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Reviewed: Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

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Created: by
Shawn Baker

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRESo far, Cherry MX Red were the standard recommendation for responsive, demanding and fast-paced games. However, Cherry has developed a new breed of switch based on the popular MX Red – the Cherry MX Speed. For now, the accelerated switches are exclusively installed in some Corsair keyboards. We see just how they go in the new K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE.

Cooperation between Cherry and Corsair is particularly close thanks to Corsair being one of the first companies to use the Cherry MX switches in their line of gaming keyboards. Later on this gave Corsair a six-month exclusivity agreement on the companies first RGB switches. More recently we’ve seen Corsair obtain access to the new Silent switches from Cherry. The most recent addition is the new Cherry MX Speed switches that we’re going to be looking at today.

But what exactly are the Cherry MX Speed switches? So far they’re aimed at FPS players who like the MX Red need a smooth, linear switch. In effect, therefore, the MX Speed switch is based on the tried and trusted MX Red. However, they’re accelerated by a significantly shorter tripping point. Instead of the more common 2 millimeter distance, the new MX Speed see a greatly reduced 1.2 millimeter trip. The end result is the player saving 40 percent in key travel to the trip. Otherwise, the MX Speed line up with the MX red with their linear nature and operating force of 45 grams. Like the MX Red, the MX Speed support RGB LEDs.

The Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE name will no doubt be familiar to readers. Instead of developing a whole new keyboard for the new Cherry MX Speed switches, they’ve instead resorted to using the tried and tested K70 RGB as the base. OF course, the RAPIDFIRE naming distinguishes that the new Cherry MX Speed switches are used. Alongside the top model we’ve got on hand today, Corsair also offer the K70 RAPIDFIRE for those not needing the fancy RGB lighting and the smaller Tenkeyless K65 RGB RAPIDFIRE. In terms of pricing the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE will set you back $169.99 while the non RGB version is significantly cheaper at $129.99. At the time of writing we don’t have a price on the K65 RGB RAPIDFIRE.

Technical details - Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE:

  • Switches: Cherry MX Speed
  • Operating Force: 45 g
  • Key way to trip: 1.2 mm
  • Life span: 50 million actuations
  • Lighting: RGB lighting with 16.8 million colors
  • Cable: sleeved, gold-plated plug
  • Highlights: initially exclusively with Cherry MX Speed, RGB light, aluminum housing, additional USB port
  • Dimensions: 43.6 x 16.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Weight: 1.2kg
  • Price: $169.99

The Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE in detail

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

Outside of the actual keyboard itself we’ve got the standard Quick Start Guide and warranty information guide. Also seen is a number of extra keycaps offering a rather “grippy” design along with a tool to remove the said keycaps. Finally, Corsair also offer a palm rest. Here, Corsair opt for plastic with rubber coating that not only offers good grip, but helps give a higher quality feel.

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

THE K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE proves to carry the usual grade of quality you’d expect from Corsair. The top consists of a finely crafted aluminum plate with an attractive brushed finish. The freestanding keycaps provide a modern look and make the keys really standout.

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

Functionality features of the RAPIDFIRE are largely reminiscent of previous K70 variants. This include media controls that are offered via separate keys. Along with that we’ve got a knob for volume control and two other separate buttons that help adjust the lighting and disable / enable the Windows key.

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

In terms of connectivity the RAPIDFIRE sees two USB connectors. However, you only need to use both of these if you don’t have a single USB 3.0 port. Also seen above is a slide switch which activates the legacy mode and brings with it the ability to adjust the signal rate. The choices are 1, 2, 4 and 8 ms. A criticism that Corsair has clearly listened too when compared to the K70 RGB is the addition of a USB port on the RAPIDFIRE variant. This is especially helpful when it comes to connecting a mouse or something similar directly to the keyboard.

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

At the base we see Corsair move away from aluminum and use a standard plastic setup. Interring, however, is the fact that corsair has added feet to not only the rear, but also the front.

In practice

The difference between the K70 RGB with Cherry MX Red are minimal. Besides small optical adjustments, it will be a dependent on if the new Cherry MX Speed switches are for you.

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

Visually the difference between previous Cherry switches is the silver-gray stamp. A transparent housing ensures that the RGB LEDs can optimally radiate through the keycaps. The crucial difference to the closely related MX Red switches as mentioned earlier is the 40 percent change in key travel making the minimum key travel directly noticeable. When changing from the MX Red you straight away notice how quickly the trigger on the MX Speed is. While one is mentally still pressing the button, the letter has already appeared on the screen.

The MX Speed switch, however, hasn’t been developed primarily for writing, but for gaming. Again, the relationship between the MX Red switch is seen. The operation is almost identical except for the short travel time. Specifically, in response to games like shooters the short travel time makes a positive impact.

While the K70 RGB initially saw some problems with the RGB lighting system that was later fixed with a firmware update that helped cover the entire RGB spectrum. In terms of the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE, no restrictions on color choice could be seen. The Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software has been further developed since and proves to be a powerful nerve center for the companies gaming products. With that said, at times it can be a little complex for beginners as they find themselves perplexed.

Conclusion

Is it worth the change from one keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches to one with the Cherry MX Speed switches? That’s a question that should be discussed intensively by our readers. While the two micro switches have very similar characteristics, the shorter trip distance is clearly noticeable, even if it’s not a total game changer. The MX Red keyboards continue to be an extremely powerful weapon when it comes to gamers. Only those who require the most optimized reaction time are likely to want to make the move. In the case you’re in the market for a new keyboard, though, the MX Speed switch is an attractive alternative to the popular MX Red.

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

The fact that Corsair hasn’t developed a completely new keyboard for the new switches is understandable. The regular K70 RGB is still an excellent mechanical keyboard. The RAPIDFIRE variant ultimately sees nothing change, only the technology platform in the form of the quick MX Speed switches. So with that in mind, the Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE has earned our Excellent Hardware Award.

Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE

Positive aspects of Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE:

  • One of the few keyboards with the new MX Speed switch
  • Aluminum cover
  • Extremely customizable RGB key illumination, macro functionality, powerful software
  • Separate media buttons and knobs for volume control
  • Palmrest returned along with alternative keycaps and a USB port

Negative aspects of the Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE:

  • Software not beginner friendly
  • Conspicuous blank key noise