Conclusion: Worth the Upgrade

I know there are a lot of users out there that honestly just don't care that much about how their computing experience goes. My dad couldn't care less, as long as the mouse is reasonably responsive and he gets a recognizable picture on the screen. He's not a heavy duty typist, so as long as he can press a key and have that letter appear, he doesn't care. A keyboard like the Rosewill RK-9000 is most definitely not for someone like him.

Chances are, though, if you're reading AnandTech you're not like him, in which case this review is most definitely for you. Many users cheap out on the basic peripherals: the screen, the keyboard, the mouse. They shoot for adequate. Yet while there's been a decent market for good screens and especially good mice, supposedly high-end keyboards (typically gaming keyboards) still often leave a lot to be desired. When you're using your computer, there should be as little abstracting your experience with it as possible. If you notice the peripherals you're using, it should only ever be in a positive way. Of course, there is the concern of others noticing your typing if you're in a cubicle with neighbors that don't like all the clicking, but at least your boss will be able to hear you hard at work.

While the month of use I've put the Rosewill RK-9000 has revealed to me that the white printing on the keyboards isn't quite as durable as I would like, and the generic appearance does leave something to be desired, as a pure typing apparatus the RK-9000 and its Cherry MX Blue switches is easily the best keyboard I've used in a long time. $99 is a lot to ask for the kind of commodity peripheral you can get for $10, but the RK-9000 makes a very convincing case for the expense.

Other keyboards with Cherry MX Blue switches exist, but most are priced similarly to the Rosewill or higher, and without trying all of them we can't easily say which is best. Regardless of that fact, while I'm concerned about the print wearing out and I can't (yet) compare the experience to other high-end mechanical switch keyboards, I can say that overall the typing experience was great. For writers or others who primarily type (e.g. not gamers), the Rosewill RK-9000 seems to be worth the price.

The Rosewill RK-9000 in Action
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  • Greg512 - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I have an old IBM M, and I love using it, though it is too loud for office work. Mechanical keyboards do make a great investment, especially if they aren't too loud. They may be expensive upfront, but they last forever and never need upgrading. Certainly the second most underrated computer component, after the monitor.
  • adrien - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Agreed. I scavenged my model m keyboards and I've been enjoying them. There are a few things I like in these in particular:

    1- no windows key*s* ; and seriously, who need two of them?

    2- the tilt and curvature of the keyboard which makes it possible to access functions keys without touching the other keys

    3- the space at the top of the keyboard, especially to put pens/pencils; it might sound stupid but when create/debug code with paper-and-pen, it's actually nice

    4- I wash them in the shower (takes a few days for them to dry up)

    Btw, for gaming, I gave up on mechanical keyboards and I actually switch to another keyboard when I play usually. I also had troubles and couldn't explain them at first but when you're playing a car game with the arrow keys, you want to make small and maybe very short presses; that's simply not how you can play on mechanical keyboards.
  • Goi - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I have a Model M too, I wasn't aware you could throw it in the shower...
  • adrien - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I can't "guarantee" the results but so far, it has been tried on half a dozen of keyboards by myself or friends.

    I made a mistake once however: used a mop on it with the space key removed: it caught the spring with it and now the spring is 4 times too long. Besides that, no issue.
  • Googer - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    The Model M was designed to handle a spill when lying on a table. The electronics and key springs are shielded from such a mess. However tilt it on it's side and water will creep in to every crevice imaginable and the metal springs which give it that signature sound and feel, will quickly rust. It is not advisable to submerge these keyboards as they were not designed for it; they will fail over time.

    Proper cleaning should involve disassembly and use a mild rapid drying cleaner/solvent like alcohol.
  • dananski - Sunday, November 11, 2012 - link

    "1- no windows key*s* ; and seriously, who need two of them?"

    I use both several times a day. Win+E/D and Win+L are very handy to be able to do one-handed. You could say exactly the same (and be equally wrong) about alt, shift and control, unless you're on Linux that is.
  • Sufo - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Scavenged DELL AT102W here. It uses Black Alps switches which are just great for those of you who want a satisfying click, but not a very heavy key press. Be prepared to bottom out on every key press, but they keys are light enough that I wouldn't think it was an issue. It's a very fast board - not hugely loud, but loud enough. It's my work board, so one might think the noise could be an issue, but everyone seemed to get used to it pretty quickly :)

    For gaming I use my Logitech illuminated KB. Still convinced it's better than any mechanical for that purpose.
  • Googer - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Those DELL Keyboards were just rebrands of a particular IBM design.
  • _rob_ - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    > Those DELL Keyboards were just rebrands of a particular IBM design.

    Except they weren't. The AT102W is not a rebranded Model M. In addition to looking rather different, Model Ms use buckling springs and AT102Ws use ALPS switches.

    Dell did ship some Model Ms, as did some other brands, but the AT102W is one of their own.
  • bs57 - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    I also managed to salvage a few old IBM 'm' keyboards before they were thrown out at work. The one I'm using now was built in 1984 and still works perfectly.

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