The market has been bombarded by gaming-oriented mechanical keyboards over the last year and Cooler Master has joined the fray with its Storm QuickFire Rapid. Unlike most full-sized entries by Corsair, Mionix, Razer and many others, Cooler Master has opted for a cleaner tenkeyless design that sheds the oft-ignored numberpad. This saves a solid three to four inches horizontally so gamers can move their mouse a little closer to their keyboard.
The board is offered with the usual array of Cherry MX switches, including blue, brown and black. We've caught wind of red models being sold in Asia but we're not sure if they'll be available in the US (though you can order them via PCHome or ArmyGroup for an approximate $30 premium). In fact, as it stands, only the Cherry MX blue version is listed on Cooler Master's US site. Whatever happens to land stateside will be sold for roughly $80 next month.
Feature-wise, the Storm QuickFire Rapid doesn't take things far beyond what you'll find on existing tenkeyless models from Leopold or Filco, including full NKRO via PS2. It adds a handful of media modifiers to the F keys, a game mode that disables the Windows keys (which have a CM logo instead of the typical flag), and a sturdier braided cord (it's removable like Leopold's). The company also throws in six extra keycaps for the WASD and arrow keys.
The keys are reportedly ABS plastic with a lasered legend and a rubber coating (hopefully more durable than Razer's rubber solution). Instead of offering costly backlit keys, CM has used a redish orange backplate that has a nice ambient effect in the images we've seen. That's not to imply that the bright backplate is supposed to be a poor man's backlighting, but it's a nice touch and has a similar result in the sense that it adds a splash of color to the board.