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Thread: CM Storm Quickfire Pro, Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

  1. #1
    Practice random acts of generosity Omega's Avatar
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    Default CM Storm Quickfire Pro, Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

    Mechanical keyboards are making a resurgence in the PC scene and it's pretty easy to see why. Let's start at square one, though.

    What is a mechanical keyboard? Well, back in the day, keyboards had an individual switch underneath every key. Keyboards like the legendary IBM Model M. Eventually, manufacturers realized that it was cheaper to manufacture keyboards with a big circuit board and a rubber "membrane" with contacts on it. Chances are fairly likely that you're using a rubber dome keyboard right now.

    Well mechanical keyboards are back, and better than ever.

    Enter the Cooler Master Storm Quickfire Pro.

    This is an old-styled mechanical keyboard with modern design, fitted with a few different choices of Cherry MX switches, and aimed at gamers.

    The Quickfire Pro is a "partially backlit" keyboard, with arrow keys, and the left side of the keyboard having lighting options for gaming. You can either have just WASD backlit, or the ESC, F1-F4, 1-5, and QWERASDFZXC lit.

    The keyboard boasts a detachable USB cable with multiple channels underneath so you can either run the cable straight out the back, or out either side. The cable itself is a nice thick cloth-wrapped cable that should stand up to all kinds of abuse.

    Also on the underside of the keyboard are an awesome set of feet. The rubber pads hold the keyboard firmly to your desk, and even the extendable feet have rubber on them, so you don't lose any grip and slide around during intense gaming sessions. This was certainly an issue for me before on my cheapie MS keyboard, but a problem it is no longer.

    Moving up through the keyboard is a solid steel plate located within the housing, which acts to help weigh down the keyboard and add an incredible amount of rigidity. This thing is seriously solid. Even grabbing both ends and twisting it, it has very little give and absolutely no creaking or noise of any kind. Just another gaming-minded benefit, so you can hammer the absolute crap out of it while you get killed in Battlefield again without having to worry about your poor keyboard. I also imagine it may make a decent makeshift weapon in the instance of a home invasion or zombie apocalypse. Seriously. It's that sturdy.

    Moving up from that layer, is the switches. This is where it gets neat -- CM sell this keyboard with an option of four switches. You can either have Cherry MX Red, Black, Blue, or Brown switches. Each key type will have it's own particular characteristics and benefits. For instance, the keyboard I purchased has Cherry MX browns. These are a light/medium resistance switch, with a tactile bump for feedback once the switch has reached it's activation point. Red and black switches are "linear" which means that there's no feedback. Red in particular is a "light" switch, blacks are a "heavy" switch. Blue switches have "audible" feedback, in that they are incredibly clicky once they hit the activation point.

    The keyboard does also come with a few other options. Adjustable polling rate (though why you'd do anything more than 1ms seems pointless) and adjustable key rollover (which is how many you can have pressed at once). This keyboard supports both 6-key rollover and Full N key rollover, which means you could set a brick down on the keyboard and it will successfully register each keypress, independently. Oh, and since it's sturdy, you actually could set a brick on it.

    Another nice thing about Cherry MX switches are the custom keycap options. Other CM Storm models come with secondary keycap sets for WASD and arrow keys, for some reason the CM Storm Quickfire Pro does not. A little displeased with that (since I wanted red WASD keys, dag nabbit) but there's plenty of "aftermarket" support so no real skin off my back there.

    So, the major question... how does it feel to type on?

    It feels fantastic. Compared to a rubber dome keyboard especially, it's no contest. The CM Storm Quickfire Pro feels so amazingly precise and sturdy. I'm able to type both quickly and with confidence. The only issues I'm having with adjusting are that I used to use an ergonomic keyboard, which this one isn't. Otherwise it's fantastic.

    For gaming the story is the same -- just nothing but solid feedback and precision. There's no doubt that when my finger goes down, the game registers the key, regardless of how many I'm pressing down. Which is fantastic.

    Other thoughts:

    This is a thick keyboard. I'm glad I bought a Grifiti Fat Foam wrist pad, because for the few moments I used the keyboard without the wrist pad, it was terrible. It sits really high off your desk and will throw your wrists way out of alignment unless you get a pad.

    It is also worth noting that even on my keyboard, which is a "tactile" feedback (supposed to be quieter) and also fitted with silencing o-rings (aftermarket), it is still fairly loud compared to a rubber dome keyboard.


    Overall? 9/10. I don't like that it's not fully backlit, and I don't like the lack of keycaps. But those are my only serious gripes with the keyboard. Otherwise it's an incredibly well made piece of kit, and should be a welcome addition to any gamer's arsenal.


    The box


    The board


    The switch.



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  2. #2
    Why must hard drives fail together? TheMainMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: CM Storm Quickfire Pro, Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

    I like the font they've used on the keys. The addition of a logo on the spacebar, while different, might not hold up to use if it's silk-screened on. I'd be interested to know how that wears, probably depends on where you put your thumbs while typing I guess.

    Can we get a shot of the lighting if you get a chance, please? Thanks for the detailed review!
    TheMainMan

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    Yuk it up Monkey Boy! Airbozo's Avatar
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    Default Re: CM Storm Quickfire Pro, Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

    Great write up!

    I love mechanical keyboards and have been looking for one to replace mine.

    I do know that back lighting a mechanical keyboard would be really costly as they would have to put the switches with LED's in them unless there is another way to do it. I had a fully back lit mechanical keyboard (every key had a bulb in the switch) in one of the simulators at SGI and that thing was almost $1k! It was Mil spec though.

    Great job Omega!
    "...Dumb all over, A little ugly on the side... "...Frank Zappa...

  4. #4
    Practice random acts of generosity Omega's Avatar
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    Default Re: CM Storm Quickfire Pro, Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMainMan View Post
    I like the font they've used on the keys. The addition of a logo on the spacebar, while different, might not hold up to use if it's silk-screened on. I'd be interested to know how that wears, probably depends on where you put your thumbs while typing I guess.

    Can we get a shot of the lighting if you get a chance, please? Thanks for the detailed review!
    All the keys are basically a translucent clear, with black paint over them. It's done this way so that CM can use the same keys even on "higher end" keyboards that are fully backlit. The paint feels fairly sturdy though, but we'll see in the coming months how things wear.

    ask and ye shall receive:



    This is the "full" lightup mode



    and then just WASD + arrow keys



    Quote Originally Posted by Airbozo View Post
    Great write up!

    I love mechanical keyboards and have been looking for one to replace mine.

    I do know that back lighting a mechanical keyboard would be really costly as they would have to put the switches with LED's in them unless there is another way to do it. I had a fully back lit mechanical keyboard (every key had a bulb in the switch) in one of the simulators at SGI and that thing was almost $1k! It was Mil spec though.

    Great job Omega!
    I don't know how other manufacturers do it, but on the CM Storm Quickfire PRO, the LED lit keys basically have little spherical cutouts from the switch itself and the LED runs to the PCB underneath. So the LEDs aren't inside the switches themselves.

    Lots of full-backlit keyboards are fairly affordable now, like Razer keyboards, the Ducky Shine series and others. I do believe the CM also makes a fully backlit keyboard as well. I know the CM Storm quickfire TK is a fully backlit keyboard, but it's a compact design. Same font and everything as the Quickfire PRO though, and similar switch options (brown/red/blue). Plus it's only like $100.



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  5. #5
    Why must hard drives fail together? TheMainMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: CM Storm Quickfire Pro, Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

    Thanks for the quick photo response! With the difference between unlit and lit keys, it really does seem strange that they didn't make an option to light the whole keyboard.
    TheMainMan

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    Practice random acts of generosity Omega's Avatar
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    Default Re: CM Storm Quickfire Pro, Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMainMan View Post
    Thanks for the quick photo response! With the difference between unlit and lit keys, it really does seem strange that they didn't make an option to light the whole keyboard.
    Gotta have different "trim levels".

    Sure, they could probably make the Quickfire PRO full backlit for not much more money, but then what difference would there be between it and a similar model that does have full backlighting? Why pay more for a board with fewer differences?

    It feels kind of artificial to create a features gap (and then market that as a feature in and of itself), but I can understand why, as a business, they would.

    It'd be like making two cars with different engines make the same amount of power. Some people are gonna buy the V8 just because it's a V8, but if the V6 is functionally identical, then you're just making new things for the sake of "variety".


    Also worth noting is that I bought the keyboard not really caring about the backlighting. My last keyboard wasn't backlit, why should I care if my new one is? Well only about a week in and the partial-only backlighting kinda bugs me, I'd rather have the whole board lit up. Oh well, C'est la vie. Maybe next time I'll buy a Ducky Shine or something.



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