Gaming Keyboard Software
Like most gaming keyboards, the Corsair Raptor K40 keyboard contains programmable macro keys. There are six of these, labelled G1 through G6. However, each “profile” can define up to 18 macros, in three groups of six. You select the group assigned to the “G keys” by pressing the M1, M2, or M3 buttons at the top of the keyboard. The currently selected “M button” is lit. (The Lock button disables the Windows key when it’s selected.)
There are two ways to define macros: you can type a sequence of keys on the keyboard, or select from two specialized menus under “Advanced Options.” In this image, I’ve assigned the string “Now is the time” to the G1 key in the M1 group. I can use the Playback Options section of this window to specify that the sequence repeat once, N times (where N is any number), that it repeat rapidly as long as the key is held down, or that it repeat continually until I press the key again. To define a macro takes several steps:
1. Press the M1, M2, or M3 key to select the group the macro will be in.
2. Press the MR (Macro Record) key.
3. Press the key you want to assign the macro to (G1-G6).
4. Type the character(s) you want to assign to the key.
5. Last, press the MR key again to close the macro.
6. Optionally, type a name for the macro in the area provided.
This is a simple procedure, but sadly you cannot use meta keys in conjunction with the G keys, for example, “shift G1″ or “alt G2″. Also, you cannot edit macros once they’ve been defined: screw up one key while typing, and you must re-enter the entire macro. Admittedly, most macros are going to be rather short, so this isn’t a big deal.
Interestingly, with the Raptor K40 you can decide whether you want the macro features to be played back by the keyboard software running under Windows, or by the keyboard itself. To activate the latter mode, check the “Hardware Playback” check box at the lower left of the panel. If you choose software playback, changes you make to profiles, profile selections, macros, etc. all apply instantly. If you choose hardware playback, you must specifically upload a profile into the keyboard for it to take effect…but you can then unplug the keyboard and take it to any other computer– even a Mac– and the macros will work.
For multi-key macros, the default setting inserts a 50ms delay between each keystroke. You can change this in millisecond increments, have no delay at all, or, oddly, choose random delays (when would you want random delays?) While each macro you define can have a different delay, you can only use one delay per macro– in other words, the delay between all keys in a macro must be the same.
Special actions you can assign to macro keys include these Basic and Advanced commands. While these are useful, the list seems a little short. Where, for example, is the command to simply open a given URL?
This panel lets you define the color used for the backlight. Corsair provides eight presets but you can set the red, green, and blue components individually from 0-255. You can also select “LightFX”, that will either pulse the keyboard lighting on and off, or cycle through a range of colors…but only if “Hardware Playback” is not checked. These color settings are saved as part of a profile and the M1, M2, and M3 portions of a profile can each have their own color scheme.
Profile management is pretty simple: you can have an arbitrary number of named profiles, which you can export (if you want to mail your profile to a friend), import, delete, and “Send to K40″ (which you must do to enable a profile if “Hardware playback” is checked. If “Hardware Playback” is not checked, you can assign applications to profiles, and the profiles will be loaded automatically with the application. Since the color scheme is saved with the profile, the keyboard’s appearance will change as the application loads, which is fun: fire up Crysis 3 and your cool blue keyboard changes to angry red!
The macro and profile management software is basic but works well. It would be nice to be able to edit macros, though, or even delete them.
In the last section of this review I’ll give my final thoughts and conclusions on this keyboard.