Introducing Rosewill's RK-9000I and Illuminated Gaming Keyboard

One of the beautiful things about Rosewill's line of mechanical keyboards is that they're about as close to pure as you could conceivably get. They're not fancy, not tarted up by any stretch of the imagination, but instead simple, clean designs that afford the end user a tremendous amount of choice. Their basic RK-9000 series is available in four different varieties of Cherry MX switches, and today we round out our experiences with the different switches with the "special edition" RK-9000I with Cherry MX Blue switches and a white trim.

That said, if you want to go fancier, Rosewill has produced a remarkably stylish yet still fairly minimalistic keyboard in the form of the Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, available with both Cherry MX Blue and Cherry MX Brown switches. This is a pricier product, but features mechanical switches and LED backlighting across the board along with a couple of other nifty features. At an MSRP of $119, though, it's contending with my personal favorite, the Corsair K90. Does Rosewill offer enough with this premium product, or did their reach exceed their grasp?

The RK-9000I In Brief

Rosewill sent me these two keyboards for review, and marketed the RK-9000I (and the whole I series) as special edition keyboards. That said, the RK-9000I is a Cherry MX Blue keyboard that features a white backplate and trim instead of the black one on their normal keyboards.

The I series, like the gaming keyboard I'll get to in a moment, only comes with two varieties of switches: Cherry MX Blue, and Cherry MX Brown. This is in contrast to their basic black mechanical keyboard that also comes with MX Reds or MX Blacks. However, because we've already reviewed their basic MX Blue keyboard, there isn't a whole lot to add here.

The only difference between this version and the previous one is the white trim; everything else is the same, including the keycaps. My experience was generally positive; I'm not convinced the lettering on the keycaps is particularly long-lasting, but the switches themselves should be. That said, I'm still of the opinion that Cherry MX Blues are pretty much strictly for typists and word processing. The way they actuate makes them unsuitable for doing double-taps or other fast inputs in more intense games.

Where I think Rosewill does bring excellent value (beyond the $65 asking price with promo code) is that this fairly basic keyboard includes detachable cables so that you can use either PS/2 or USB 2.0. The fact is that ghosting can still be an issue (it pops up irritatingly frequently with my K90), so the option to employ PS/2 is much appreciated.

The Rosewill Illuminated Gaming Keyboard RK-9100BR
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  • ymrtech - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    Razer* Reply
  • stratosrally - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    I've been using a Corsair K60 for a year, and my solution for illumination was to purchase an Allsop Redmond monitor stand and an Antec Halo 6 LED USB lighting strip. The strip runs underneath the leading edge of the monitor stand and into a USB port on the back of my Samsung monitor for power. I drilled one of the stand's legs to hide the cable, and it is very stealthy... and casts a lovely glow downwards onto the keyboard and illuminates enough of my desk surface to have all lights out in the room when gaming.

    Instead of worrying about an individual LED failing on my keyboard that would require an RMA or a replacement, I can spend less than $8 on a new strip if it fails.

    BTW - I'm absolutely loving my Cherry MX Reds and my Corsair Vengeance K60 - and my M60 as well.
    Reply
  • ol1bit - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    I just got the Cooler Master CM Storm Quick Fire Pro with Brown Cherry keys for $74 with a $20 rebate card on New Egg. Black Friday deals..still going on today. :-)

    Liked the features it had compared with Roswell basic, and like you said the Illuminated Roswell is just too much money.
    Reply
  • greenbackz - Sunday, November 25, 2012 - link

    I have a steelseries MERC stealth.. u can change the lights from blue, red or purple, it has media keys and also was cheaper than this thing.. why does this thing cost more when it has far less functionality compared to the SS merc? lol Reply
  • torp - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    One, your keyboard has rubber switches not mechanical, which is why it's cheaper.
    Two, some (me included) consider the extra keys a hindrance not a feature. Personally i have a Razer Ultimate and the macro keys on the left annoy me to no end.
    Reply
  • vshin - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Well that was fast. Cyber Monday deals rock! Reply
  • Zokudu - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Have you looked at the Cooler Master Quick Fire Rapid? I feel like these keyboard reviews are missing some major mechanical players. Reply
  • Omega215D - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    There's also the CM Storm Quickfire TK that's tenkeyless but still offers a num-pad. It's backlit and comes a variety of switches. Similar in price to the Quickfire Rapid. Reply
  • CobaltFire - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    I work on fairly old equipment and get to use some of the older mechanical switch terminals (IBM and HP). This series is a great way for me to get a feel for the mech keyboards available today without spending a ton of money.

    That said, the Centurion is not a bad mech. I routinely use one well (-AL with a PPC, -YLW, and a -D with an LB), as do many others. It may not fit your playing style, however that is no fault of the platform.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    I think it's time for a holiday gaming keyboard roundup with recommendations.

    Keypoints:

    Longevity/Durability

    Tactile Response/Speed - i.e. how many buttons can you press at once, response time, "trigger weight"

    Allow me to clarify "Trigger weight". Think of a gun, and how many pounds are required to pull the trigger. I want a keyboard where I don't have to push the button down very far to get the key to actuate input (which is why Cherry Switches are sort of a poor choice for gaming), but I don't want it so soft that merely touching the keys to find the home keys registers a push. My Logitech G15 which I have been using for a few years is nearly perfect)

    Comfort/Ergonomics

    Additional Features:

    USB ports on the top edge of the keyboard are tough to access. LCD screens are nice but not necessary, still they can add value. Indicator lights are a big help. It would also be nice to get some sort of register of how much juice different keyboards suck down. Does my G15 cost me an additional $10 to run over the course of a few years? It might not be a huge deciding factor but it could be an interesting read. I really like the gaming switch my G15 has. I often forget its there but it would be nice to have a keyboard's software automatically double check to make sure that this key is disabled when in full screen.
    Reply

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