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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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I'll give you the "iif" error -- and that was me on a non-mechanical keyboard, editing Dustin's article. The other "mistake" is more a difference of opinion on grammar I'd say.

    If we say "I make fewer typos..." that would be correct; so what adverb do you use to modify fewer? "I make far less typos" sounds odd, because "I make less typos" isn't correct -- you make less sense that way. :-) So, I'd suggest far as an adverb to modify fewer, while perhaps not common, is not incorrect. Unless there's some other error I'm missing?
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I think the first sentence was there to contradict the second, rather than saying the first had a mistake too.
  • justaviking - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    bobbozzo's clarification was correct... To me, the first sentence is what made the second one humorous.

    Thanks again for the many articles.
    AnandTech is one of the few sites I check on a daily basis.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    And here I was staring at that first sentence thinking, "WTF is wrong with that!?" LOL
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I've been looking for a decent replacement for my old Logitech something. Went to Media Markt etc. several times and tried ALL of them.. but none felt really any better than what I already have. I think you guys pointed me into the right direction. No if there only was some place where I could try Cherry MX black, brown, red etc. in person...
  • prophet001 - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I have a Filco with the Cherry MX Brown switches in it and it really is worth the expense. Very nice to type on.
  • bigboxes - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    As others have eluded, there are other cherry switches that work great for gaming. Personally, I own a Cherry keyboard with the Cherry BlueMX switches. I love them! Why? Because I rarely game. The noise doesn't bother me as it is about half the level of the old buckling spring keyboards. I pound on my keys and just love the confidence that when I press a key I know that I have pressed the correct one. Also, they are the keys are laser-etched and not printed. There is ZERO sign of wear after over 3 years. A buddy spilled a beer over the right side of the keyboard a few months back rendering the effected keys inoperable. A quick trip to the shower followed by a day of drying fixed all issues (and it looked good as new!). My only issue was that I had to use my old rubber dome keyboard for the day. Ugh. :)
  • average buy - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I'm one of the people whom this review claims to target -- someone who uses their computer a lot, and cares about the user experience. Even after reading the review, I still don't understand why some people seem to strongly prefer them, and in general, I can't figure out if this is just some type of nostalgia/purism fad. I keep hearing overtures about the complexity of the "switches", lamentations about the cheap quality of low end keyboards available today, and something about noise and relative depth of keystroke being a *good* thing. So excuse me if I continue to be skeptical about the purported advantages of mechanical keys, especially after reading an article full of vague promises and subjective reasons to switch.

    I've actually gone from full sized keyboards (probably not mechanical ones, but I have no idea) to notebook style keyboards to island style keyboards over the year, and I have a clear preference for good island style keys such as those found on most apple products. My impression that the lower key travel is more comfortable and efficient, and probably makes me faster and more accurate. Sure, there are plenty of mushy and uncomfortable keyboards, both for laptops and desktops, but please don't assume that a specialty mechanical keyboard is the only alternative to the POS Dell decided to throw in with your latest PC.
  • antef - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    These are my thoughts exactly. I don't think you're missing anything. The review was very vague and the only thing it really said about typing on the keyboard was that key travel is good and the noise may or may not be a problem for you. That's it. Not sure why people are praising it saying it was such a great read. Regarding the actual keyboard, there is zero practical reason to desire a loud sound when pressing a key - do you really need more confidence that you pressed the key than you receive from seeing the letter appear on the screen? Increased key travel is also not a good thing...requires more effort from your fingers. Low travel, low resistance keys let you just fly across the keyboard. The longevity argument is also a weak one. This keyboard costs $99...a good MS Comfort Curve costs $12. You could replace it EIGHT TIMES before even breaking even.

    Seems to mostly be nostalgia and geeks getting excited about geek things as you say. The author is incorrect that I should automatically want this keyboard if I "care about my computing experience." I do care, and prefer regular quiet ones.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    It's not nostalgia; it's more a matter of preference. I've used mechanical keyboards in the past and I'm actually quite happy with my Microsoft Natural keyboard with its "mushy" keys. The problem is that keyboard feel is highly subjective; we have heard from many people that absolutely hate island/chiclet keyboards. Does that make your opinion on them wrong? No, because it's just that: your opinion. Dustin really likes the feel of this Rosewill, and he's entitled to that opinion, but we can't just come out and universally recommend something like a keyboard.

    I'd say one thing for certain, though: if you don't type at >50 WPM, the difference between keyboards probably isn't that great. If you do type very quickly (I have a sister-in-law that types at >100 WPM), does that mean you'll automatically like mechanical keyboards? Nope. C'est la vie!

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