Cherry has a new switch, the MX Speed (Silver), and it made its debut in both standard and RGB form on new Corsair K70 RGB, K70 and K65 RGB Rapidfire keyboards. The trio of new keyboards in the legendary K-Series line serve primarily as a vehicle for the new switches to premier, and they essentially just help Corsair expand the number of switch types it offers with those devices.
In other words, if you’re a fan of the classic K-Series design and features, but are interested in a slightly shallower linear switch, you’re in luck. The new keyboards have that same plate-mounted design, iconic profile, and an optional rubberized and detachable wrist wrest. They support CUE software, as well.
There are small differences in the new K-Series keyboards, though. For example, the spacebar on the new units has a textured finish instead of a smooth one like their predecessors. Corsair also packed in some replacement key caps; the K70 RGB Rapidfire I have on hand has two sets in each, actually, one for FPS (W, A, S, D) and MOBA (Q, W, E, R, D, F). There’s also a key puller.
The key caps have a light gray top and sport the same textured finish as the spacebar. They’re angled differently than the standard key caps, too. For example, the replacement WASD key caps all angle inward, towards the center of the cluster.
For the most part, though, the Rapidfire keyboards have the same specs as their K-Series counterparts.
|K70 RGB Rapidfire||K70 Rapidfire||K65 RGB Rapidfire|
|Switches||Cherry MX Speed RGB||Cherry MX Speed||Cherry MX Speed RGB|
|Layout||Full 104-key||Full 104-key||TKL|
|Report Rate||Selectable 8ms, 4ms, 2ms, 1ms and BIOS mode||Selectable 8ms, 4ms, 2ms, 1ms and BIOS mode||Selectable 8ms, 4ms, 2ms, 1ms and BIOS mode|
|Anti-Ghosting||Full KRO on USB||Full KRO on USB||Full KRO on USB|
|Cable||Braided fiber||Braided fiber||Braided fiber|
|Misc.||-All-key macro support-Six media keys, including roller-Windows Lock-Detachable wrist rest||-All-key macro support-Six media keys, including roller-Windows Lock-Detachable wrist rest||-All-key macro support-Six media keys, including roller-Windows Lock-Detachable wrist rest|
|Weight||1.2 kg||1.2 kg||.86 kg|
|Dimensions||436 x 165 x 38 mm||436 x 165 x 38 mm||355 x 165 x 38 mm|
The Speed Switch Reality Check
The so-called Speed switch (which is silver in color), though, is designed to offer typers an option that’s similar to Cherry’s MX Red switches but--well, speedier. Both the Red and Speed switches are linear, with relatively light 45g actuation force. Indeed, specification-wise they’re essentially identical outside of the fact that the latter has a shorter distance to actuation (1.2 mm versus 2 mm). This results in a commensurately shorter overall key travel.
In reality, the difference between the two switches is not so dramatically pronounced. Bear in mind that because of manufacturing tolerances, the pretravel distance of both switch types is about +/- 0.4 mm. Therefore, the Speed switch may actuate anywhere between 0.8-1.6 mm, whereas the Red switch may actuate anywhere from 1.6-2.4 mm. Granted, the delta between 0.8 mm and 2.4 mm is significant, but note that both switch types may both actuate at 1.6 mm, too.
Ostensibly, Cherry and Corsair are pushing these Speed switches as ideal for helping you type faster, particularly in gaming scenarios, but you probably won’t notice much in terms of actuation. What is certainly more notable, though, is the total key travel.
There is no variation there, so Reds give you 4 mm whereas Speeds offer just 3.2 mm, every time on every key. I’m typically skeptical when anyone claims they can detect distances of less than a millimeter, but I have to say that the stunted travel on the Speed switches was striking, at first. I quickly got used to it. I believe part of the gradual comfort was because the switches felt a little stiff to me when I first started typing on them, but they eventually felt like they loosened up.
If you're an adventurous sort and want to take a whack at some linear switches with short travel, and you dig the Corsair K-series look, the new Rapidfire keyboards are for you.