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ROCCAT goes mechanical with a new keyboard debut at CES

ROCCAT goes mechanical with a new keyboard debut at CES

Last year ROCCAT entered the US market with an impressive lineup of products. This year’s new product announcements promise to be even better.

Keyboards

ROCCAT ISKU FXThe Isku FX Keyboard is a slightly modified version of the original Isku keyboard Bobby reviewed last year. The big change is the multicolor lighting system which replaces the original’s fixed blue backlighting. The lighting system allows the choice of 16.8 million colors and (resolving a minor complaint from the review) six adjustable brightness levels. The Isku FX should be available very soon at an MSRP of $99.99.

ROCCAT RyosApparently a lot of people asked ROCCAT to bring out a mechanical keyboard. Apparently they also asked for a backlit mechanical keyboard. Apparently someone wanted a crazy-ass level of control over that backlit mechanical keyboard. And apparently ROCCAT listened. The Ryos Mechanical Keyboard is ROCCAT’s biggest hardware release for this year, and boy did they deliver on features. There are three major versions of the keyboard:

  • The Pro version is the big daddy version of the keyboard. It features per-key illumination, choice of Cherry MX key switches (blue, black, brown, red), dual 32-bit ARM processors (one for regular keyboard stuff, one for the programmable key feature), integrated audio/mic ports and two USB 2.0 ports.
  • The MK Glow is a slightly less insane version of the Pro. It features illuminated keys and Cherry MX switches.
  • The Ryos MK version is the entry-level model featuring Cherry MX switches.

Almost every key can be customized through the driver control panel and, thanks to the included software development kit (SDK), the only real limit to what this keyboard is capable of is your imagination (ok, and possibly programming ability). The Ryos line of keyboards will be available this quarter.

Check out their promotional video. (warning – creepy ROCCAT Talk voice ahead):

PowerGrid

ROCCAT PowerGridROCCAT is known for their attention to detail in their drivers—they are still the absolute best I have seen from any hardware manufacturer. This attention to detail extends into their PowerGrid smartphone application which was announced last year and, barring any major issues, will see its public release very soon. What is PowerGrid? It’s software that lets you use your smartphone (iOS or Android) to control your PC (tablet support is coming soon). Using the launcher application for Windows, you design grid layouts and transfer those grids to your device via USB cable. Grids may contain a combination of monitoring widgets, macro shortcuts, RSS feeds, or anything you can come up with. Since there are so many smartphones of varying sizes, PowerGrid will not require a hardware dock, though a few popular form factors (read: iPhone) will likely see docks to match the company’s keyboard aesthetic. The best part about PowerGrid is that it will be free. See more about PowerGrid in our Computex 2012 coverage.

Comments

  1. Thrax
    Thrax wtf keyboard CPUs
  2. Papapain
    Papapain ehh, why not. Getting harder to have bragging rights lately. While i would love to have something this cool looking I prefer my keyboards/mice to be more disposable (translation: rage friendly).
  3. Pacifisto
    Pacifisto "And when you fall asleep...your keyboard does too. Because we're watching you. Always watching."
  4. RootWyrm
    RootWyrm The whole 32-bit thing amuses me. Mostly because it's an incidental thing they latched onto, as a result of their requirements.
    ProTip: modern keyboards use something called a Programmable System on a Chip (PSoC). That's true of Unicomp, true of Thermaltake (Costar), blah blah blah. List goes on. Because it's cheap. Want to do USB and PS/2? That's the way. Just USB? Still cheaper than a custom IC. Nobody makes an actual straight up 'keyboard controller' IC and PSoCs have supplanted the old 8051 microcontrollers. Problem is that the maximum external accessible memory for a typical 8051 PSoC is less than 64KB - and you need at least 16KB of that for firmware best case - the IBM Model M used a more powerful Motorola 6805 with a massive 8KB EEPROM. And yes, most modern keyboards including USB are based on the 8051 and similar.

    The Ryos is claiming 2MB as user programmable (via software) meaning the PSoC needs at minimum 2112KB of which 2048KB must be NVRAM which can be read and written to. The only PSoCs offering that, are 32-bit by necessity, and all ARM based. My guess is that they're using a Cypress PSoC5 or similar (STMicro STM32, NXP LPC1800, Atmel SAM4-family for example.) These are all 32-bit, all ARM (Cortex M3) and have a peak clock of 48-67MHz and ~2x the performance per clock of an 8051 (33MIPS @ 67MHz for 8051, 84MIPS @ 67MHz for Cortex-M3).
    Well, and they need that 2MB.. full LAYER programmability does that. Yes, 94 keys are programmable on top of the macro keys. So let's say 16KB per macro - that's 1504KB for that layer. Or about 4096 keystrokes per macro while estimating for LED states.

    So yes. The Ryos MK is verrah sexy from a technical standpoint.
  5. Bandrik
    Bandrik I'm liking ROCCAT more and more. If only their name wasn't stuck in caps lock. But back to the keyboard: looks nifty, and I dig the three-tier offering of MK, MK Glow, and Pro.

    Also, dat Cherry MX switches.
  6. Jokke
    Jokke Seems like it'll be available in Norway too. Looks like I need to invest in a new keyboard sometime in the future.
  7. midga
    midga So, I can script keyboard lighting? Wonder if I could sync it with computer audio.... I think this requires further exploration eventually.

    Only problem I see is that I have no clue which keys witches (*cackle*) I'd want. I've very little educated experience with them, so would prefer to feel them all before I decide (nb4#twss). I don't know of any way to do that short of buying four keyboards, though...
  8. mertesn
    mertesn Yes, you should be able to sync the lighting with audio. That was shown in the video, and I believe it was mentioned in the meeting (not 100% certain on that last point).

    This should help you decide on switch type. I have two mechanical keyboards - one with black switches and one with blue. I've played games with both, and slightly prefer the MX Black switches because of the smooth travel. MX Blue isn't bad either, but the click might get in the way of rapid key strikes.
  9. midga
    midga I didn't watch the video, but now I will make sure to. :D

    And thanks for the tip. I'll keep that in mind while I research around. Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure all my keyboards are laptop (I'm not sure what the little cross-bracket-hinge-thingy would be called) or membrane, so my experience is probably limited to @Drasnor's DAS.
  10. mertesn
    mertesn Non-mechanical keyboards use some form of rubber dome. I believe you'll immediately be able to tell the difference on a mechanical switch and, quite possibly, be ruined for life.

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