back to article Corsair's K70 MK.2 does nothing a cheaper keyboard can't, but the steep price gets you top-notch components

In many respects, working from home is liberating. Standards of attire and hygiene are the first to depart; after all, the only person likely to see you in person is the Deliveroo courier. Best of all, the absence of a manager walking past your desk also allows you to take certain liberties with your work environment. The …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    There's nothing the Corsair does

    I would hope for that price it includes the extra 2 secret letters that ordinary people don't know about

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

      The ones printed in Octarine?

      1. seven of five Silver badge

        Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

        These, or the elder runes.

    2. seven of five Silver badge

      Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

      It does come with two extra sets of keycaps, WASD and... some others.

      Additionally, the numer of available keyboards quickly dimmishes as soon as you leave en_US, so still being given the full choice of switches and layouts is really nice of Corsair. Of course, you do pay for it. Alas, Cherry brown and de_CH is a rare combination, and it is not like I really expect to need another keyboard in my life after this one.

      downsides: Starts always with active lights and the configuration software is windoes only.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

        I've got one of these and there's a Linux utility to allow you to fool about with the lights to your heart's content. Might be called ckb? (Am at work so can't check. Sorry.)

        The "off" button for the lights doesn't require any sort of utility either, if you are after a Cherry-based keyboard.

        1. seven of five Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

          ckb-next

          I would not have expected this to exist.

          Thank you very much.

    3. poohbear

      Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

      There's more than two.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

      I would hope for that price it includes the extra 2 secret letters that ordinary people don't know about

      You mean '' and '' ?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: There's nothing the Corsair does

        You mean ' ' and ' ' ?

        No not those two, the other two.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well

    I suppose there are some mug gamers who'll buy it.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Well

      Yup, my old K70 (Red LED's only) hasn't had any issues so meh wait for it to be on offer?

  3. Steve Foster

    USB passthrough

    I've never really understood why full-size wired USB keyboards don't routinely include a basic USB hub (2 or 4 ports) and memory card reader - the cost is negligible, but the value-add is substantial.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: USB passthrough

      People would have expectations of connecting a hard disk to it an expecting it to receive enough power and (if it does) to not crawl at USB 1.1 speeds as a keyboard doesn't need to be any faster.

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: USB passthrough

        @Dan55.

        Presumably the reduction in data transmission time going from USB 1.1 to USB 3.1 must be substantial, think what that can do for game response time.

        Quick calculation 1/12Mbps vs 1/10Gbps, so 83.2ns reduction in bit length, assuming 8 bit transfers and a bit of framing, then perhaps as much as 832ns

        I agree with the OP that a USB hub on a keyboard would be nice. They used to do it for mice and the like, but an old Dell keyboard with built in USB always sucks so hard when plugged in that it upsets the Pi, even when no devices are in the USB ports. How much current does it really take to scan a couple of switches with a microcontroller...

        Message sent from a nice clicky Logitech gaming keyboard. Overpriced, but very nice to type on and never used for gaming. Programmable G keys are nice .. addicted to them from an older Logitech keyboard .. More should come with them.

      2. PTW

        Re: USB passthrough

        I recently obtained one of these for around £50 after a fellow commentard recommended them https://www.redragonzone.com/collections/keyboard/products/redragon-k552-r-kumara-rainbow-rgbbacklit-mechanical-gaming-keyboard

        I'm really happy with it and no number pad makes things so much more comfortable using a mouse/trackball, but.... tried them both though an unpowered USB hub and said trackball stopped working YMMV

        N.B.

        The *many* seizure inducing RGB patterns can be turned off

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: USB passthrough

      A memory-card reader sounds like a good idea until you look at how long the various formats tend to last. Admittedly, micro-SD seems to be a settled standard for now, but the lifetime of a well-made keyboard will be in the decades (and with Cherry switches this is a reasonable expectation).

      I have, scattered around my desk, and in various drawers, micro-SD cards, adapters for micro-SD to mini-SD and full-sized SD, Proprietary Sony memory cards, compact flash [sic] things half the size of a floppy disk, as well as an assortment of pen drives, from thumbnail, to thumb sized, and USB enclosures for 2.5" and 3.5" hard disks. It is only in the last decade that I threw out the stack of Zip disks I used when I was a student, the drive itself having long ago ceased to function. The only thing that is constant in the external storage game is change. If you bought a keyboard that had a slot for a compact flash card, for instance, you would regard it as nothing more than a retirement home for dust.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Ballistic instant coffee

    It looks like what would happen if Foxconn made Skittles.

    And now you owe me a new one...!

  5. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Ranting from home

    Many people – myself included – prefer their keyboards to have a bit of noise. The constant percussive rhythm helps get you into the flow of things.

    The noise produced by a Cherry MX Blue switch is often compared to that of a typewriter. While that's fine at home, it may earn you the ire of your co-workers.

    Also those of us who have to endure the endless Zoom/Skype/Webex/Teams hell whilst working from home, especially with those who insist on typing away on such keyboards whilst they or others speak (and not muting in the latter case). Oftentimes all you can hear is their clatter rather than whoever is actually speaking, and it sounds like a fully castanetted flamenco troop falling down the stairs.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Ranting from home

      I use a similar (but cheaper model) keyboard from Corsair, the K68. It, too, has the frankly unnecessary, but oddly satisfying fully programmable lighting effects, but uses the cherry MX Red switches, which don't drive others around you to despair with the loud clacking worthy of a daisy-wheel printer. I believe this model, and presumably the one under review, come as variations, with a choice of red/blue/brown switches to fit the preferences of the typist (and those around them).

      You are basically paying for the high quality genuine cherry switches, rather than knock-offs (I'm typing this on a much cheaper "i-Rocks" model with perfectly good knock-off mechanical switches), plus a mark-up for the name, and for the lighting effects. I don't regret the frankly steep price point, because Corsair products do seem to be, on the whole, solidly and well made.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Ranting from home

        I wrote two of my books on a Corsair K95 with the Cherry Reds. I do think they're extremely loud - indeed, discernably louder than the far from quiet switches on my Logitech G910.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Ranting from home

          Are you sure those are reds and not blues? I have another KB beside me gathering dust that I am not allowed to use because it has Cherry blue switches.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Ranting from home

            I have no idea, but the order history on the site from which I bought it says red.

    2. Michael Hoffmann
      Coat

      Re: Ranting from home

      "Who's playing the maracas?"

      "MARACAS? I DON'T NEED MARACAS. MY KEYBOARD HAS CHERRY BLUE SWITCHES."

      Sorry! Sorry!

    3. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

      Re: Ranting from home

      I'd apologise for pedantry, but we all work in IT so it's baked into the price.

      As a flamenco guitarist and dancer, I can assure you that there are no castanets used in flamenco. Percussion is provided by palmas (clapping) or a cajon (a wooden box), alongside the fundamental driver of the dancers' footwork. Castanets are used in Sevillanas or similar palos that you might see at a feria, but that is classed as folklórica rather than flamenco. So, flamenco dancers will use castanets, but only when performing palos outside the realm of flamenco puro.

      Gracias por asistir a mi conferencia TED.

  6. Captain Obvious

    Why are they reviewing...

    A model that came out in early 2019? Have had mine for over one year and love the keyboard. I do have the Cherry Red switches and not the blue, but blue/brown/silver/red/etc. have been available for a long time. Maybe a little late to the party?

    1. RM Myers Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Why are they reviewing...

      I agree. Really, who would want to buy last year's model? Would you buy last year's hammer or saw model? Of course not, new and shiny is definitely the only way to go. A year old keyboard will never be able to keep up with the speed of the current CPU's, and you would lose style points to boot.

      1. oiseau Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Why are they reviewing...

        A year old keyboard will never be able to keep up with the speed of the current CPU's, and you would lose style points to boot.

        Brilliant ! 8^D !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Have one on me --->

        O.

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Why are they reviewing...

        That’s why despite the protestations of my wife, I only buy the latest antiques, not those sad, outdated ones from years past.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Keep it down

    > the Corsair K70 MK.2 is loud. That's not a bug; it's a feature.

    No. It is most definitely a bug. A big bug.

    But before we get there, any keyboard that has backlights screams "children's toy". Nothing more than a zero-function bauble for the easily impressed. Fortunately, that makes it a device that would never get past a purchasing department - but, but, but .... I need pretty little lights ... to keep me amused!

    Therefore saving office workers everywhere the annoyance of a constant CLICK-CLACK that again, serves no purpose. And saving the user from the pain and indignity of having said keyboard extracted from whichever orifice their colleagues inserted it (noiselessly - apart from the screams and the occasional CLICK)

    Looking at the review of this from June 2018, this model also comes with the option of silent keys. Perfect for a professional environment. Why would anyone want to add unnecessary noise to their life?

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Keep it down

      Backlights are quite handy if working in low light.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keep it down

      The backlight has the marvellous feature of irritating people over the internet, even when they can't see it (and never will).

      As others have mentioned, Corsair makes this with the range of Cherry switches, so it's possible to choose quieter keys than the blue ones. They also do a wide range of layouts (including UK with proper double-height return key). So once the novelty of fiddling with the lights wanes and you either switch them off, or set them to a single colour (about 5 minutes in my case), you have a solid keyboard with decent keyswitches. I like mine.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Keep it down

      But before we get there, any keyboard that has backlights screams "children's toy"

      Nonsense. Adults like toys too.

      I don't need the backlights on my keyboard but I do like them. Why shouldn't I have them, and how is having them any more childish than you choosing to wear a green skirt today instead of a blue one?

    4. Andy Tunnah

      Re: Keep it down

      Jesus you sound insufferable. Miserable sod, let people have their shiny things.

  8. msknight

    KVM performance?

    One of the most important features for me, is whether they play nice with KVMs. I've had the unfortunate experience of a number of good quality keyboard that I've had to send back, because they can't handle being switched between a number of PCs. Drives me nuts. Either the lighting and features reset, or they require software to run them (which doesn't usually come with variants for anything other than Windows, or MAC if you're lucky) or they end up with some completely whacko behaviours, like repeating the same key press, even though I've released the key.

    1. $till$kint

      Re: KVM performance?

      Mine works fine with the KVM switch built in to my monitor (Philips 346b1c). Back and forth between work laptop and desktop like a fiddlers elbow without a glitch for the last..... how long has 2020 been so far?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: KVM performance?

        how long has 2020 been so far?

        At least 13 months... or that's what it feels like...

        :)

    2. Captain Obvious

      Re: KVM performance?

      Mine also works on KVM - in fact all the corsair RGB keyboards I have with different models works with a KVM.

  9. Randesigner

    "However, this largely feels moot as the keyboard itself uses two USB ports."

    Why does a keyboard require two USB ports?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: "However, this largely feels moot as the keyboard itself uses two USB ports."

      Why does a keyboard require two USB ports?

      Probably to get sufficient power to run all the bloody lights...

    2. djack

      Re: "However, this largely feels moot as the keyboard itself uses two USB ports."

      Why does a keyboard require two USB ports?

      The second connection is for the port on the keyboard. Basically just acts as an extension. You don't need to plug in both plugs if you just want to use it as a keyboard.

      No idea why they didn't just build in a USB hub into the keyboard.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: "However, this largely feels moot as the keyboard itself uses two USB ports."

        No idea why they didn't just build in a USB hub into the keyboard.

        Presumably, power requirements. USB 3 can provide quite an amount of power compared to USB 2, and this essentially means that hubs should be powered, especially if the upstream port is underpowered (as some laptop ports can be). It seems a perfectly sensible design decision to use a port for the keyboard itself, and a second for the hub, thus guaranteeing that the lights on the keyboard don't draw too much power to under-power the pass-through ports. The ugly alternative would be to plug the thing into a power brick, or risk complaints that the external port is underpowered when it is plugged into a USB 2 port on a 4-way hub.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: "However, this largely feels moot as the keyboard itself uses two USB ports."

          Yes, and given even newish motherboards have relatively limited numbers of USB3 ports having to use one just for the keyboard would be a pain.

          Though mainly I came here to rant about the unreliability of USB hubs in general.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: "However, this largely feels moot as the keyboard itself uses two USB ports."

            I think this is probably due to both the power, and bandwidth requirements. I'm not about to go peering round the back of my PC right now, but IIRC, it has 5 or 6 USB3 ports, and a couple of USB2 ones on the back panel. Add to that, one header each for USB2 and USB3 on the mobo itself (which give 2 ports each on the front panel), and that's not the most generous. And it's one bought this year (albeit at the beginning of the year, so probably a 2018/19 model).

            Due to the number of things I generally have plugged in, I went and bought a PCIe USB3 card, which provides an additional 2 ports round the back, and an additional header. I think it cost about a tenner on eBay (shipped from China of course).

            Due to requirements of things I have plugged in internally, I also bought a 4-way internal USB2 hub, turning that single header (equivalent to 2 ports) into 4 (equivalent to 8). That cost about a fiver.

            The reason the USB3 needs to use a PCIe slot, and the USB2 doesn't is that USB3 provides about 12 times the bandwidth and twice the power of USB2.

            There also seems to be this idea that you can just dasiy-chain USB hubs together, with no power, and the bandwidth and power provision will be magically spread to every port. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics".

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: "However, this largely feels moot as the keyboard itself uses two USB ports."

        Yeah, I use my K95 with a tablet that only has one USB port. It works fine.

        That doesn't mean that I like it having a spare USB connector dangling uselessly to the side, but I tolerate it.

  10. employeeNo7

    How reliable are the lights

    I have K70 from a few years back, which I think is great except that the lights (simple monochrome on this model) started to fail one by one after a relatively short period of time. Currently on;y about half of them work, which is pain in dim lighting.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: How reliable are the lights

      Contact Corsair about a replacement. As far as I remember, they do lifetime guarantees on most of their products.

      I had a DIMM go bad a few years back, causing intermittent crashes. This was several years after I had bought it, and the PC it was in had fairly heavy use. Corsair only asked that I run Memtest86 to prove the problem (which I had already done to identify the faulty module), and that I send the whole set back to them for replacement. Of course that meant that I was stuck without any memory in my PC while it was being replaced, so I had to buy some new (faster) modules to replace them, but the replacements when they arrived went straight onto eBay and covered most of the upgrade cost...

  11. Ochib

    Happy with my model M keyboard, they can prise that keyboard from my cold dead hands

  12. Death_Ninja

    Cherry Red

    I have a K70 Mk2 (and there is a newish Mk2...I guess Mk2b) with Cherry Reds - you can get Red silent, Red, Brown or Blues.

    Gotta say its very good, better than my K55 I have on another PC here.

    The K70 is very solid, heavy so stable and really nice to type on all day - I am not gaming with it.

    Apparently, I am hammering it less than I was the old Lenovo one I was using - so a definite plus for WFH.

    Expensive, sure but feel like its one of my better purchases recently. Makes my endless days of keyboard bashing a bit better.

  13. Wenlocke

    Last year...

    I picked up the full height (as opposed to low profile) version from Amazon for £105 (Christmas sale) and at that price, it's a very nice keyboard. At £150, I'm less sure, but I have no complaints about it. if you can get a deal somewhere, definitely consider it.

  14. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    I Remember, and Love, the Old IBM Clickty Clack Keyboards

    They were beautiful.

    1. Das Schaf
      Thumb Up

      Re: I Remember, and Love, the Old IBM Clickty Clack Keyboards

      I have a UNICOMP copy of an IBM Model M. Great keyboard, I've had it about ten years now

      Its great, but I prefer the Corsair keyboard I bought for my son a few years back. Can't remember the model number but it had Cherry Brown keys and they felt lovely!!!! Wish he would move back in so I can swipe it when he's not looking :-)

    2. Michael Hoffmann

      Re: I Remember, and Love, the Old IBM Clickty Clack Keyboards

      Have you seen what those go for now? They're collector items. I considered getting one, but the prices were eye-popping. As would being strangled from behind by the missus, so it all evens out, I suppose.

      1. Dom 3

        Re: I Remember, and Love, the Old IBM Clickty Clack Keyboards

        Yebbut being able to tell the scammer that there is no key next to the Ctrl key would make it all worth it.

    3. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: I Remember, and Love, the Old IBM Clickty Clack Keyboards

      They are indeed.

      Yes you guessed it, hands, cold, dead, you know the drill.

    4. Catnip Sushi

      Re: I Remember, and Love, the Old IBM Clickty Clack Keyboards

      Well the original Model M is still available, brand new, from Unicomp. When the plant was to close, plant management bought it and the rights to the buckling spring design. Clickety click!

  15. FlippingGerman

    Corsair Strafe

    I got a Corsair Strafe a few years ago, for about half the price of this. It has Red switches, and also only red backlighting, although also per-key programmable. Expensive keyboard, but one I expect to be using for many years to come - and given the cost of the PC I was building at the time, it felt well worth buying a very nice keyboard (and mouse, G403), since that's how I interface with the thing.

    It's very well made. I will happily recommend it and other Corsair products to anyone.

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