In a private media event this week Corsair unveiled its latest contribution to the PC industry: gaming keyboards, mice and headsets. All of these new peripherals fall under the Vengeance brand. The motivation behind this move is simple: starting with memory and eventually expanding into power supplies, SSDs and cases, Corsair wants to be your one-stop shop for nearly everything you need for your PC. The CPU, motherboard and video card markets are either impossible to get into or undesirable for a manufacturer that doesn't already play in those spaces, leaving peripherals as one of the only options for expansion.

Traditionally companies avoided getting into the peripheral space because you have to compete with very wealthy and experienced competitors: Logitech and Microsoft. With Logitech trying to expand into other areas beyond peripherals it appears that Corsair is hoping that its competitor will lose a bit of its focus. Whether or not this works out for Corsair remains to be seen, but let's look at the products.

Vengeance Headsets

Corsair has dabbled in headsets already but with the Vengeance brand it expands the line considerably. Starting this October the company will offer three different Vengeance headsets priced from $39 up to $99.

 

The Vengeance 1500 is the top end SKU with two 50mm drivers, simulated 7.1 surround sound and USB support (integrated audio codec). The 1300 is the same as the 1500 but substitutes in a 1/8" stereo plug instead of USB.

 

The 1100 is a lighter design that uses 40mm drivers but with USB support.

Corsair Vengeance Headsets
  Vengeance 1500 Vengeance 1300 Vengeance 1100
Price $99 $79 $39

 

Vengeance Keyboards & Mice

The entire Vengeance peripheral lineup is targeted at gamers. Start focused and expand beyond there seems to be the strategy. Corsair's initial keyboard & mice offerings are targeted at two genres of games: MMO/RTS and FPS. All of the Vengeance keyboards & mice feature an aluminum construction.

The MMO/RTS targeted products are called the Vengeance K90 and M90. The K-series are for keyboards while the M-series refer to mice. The K90 is backlit with over 90 individual LEDs (almost one behind every key). It uses Cherry MX mechanical red switches for each key which have a 2mm actuation travel (4mm total travel). There's no accompanying click sound with these keys, they have a nice linear but springy travel to them. The Cherry MX red switches apparently require the least amount of force to actuate out of their entire lineup of switches. Corsair claims the keyboard will recognize up to 20 simultaneous keystrokes.

The MMO/RTS focus comes in with the K90's 18 customizable macro keys. You can switch between three different sets of macros, for a total of 54 total macros. The macros are defined using Corsair's Vengeance gaming software.

The corresponding mouse is the M90:

The M90 uses an Avago ADNS-9500 5700 DPI laser sensor. The mouse has 9 customizable side buttons.

On the FPS side there are the K60 and M60. Let's start with the K60:

The aluminum chassis and Cherry MX red mechanical switches are both present, but the individual key lights are gone as are the macro keys. The K60 instead ships with a removable wrist wrest (which is actually quite comfortable) and easily removable, textured WASD and 1-6 number keys. When not in use, the textured keys can be stored in the wrist wrest. The feel of each keypress remains the same as the K90, but the macro keys are gone and the styling of the K60 is a bit different.

The M60 mouse includes a sniper button that allows you to quickly switch between high and low DPI modes (customizable in software).

Corsair Vengeance Headsets
  Vengeance K90 Vengeance K60 Vengeance M90 Vengeance M60
Price $129 $109 $79 $69

 

Final Words

I had some brief hands on time with all of the newly announced Vengeance peripherals, they all felt good but it'll take much longer than a short play session to really evaluate these things. I'm mostly curious to see how well these things do in the hands of hardcore gamers. Does Corsair have what it takes to pull customers away from the likes of Logitech, Microsoft and Razer?

Corsair's new Vengeance lineup will be available starting next month.

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  • sheltem - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    Although I'd prefer a tenkeyless mechanical board (no number pad), I am ecstatic that Corsair is throwing their hat into the ring. All of their products are top notch and backed by a generous warranty. I will easily buy the K60 when the sale price drops below $100. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    The textured thing is nice, but red? Meh.

    At least they are removable.
    Reply
  • NicePants42 - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    I'm looking forward to trying out those keyboards; hopefully they're as buttery smooth and silent as they, er, sound.

    But I have to say, after trying out a Cyborg Command Unit, there really is no point in using a keyboard for any game anymore, but especially for MMOs. Why bother moving your hands around to hit programmable G-keys when you can macro every single button multiple times on a control pad? A thumb joystick for movement will increase actions per second in any game.

    Cyborg's Command Unit programming software is awesome, but the unit itself is a cheap piece of crap (although the joystick is almost perfect). Nostromo's build quality is better, but still lacking, and the D-pad needs to be a joystick. I haven't ever tried the logitech G13, but I'd be paying for a useless LCD screen.

    IMHO, Corsair needs to take the high quality materials and build quality approach to control pads. If I had a Cyborg Command Unit with silky, quiet key action, I'd be one happy gamer.
    Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    That Unit really doesn't have enough keys for an RTS. So that's one point in using a keyboard for a game anymore. Reply
  • Rookierookie - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - link

    There are quite a few people who would rather not buy an additional piece of hardware that you don't really use outside gaming. Reply
  • OferMania - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Rookierookie,

    I swear by the Cyborg Commant Unit. And I use it not just for gaming, but also for Internet Browising, editing Word/Excel documents, and editing code for computer programs. I work in software engineer for a living. The Cyborg Command Unit has literally improved my efficiency over using the regular keystrokes on a standard keyboard.

    I agree with NicePants42 that a Cyborg Command Unit w/ quiet key action would be a great thing.

    I use the Cyborg Command Unit with a mouse and mini-keyboard (the one with 84 keys & no numeric keypad). You can always program a numeric keypad onto the Cyborg Command Unit. By having the keypad on the left side instead of the right shortens the distance between the typing area for the right hand and the mouse, making it more comfortable to use a mouse. (Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!!!)

    My biggest regret in life is the fact the Cyborg Command Unit is out of print. The product was manufactured by Saitek, who recently sold off all rights to Cyborg products (including the RAT 7/9 mouse) over to Mad Catz. Mad Catz chose to discontinue this product since not enough people bought it.

    There are two similar products to the Cyborg Command Unit currently on the market, but neither are anywhere as good: The Logitech G13, and the Razer Nostromo (the Nostromo is almost identical to the out-of-print Belkin N52). Although Razer's feel of the keys & use of modes is superior to the Command Unit, the Nostromo has fewer keys and no real analog. (That thing for the left thumb that looks like an analog is really just a "hat" sitting on top of a D-pad, and it very uncomfortable to game with for more than 5 minutes...) The G13 has a real analog, but has too many keys & a non-intuitive key layout. Command Unit's layout of a leftside keyboard is more intuitive. Plus, G13 takes almost a minute to boot up & be ready to use AFTER I turn my PC on or wake it up from sleep mode, but Command Unit is ready to go within 3 seconds or less. In addition, the G13 drivers do not work correctly for certain key combos out of the box & you'll need some treasure hunting over the Internet to correct this. There are also certain days when the G13 decides not to work (does anyone know G13's favorite morning coffee?), but I've never faced this problem with the Command Unit.
    Reply
  • Rivensteel - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    Those prices are pretty steep, but it looks like there's a lot of quality behind them. Have they said whether they will support ESDF textured keys for the K60? Can these keys be used in the K90? I'd love the ultimate edition with the K90 chassis, textured ESDF and 1-6 keys, and a wrist rest. Of course, they would probably charge $175 for it. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    Given the attention to detail in every other aspect of these products it seems odd that they would market a 'linear' mechanical switch on an "RTS" keyboard. Reds just aren't good switches for this application. Reply
  • thrawn3 - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    I have the older HS1 headset from them and I find it fantastic in quality. I am admittedly no audiophile and I assume that there are better sounding things out there but for the price I find them amazing. If they are updating and improving something already as good as the HS1 then they should be excellent. Reply
  • Zap - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    The K60 keyboard looks nice. That other keyboard... talk about key overload. I want my keyboards to be very "normal" so that I can just sit down and start using.

    I like the looks of the Vengeance 1100 headset. Would rather have normal 3.5mm plus though, instead of it being USB.

    The mice looks a bit busy. I do like how the scroll wheel looks - as if your finger will never slip. Braided cable is nice, I just hope the cable is really limp. That's the one feature I find important in corded mice, a really limp cable that doesn't get in the way.
    Reply

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