Using a Clicky PC Keyboard from Corsair on a Mac
If you have followed this blog, you probably know that I love clicky keyboards. But getting a Buckling Spring or even a Cherry MX Blue keyboard specifically made for Macintosh isn’t easy, at least not here in Sweden. So the way to go for me was to get a PC gaming keyboard.
I first bought the Razer Black Widow which is a Cherry MX Blue clicky keyboard. But I didn’t like the layout of some of the keys, so I gave it to my son to use on his gaming PC. That made him a fan of clicky keyboards, and that has to be worth something. Anyway, back to the drawing board trying to find a likable keyboard.
After searching around, I found the Corsair Vengeance K70 PC Gaming Keyboard which I think is the least ugly gaming keyboard I’ve managed to find.
Corsair Vengeance K70 PC Gaming Keyboard
The keyboard has a beautiful brushed black anodized finish that’s nice. It looks better in real life than the pictures I found online. The USB cable has two connectors at the end, but you only need to connect one if you’re not using the extra USB connector located on the keyboard itself. The keyboard comes with free gaming keys for the classical A-S-D-W keys and 1 to 6. The keys are red and tilted for making it easier to play games. For me, this is something that’s going directly into the drawer. I’m left-handed so I use I-J-K-L to play, and the standard keys will work fine for occasional gaming sessions. My primary use is to write, and as I write on the keyboard, I have a little smile on my face. There’s something special about the sound and feel of clicky keyboards. But using it at night when the wife is in the bedroom? No way, It’s way too loud. And the more you use it, the louder it gets because you’ll increase your writing speed, making even more of a racket.
The keyboard comes with hand rests in plastic, with a rubberized coating, so your hands have something to lean on. I like it, so I’m keeping it installed.
Media Player Control Keys
The keyboard comes with controls for Play/Pause, Stop, Next song, Previous song, Mute and a wheel for adjusting the volume. And they all work right out of the box! Well, except for Stop, because iTunes doesn’t have a dedicated stop button, just pause/play. The controls are in their separate location in the upper right corner of the keyboard, and they are convenient. Best implementation I’ve tried so far. The Scroll Lock and Pause Break buttons adjust the screen brightness, so two buttons that are useless for Mac users come to good use here.
Compatibility Mode Switch
There is a BIOS switch for compatibility for different computers, but I have mine set to the one closest setting to the text BIOS. This is apparently the Compatibility Mode setting. With that selected the caps lock indicator LED works.
Setup for Macintosh
So the keyboard is a PC keyboard, and the key mapping for the alt and command are reversed. But the fix is easy. Open System Preferences and select Keyboard. Press the button called “Modifier Keys…” and set the Option key to Command and the Command key to Option. Don’t forget to select the right keyboard using the popup at the top of the settings dialog box.
It’s nice to see that the Caps Lock key is a “real” key so that I can map it to CTRL.
So far I’m happy with the result. Typing is heaven thanks to the Cherry MX keys, and I love the analog feel to the volume control. I’m probably going to get tired of the red LEDs behind the keys, but there’s a button to turn them off, so that’s not a problem.
I’ve started to play games now on my new MacBook Pro Retina 15″ machine. I’m dual boot using BootCamp, and right now I’m in the middle of playing Far Cry 3, an excellent game. And it’s nice to have a good keyboard when playing.