CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid-i Keyboard Review
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CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Keyboard Review

August 15th, 2014 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

It’s been a while since we have seen a Cooler Master (CM Storm in this case) keyboard here at pcG towers, but today I will take a look at the new CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i. Surprisingly this is the first time that I personally have looked at a Cooler Master keyboard, so should be interesting. The QuickFire Rapid-i is a compact (no keypad) mechanical Gaming keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches. It also features full LED back-lighting, NKRO, lighting management and Cooler Master ACTIVLITE!

The CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Keyboard is also available with a Red switch (SGK-4040-GKCR1) and a Blue switch (SGK-4040-GKCL1).

 

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - box front CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - box back

The CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i keyboard came well packaged in a predominately black box, with a large image of the illuminated Rapid-i on the front. There’s also a set of boxes in the right corner highlighting some of the major features of the keyboard.

The back of the box shows an additional image of the QuickFire Rapid-i along with some further descriptions of its features.

 

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - box open

 

Opening the box we can see that the keyboard is relatively well packaged with the keyboard itself protected in a nice soft cell foam bag.

 

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - box contents

 

Within the box we find (other than the keyboard) the main detachable USB cable (always useful IMHO), a User Guide, a reference guide and a key puller.

At the time of writing the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i keyboard is retailing at Overclockers UK for approximately £90 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of CM Storm

Model number SGK-4040-GKCL1(Blue switch)
SGK-4040-GKCM1(Brown switch)
SGK-4040-GKCR1(Red switch)

Switch availability may vary on language layout
Key Rollover NKRO (Windows only)
Keycaps ABS, grip coated, removable
Polling Rate 1000 Hz/1ms
Backlight White backlighting, All keys, 5 levels and modes for illumination – Reactive Illumination, User-Preset mode, WASD, “Breathing” mode, and standard fully-backlit mode.
Windows Key Lock Yes
On-board Memory 128k bytes
Media Keys Yes (via F keys)
Interface Micro USB 2.0, full speed
USB cable 1.8m braided, gold plated and removable
Dimensions 35.9(L) *13.8(W) *3.9(H) cm
14.1(L) *5.4(W) *1.5(H) inch
Weight 932 g / 2.05 lbs

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

First impressions of the CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid-i is wow isn’t it dinky! ;) Dinky in good way though, as a Gamer you don’t really want your desktop taken up with a massive keyboard. I like the compactness of the board too, even the layout seems good! It’s also quite heavy and seems very well made. Not sure about these Cherry MX Brown switches though…

 

Cherry MX Brown One of the most important aspects of this keyboard is its choice of mechanical switch. It does use the industry standard Cherry MX, but this time around it’s a Brown switch and this is the first time I have actually encountered this type (colour) of switch. The switch features a 55cN actuation force with an almost palpable switching point (see image left for more details).


CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i

 

Looking at the side of the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i there’s not much to see, but you can appreciate the keyboard’s rake angle, even without using the optional feet on the base. It also gives a small indication as to the build quality also; the Rapid-i is undeniably well made.

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - side

 

Looking at the back of the Rapid-i we see the main Micro USB 2.0 socket on the left, this attaches to a 1.8m braided cable that plugs directly into your PC by way of a standard USB plug.

On the right there’s a somewhat superfluous silver CM Storm logo, as I’m unsure who’s actually ever going to see it!? Nice though… ;)

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - USB connection CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - CM Storm logo

 

Looking at the underside of the keyboard as one would expect there’s not much to see, other than the four rubber feet in the corners and the height extenders at the rear also with rubberized feet.

 

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - underside CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - feet

 

First impressions of the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i keyboard are very good, the keyboard’s a nice compact size (without compromising layout) and the build quality also seems high. Let’s get it powered up and take a look at that ACTIVLITE lighting as well as see how those Cherry MX Brown switches perform in game…

 

Hardware Installation

 

The QuickFire Rapid-i keyboard is a little more complex to plug in than a normal USB keyboard, as the cable is detachable! Simply plug in the micro USB plug into the keyboard and the other end into your PC. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it… ;)

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - connection (keyboard) CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i - connection (PC)

Testing Methodology/Setup

 

The CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i keyboard was tested on my Intel Test Rig, no fresh install of Windows 7 was performed as there is no driver, or associated software for the QuickFire Rapid-i. Simple Plug and Play!

 

The following games were used during testing:

  • Battlefield 4: Hard Line (BETA)
  • Survarium (BETA)
  • Insurgency

 

Hardware Performance

 

With the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i powered up we can begin to appreciate the impressive ACTIVLITE white lighting, well after pressing a couple of keys that is. When powered up for the first time there’s no illumination, to cycle through the five in-built modes it’s just a simple case of holding the FN key and switching modes with F4. The backlighting can be turned on/off via F1, decreased via F2 and increased using F3. You can also program any set of illuminated keys that you like (a very cool feature in my mind) and assign it to one of four Profiles via keys F9 – F12. There’s also a Windows Lock key that can be activated via FN + PRT SC.

In addition to this you can also adjust the key repeat rate using keys F5(slow) – F8(fast), which may allow you to issue commands faster in some Games.

  • MODE 1: Gaming Cluster (W, A, S, D, 4 direction keys)
  • MODE 2: Full LED Backlight
  • MODE 3: Full LED Backlight (breathing)
  • MODE 4: Active (keycap light up on touch, goes off when released)
  • MODE 5: Active (keycap light up on touch, fade away after released)
CM Storm Rapid-i - Illuminated CM Storm Rapid-i - (Mode 1: Gaming Cluster)

 

In testing the Cherry MX Brown switches were far better than I thought that they would be; great for Gaming and even better for typing! They activate quickly, although there is indeed an palpable actuation point, although importantly there is no associated sound as there is with Cherry Blue switches. I think I still prefer the Red switches, but then I don’t tend to use my Gaming Rig for typing (perish the thought).

As far as the switches go then, the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i hits the spot, add to this the NKRO support, the ABS, grip coated removable key-caps and the aforementioned ACTIVLITE illumination and Cooler Master really do seem to have a fine Gamers keyboard on their hands.

 

Final Thoughts

 

I have enjoyed my time with the little CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i, there’s no doubt in my mind that it is a well focused piece of Gaming Hardware. The question though, may be whether it’s worth the asking price…

The keyboard came well packaged, with a decent crib sheet showing how to access all of the Rapid-i’s features (all through the use of the FN function key). The keyboard itself seems really well made with a high build quality, topped of by the impressive Cherry MX Brown switches and a good layout.

Performance of the QuickFire Rapid-i and its associated Cherry MX Brown switches was impeccable, having a good (slightly noticeable) actuation point with a relatively low force, although not as low as Cherry MX Red. For Gaming I would prefer the Red but for typing (not something I do much of with my Gaming keyboard) it was excellent. Out of all of the Cherry MX switches tested my least favourite is the Blue (can’t stand the click) and my favourite is the Red for its responsiveness. But I have to admit (somewhat surprisingly) the Brown runs a close second.

Of course the real icing on the cake here is the ACTIVLITE illumination, with its multiple modes and brightness levels. The ability to illuminate only the keys that you’re playing with and having four Profiles to use means you can pretty much have this Iced Cake and eat it! ;)

Unfortunately all of this goodness comes at a cost, at the time of review the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i is retailing for around £90. That’s a lot of money for a compact mechanical keyboard, with cool backlighting. But I have to admit, I love it…

 

Verdict

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Overclockers UK


CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid-i Fully LED Backlit Mechanical TKL Gaming Keyboard - Brown Switch

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  Design/Quality pcGameware awards the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i a Silver
Performance
Value
Overall

 

Many thanks to Cooler Master for providing this sample for review

 


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