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G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard Review

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G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard Closer Look:

G.SKILL has long been known for its performance memory products. The company is now making the leap into peripheral markets with keyboards, mice, and headsets targeting the gaming community. The G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB keyboard is a mechanical keyboard featuring Cherry MX Brown key switches. Cherry key switches are famous for their durability, having a history spanning roughly three decades. The Cherry MX Brown key switches are rated for up to 50 million actuations, and are designated as a tactile, non-clicky switch. This means that when you pres the key you feel a bump (tactile), but there is no added clicking-sound mechanism. The actuation force, or amount of force necessary to register a keystroke, is 45 cN, the lowest force required out of the Cherry MX family. Generally, the easier it is to press the keys the better for gaming, while the tactile response can help with typing. The KM780 keyboard is also available with Cherry MX Red linear key switches. These are simpler switches than the Browns in that they do not have the tactile bump. Actuation force is the same between the Cherry MX Red and Brown switches – the Brown switches are seen as good for both gaming and typing, but Red switches are usually emphasized for all out gaming.

The RGB designation in the product name KM780 RGB tells consumers that this model has full range RGB color backlighting for the keys. Each key can be programmed individually both in color and function; both will be covered in more detail on the following page. There is a lower end model that does not feature RGB color capability – the KM780 MX comes in red LED output only, but at a significant price break.

The G.SKILL KM780 RGB has some heft to it thanks to the amount of metal used in its construction. The top plate is brushed black-anodized aluminum. Along the sides and bottom are metal bars; the top bar has a mouse cable holder than can be moved across the whole length. There is a case that can be attached to this bar as well, as seen further down this page. These bars make an already large keyboard huge, and do not directly serve much purpose. On the other hand they can be used to strap the keyboard down – either to travel with such as going to LAN parties, or to tie down to systems where articulation is desired, such as gaming PC chairs.

The footprint is large even without the attachments, measuring in at 518 x 172 x 48 mm, or roughly 20.40 x 6.77 x 1.89 in. But size isn't a problem, it's not like this is a tenkeyless keyboard! The keyboard has a layout very similar to the standard US IBM keyboard, with 104 keys, although more are included, such as six macro keys, four mode keys, a key to lock the start button out, one for brightness, a timer key, and five multimedia keys with a wheel to adjust volume. Near the right CTRL key is a proper Menu key, along with a second Windows key – some keyboard manufacturers replace either of these with a function key. The bottom is made of plastic, with rubber strips at each corner to help prevent sliding. Two feet at the back can be popped out for a steeper incline. Next to the foot on the left of the picture is the mouse cable holder tucked away. It simply pops loose and can slide anywhere along the bar that it is attached to. The label says that it is rated for 5V 900mA, and that it was made in China.

 

 

 

The cable from the KM780 RGB is two meters long with a braided cloth wire loom. It splits into four cables near the end – one for USB data, one USB for the keyboard itself (this keyboard is NOT compatible with PS/2), an Audio-In jack, and a Microphone-out Jack. All connections are gold plated; this helps protect from corrosion and for making good contact. At the top-right of the keyboard, near the audio controls, are a USB 2.0 port and jacks for headphones and a microphone. The USB 2.0 port can be used for data transmission, but looks more likely to be suited for headsets that use USB connections.

 

 

At the leftmost side of the keyboard are six macro keys labeled G1 to G6. At the top are four keys – MR, M1, M2, and M3. MR stands for Macro Record, and is used in conjunction with the G1-6 keys to record macros rapidly. M1, M2, and M3 are the three separate modes where individualized settings can be saved. This is handy for having settings for different users or games. All three mode settings are saved together under a profile, and profiles can be interchanged with the software since only one can exist at any time on the keyboard. To record a macro without any software, users first select one of the three modes. Hit MR and then select one of the macro keys G1-G6; after hitting one of those keys you can then push whatever combination of keys you want. Once you are satisfied you can hit MR to finish the macro. This only applies to whichever mode you were on – if you record a macro on the G2 key on mode M1, it will only be available on G2 mode M1. If you mess up just re-record the macro over the same key.

The software is more forgiving in that you can edit macros and their timing events. To the right of the mode keys are a Windows key lockout switch, so you don't accidentally bring up the start menu while gaming. To the right of that is a brightness key, with three levels of brightness. The LEDs are capable of being much brighter, but G.SKILL has opted to lower maximum brightness. Further to the right is a timer key, the functionality of which is entirely reliant on the software to function. At the top right are five audio keys – stop, skip backward, pause/play, skip forward, and mute. Most notable here is the stop button, which will stop playing the media and queue it up at the beginning. A knurled metal roller adjust volume up and down; this is a much more convenient and faster way to adjust volume versus tapping buttons. Volume level is shown through a red LED volume display. This display has three rows and twelve columns. It displays volume level by lighting up whole columns to correspond to volume levels.

 

 

The key switches on this keyboard are raised, rather than inlaid. Raised keys make it easier to clean the keyboard, although not very many people do this. A side effect of being raised is that the keys sit noticeably higher. It is entirely possible to use this keyboard without the wrist pad, but it does require some getting used to. Being so high with a clear plastic gives the keyboard an interesting look with the lights; even when pressed down there is plenty of space for light to escape. Included with the KM780 are ten alternative key caps - W, A, S, D, Q, E, R, F, C, and G. All of these red keys are grooved for a different texture, and the W, A, and D keys are all angled dramatically. It takes some time to get used to the angle of the W, A, and D keys – their increased height at the edges helps with pressing other keys, such as in games where one might strafe and need to hit the Q and E keys. Initially it is a learning curve to use these keys, and it makes typing more difficult. I do like the texture as that can help with key acquisition by feel alone.

Cherry MX key switches all use a standard mounting system, so finding custom key caps online is another possibility. All of the keys are stored in a case that can clip to the top bar for safe keeping. Inside of the case is a key puller, to use it you simply push down on a key and then pull up once the sides are locked onto the key. Most competitive gamers I have observed would not actively swap out keys like this, usually playing on what they practice with. But it is nice to have the option available to mount this to the keyboard, rather than leaving it off and misplacing it. It is easy to press the macro keys accidentally when reaching for keys such as Escape, until you get used to the fact that the last keys are the macro keys.

 

 

The metal has hard angles cut into it by the space key, making it feel odd when resting your thumbs down there. It isn't really noticeable once you get used to hand placement, or one can opt for the wrist pad to cover this area up. The wrist pad also helps take off some of the strain caused by the rather tall layout of the keys. The surface of the wrist pad is a hard rubber with texture on it. An indent is placed right in the middle of the pad; some people might find it odd when resting their right hand. The wrist pad does pivot so it can be used in conjunction with the feet, or for desk layouts that are not perfectly flat. The wrist pad doesn't clip onto the bar like the gaming key caps. Instead it clips onto the bottom of the keyboard. Two additional rubber feet adorn the bottom of the wrist pad, helping further to prevent sliding.

 

 

The feet on the KM780 pop up, typical for most keyboards. Doing this will sacrifice the support of two out of four rubber feet, so on a smooth surface you would be more likely to have slippage occur. The mouse cable holder tucks into the bottom of the keyboard, it can slide all across the bar and pivot for different angles. Although it is intended for use with mouse cables, it could possibly work with headsets as well, if they fit into the notch.

 

 

Here you can see the G.SKILL KM780 RGB fully equipped in all of its glory, one picture without and one with the gaming keys. Some people prefer to swap keys one at a time, but it can be faster to remove the whole set at once if you knew where they go. The key switches have a clear body – Cherry MX keys generally have a black plastic body. This change greatly increases the light transmission from the LEDs, giving the keyboard backlighting effects. The brown switches indicate that these are Cherry MX Brown key switches; Cherry color codes them. Since these key switches are raised above the main housing, the total height of the keyboard is much higher than most others – recessed dome keyboards are much shorter overall. Installing the gaming key caps is quite easy, as you just remove the keys that you want to replace, set them aside, and remove the equivalent gaming keys. Then just push the key cap into place and you are done. The key caps do not have O-rings – a common practice for reducing the noise of the mechanical Cherry switches is to install rubber O-rings to help reduce the bottoming out plastic-on-plastic noise. Most manufacturers do not include these, but they can greatly reduce the typing noise, especially for people new to mechanical keyboards.

 

 

 

Move on to the next page to see the G.SKILL software and to view the lighting possibilities!




  1. G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Introduction
  2. G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Closer Look Continued
  3. G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Software
  4. G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Specifications & Features
  5. G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Testing & Results
  6. G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Conclusion
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