The Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The new Corsair K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE is physically very similar to any previous variation of the K70 that we have reviewed in the previous years. As a matter of fact, the only actual difference that it has over the Corsair K70 RGB (now that the old Corsair Gaming logo has been changed) is the presence of a USB pass-through port at the rear of the keyboard.

It features an anodized brushed aluminum chassis, with the keys secured directly on its surface rather than being embedded into it. Aesthetics are a completely subjective matter, so we will let you decide what you think about the appearance of the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE. From a purely practical point of view, the keyboard is extremely easy to clean, as a simple blow can remove most debris from the aluminum surface of the keyboard.

The K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE is a standard 104 keys keyboard, but it does not fully adhere to the ANSI layout, as the bottom row of the keyboard has a 6.5× Spacebar, two 1.25× ALT, two 1.5× CTRL and three 1× WIN/Menu bottom row keys. The standard ANSI layout has a 6.25× Spacebar and seven 1.25× bottom row keys. The keycaps are made from ABS plastic and have large, futuristic characters, while the Space Bar key is textured.

Besides the typical 104 keys of a full-sized keyboard, the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE also has seven extra keys and a volume control knob. Four of them are media control keys (Play/Pause, Stop, Forward and Back), one is the volume mute button and the two smaller keys towards the center are the windows key lock and the backlighting brightness control. Three very small white LED lights serve as the three standard key lock indicators (Caps, Num and Scroll Lock). The LED lights of the three indicators are the only lights that are not customizable on the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE.

  

Beneath the keycaps we find Cherry’s new MX RAPIDFIRE switches. The RGB versions found on this keyboard have a clear plastic body and silver axles. The MX RAPIDFIRE switch is very similar in design to the MX Red switch, with the most significant change being that its travel distance has been reduced by 0.8 mm. This offers faster actuation (1.2 mm to the actuation point instead of 2 mm) but also shortens the full travel distance of the key as well. However, things are not technically quite as simple as that. The actuation force remains the same (45 Cn) while the distance is shortened by nearly 50%. While the travel of the key remains linear, the force per mm of travel increases at a much higher rate. As a result, the MX RAPIDFIRE switch feels significantly stiffer and stronger to the user, especially after the actuation point, and also resets faster than the classic MX Red switch.

A USB pass-through port can be found at the rear of the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE. Do note that both of the keyboard’s USB connectors need to be inserted for the pass-through port to function, even if the main connector is plugged into a USB 3.0 port. The second connector is not necessary for the keyboard itself to function properly if the main connector has been plugged into a USB 3.0 port, only the USB pass-through port will not function. If the main connector is plugged into a USB 2.0 port, the use of both connectors becomes a necessity, as the keyboard’s power requirements technically exceed the capacity of a USB 2.0 port. At the back of the keyboard there's a switch that can adjust the polling rate of the keyboard. This function will be useless with modern systems but may enhance the compatibility of the keyboard with older systems and certain devices, such as cheap KVM switches. The default polling rate is 1 ms and the user can reduce it to 2 ms, 4 ms, or 8 ms.

The removal of the keyboard’s covers revealed that the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE is technically the same as the K70 RGB, with the exception of the new switches and the insertion of the USB pass-through port. The soldering job and overall quality of the assembly is textbook, without any flaws to be found.

A NXP LPC11U37F-501 microcontroller is the heart of the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE. It has an ARM Cortex-M0 processor with a maximum frequency of 50 MHz, 128 kB Flash memory, 4 kB EEPROM and 12 kB SRAM. There are more impressive solutions for mechanical keyboards available nowadays but Corsair obviously (and rightfully) went for the tested and proven solution that has been working into several of their products during the past couple of years.

 

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  • Rhosta - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    The font is made this way from practical reasons. Keyboards with Cherry MX switches have very bad quality of backlight (surprisingly wasnt mentioned in review). The light is bleeding all over the place a very little light is actualy reaching the key itself, so keys are backlit pretty badly and colors are pale. This big font is put there to simply help with this issue, so letters catch more light and colors are thus more easily recognizable. Reply
  • ddriver - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    Big and Ugly are two different things. The font can be big without being ugly. Much like it can be ugly without being big. Reply
  • Rhosta - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    If you can, show us some better solutions, because I don't think there are many left.
    Those keys are backlit mainly in its upper half, so you want to fill this part of space, which results in what we see here - big, wide and bold font.
    Reply
  • Felix_Ram - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Here's an idea, how about you keep your little bag of angry shi-te to yourself and not ruin my day. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - link

    @inighthawki: "I'd have to side with ddriver on this one."

    Why side with anyone. It's a matter of preference and opinion.

    Speaking of opinion, I collected several more to illustrate a point:
    I think the spacing is too small for my preference. The the font is also obviously stretched, but this aspect bugs me perhaps a little less than ddriver. It's not my preference, but it also isn't the worst I've seen out of a big name brand.

    My granfather really likes it. Large letters and backlighting are pluses. He would like the secondary functions to also be back lit.

    My eldest sister really likes it. Again, large letters and backlighting.

    My youngest sister thinks its alright. Large letters are nice. Doesn't really care for backlighting. Spacing is a little cramped, but not too bad.

    My dad doesn't really care.

    My nephew loves the font. Best looking font he's seen on a keyboard.

    I would suppose that as people get older and their eyesight weakens, this type of aesthetic is quite suitable. Of course gamers (the target audience) tend to be a bit younger than my grandfather, but perhaps the younger generation finds the stretched look aesthetically pleasing. Point is, aesthetics are a largely opinionated subject and everyone is entitled to one. I personally don't place a lot of value on aesthetics as long as they don't hinder the practical functionality of the device. All else equal (or nearly so), however, and I'll go for the better looking option.
    Reply
  • III-V - Friday, July 1, 2016 - link

    Do you think everything that isn't Helvetica is "ugly?"

    Fun fact -- what is visually appealing to people is quite subjective.
    Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Monday, July 4, 2016 - link

    Exactly, III-V.
    The complaint that this looks like a gamer keyboard is a bit silly considering it is primarily sold as a gamer keyboard. Corsair focuses quite strongly towards that demographic. I mean, it's literally in its name. Though, I think Corsair is keeping the gamer look at an acceptable moderate level compared to a lot of other brands.
    Personally I think it looks okay. The only reason I didn't get this specific keyboard when I bought a new one last year was because I wanted a more compact design, so I got the CM Quickfire TK.
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Saturday, July 2, 2016 - link

    There is a reason this is yet another RGB keyboard :P Reply
  • Omega215D - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    To me the Romer G keys feel better than cherry mx browns even with O-rings. It's alsoncalled buying, trying and if it doesn't suit my needs it goes back. I also only buy keyboards when they are on sale (which thankfully Best Buy seems to be doing lately). My last mechanical keyboard is the CM Storm trigger but it needs a new PCB and since my parents need a new keyboard I'd figure I'd fix it up and get a new toy. Reply
  • zeeBomb - Friday, July 1, 2016 - link

    Whats a good mechanical keyboard under $80 CAD? Reply

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