Cherry's MX Silent switches are making their debut on the Corsair Strafe RGB gaming mechanical keyboard. Corsair has the exclusive on the MX Silent for the first year, and in this review we are examining the quality and features of the Strafe RGB keyboard as well as the performance of the new switches.

Introduction

Mechanical keyboards are now etched into the minds of PC enthusiasts, making the requested upgrade list alongside a specific mouse or headset. However, there are those who are reluctant because of the two major disadvantages of mechanical switches - price and noise.

Price is something we'll come onto, but noise is a particular problem for those who want to use them in working environments or have their home PC inside a shared living space, such as the living room or bedroom. Some aftermarket solutions have appeared, in the form of silicon O-rings and pads, to dampen the noise that mechanical keys do when bottoming down. However, a very large portion of the noise actually does not come from the key bottoming down but from the spring that quickly resets the key up to its original position, meaning that even with O-rings or pads installed beneath the keycaps, a mechanical keyboard could not ever become really quiet.

The growing adoption rate and sales of mechanical keyboards have given the manufacturers incentive to research and develop new products. Cherry, the original creator and patent holder of the keyboard mechanical switch, has created and patented "silent" versions of the MX mechanical switch. For the time being, only MX Red and MX Black switches are available as "silent" variants, which makes sense considering that the MX Blue switch is inherently noisy ("clicky"). Hopefully, silent versions of the popular MX Brown switch may appear in the future as well.

Cherry currently holds a deal with Corsair, giving them exclusive use of the Silent product range for the first year after their launch. Corsair has thus released a new version of the Strafe, their middle-range mechanical keyboard, including RGB lighting and the new silent version of the MX Red switch. The new MX Silent switches increased the MSRP of the keyboard by $20 ($170 instead of the $150 for the version with MX Blue switches). The increase in price may be why the company decided not to use them for the time being on the more expensive K70 RGB and K95 RGB models. $20 should be more than an acceptable price difference for those seeking a silent mechanical keyboard (and would spend them on O-rings or pads anyway, with perhaps questionable results). It will be interesting to see if the Cherry MX Silent switch can truly deliver over the self-customization route, and we will find out in this review.

Corsair Strafe RGB Packaging and Bundle

The Strafe RGB comes in a well-designed, thick cardboard box. The artwork is based on a picture of the keyboard itself and has a black/yellow color theme, which is the "signature" livery of the Corsair Gaming brand. The use of Cherry's new MX Silent switches is very clearly noted on the front side of the box.

Alongside with the keyboard, Corsair supplies a very basic manual, a wrist rest, a keycap removal tool and two sets of gaming keycaps. The first set is supposed to be for FPS gamers and the second for MOBA gamers. Both sets are contoured and textured. Two keycaps, the W and the D, exist in both sets but have different contours as a result. The wrist rest was not included in the "vanilla" version of the Strafe that we reviewed last year, so it is a positive sign to see it included here.

The Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard
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  • DominionSeraph - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    Who the heck uses QWER for MOBAs? WASD master race. Reply
  • blzd - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    Everyone who plays a MOBA does. Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    Everyone who fail flashes and fail ults uses it, is what you mean.

    WASD is far superior.
    Reply
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  • Tigri - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    Hi guys if you're looking for Cherry Mx O-Rings that won't break the bank but still deliver optimal effects you should take a look here : [NL] http://tigri.bigcartel.com/product/125-epdm-rubber...

    These O-rings are 40A and 1.5 mm (0.059 inch) thick. The best choice if you want to keep the "click" but get rid of the "clack" on your mechanical keyboard.

    They offer fast worldwide shipping and are not overpriced like most online resellers.
    Reply
  • smithrd3512 - Thursday, March 24, 2016 - link

    I kind of miss the IBM 101 mechanical keyboards. I had one that lasted 32yrs before it failed. Best keyboard I have ever owned. Made for fast typing and accuracy. I doubt these new keyboards will ever match its longevity or reliability again. Reply
  • reverseclipse - Thursday, March 31, 2016 - link

    I've been burned by Corsair software. I had to ditch my Corsair fan controller because the software was so bad it Blue Screened my PC in Win10. I was disappointed. Reply
  • Zingam - Saturday, April 02, 2016 - link

    Keyboard with detachable keypad please! I am right handed and the keypad on the right takes the space for the mouse! I'd rather have it on the left side. How do I know that? Because I use different keyboards and one is much more compact and fits much better the modern use style. Reply

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