Keys To Success: Mechanical Keyboard Round-Up With ASUS, G.Skill, Aorus, Logitech

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G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB Design

G.Skill is best known for its high performance RAM and related activity in the overclocking scene, but it's also begun dabbling in PC peripherals, keyboards included. The Ripjaws KM780 RGB is the company's flagship plank available in choice of Cherry MX Blue, Brown, and Red key switches. The model we received for review uses Cherry MX Brown.

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780

G.Skill might be relatively new to the market of mechanical keyboards, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the Ripjaws KM780 RGB, a plank with the appearance of a matured design seemingly born out of a generation or two of predecessors. Subjectively it's the best looking keyboard of the bunch, which is high praise because there aren't any stinkers in this group.

The main body of the Ripjaws KM780 RGB is a brushed black slab of anodized aluminum that G.Skill claims is "military grade," a term that peripheral makers seem to use liberally these days. It gives the keyboard a comparatively lightweight and airy feel, yet maintains a level of rigidity that sits in premium territory. Black metal bars protrude from the sides and run partial lengths on the top and bottom giving the illusion that it's one long strand serving as the foundation. It lends an almost industrial look to the keyboard, though it quickly gives way to modern technology with all of the fancy lighting effects and LED color options that blitz your retinas.

Like the others in this roundup, this is a full-size keyboard with a dedicated number pad on the right. It also has a row of macro keys on the left labeled G1 through G6, giving the keyboard street cred among gamers. Unlike the others, the keys appear to hover, an illusion made possible by the aforementioned slab design consisting of just a base.

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 Left Keys G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 Keys Right

There are several extra buttons that sit above the macro and first set of Function keys (F1 through F4) on the left-hand side. The first one, labeled MR, allows you to record macros on the fly, while the M1, M2, and M3 buttons switch between three different modes.

Next to the profile keys are three more buttons that sit lower and closer to the plank. The first one is the Windows Lock key. Engaging this disables the Windows key so that you don't accidentally fling yourself out of a game with a stray button press. The one next to it is the LED Backlight Toggle that lets you adjust the brightness of the keyboard by three different levels, or turn off altogether. And the last button is a Timer Key of dubious value—you can have it display custom text on the screen after a set interval, which G.Skill envisions using when "making Ramen or waiting for a skill cool down." Uh, cool?

Over on the other side are the media control keys with a die-cast volume roller and EQ-like LED volume display.

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 Gaming Keys

If you want to trade the high tech vibe for a more stereotypical gamer look, G.Skill includes extra keycaps for the WASD key, along with the Q, E, R, F, C, and G keys. They're red keycaps with grooves cut in them that almost look like claw marks, though they're not just for looks—they provide a tactile feel to make it easier to hit the intended key without looking down from your game. As a nice touch, G.Skill provides a storage box for the keycaps, which also holds a keycap removal tool. The box itself can latch onto the metal bar that runs along the top of the keyboard.

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 USB Port

There is a USB 2.0 pass-through on the Ripjaws KM780, plus a pair of audio jacks for plugging in headphones and a microphone. The switch that sits next to them toggles between N-Key Rollover (NKRO) and the standard 6-key rollover more typical of USB keyboards.

As for the piece of plastic you see standing up above, it's a foldable mouse cable holder to keep your rodent's tail from tripping you up. When you're not using it, the holder flips down and tucks underneath the keyboard.

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