Cooler Master MK850 and MK851 Keyboards

Although not as well known for keyboards, Cooler Master has several lines, suitable for different budgets. At the entry level they have the CK530 and CK550. While they are not Cooler Master’s flagships, they still offer great features, like aluminum top plates and full RGB lighting. With a list price of around $80 – $90, they are a great value.

A step up from the CK is the SK series, with the SK620, SK630 and SK650. Also offering solid aluminum top plates and full RGB lightning. They also include other features, like the newest Cherry MX Low Profile RGB switches and LED lightbar that wraps around the entire keyboard.

MK850 and MK851

Great features at great prices for sure. But what if you’re looking for the crème de la crème, the best of the best?

If you’re looking for the best Cooler Master offers, and the $250+ price tag doesn’t scare you off, the MK850 might be what you’re looking for. It shares many of the same features as CM’s other product lines: aluminum top plate, full RGB lighting, etc. The MK850 has one unique feature the others don’t, something Cooler Master is calling Aimpad.

The majority (read: nearly all) of keyboards use binary, digital input. On or off, key pressed or not pressed, that’s it. This makes keyboards inherently difficult for many games, especially racing and flight games. Press the spacebar for gas, and it’s either pedal-to-the-metal or nothing, no in-between.

The MK850 aims to change that with Aimpad, its version of analog keys. Press a little, games will register a slight keypress. Want to walk instead of always run? Give it a little gas instead of full acceleration? With the MK850 it’s possible. It may not completely replace your controller for all things, games like Mario Kart are probably more enjoyable with a controller. Still, Aimpad is a great feature that many gamers will love.

There are a few things to keep in mind though. First all, not all of the keys are Aimpad aware: only WASD and the 4 arrow keys have this feature; the rest of the keys use standard Cherry MX switches. The second issue is in the Aimpad itself. Instead of detecting pressure in the switch, CM actually uses an IR sensor to determine key travel. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but the sensor can be sensitive to dust and other debris. For those who like to eat at their keyboards, this is something to be aware of.

There is currently no release date for this keyboard. Earlier press releases from Cooler Master had its release estimated in Q2 or Q3; obviously that didn’t work out. We will update this post once an actual release date is given.

Note: there is some confusion with the MK850 and MK851 and Aimpad support. Some sources say the MK850 will have Aimpad, others claim only the MK851. Until we hear more from Cooler Master there is no definitive answer on this.