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Technology 8,000 Hz mechanical keyboards continue offering more than low input lag


Technology

Technology 8,000 Hz mechanical keyboards continue offering more than low input lag

No one-trick ponies, please — Corsair’s K70 RGB Pro joins the rush of inconspicuously fast keyboards. Scharon Harding – Feb 10, 2022 7:01 pm UTC Enlarge / Corsair K70 RGB Pro.CorsairRazer introduced a widely available keyboard with an 8,000 Hz polling rate last year, so it hasn’t been surprising to see rivals follow suit. Corsair today…

Technology 8,000 Hz mechanical keyboards continue offering more than low input lag

Technology

No one-trick ponies, please —

Corsair’s K70 RGB Pro joins the rush of inconspicuously fast keyboards.


Technology Corsair K70 RGB Pro.

Enlarge / Corsair K70 RGB Pro.

Corsair

Razer introduced a widely available keyboard with an 8,000 Hz polling rate last year, so it hasn’t been surprising to see rivals follow suit. Corsair today released the K70 RGB Pro mechanical gaming keyboard, which also claims to report to the PC 8,000 times per second instead of the standard 1,000. But as with other 8,000 Hz keyboards we’ve seen, that stat may not be what actually sells you on the keyboard. In truth, most people won’t notice the difference between 8,000 Hz and the traditional 1,000 Hz.

Corsair’s announcement of the K70 RGB Pro doesn’t put a huge focus on the keyboard’s overboard polling rate. The press release points to the Axon technology that the company says is “up to 8x faster than standard gaming keyboards,” but there is no specific mention of 8,000 Hz or even the term “polling rate.”

Technology Corsair's new 8,000 Hz keyboard ranges from $160-$170, depending on the mechanical switches.

Enlarge / Corsair’s new 8,000 Hz keyboard ranges from $160-$170, depending on the mechanical switches.

Corsair

Corsair also didn’t provide an input lag claim, but some 8,000 Hz keyboards point to an input lag of as low as 0.125 ms (1 second divided by 8,000 reports = .000125 second). The K70 RGB Pro’s product page does highlight the polling rate and 4,000 Hz key-scanning rate (elsewhere on Corsair’s website, the company claims its Axon processor can deliver input lag of as low as 0.25 ms).

But before you get to that, the product page highlights the keyboard’s doubleshot PBT plastic keycaps and its use of Cherry MX-branded mechanical switches. Corsair’s product page also covers the keyboard’s aluminum frame and per-key RGB before mentioning the product’s Axon 8,000 Hz feature.

Technology Mention of high polling rates is beneath the fold.

Enlarge / Mention of high polling rates is beneath the fold.

Corsair’s press release also covers the keyboard’s aluminum volume roller and other media keys, plus software or onboard macro key recording.

Other 8,000 Hz keyboards have also tried to offer additional showy features besides high polling rates. For example, you’ll probably notice the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate’s mini LED animated matrix before anything else. And Asus was also sure to include higher-quality keycaps (also doubleshot PBT) and other features, like sound dampening foam, an RGB wrist rest, and USB passthrough.

It’s not like 8,000 Hz keyboards are pointless or that vendors should stop trying to push the limits of keyboard speed. But most people don’t need such a keyboard and wouldn’t notice the difference. For the typical user, 8,000 Hz won’t be enough to elevate one keyboard over another.

Of course, high-polling-rate keyboards, like 8,000 Hz mice and 360 Hz monitors, are extreme gaming peripherals. But if your system has some areas where lag may be introduced, reducing keyboard lag won’t be a game changer. Corsair’s other 8,000 Hz keyboards have other gimmicks besides speed, though. For example, the Corsair K100 brags about its optical mechanical switches, and the board boasts a large programmable RGB dial.

Technology Corsair K100.

Enlarge / Corsair K100.

Similarly, Razer dedicates most of its 8,000 Hz Huntsman V2’s product page to the product’s optical mechanical switches, doubleshot PBT keycaps, and sound-dampening foam.

So while faster keyboards are an interesting achievement and a potential boon for those with a vendetta against input lag, it’s nice to see that keyboard makers are offering other features to justify those high price tags—Corsair’s K70 RGB starts at $160.

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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