The Rosewill RK-9000 in Action

While the Rosewill RK-9000 may not be much to look at, in practice it's something else entirely. We can break down the usage patterns a keyboard will see into two primary categories: gaming and word processing.

Before we get to that, though, there's an issue that bears mentioning. I've been using the RK-9000 for a touch over a month as my primary keyboard, and while it's a fantastic piece of kit that has made me enjoy working on these reviews for you that much more, I ran into one problem with it: the lettering fading.

It doesn't show quite as well as I would like in the photo, but take a look at the E, S, D, F, and C keys and you can see they're not as bright as the other keys. This isn't dirt, this is actual wear. And while I do beat my keyboards like they owe me money, this is a bit of a quality issue. Our rep assures me this shouldn't be happening with these keyboards and is sending me a replacement along with getting back to Rosewill's QC, but there's just no way to know if my sample has a problem or if this is going to be pervasive. I'd err on the side of pervasive, honestly, but this is a minor complaint. As long as the keyboard still works (and there's no reason not to think it won't for a long time), the lettering is an aesthetic issue as opposed to a practical one.

Gaming on the Rosewill RK-9000

The Rosewill RK-9000 uses Cherry MX Blue switches, and these switches are incredibly loud and incredibly tactile. Part of the experience is the sheer travel the keys have; if you have a tendency to royally beat up on your keyboard while typing, these switches are going to be fantastic. Unfortunately, during gaming I've found the RK-9000 to be less desirable than a high-end membrane-based keyboard.

The problem with the Cherry MX Blue switches is that everything that makes them fantastic for doing any kind of real writing with makes them poor for gaming. Key travel is pretty deep, making the RK-9000's base model a bad choice for any kind of game that requires multiple rapid keypresses, which is pretty much all of them. I've played many different kinds of games on the RK-9000, and while it hasn't had a drastically negative impact on the experience, it's definitely a step backward from the beat up Microsoft Reclusa I was using beforehand.

Typing noise can be an issue with these switches, too. While I personally love the sound of a good, clicky keyboard, it definitely detracts from the gaming experience. At certain points it may actually be difficult to hear the things you need to hear in a given game over the sound of the keyboard. This isn't a major issue, but it's noticeable.

Typing on the Rosewill RK-9000

While the RK-9000's Cherry MX Blue switches may be far from ideal for gaming, for regular typing they're the best experience I've had in a very long time. Since using the RK-9000, I've found I make far fewer typos than I did on my old Reclusa, and I suspect this is at least partly due to the increased key travel. You have to press the keys a little bit harder to register them than you would with a typical keyboard, which is fine if, like me, you brutalize your keyboards. Yet because of this travel, it's also much harder to fat finger the wrong keys. Spacing between the keycaps is generous yet the keys themselves never feel too small.

As for noise feedback, that's going to be a matter of taste, but personally I feel like I'm actually accomplishing things when I'm using the RK-9000. The clicking switches in the keys sound like work being done to me, in addition to just reminding me when keyboards used to be thick and heavy enough to be used as murder weapons and all the fun I had on my old computer when I was still just learning to be a geek.

Until I've tried the other mechanical switch types, I can say I'd very easily recommend the RK-9000 for anyone who's using their computer primarily or even almost exclusively for heavy duty typing. You might need to consider others near your work space as the clicky noise might be a distraction/annoyance, and there are bound to be some typists that prefer a lighter touch, but if you get a chance to try out a mechanical keyboard the majority of typists will like the experience.

Introducing Rosewill's RK-9000 Mechanical Keyboard Conclusion: Worth the Upgrade
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  • _rob_ - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    A surprising number of people don't know how to touch-type. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    FWIW, I have a couple of IBM Model M's (mfd for IBM by Lexmark in 1995).

    I have been using one at home and one at work for over 10 years each, and the lettering is not noticeably affected. I even give them a good scrubbing once in awhile to clean off dirt.

    They are definitely not double-shot keys (they do have a second layer, but the top is not cut out and the bottom is gray). I don't know if they're lasered or painted.

    I too would like to see a Model M compared against these new keyboards. My Model M's are not USB compatible so I'm thinking of buying replacements, although a few sites seem to sell adapters such as http://www.clickykeyboards.com/index.cfm/fa/items.... and http://zevv.nl/play/misc/ibm-usb/

    Otherwise, I'd probably get one from pckeyboard.com

    Thanks
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    btw, the ones from pckeyboard are cheaper than $99, so I'm wondering if there is anything remarkable about the Rosewill to make it more expensive. Reply
  • Pylon757 - Saturday, January 28, 2012 - link

    IBM Model Ms are dye-sublimation printed (about as durable as double-shot, but you can use better plastics and only essentially works on lighter colored keys).

    Geekhack has a great article on keys in general here:
    http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=All+About+K...
    Reply
  • vailr - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Why aren't there quality keyboards that are also high visibility?
    Such as: the "EZ Eyes Keyboard"
    http://sanfengxin.com/product/2012197442838686.jpg
    Similar idea sold online here:
    https://www.getezeyes.com/
    Reply
  • eruku - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    There are! http://www.keyboardco.com/keyboard_details.asp?PRO... Reply
  • cserwin - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    This is a Windows keyboard. I don't quite understand the relevance to Apple. Seems like a cute idea for a hook, but on editorial balance, you probably should have left that baby on the copy room floor. It doesn't strengthen your thesis, credibility, or (most importantly) serve to inform your member about the usefulness od the product you are reviewing.

    Sincerely,
    Your Journalism 101 TA
    Reply
  • Galcobar - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    The relevance is established in the same sentence as the reference to Apple is made: Apple's focus on the user experience, which most definately includes human input devices such as the keyboard.

    Much of Apple's cachet is built on enhancing the user experience through improvements in the peripheral devices -- the quality of the screens the company uses, for instance -- thus Dustin is using Apple both as a means of demonstrating to the reader the value of a good peripheral, and the rarity that is a good keyboard.
    Reply
  • NCM - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I remember Apple's old mechanical keyboards, especially the seemingly indestructible "Saratoga" model. It acquired that nickname due to a size reminiscent of the eponymous aircraft carrier's flight deck. I know plenty of people who would like to see its return.

    But you know what? Apple's chiclet style keyboards, whether in freestanding form or the super-solid laptop version I'm using to type this, are terrific. I don't long for the past at all.

    But tastes in keyboard action and feel are a totally personal thing.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Maybe you should find a "Reading Comprehension 101" TA.

    :D
    Reply

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