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

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G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB Performance

The only major Cherry MX key switch option G.Skill omits from its Ripjaws KM780 is Cherry MX Black, which is a linear switch that doesn't provide any audible or tactile feedback. Why omit it? G.Skill probably figures that gamers who prefer a completely linear switch will prefer the Cherry MX Red. It's similar to the Cherry MX Black, but requires less force (45g compared to 60g) to register a keystroke.

Key Switches

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 Cherry MX Brown

The model G.Skill sent us to review uses Cherry MX Brown switches (Blue and Red are also available). Cherry MX Brown switches provide a small tactile response that's similar to how the Blue switches feel, but require a hair less force (45g versus 50g) and lacks the audible "click" response. That's not to say they're completely silent—they're quiet, but if you mash the keys with Hulk-like force, you're going to hear some noise as they bottom out.

You can view Cherry MX Brown switches as the middle ground between Blues (tactile and loud) and Reds (no feedback and quiet).

Software

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 Software

Every key on the Ripjaws KM780 can be customized with a macro, keystroke, or command, save for the special buttons that line the top row. You also get six dedicated macro keys, all of which are reachable with your pinkie finger when using the WASD keys to play games.

The software makes it easy to configure individual keys and create macros. Where things get a little tricky is when you try to program lighting effects. There's a small learning curve involved and you'll find yourself fumbling around at first, but once you get the hang of things, it's not that difficult to change the effects. However, you are somewhat limited in what you can do—instead of handing you the keys to create your own truly custom light show, G.Skill limits your participation to customizing four effects: Wave, Ripple, Reactive, and Breathing.

When you're finished customizing your layout, you can save it as one of three switchable Modes. Likewise, you can save Profiles, which are stored in the keyboard's onboard memory.

Performance

G.Skill's fairly proud of the "five levels of contoured keycaps" on the Ripjaws KM180. It's tough to see when looking down at the keyboard, though it becomes more apparent when viewing it from the side. We can't say that it really made a difference in our typing comfort versus other keyboards, but it didn't hurt it, either.

If you need it, there's a detachable wrist rest included with the keyboard. It has a soft rubber texture that feels nice on the palms and wrist, though it obviously comes at the expense of bulk, taking up around a third more desk space when attached.

We found it easy to type on the Ripjaws KM180, with much of the credit owed to mechanical key switches and the rest belonging to G.Skill for not introducing any weird design flaws. The keycaps themselves are ABS and laser-etched.

For gaming, we like that the G1 through G6 keys are within reach when using the WASD keys. It's also nice that every key is configurable/remappable, though another set of dedicated macro keys would be appreciated. Even without them, this is a really good first effort by G.Skill.

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