The Corsair Vengeance K60 and K90

We recently re-entered the world of peripheral reviews, specifically mechanical keyboards with our brief rundown of Rosewill's RK-9000 mechanical keyboard (complete with Cherry MX Blue switches). Rosewill's design was as basic as it gets, but the keyboard felt solid and for many of us there's just no substitute for a mechanical switch when it comes to having a comfortable typing experience. But our visit with Rosewill was just a warm up.

Today we have Corsair's Vengeance K60 and K90 gaming keyboards in house. Corsair opts to use Cherry MX Red switches in an effort to find a more suitable balance between typing and gaming needs, and they bring a little more style and class than we're used to seeing in gaming peripherals.

Out of the gate, Corsair is offering two different keyboards targeting two different types of user, but it's worth noting that these two keyboards are very, very similar. The "base model" K60 is targeted towards FPS players. Corsair starts with an aluminum backplate behind the keyboard, with all of the keys raised off of it--there's no tray for crumbs/hair/general-filth to get stuck in! Corsairs uses Cherry MX Red switches for the bulk of the keyboard (the document navigation and F1-F12 use traditional membrane-style switches), and there are dedicated media keys and a "Windows Lock" button above the number pad.

There's also a dedicated wrist rest just for your left hand, and the inside of it holds replacement keycaps for number keys 1-6 plus the WASD cluster along with a keycap remover. These replacement keycaps have rubberized surfaces and incline slightly towards the left hand, the theory being that this will be ideal for gaming use. Finally, the keyboard actually uses two USB ports: one for the keyboard proper, and one used as a dedicated passthrough for a USB port above the F12 key. Corsair offers the K60 for a recommended $109.

Meanwhile, the fancier K90 is geared towards RTS and MMO players. The K90 takes the aluminum base, switch layout, and connectivity of the K60 and adds individual LED backlighting behind each of the keys with four levels of illumination (off, low, medium, and high) toggled by a brightness button next to the Windows Lock button.

Beefing things up, Corsair adds eighteen configurable keys to the left of the keyboard as well as an in-hardware macro recording and playback function (configured and toggled by the four macro buttons above the Escape and F1-F3 keys). What I really like about the K90 as opposed to other gaming keyboards with configurable keys is that the G1-G18 cluster is actually substantially lower than the rest of the keyboard. While the keys of the keyboard proper are all raised off of the aluminum surface, the gaming keys are recessed, making it much harder to accidentally hit one when trying to hit the Tab, Shift, or Ctrl keys.

Finally, Corsair adds a full-length removable wrist rest (a convenience that's becoming increasingly rarefied these days) and dashboard software for configuring the keyboard downloadable from their website. Appropriate to the inclusion of fancier features, the K90 will set you back $129.

The Corsair Vengeance K60 and K90 in Action
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  • Beenthere - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    They've become nothing more than a marketing operation. Sell anything to naive consumers regardless of the quality. Even their RAM is starting to show issues, which never existed to any degree in the past.

    It would appear that they are looking to be the Wally World of the PC Biz. You've got to want a keyboard really badly to pay $100 for a Chinese sweatshop product that cost less than $10 to manufacture. :(
  • bigboxes - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    Is everything you say got to be stupid? I'm not a fanboi of Corsair, but it seems to me that their power supplies are good quality and less than others. They make nice cases and I don't know where you get the ram issues from. Tell me where you buy a mechanical switch keyboard (utilizing Cherry switches) for $10 (or $20). I don't know why you single out Corsair as the lone manufacture in using Chinese factories. It seems to me that EVERYONE uses China labor to make their products. Anyways, it's probably another one of your "agendas" that is responsible for this post. I'm thinking Forrest Gump when I read your posts. (my apologies to Forrest)
  • Beenthere - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately some Corsair PSUs are OK and some are problems. The only way to tell is by reading a proper review of the exact PSU model.

    Corsair's H2O CLCs have poor thermal efficiency compared to a quality HSF, are a poor value, are noisy because you must run multiple fans or a single fan on high to cool the radiator. And of course there is the real liability of a water leak destroying hundreds of dollars of PC hardware as people have experienced.

    Now Corsair is hawking mechanical keyboards and they don't look all that good especially for the $100 price tag.

    Yes it is unfortunate that many U.S. based companies are more than willing to use slave labor to generate windfall annual nonuses for the CEO. These unscrupulous CEOs/companies should be boycotted and told exactly why they are being boycotted.

    Money talks and B.S. walks. If consumers refuse to buy goods produced in Chinese sweatshops under deplorable slave labor conditions, the companies will grow some ethics or go broke. Consumers have complete control over the laws of supply and demand.

    Big Box stores are a perfect example of unscrupulous companies.

    It's not my problem that some folks can't deal with reality - it's their's. ;)
  • FaaR - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Are you seriously asserting that nobody ever had any problems, at all, with Corsair RAM in the past? That's ludicrous, and factually incorrect, as I've personally had several sticks of 1066MHz Dominator XMS2 DDR2 sticks roll over on me. One set of slightly newer revision sticks also refused to work with my previous older revision set.

    You're toting 100% anecdotal evidence as some kind of pattern - current and historical - which is just laughable as a practice.

    And btw, before you dismiss me as some kind of Corsair puppet, those dead and/or incompatible sticks are the only products of theirs I own. I was considering the K60, but after reading of the keycaps with no symbols on them, stuck key problem and fading print I'm thinking I'll just pass. I want backlighting too, and the K60 lacks that.
  • Beenthere - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    I did NOT say no one has every had issues with Corsair RAM. Don't read things into my posts, read what I wrote. ;)

    FWIW, most of my current PCs have Corsair RAM that has worked flawlessly. The only bad DIMM I have had in years was a Crucial DIMM. I have used and recommended Corsair RAM for many years because it was pretty reliable.

    Yes some folks have had issues particularly on Asus mobos, but that seems to be the mobo and not the RAM. In recent days Corsair seems to be having more issues with their Vengeance product line in particular.

    As far as their other products the results have been mixed at best. Their PSUs have had issues - particularly the models not produced by Seasonic. Their Antec produced closed-loop-coolers have also had issues, in particular leaks. They also have poor thermal efficiency, are a poor value and are noisy compared to a quality HSF.

    Now Corsaie is marketing mechanical keyboards for $100. to the naive. If these products make you happy then that is what you should buy but I can not in good conscience recommend these products to anyone. As i said Corsair is becoming just a marketing firm using Chincese sweatshop labor to produce products of questionable quality.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Find the least expensive mechanical keyboard out there, and how much does it cost? Looking for anything with Cherry MX switches, the best I can find is $79, and that's for a generic keyboard that doesn't have a 10-key ( I know not everyone likes 10-keys, but if you're buying something with mechanical switches I'd assume you're looking at it more for typing than gaming, in which case I'd guess 10-keys are potentially useful (I use mine in spreadsheets all the time). So, $10 more for the K60 isn't totally out of line with regards to pricing (
  • Omega215D - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Always gotta go to the Egg:

    Awww.... they no longer list the Qumax Xarmor U9 with MX-Browns that's priced at $79. Nuts, the browns were the best I've ever typed on.
  • Rand - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    I'm a fan of USB ports through the monitor (on the side anyways), but I can't say I really see the appeal to a USB port on the keyboard.

    Not sure if it's ideal for games but I'm pretty stuck on keyboards with a slight 'wave' to them, took some adjusting at first but I'm very fond of them now.
  • nickersonm - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    It's useful for the mouse cord; with it partially folded up, it slightly lessens the mess of stuff behind one's desk.
  • Menoetios - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    I was seriously considering getting one of these as my first mechanical keyboard, until I found out about how the function row and nav keys use membrane switches. I use those keys on a fairly regular basis, and membrane switches typically won't last as long as the mechanical switches. When I'm spending that much on a keyboard, it's nice to have the longevity argument of the mechanical switches, but throwing a bunch of membrane switches on there throws that out the window. Ended up going with a more basic, all-mechanical keyboard that I absolutely love.

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