Cooler Master 'CM Storm' series Mech Aluminium keyboard
Competitive gaming was birthed by PC gamers. It’s no secret that they love working as a team, but live for the thrill of competition in many ways. Where consoles usually only have a handful of additional gaming peripherals, PC gamers are spoiled for choice, though the myriad of keyboards, headsets and mice available sometimes can prove to be overwhelming.
Cooler Master recently released the CM Storm Aluminium series of gaming accessories, which includes the CM Storm Pulse-R headset, CM Storm Reaper mouse and the CM Storm Mech Aluminium keyboard. Today we’ll be looking at the CM Storm Mech keyboard, which certainly isn’t lacking in terms of visual appeal, but does it deliver in other vital areas as well?
Wait? What is a mechanical keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard uses actual, physical switches underneath the keys to determine when the user has pushed a key. Press a key and you press its switch down. Press the switch down and the keyboard sends a signal to the PC telling it that you pressed that key. This means that compared to other keyboards, you don’t have to push the key all the way down for it to register, meaning that over time most keyboard users are more accurate and time-efficient.
In addition to speed and accuracy, most mechanical keyboards have a longer lifespan than plastic membrane ones, with some keyboards lasting up to 50 million keystrokes. Find the right mechanical keyboard for you and it might very well outlast you! There’s a reason these guys were the unrivaled kings of 80s computing.
Key Switch: CHERRY MX Blue, Brown, Red switch with white LED backlight
Switch availability may vary on language layout
N Key Rollover: 64
Macro Key: 15 in each profile
Polling Rate: 1000 Hz/1ms
Backlight: All keys, 5 settings, 3 modes
Output: Dual USB 3.0 port and mini USB port for charging
Windows Key Lock: Yes
On-board Memory: 128k bytes
Media Keys: Yes (via F keys)
Dimensions: 553(L)x267(W)x43(H) mm
Weight: 1686 g / 3.71 lbs
The CM Storm Mech comes in a stylish black box. There is a large photo of the keyboard on top, with some of the keyboard’s handy features being written up on the other sides for customers to spot and take in important information. When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the snug-fitting and high-quality foam that held the keyboard in place. Why? It showed that Cooler Master are proud of their products, and that they care about their products and customers. I’ve purchased other keyboards that haven’t received half the care of CM Storm.
The inside of the box also contained a few handy items: a user manual, USB 3.0 cable, Allen key and key cap removal tool.
Key removal tool.
Outside of the box, the keyboard itself is both impressive and intimidating. That is, it will intimidate your opponents! The large Aluminium panel is both protective and stylish, with a large black plastic section at the bottom of the keyboard providing wrist support. The black panel also continues along the left side of the Storm and connects to a black handle, which is definitely a handy tool for LAN goers. There are 5 macro keys on the left of the keyboard, and the F keys along the top also serve as media keys. The font on the keys is pretty stylish too, and is refreshing compared to the rather boring letters you would find on other gaming keyboards.
The top of the keyboard has a number of handy features: two USB 3.0 slots, a micro USB port and audio ports. This means you’re able to charge and connect devices, as well as attach a headset. The ports on the keyboard also mean setting up for LANs is quick and painless.
The keyboard also carries a little bit of weight behind it. I wouldn’t call it heavy but it certainly feels sturdy and durable. While the weight probably means the keyboard isn’t going to shift around your desk while you’re playing games, there are also four large rubber pads on the bottom of the keyboard, so you know it definitely isn’t going to shift around while you’re in the middle of a hectic match.
How It Performs
Setting up the CM Storm is a cinch. There’s no install disc needed and no need to download a software suite online. It’s as simple as plug in and play.
Now while the entire keyboard lighting up is quite impressive from a visual standpoint, Cooler Master understands that having the entire keyboard lit up may prove to be too much light under some circumstances. For that reason, the keyboard is able to have a number of different light configurations that will suit any situation. One setting allows just the crucial gaming keys to be illuminated, such as the macro keys and the WASD keys. The maximum brightness setting lights up every key and along the wrist support, which is perfect for daytime gaming in style.
In the 80s and early 90s, I owned a number of mechanical keyboards, each with different designs and button layouts that played more or less the same way. At times, older mechanical keyboards with a standard design could be uncomfortable for gaming. It was awkward having to reach over some keys to hit others. The CM Storm’s ergonomic design means that every key is able to be reached comfortably, time after time, with your wrists being supported too.
When gaming with the CM Storm, I found the keyboard to deliver a perfect experience, regardless of what games were played with it. I played Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Left 4 Dead, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot and Battlefield 3 and the Storm performed flawlessly. Just as the Storm delivers a more speedy and accurate performance for typing, so too does it bring the same advantages to gaming. It’s difficult for me to picture gaming with a plastic membrane keyboard again after gaming with the CM Storm mechanical keyboard.
- A faster response than plastic membrane keyboards
- Sturdy design that also sports visual appeal
- Different backlight settings allow for easier key location
- Mechanical keys can make some noise compared to plastic membrane keyboards
When I first laid eyes on the Cooler Master CM Storm Aluminium mechanical keyboard, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Sure it was impressive visually, but I had no idea I’d love the keyboard as much as I do. It’s sexy, well-built and comes with a slew of handy features that will appeal to gamers of all experience levels.
Score – 9.5/10