Nov 26, 2018 Written by: Hilko_Black

Choose your favorite Cherry MX switch for the Strix Flare

Article Tags: GuidesHands On

When you’re thinking about buying a mechanical keyboard, the switches are one of the most important features to consider. Cherry has a wide variety of switches designed to appeal to different types of users, whether you need the fastest possible switches, desire quiet performance, or prefer lots of tactile and auditory feedback. We've offered multiple switch types for our keyboards in the past, but our ROG Strix Flare gaming keyboard brings the widest variety yet. We've got half a dozen choices to meet the needs of every gamer, and no matter your switch choice, you’ll get a solid gaming keyboard that brings great looks and loads of features.

To pair with the Strix Flare

The Flare cuts a dashing profile on any desk thanks to diagonal brushed detailing that slices through the otherwise smooth, all black chassis. Customization of the keyboard isn't limited to selecting your switch type at checkout, either. The transparent insert on the keyboard's top edge is customizable, so you can modify it with your own glowing logo relatively easily.

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The marriage of mechanical switches and the Strix Flare's construction is a happy one. A sturdy metal backplate underneath the keys prevents any flex, even if you’re pounding your way through an intense game. With the feet underneath flipped up and detachable wrist rest in place, the typing angle is perfect.

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To combine the superb styling and full roster of the Strix Flare’s features with the perfect switches, we went with legendary switchmaker Cherry and an array of switch options. All six of the Cherry switches you can choose from are Cherry MX RGB.

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The “RGB” refers to the switch housing, which is transparent (standard Cherry MX switches have an opaque housing with an LED that pokes through and backlights the keycap legend). The RGB versions of MX switches are perfect for top plate mounting designs, and we tailored the Strix Flare to maximize the light they produce. We put a white backplate under the black top plate to help magnify the light that spills from the switches, making it seem as though they’re floating on a cloud of diffused light.

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The switch LEDs are bright enough to evenly light the large keycap legends, including the profile and lighting control legends that are on the front side of some of the keycaps. It can be really difficult to illuminate front-side legends, but we were able to do it with the help of Cherry’s RGB switches and their transparent housings.

The lighting on the switches is matched by a pair of light strips on either side of the chassis that are super bright and bring a beautiful glow to the desk underneath. You can customize the lighting of both the switches and the side strips (not to mention control more granular settings like key assignments) using our ROG Armoury II software. Aura Sync allows you to synchronize the Strix Flare’s lighting across compatible ASUS and ROG peripherals and devices. The Strix Flare has everything you want in a mechanical gaming keyboard. All you need to do now is pick the perfect switch!

Cherry MX RGB Red

The classic mechanical keyboard switch is the Cherry MX Red. Gamers have long loved its linear keyfeel. That means there’s no bump in the travel nor a noisy click. The Red switch also more or less defined the standard specs for actuation point and total travel at 2mm and 4mm, respectively.

The actuation point is a spot somewhere in the first half of the key travel that registers the keypress. It’s one of the advantages that mechanical switches have over cheaper rubber dome switches that actuate only when you press them down all the way.

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In addition to feeling light because of the linear action, Cherry MX Red switches are actually light because they require just 45g of force to actuate. These switches feel fast and smooth, which is exactly what I want when I’m blasting through an FPS shooter. The RGB version of the MX Red keeps that iconic feel but adds the transparent switch housing for a greater splash of light under the keycaps and on the backplate.

Cherry MX Silent RGB Red

Cherry MX Red switches aren’t particularly loud, given that they don’t have a click sound anywhere in the travel. They do produce a high-pitched thocky sound, especially when you firmly press them all the way down, as many of us do during intense bouts. These MX RGB Silent Red switches have the same 45g weight as the MX RGB Red switches, and of course they’re also linear, so in that regard they’re almost identical. The difference is that the Silent version has a noise-reducing bumper built into the switch stem. The result is a more gentle, muted sound when you bottom out the keypress instead of the louder, snappier sound of the regular Red switch.

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Because of the bumper, the actuation point and total travel on the Silent Red switches are slightly different from the standard Red switch. The pretravel, which is the distance from the beginning of the keypress to the actuation point, is 1.9mm instead of 2mm. The total travel is a more shallow 3.7mm, as opposed to 4mm for the regular Red switch.

Technically, the keyfeel should otherwise be identical between the Silent Red and Red switches, but to me the Silent switches feel a little stiffer. This is neither a good thing nor bad thing, but if you really love the breeziness of Red switches while you’re gaming, it's something to keep in mind. I find that the slight stiffness makes for an improved day-to-day typing experience.

If you’re wondering how to tell the two Red switches apart without actually typing on them, note that the Silent Red switches are actually slightly pink in color. The regular Red switches are a bright cherry red color. If the people in your house are uninterested in hearing you game late at night, or you really like a quieter typing experience yourself, you should try out these quiet switches on the Strix Flare.

Cherry MX RGB Speed Silver

Cherry developed its MX RGB Speed Silver switch for gamers who are always hungry for any speed advantage they can get. They’re linear like Red switches, and they require the same 45g of force to operate, but they have a shorter overall travel and a higher actuation point. In contrast to the 2mm actuation point of Cherry MX RGB Red switches, the Speed Silver actuate at 1.2mm, so the keypress registers earlier in the travel. The total travel is 3.4mm, which is also shallower than the standard 4mm, so you also bottom out the switch faster if you press it all the way down.

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You can’t physically feel the actuation point on Speed Silver switches, or any linear switch for that matter, but I certainly feel like I’m suddenly moving and reacting a little faster in games with the 1.2mm actuation. After spending so much time typing on switches that have 4mm travel, I really noticed the shorter 3.4mm travel of the Speed Silvers. If you want to feel especially fleet while you’re gaming on the Flare, the Cherry MX RGB Silver switches are the option you want.

Cherry MX RGB Black

The Cherry MX RGB Black switch was created for people who require a little more oomph in their switches than the Red version affords. Like the Red and Silent Red switches, the Black version is linear and has no tactile bump nor audible click. It has the same specifications in terms of actuation point and total travel; the only difference is that it’s notably heavier. At 60g instead of 45g operating force, the MX RGB Black switch gives you more resistance on the keypress and is also stronger on the rebound.

You can think of MX RGB Black, Red, and Silver Speed switches as three points on a spectrum. Where the Silver Speed switch takes the iconic linear Red feel and makes it feel even more fleet, the Black switch offers firmer, more pronounced feedback.

Cherry MX RGB Blue

Cherry MX Blue switches have long been the go-to for typers more than gamers. They have a tasty click that some people just cannot get enough of, and I have to admit that when I’m pounding my keys to get an article done, I get hypnotized by the noise, too. They give you almost a nostalgic feel, like you’re banging away on a vintage typewriter.

At 2.2mm, these MX RGB Blue switches have a slightly deeper actuation point than most of the rest of the Cherry switches, but because the overall travel is the same 4mm, that means there's less distance between the actuation point and the bottom-out point. They’re also notably heavier than Reds and Speed Silvers at 60g operating force. Weight preference is completely subjective, but most typists seem to prefer a heavier switch like this one. You can really tell the difference between a 45g switch and one that’s 60g.

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There are certainly some gamers who like Blue switches because of how they feel, largely due to the extra weight, but others steer clear of them because the clickiness can clash with the audio in their games. If you game with headphones on, it won’t be an issue for you regardless. Personally, the clickiness fades into audio wallpaper for me when I’m engrossed in my games, so even without headphones, the noise doesn’t bother me. You can confidently snap up a Strix Flare with Cherry MX RGB Blue switches if you’re a hardcore gamer. Many gamers swear by them, and in any case they’re a typer’s delight.

Cherry MX RGB Brown

Like Blue switches, Cherry MX RGB Brown switches offer tactile feedback in the form of a little bump in the keytravel, but they aren’t so clicky and loud. At 55g, they’re 10g heavier to operate than Red or Speed Silver switches, but that puts them just under the 60g of the Blue switches. If it sounds like Brown switches are a compromise between Red and Blue switches, that’s because they are. I like them because the tactile bump makes them really comfortable to type on all day long, but they still give me some of the lightness and fluidity of Red switches when I’m gaming at night. Outfitted with these switches, the Strix Flare is my one keyboard to rule them all.  

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Many mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who desire physical feedback when they type have found that Cherry MX RGB Brown switches are a great alternative to clicky Blue switches. They’ve made the compromise to spare their roommates, partners, or office mates the extra clicking noise without losing the tactile feel they need. If clicky switches aren’t in the cards for you, and typing on linear switches isn’t a feel you can cotton to, MX RGB Browns are probably what you want.

Cherry picking

Model Price Availability (USA) Availability (Canada)
ROG Strix Flare - Cherry MX RGB Red $179 CAD / $229 CAD ASUS Store
Newegg
Amazon
Micro Center
Walmart
Amazon
Memory Express
The Source
ROG Strix Flare - Cherry MX RGB Silent Red $179 CAD / $229 CAD B&H Coming Soon
ROG Strix Flare - Cherry MX RGB Blue $179 CAD / $229 CAD B&H Coming Soon
ROG Strix Flare - Cherry MX RGB Speed Silver $179 CAD / $229 CAD B&H Coming Soon
ROG Strix Flare - Cherry MX RGB Brown $179 CAD / $229 CAD ASUS Store 
Amazon
Newegg
Micro Center
Adorama
Walmart
Newegg
Amazon

Choosing which keyboard switch suits you best is a highly personal decision. There’s no wrong answer, especially when you have a palette of premium Cherry switches to choose from. If you want speed for games, audible typing feedback or just the opposite, tactility, or a classic linear mechanical keyboard feel, the Strix Flare comes with a switch type you’ll love. You can score a Strix Flare with Cherry MX RGB Red, Blue, Brown, Speed Silver, or Silent Red switches at the retailers listed above for $179.99 USD​ and ​$229.99 CAD​. The Cherry MX RGB Black version is available in specific regions outside North America. Check with your local ROG representative for availability and pricing in your region.

Article Tags: GuidesHands On
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