There are certain things that, once experienced, you can never go back to the way things were. Mobile phones, 30-inch monitors (and/or dual-monitors), and solid state drives all fall into this category. There's also a less obvious submission, one that sits right beneath your fingertips -- the keyboard. Not just any keyboard, mind you, but mechanical planks
. Once you try one, there's no going back to a membrane-based keyboard.
It's all about the switches, and some of the most popular are the Cherry MX, of which there are several different types. Cherry MX Blue, for example, are tactile and make an audible click like the old IBM Model M. Cherry MX Red are just the opposite -- they're not tactile nor are they noisy. There are a handful of others, plus a brand new one that Cherry and Corsair just jointly announced -- Cherry MX RGB.
The new MX RGB is optimized to use with SMD (Surface Mount Devices) LEDs to illuminate key symbols in specially designed keycaps. Put another way, MX RGB supports individual backlighting for each key, with 16.7 million RGB colors to choose from.
"The illumination of keyboard symbols – especially in terms of their uniformity of illumination – is a technically highly complex and demanding task. The previous solution with the incorporation of 3mm LEDs led to unsatisfactory results," said Karl-Heinz Müller, Product Developer at Cherry. "With our newly developed MX RGB switch, key symbols can be evenly illuminated not only in the widest variety of brightness levels but also in up to 16.7 million different colors. Our new concept of light conductance was implemented through the use of new materials and several patent-pending technical solutions. This innovative, technical concept was implemented only in conjunction with manufacturing processes and sophisticated tool concepts constantly optimized over many years."
Cherry will implement its MX RGB switches into four existing ones, including Blue, Brown, Red, and Black. The first of these will be jointly launched with Corsair
in 2014. Cherry and Corsair didn't go into any detail about what Corsair's first gaming keyboards to use the new MX RGB switches will be like, though the companies plan to show them off at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, 2014, so we'll know more soon enough.