Cherry's MX Silent switches are making their debut on the Corsair Strafe RGB gaming mechanical keyboard. Corsair has the exclusive on the MX Silent for the first year, and in this review we are examining the quality and features of the Strafe RGB keyboard as well as the performance of the new switches.


Mechanical keyboards are now etched into the minds of PC enthusiasts, making the requested upgrade list alongside a specific mouse or headset. However, there are those who are reluctant because of the two major disadvantages of mechanical switches - price and noise.

Price is something we'll come onto, but noise is a particular problem for those who want to use them in working environments or have their home PC inside a shared living space, such as the living room or bedroom. Some aftermarket solutions have appeared, in the form of silicon O-rings and pads, to dampen the noise that mechanical keys do when bottoming down. However, a very large portion of the noise actually does not come from the key bottoming down but from the spring that quickly resets the key up to its original position, meaning that even with O-rings or pads installed beneath the keycaps, a mechanical keyboard could not ever become really quiet.

The growing adoption rate and sales of mechanical keyboards have given the manufacturers incentive to research and develop new products. Cherry, the original creator and patent holder of the keyboard mechanical switch, has created and patented "silent" versions of the MX mechanical switch. For the time being, only MX Red and MX Black switches are available as "silent" variants, which makes sense considering that the MX Blue switch is inherently noisy ("clicky"). Hopefully, silent versions of the popular MX Brown switch may appear in the future as well.

Cherry currently holds a deal with Corsair, giving them exclusive use of the Silent product range for the first year after their launch. Corsair has thus released a new version of the Strafe, their middle-range mechanical keyboard, including RGB lighting and the new silent version of the MX Red switch. The new MX Silent switches increased the MSRP of the keyboard by $20 ($170 instead of the $150 for the version with MX Blue switches). The increase in price may be why the company decided not to use them for the time being on the more expensive K70 RGB and K95 RGB models. $20 should be more than an acceptable price difference for those seeking a silent mechanical keyboard (and would spend them on O-rings or pads anyway, with perhaps questionable results). It will be interesting to see if the Cherry MX Silent switch can truly deliver over the self-customization route, and we will find out in this review.

Corsair Strafe RGB Packaging and Bundle

The Strafe RGB comes in a well-designed, thick cardboard box. The artwork is based on a picture of the keyboard itself and has a black/yellow color theme, which is the "signature" livery of the Corsair Gaming brand. The use of Cherry's new MX Silent switches is very clearly noted on the front side of the box.

Alongside with the keyboard, Corsair supplies a very basic manual, a wrist rest, a keycap removal tool and two sets of gaming keycaps. The first set is supposed to be for FPS gamers and the second for MOBA gamers. Both sets are contoured and textured. Two keycaps, the W and the D, exist in both sets but have different contours as a result. The wrist rest was not included in the "vanilla" version of the Strafe that we reviewed last year, so it is a positive sign to see it included here.

The Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Keyboard
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  • Flunk - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    The funniest thing about how mechanical switches are marketed is that the activity that they affect the most is typing. Sure, maybe they'll help your gaming ability, but they've been proven to improve typing speed.
  • pjcamp - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    Consequently, one would expect more blue switches.

    I'm guessing the calculation is that gamers can be expected to be more persuadable to part with their money than businesses.
  • Valantar - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    Blue switches are better than brown for typing only in that they make your computer sound like a typewriter. 65cN is too stiff, and the noise - especially in any shared office environment - would quickly become a nuisance. Browns are the way to go, unless you specifically want noisy keys and will be using them in an environment where that doesn't bother others. I just wish they'd follow up the Red Silent switches with a Brown Silent one. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.
  • rxzlmn - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    I was under the same impression that Blues and clicky switches in general were best for typing, and that I also prefer to use them. I used a keyboard with brown switches and then with blue ones. Well, after using and getting used to a keyboard with black switches and having tried one with Reds, I can say I was very wrong. I type faster and better on the Blacks, and if I had a reason to buy a new keyboard I would get one with Reds.

    I tried the old MX Blue keyboard again, I can't do it.
  • psiclonehi - Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - link

    I didn’t find it improved my typing speed…in fact, it hindered it. The keys were so much closer together than regular keyboards, I kept mistyping things. I returned this junk shortly thereafter. Sure, I could spend time trying to get used to it, and I wanted to…but then realized why would I bother, when I still have to keep bouncing between that keyboard and other ones elsewhere all the time.
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    Does anyone really like these keyboards? When I look at them, all I can see is a SUPER FAT KEYBOARD, very only school keys with HUGE key travel that slows typing to crawl. I don't get it.
  • rtho782 - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    Just because there is a long travel doesn't mean you have to bottom out the key to type.

    Personally I only like MX Blues, as the clicky actuation point is nicer both for gaming and typing imho, but you only bottom out if you are key pounding.
  • Teknobug - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    The K70, Strrafe, Razer Blackwidow, Thermaltake Poseidon Z and Azio MGK1 are actually fairly small compared to a lot of keyboards. Going from a Logitech to an Azio the keys feel taller which take a little getting used to (hence the keys stick out of the body rather than plush or halfway out the body, but I"m a 75-80wpm typist and I have no problems with the Azio brown.
  • ddriver - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    I am using an old, even ancient keyboard, an olivetti that came with an expressive server back in the days when my PC was a high end 386 with 4 megs of ram. I've tried hundreds of keyboards since then and I never liked any of them. That's why I still use this one, DIN to PS2 and PS2 to USB converters. There is chance some of the 250+$ mechanical keyboards would offer comparable experience, but at that cost and their ridiculous look, I'd rather keep the old one, it works great, awesome experience and feel.
  • ddriver - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    Also, it has the extended return key, which is very rare to find on a keyboard with good switches.

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