LAS VEGAS, NV —  During CES 2018 this week, Cooler Master announced that it’s coming to market in one of its new keyboards, the MK851 which features Aimpad's analog input technology.

Cooler Master MasterKeys MK851

The new MasterKeys MK851 features the newly implemented analog input technology which is centered around eight specific analog keys, including the WASD keys. These keys are pressure sensitive, which give better control as opposed to the straightforward on/off motion switch on a traditional keyboard. An example would be in a driving game, the amount of pressure applied to the accelerator could be dependant on how hard the key has been pushed. Due to this, it allows users to have more control and make minor adjustments when taking things like corners. One major benefit is not having to repeatedly tap keys to make adjustments, these can be done via the amount of pressure applied to the key itself.

Cooler Master’s official press release actually describes the technology in a similar way:

"Traditional keyboards act like an on/off switch where keys are actuated then released. With Aimpad activated, the MK851 keys function like a gas pedal. The result is more control, especially when driving vehicles, making slight adjustments, or course corrections without having to continuously tap keys. Instead, press down slightly for smooth control."

Putting it quite simply, instead of binary digital input (on/off), analog input gives you gradations of pressure which allows for a myriad of control throughout the total of a keypress.

Due to the analog input technology on the MasterKeys MK851, this model is only available in Cherry MX Red switches, however, the MasterKeys MK850 does not have the Aimpad technology but to compensate this, this model will be available in Cherry MX blue and brown switch types.

Currently, there is no word on pricing, but Cooler Master said in a release that they’ll launch in Q2 or Q3 of this year. Hopefully, we should have more details later this week at CES.

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Seth Colaner contributed to this report

Source: Toms Hardware

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  • BurntMyBacon - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    Yes. The ability to use keyboard, mouse, keypad, touchpad, trackball, joystick/flight system, wheel, gamepad, 3d/rudder devices, 3D mouse (I.E. SpacePilot Pro), smart pen, smartpad, kinect, or any combination thereof to suit our purposes is just a clumsy hack and far inferior to the typical gamepad only console setup. I wish we could just plug an XBOX ONE controller into the PC so we wouldn't have to use all the other clumsy hack devices (O_O).

    Note: This is in no way an endorsement for analog keys on a keyboard. Can't imagine it would make for a good typing experience. Putting them on a separate keypad device like the Razor Orbweaver (without the cloud based synapse software) would be more interesting.
  • CMreyes - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    Hey @BurntMyBacon typing experience would be the same as typing on any Cherry MX red keyboard and we aren't trying to change the way you game, but rather enhance your experience:)
  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, January 13, 2018 - link

    I'm not saying consoles are the one true way. Just that the typical PC gamer attitude of "keyboard and mouse or GTFO" is... ugly. They keyboard is the device you are guaranteed to have, and should definitely be supported, but I've never understood people's insistence that it is the best controller ever and everything else is for posers.
    Hell, it isn't even the best option for TEXT ENTRY, which is what it was designed to do.

    This is just polishing a turd, and I miss the days when a nice analog joystick was considered a normal part of a gaming setup.
  • 12123escapist - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    Looks like a cheap copy of the Wooting One, a fully analog and pressure sensitive keyboard. Why wait until Q1 or Q2 if you can just get it now?
  • CMreyes - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    Cooler Master uses genuine Cherry MX switches so you don't have to skimp out on your gaming experience.
  • MamiyaOtaru - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    wooting's keys don't provide input through the whole range of key motion. Aimpad's do. I do like how wooting has all their keys using analog instead of a select few though. "2.1 Why doesn’t the keyboard read the full range of a key?

    The current switch only reads a range from 2 – 4 mm for now because the manufacturer didn’t originally design it for analog. It blocks all the light until 2mm and we need light to read the distance." - "Analog Sensing Range

    Aimpad can sense the entire range of the key press from the very top to the very bottom. Due to the design of the Flaretech switch, it is not possible to measure the entire key press. Only the switch position between 1.5mm and 3.6mm of the key press can be measured. In other words, a user has to press the switch down 1.5mm before any response can be detected and the effective range is 2.1mm compared to Aimpad’s full 4mm range"

    tl;dr you get *nothing* from a wooting key until it is already half way down. You've got half the distance to play with for usable input that you do with aimpad's stuff.
  • Rictorhell - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    I've seen a lot of cool devices and technology announced for CES 2018 but I have noticed that there has been little, to no pricing information released alongside the product announcements. I know it is still 2 or 3 months early for many of these products and I hate to go there, but one thing I admire about Apple is that when they announce a product, they USUALLY have a price for the product ready to go, along with the initial product announcement. It's not a huge deal but a lot of us have to save and budget for this stuff so it would be helpful if the product vendors could buckle down and have these prices ready at the time of the initial announcements.

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