Cooler Master CM Storm Trigger Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Coolermaster-CM-Storm-Trigger

Cooler Master's gaming division, CM Storm, delivered its first keyboard offering earlier this year with their mechanical Quickfire Rapid gaming keyboard.  It has since expanded the QuickFire platform with the Quickfire Pro, which adds a keypad and several other gamer-centric features.  In its fervent expansion into peripherals, CM Storm is proud to bring their new Trigger mechanical keyboard to enthusiasts and gamers everywhere.

Overview


Whether the weapon is chosen or that weapon chooses you, the Trigger mechanical gaming keyboard is prepared with a full featured arsenal that incorporates a selection of extremely high durability CHERRY MX Black, Blue, Brown, or Red switches*.

*The availability of CHERRY MX switch types will vary based on region.

 

Features

  • High durability gold-plated Cherry switches rated for over 50 million key strokes
  • Multi-media control keys for convenient sound control
  • 5 macro keys with profile management
  • 18K gold plated ultra low latency USB plugs
  • Anti-ghosting 6 key rollover
  • 64KB on-board memory for profile storage
  • Storm tactics key for deactivation of Windows key
  • 1000Hz driverless polling / 1ms response time
  • Two port enhanced USB 2.0 hub
  • Detachable wrist rest
  • Braided cable for durability
  • Non-slip rubber coating

 

Specifications

Model Number SGK-6000-GKCC1 (Black Switch)
SGK-6000-GKCL1 (Blue Switch)
SGK-6000-GKCM1 (Brown Switch)
SGK-6000-GKCR1(Red Switch)
Key Switch
CHERRY Black / Blue / Brown / Red
N Key Rollover
Macro Key
6
5
Polling Rate
1000 Hz /1 ms
Backlighting
All Keys
Windows Key Disable
Yes
On Board Memory
Media Keys
64 KB
Yes
Dimensions
475(L)x162(W)x25(H) mm
 
18.7(L)x6.5(W)x0.98(H) inch
Weight
1260 g / 2.78 lbs

 

Packaging

DSC 1148DSC 1149

DSC 1150

In CM Storm's typical swooping red and black color scheme, the Trigger comes neatly packaged in a box detailing the many features and specifications Cooler Master thinks will win you over.  In addition to the keyboard itself, the box contains minimal accessories, only a quick start usage guide, a pamphlet telling you where to find the Trigger software, and the braided USB cable.

 The CM Storm Trigger is meant to become the top-end of the Cooler Master's growing mechanical gaming keyboard family.  The Quickfire Pro does away with full backlighting, and the Quickfire Rapid does away with backlighting and the numpad, and each are priced in $20 increments, with the QF Rapid at $80, and the Trigger at $120 MSRP.  Our test unit came with Cherry MX Brown switches, which is classified as having a tactile "bump," where the popular Cherry MX Blue switches have the tactile "bump" as well as an audible "click."  Cooler Master also offers the Trigger with a linear Cherry MX Black switch, and the lesser-force Red switch, which also features a tactile bump with less resistance than the Browns.

 Cooler Master also boasts 6-key rollover (6KRO), so 6 simultaneous keypresses can be registered, which is particularly important to RPG or RTS players who execute a large number of frantic keystrokes.  1000ms polling rates also mean low response times, and gold-plated connnectors and switch contact points ensure good contact and low latencies.

 


DSC 1151DSC 1152

 

The Trigger has a clean but slightly edgy external personality, with a rubberized and rugged military look across the top which tries to get the point across that it can withstand a beating.  Cooler Master also thinks so, as shown in this video.  Cooler Master has also carved a bit of the bottom out of the trigger, which breaks up what would otherwise be a very square profile.  Most of the keyboard has a dark metallic grey color with black keys and trim around the outer edges.  The entire surface has a rubberized coating similar to soft touch which you may be familiar with, and gives it a very smoth feel.

DSC 1157DSC 1158

The layout is quite standard, complete with a full numpad on the right side with status LEDs located directly above it.  The CM Storm logo neatly adorns the upper right corner, and the macro buttons in a vertical array along the leftmost edge.  LED brightness and multimedia controls are location on the F-buttons, and are toggled with the windows/CM Storm keys.

DSC 1156

DSC 1154DSC 1161

They right portion of the back face of the Trigger houses the two USB 2.0 ports, the mini-USB out which runs to your computer, and also an optional 5V DC port if you're using a power-hungry peripheral like a USB-powered external hard drive or headset like the CM Storm Sirus.  The side profile is somewhat chunky, as most Cherry MX keyboards we've tested have been, and has a slight angle built-in, with additional tilt possible by feed on each side of the keyboard.  Large rubber feet keep the trigger firmly in place on a wide range of surface, so you won't have to worry about it sliding around.

DSC 1164

DSC 1165DSC 1167

The trigger also comes with a large wrist guard which meshes nicely with the rest of the keyboard, and is coated in the same soft touch rubber as the outer edges, so it matches perfectly and has a smooth feel.  The wrist rest is also allowed to flex downward somewhat, and creates a smooth transition from your desk surface to the keyboard itself, and is overall very comfortable.

DSC 1162

The USB cable which is provided has gold-plated connections for the best possible connection, and is sleeved in a somewhat thick and stiff, but very durable material.  The cords look and keep very tidy, and they won't be tying themselves into any rat's nests.  The removable USB cable is also nice in the fact that you are able to get a longer one if needed, or if for some reason it would need to be replaced, it's a non-issue in terms of possibly having to RMA the keyboard, or have it be rendered completely useless.

 


Software

The software for the CM Storm Trigger leaves us with relatively little to say, because overall it's quite standard.  It's very similar to most other macro configuration software you may have used, and if you haven't used any in the past, there's not really anything to worry about, as it's very intuitive.  It allows you to custom macro any key on the entire keyboard, and also allows for 5 independently-configurable profiles, and also software "triggers" for each one, so you can have different profiles setup for different games or other software you might run.  The interface is responsive, clean, and runs quite harmlessly in the background when you don't need to directly access the interface.

 


Testing and Usage

DSC 1232

 

DSC 1233DSC 1235

The LED lighting on the Trigger is very nice, as every key is lit by a red LED which allows for 3 different brigtness levels, an on/off option, and also a slow on-off cycling where the LEDs slowly transition from off to on, which is a neat effect.  The LEDs look more red in normal lighting than orange-ish as captured by our camera.  The lighting is very even overall, although it's a bit dimmer on the lower side of the key, so the symbols underneath the numbers are a bit dimmer.  CM Storm's logo lights up neatly on the upper-left corner of the keyboard, and the LEDs also light up in between teh keys for a nice effect, and make night gaming a breeze.

 

Testing

The first things we tested were to validate two of Cooler Master's marketing claims, one that it has 6-key rollover, and the other that it has a 1000Hz polling rate for lower response times.  The 6-key rollover went without a hitch using several web and small program applications to provide a variety of testing, so your multiple simultaneous keystrokes as you're furiously pounding away commands won't go unnoticed.  Although programs exist for checking mice, we weren't able to track down anything to verify keyboard polling rates, although since you're not doing more than a few keystrokes per second, the latency increase by 1000ms polling won't be as noticeable as in a mouse which has hundreds of movement measurements to make each second.

 

As far as gaming goes, the macros work very well, we haven't had any issues with profiles not booting up once we set the executable to the profile, and it's been a pleasant experience.  I cannot definitively say that mechanical gaming kebyaords have improved my play, and I don't play RTS' much, so I cannot attest to games which utilize a large number of very deliberate keystrokes, although the Cherry MX Browns are great for games.  Although the Blue switches are ideal for typing (although are veyr loud), the Browns create a great balance, as you still have plenty of tactile feel, they still have an audible click, and typing is fantastic on the Brown switches as well, and are substantially quieter.

 

Gaming and usage at night is great due to the nice backlighting, and the additional ports on the keyboard allow me to keep the potential rat's nest aroudn the I/O panel on my motherboard much cleaner.  The Trigger is certainly one of our favorite keybaord we've tested, and it plays quite similarly to its smaller brother, the Quickfire Rapid, which also carries a lighter profile (minus the numpad) and price tag.  

 


Final Thoughts

DSC 1233

CM Storm's latest foray into the mechanical keyboard market can't seem to be anything but successful.  They've continued to expand their keyboard family, which now offers a competitively priced entry-level mechanical keyboard in the mechanical keyboard market, an incremental step up with the Quickfire Pro which brings back the numpad, and then the high-end Trigger which rounds out the family with full LED backlighting, but the same gaming-grade components and build quality you'd expect from a mechanical gaming keyboard.

The software is simple and intuitive to use, and in this case not having much to say is a good thing.  It allows up to 5 configurable profiles with fully-programmable keys and 5 dedicated macro keys, and each profile may also have an executable "trigger" so you can have profles setup for each game you play.  The small details also continue to add to the value seen in the Trigger, such as removable/replaceable gold-plated USB cable with a durable braided covering, gold-plated top-of-the-line Cherry MX switches, a comfortable wrist rest and a smooth soft touch coating.

The lighting looks great, and makes night/LAN gaming much easier, and thus more fun.  The Cherry MX Browns of our test unit lack the signtaure "click clack" of the Cherry MX Blue switches, but typing is still very easy on the Brown switches, but are much less noisy.  We were able to verify the 6-key rollover, so simultaneious keystrokes, no matter in which order, won't go unnoticed.  The inclusion of multimedia controls rounds out a good-looking gaming keyboard with high quiality components, and is an overall pleasure to use.

Overall, for a dedicated gamer or anyone who makes enough use to benefit from a good keyboard, the hefty $120 price tag might not be too hard to justify.  For many, however, the price is going to be prohibitive.  However, Cooler Master has a fairly logical and well-developed family of mechanical gaming keyboards, with their Quickfire Rapid at a much more attainable $80 MSRP.  However, when comparing to other mechanical gaming keyboards with the same featureset, the Trigger is very competitively priced.  The LED-equipped Tesoro Durandal, which we very much liked, had us shaking our heads at its $169.99 price tag, with essentially the same featureset as the Trigger.

 

The Good

alt

The Bad

  • Attractive looks and lighting
  • High quality Cherry MX switches
  • Great build quality
  • Simple, intuitive, functional software
  • Gold-plated braided USB cable
  • Option for external  5V DC power for USB ports
  • Price ($120 MSRP)

 

Did we miss something or have you found any inaccuracies?  Suggestions and corrections can be sent by commenting below or the "Contact" button at the top of the page.  Your feedback helps us improve!

 

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh