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If you're after a mechanical keyboard that isn't overly expensive, has some good features and not insanely loud, the Corsair STRAFE RGB Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Silent Switches is a damn good bit of kit.

Unlike my last mechanical keyboard, the Roccat Ryos MK Pro, the Corsair has a removable rest at the bottom which I never use, so thankfully it takes up a lot less space. Given all the features it has, it takes up so little space on my desk I'm really quite surprised by it. It measures only 450mm x 170mm x 40mm so it's really not big at all.

It's actually cheaper than my previous Roccat keyboard too, so that's a bit of a bonus. The Corsair also comes with edged/patterned WASD keys (which I decided to use), with W/A/D having a slight ramp on the side to stop you slipping off them—surprisingly useful for FPS games. It has similar keys you can use for a few other keys as well. The keys were really easy to change around with the look hook it gives you, which was really great as I don't like small fiddly things.

You can also lock the super key (the Windows key) by pressing the top right button, which is surprisingly useful when you don't want accidentally bring up some sort of desktop HUD when you're in a particularly intense gaming session. Just don't leave it locked and "do a Liam" and have no idea why it's not working…

It's nowhere near as loud as a lot of keyboards, although saying it's silent would be pushing it pretty far. It's quiet, sure, but still audible enough so that you're still aware you're typing. Absolute silence would be a little bit weird, but it's a much duller sound that isn't irritating which makes it great to use for long periods.

You can easily tell the difference too, listen to the audio embed below with the load clicker Roccat, then after a second or two of silence the Corsair and you will hear for yourself how much nicer it is:

I actually cranked up the gain on my microphone for that test too, so it's quite impressive.

For those of you who like to play your games in a dark room, but don't want to be blinded by your keyboard, the Corsair also features multiple brightness settings at the touch a button (including off).

In terms of other features: it has a single USB port on the back, a few function key shortcuts like volume, play, pause and so on, anti-ghosting and naturally you can customize how the lights work really easily on Linux thanks to the open source ckb-next [GitHub] driver and UI.

The ckb-next project is not an official Corsair product, but another great example of how open source is great.

I've not had a single issue with ckb-next personally, messing around with profiles, animations and so on is an absolutely breeze.

It's been a fantastic experience with it so far. If you're looking for a decent mechanical keyboard or even your first ever, this is absolutely one that needs some serious consideration. I don't have a single issue with it, which is a rare occasion when it comes to hardware as I usually end up nit-picking at various things, but I don't have a bad thing to say about it.

Find it on the Corsair site or your favourite retailer.

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Erwhann 24 July 2018 at 7:19 am UTC
TcheyMy keyboard is excellent for typing, a little less for playing as too many people think "qwerty" is mandatory, but i manage in most game by simply rebinding keys, or switch to US layout...

It's a TypeMatrix french bépo :


I usually play with PIUE to move, and other keys depending on what is needed. Most of the special french keys don't work in games, such as éàçè....

TypeMatrix + bépo makes typing a breeze. But it's a shame that so many games just refuses to bind characters with an accent. Most of the time I end telling Lutris to auto-start the game with US layout.

wvstolzingI'm really curious to try out one of these 'orthogonal' keyboards.

Orthogonal keyboards are a bit expensive to try if you don't know someone who owns one. But they're super comfortable. And TypeMatrix are awesome for the centered <return> and <backspace> keys.

Last edited by Erwhann at 24 July 2018 at 7:20 am UTC
rustybroomhandle 24 July 2018 at 10:40 am UTC
Silent switches? Nooooo, when I type I want it to sound like a herd of stampeding buffalo.
Grimfist 24 July 2018 at 11:49 am UTC
mondalaciHey there!

I'm the lead and founder of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard and we actually do support Linux! Our configurator runs natively on Linux, OSX and Windows, it's Free and Open Source, and it provides way more options than the configurators of gaming keyboards (minus LEDs for the time being).

All the best,

Wow, never heard of UHK but the concept looks awesome and freaking useful (mouse layer is f*in cool idea). I will have a serious look into this for my work keyboard, thanks for the heads up.

For my gaming keyboard, I always felt that the numpad is just useless and uses up desk space and pushes my mouse arm further to the right, which is tiresome in long gaming sessions (and also causes shoulder pain). So I looked for a gaming keyboard without a numpad and mechanical switches and found myself a Logitech G410 Atlas Spectrum and combined it with a Logitech G403 mouse. For both devices are Linux deamons available to configure the RGB stuff, sadly only with config files and no GUI.
I also looked into the Corsair K65 Rapidfire without numpad but at that time it was double as expensive than the Logitech G410, so my choice fell on Logitech. But I didn't know about the cool ckb-next project, looking back now I think I should have bought the Corsair K65 ;)

Some weeks ago I stumbled upon Bloody Keyboards which has an even better concept for a gaming keyboard: light-strike switches and the numpad on the left end!
Still waiting for this baby to be available in Europe!

Last edited by Grimfist at 24 July 2018 at 11:50 am UTC
nattydread 24 July 2018 at 12:04 pm UTC
I just bought a Das prime 13 mechanical keyboard with cherry switches (UK).
Its really good. Cost £110 and has white backlit keys.
It is really loud though clackety-clack!
I love it so far.

Last edited by nattydread at 24 July 2018 at 12:10 pm UTC
xavi 24 July 2018 at 2:11 pm UTC
ElectricPrismI also dig the Vortex Race 3, but I'm not sure if I want to get a keyboard without the Insert key as it's handy in VIM

On vim press 'i' and you don't need Insert.
xavi 24 July 2018 at 2:15 pm UTC
I have a CoolerMaster QuickFire TK since years, but just today I bought an Atreus42, like this:

I wanted to try vertical staggering, and I want a really portable keyboard because QuickFire is a heavy. Also I like the idea to not have numbers row because that row make me always look the keyboard.
wvstolzing 24 July 2018 at 3:19 pm UTC
ElectricPrismI also dig the Vortex Race 3, but I'm not sure if I want to get a keyboard without the Insert key as it's handy in VIM

On vim press 'i' and you don't need Insert.

Yeah in *insert* mode, 'Home' and 'End' can be 'handy' when you're too lazy to switch to normal mode to jump to the start/end of the line and continue insterting from there (I put 'handy' in scare quotes, because it's pretty much the same amount of finger work as Ctrl+[+"I" or "A" -- fewer keystrokes, but requires stretching the pinky) ; though it's never even occurred to me to use the 'Insert' key in Vim.

Last edited by wvstolzing at 24 July 2018 at 3:20 pm UTC
hummer010 24 July 2018 at 3:43 pm UTC
tuubiI'm severely allergic to this backlight nonsense,

You know, I used to feel the same way, and then I bought a laptop with backlit keys. I liked the backlit keys enough that my next laptop had to have 'em.
Can you actually buy a reasonably high-end (business) laptop without a backlit kb these days? I've used a couple, but they didn't change my mind about desktop keyboard backlights being just pointless bling. Not quite as pointless as cooling fan LEDs, but still.

Fair point on the desktop part. I don't have a desktop though, just a laptop.

I pretty regularly wind up using my laptop in the dark, so I like having the backlit keys. They default to off, and I only turn them on if it's dark. Whenever I try and use my wife's laptop in the dark, I'm frustrated by the lack of backlit keys, especially since I'm not as familiar with her keyboard.
riusma 24 July 2018 at 4:00 pm UTC
STiATThere isn't a comparable tool out in the world for razer hardware.

Hmmmm... maybe I don't read your sentence correctly but there is indeed such (unofficial) tools for Razer hardware with OpenRazer (driver and user-space daemon) and Polychromatic (front-end, but other alternatives are available for this one): I use a Razer Mamba Tournament Edition, a Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 (Razer Yellow "silent" switch) and a Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 successfully!

Edit: I specify that I don't have the Chroma Mug Holder, I'm not that fond of LED and Razer hardware!

Last edited by riusma at 24 July 2018 at 6:16 pm UTC
marcus 24 July 2018 at 8:15 pm UTC
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For desktop use (and programming) I can very much recommend Das Keyboard. I have a Das Keyboard 4 Pro with Cherry MX Blue switches and it is really great. I never want to use anything else again. I ponder getting one with brown or similar switches for work (since co-workers might be annoyed by the loud click of the blue switches).

I also got the very important Tux Keycaps for the Super Keys:

The only thing I really miss and would like to have is a keyboard with ISO layout and english keycaps. They all only sell the ANSI layout which I find harder to use. I like the big enter key I can just smash down on

See the difference here:
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