MSI announced a pair of new mechanical keyboards, the 104-key GK80 and the tenkeyless GK70. Both feature per-key RGB lighting that integrates with MSI’s Mystic Light ecosystem and come with a partial set of replacement keycaps.
Starting with the larger of the two, the GK80, MSI has elected to go a little more upmarket than its past keyboards. The new GK80 has an anodized aluminum faceplate, a red-accented base, and RGB-lit accents at its sides. The typical media keys at the top right of the keyboard are slimmer than what we usually see and are just a row that hangs off the rear edge of the keyboard. The key indicator lights are similarly integrated in a stylish accent strip.
To add to that more premium feel, the GK80 comes by default with metal-topped keycaps on its WASD keys, which we first saw at Computex this past summer. If that sort of bling isn’t quite your style, then you can swap the WASD keycaps, along with some others of your choice, with a partial set of textured but unprinted rubber keycaps that are included. Your unused caps can be stored in a slot on the bottom of the included full-length wrist rest.
What's rather odd, though--and in our opinion a miscalculation on MSI's part--is that there isn't a set of replacement WASD caps that are the same as the rest of the keycaps. You can have either the metal-topped caps or the "Dragon Scale" textured ones; that's it.
As for conveniences, the GK80 has a single USB2.0 passthrough and cable routing channels in its base. It uses MSI’s Gaming Center driver software for macro programming, but MSI’s separate Mystic Light software is needed to customize the RGB lighting. Regarding macros, users of MSI motherboards can toggle CPU and GPU overclocking modes using function-key combinations on the GK80.
The GK70 isn’t quite the little sibling of the GK80 that its name might imply. Besides being tenkeyless, it has different styling overall, with a more subdued look than its big brother. Although it still has RGB accent lighting, it’s tucked under its sides. Like the GK80, the GK70 also comes with the same metal WASD keys and a replacement set of rubber keycaps.
The MSI GK80 and GK70 come in with Cherry MX Red or MX Silver keys. Both are linear, but the Silver switches have a shallower actuation point and travel.
Both keyboards will be available starting March, but their prices are currently unknown.