict.