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G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard Review

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G.SKILL Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Keyboard:

Installing the software is fairly simple. Some people may be irked by the fact that none is supplied with the keyboard, but almost anyone with a computer has access to some form of Internet these days. Internet access should not be a problem for anyone who can afford a mechanical keyboard. The KM780 requires you to visit the G.SKILL website for the software, but Windows 7 and above will work with the keyboard without the additional software, too. After a visit to the website for the software, installation is straightforward. The software will check for firmware version on installation – making sure you have the latest drivers and firmware available. The software has five tabs: Macro and Lighting Profiles are raised above the other three – Customize, Setting, and Lighting. We will start with the three in the lower row.

The first thing users are greeted with is the Customize page. Here users can select keys to remap for different purposes, and this is not limited to just the macro keys, either. Users can assign the keys these values: default, another keyboard key value (pranks anyone?), mouse functions, multimedia, macro, Windows shortcuts, launching programs, text, or disable completely. This ability can be a powerful tool for those who like to bind programs to the buttons, gamers who like to use macros, and plenty of other options. Customize, Setting, and Lighting all share the Profile and Mode selection pane to the left.

The Setting tab can adjust the polling rate, with options of 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, and 1000Hz. N-Key Rollover can be changed from 6-key to N-Key rollover (NKRO). Either of these prevents ghosting and jamming. Testing it, I was able to confirm that the system could detect when most keys were pressed together. This page is also where you set the alert mode, where the timer button on the keyboard comes into play. The alert mode can use the custom lighting effects that you make in the Lighting Profiles tab. On-Screen Display doesn't appear to be working; it is supposed to have text pop up and even blink if selected. The repeat rate acceleration and delay settings are here. Delay can be 1X, 2X, 4X, and 8X. The rate is how often a character is repeated when you hold the key, while the delay is the amount of time before the character repeats. The sleep mode settings can be adjusted here, too. This setting allows you to set how much time before keys trigger the wake event.






Below we have a couple pictures showing the color settings next to the actual resulting colors on the keyboard. These keyboards do well with reds, seeing how the top keys and LED audio panel are all stuck on red. It is too bad G.SKILL didn't choose to make these keys either RGB, too, or some more neutral color. Any non-red scheme has high contrast with them – personal preference will decide if it is a deal breaker or not. Someone wanting an all-blue setup would not be too happy with the red LEDs up top.




I added a mix of colors to test how well the keyboard can handle them. Some colors were reproduced very well, while other colors were off. For instance the white comes out more pink than anything. Feeling patriotic? You could try to decorate the keyboard, but it really shines with gradients under the effect lighting. The effect lighting lets users customize four different effects, where users can select colors gradients to either roll, emulate splashing, spread out like streamers, and pulsate.




Here we can see how well the LEDs reproduce a simplified rainbow color arrangement, with white and gray as well. Without the key caps installed the details look decent, but adding the key caps muddy things up some. This keyboard does well when similar colors are used near the keys, although some colors do show well opposed to each other.



The Macros tab allows users to create, import and export, and delete custom macros. Delay can be set either as recorded, with a default time limit in a multiple of 10ms, or no delay. Once recorded, users can edit what buttons and time delays are in a list, even adding and removing commands altogether. There is an option to add text, although where the text is used is not clear at this time.



The Lighting Profiles tab has all of the active effect lighting. Four types of effect lighting are included, but hopefully G.SKILL will allow further modes to be included in the future. Users can make multiple versions of each of the four different effects – by default the colors range in a rainbow. The color gradient can be customized using the Color Controller at the bottom right, clicking one of the three squares will allow users to input different colors, and how long a chosen color is showcased. The Wave effect can roll either right to left or left to right, and the speed of that rolling can be adjusted. The ripple effect has a default solid color, then runs through a range as users type. The effect is similar to ripples caused by dropping water into a pool – the color runs from the solid color through to the other chosen colors, leaving darkness in its wake unless more typing occurs. Right now Ripple defaults to red as the primary color before typing occurs and cannot be changed. Reactive turns off all lighting, and "shoots" streams of whatever color the user chooses left and right until fading away. Last is Breathing, where the keyboard will pulsate the brightness along whatever gradient is defined – one color at a time, each pulse getting a different color.

At the top right of the software are three icons: a gear, and the letters G and W. The gear brings up a Settings window. At the top, the current firmware and software versions are shown. With this window language can be selected, users can try to update firmware and software, and the settings can be reset to default. The manual can also be brought up here, but with this software version I was unable to open the manual or change the language. A link to the G.SKILL forum, Facebook, Flickr, and a direct link to the G.SKILL technical support e-mail address are at the bottom.



Move on to the next page for a list of technical specifications and features of the G.SKILL KM780 RGB!

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