For testing the Quickfire XTi I lucked out with my review schedule and had the Intel launch and an AMD CPU review that gave me a little additional time with the keyboard before sitting down to write this. Like always my testing was all done at my main PC meaning I used the keyboard over a wide range of duties with gaming and a lot of writing being the biggest two. This game me a chance to test the XTi both on its gaming performance in addition to its every day usage.
The full sized XTi replaced my everyday Code keyboard and didn’t manage to take up any additional space. In fact the thin bezels help it be a tiny bit smaller while still having the same key count, well actually more but I will get into that later. Being a full sized keyboard it is a little more fitting for an office environment than the 60% and TKL’s that I have been testing recently but that is a preference thing more than anything. For me I love the smaller keyboards but when it comes to having to get in Excel, Word, and using a calculator I just need to have a full keyboard on my main PC.
The XTi sample that was sent to us has Cherry MX Greens. I suspect that Cooler Master will be selling a few of this model in limited quanities but the official switches are Blue, Brown, and Red. They cover linier, clicky, and tactile models with that range while leaving the option open for special models later like the greens. Enthusiasts will be happy to hear that all three of the models use Cherry branded switches, I know there is a lot of push back on some of the knockoffs and so far at least Cooler Master has completely avoided that. The XTi types really well, even with the higher spring rate of the Greens didn’t give me any issues. Unlike my Code there aren’t any weird rattles or issues with the stabilizers and the board feels rock solid with no flexing.
I love that Cooler Master stuck with the detachable USB cable for the XTi. The hidden design does mean that some custom cables won’t fit in the small space, but the look is clean like a non-detachable design but you can still swap out the cord if you have issues. Having the three different cord management options to send the cord out the left, right, and back of the keyboard is nice as well, especially after the Novatouch having the right angled connector that forced the cord to only go one direction.
I’ve mentioned it many times on here in the past but typically I don’t use many function layer keys unless it is something that I only have to use very little like lighting controls. That said I do love that Cooler Master moved the media controls on the XTi over just above the direction pad. I saw this on the Code and it makes it possible to use the controls with one hand as you can hit the function key with your thumb and reach the control you need.
Speaking of the function layer I was really impressed with the added macro control. Without the use of any software at all, you can program a macro to any key on the XTi. Sadly they don’t give you any instructions with the keyboard but I did find a video from Cooler Master that explained it all. I will include it at the end of this page to help. You can record the macros on the fly. This also ties into the profile setup as well, you can swap between four custom profiles and a basic profile as well. That is what the four P keys are above the number pad.
The big thing about the original Rapid-I was the addition and in a similar fashion the XTi also has its lighting as a big feature as well. The way the lighting works is you can use the FN-F1 and FN-F2 keys to control the red and blue backlighting. Basically each picks from multiple brightness settings for each color, you can get a pure red or blue background or by mixing the two you can do various red and blue shades leading into bright pinks and purples as well. I would have much preferred to see this be a full RGB keyboard or even stick with the original white. I know that sounds a little crazy because the lighting options are very cool but I like the clean styling that the all-white gives you and red and blue are both colors I don’t normally use. In most of my testing I actually ran a bright pink or purple or used one of the lighting effects. I also would prefer them to include a better option to be able to adjust the brightness. If you are planning on running pure blue or red you can adjust the brightness down but anything else is basically set at the highest brightness. Personally I like a bright keyboard, but I know some people might have a problem with it.
The Rapid-I really impressed me with its lighting modes and the XTi carries over those same modes and even includes a new one that rotates through the colors much like the full RGB keyboards do. I’ve got a few photos of all of the modes, here is a quick breakdown.
Breathing (Breathing roles through the color spectrum as well as black with the keyboard all in the same color)
Color Wave (Left to right wave through the color spectrum)
Activate on Touch (each key you press lights up and stays lit for a short period of time)
Waterdrop Effect (Light “ripples” away from the key you press)
Cross Mode (lights up the vertical and horizontal rows of the key you press)
The Rapid-I had a unique mode that let you turn on just specific keys that you want on but with the XTi having the Red Blue backlighting they had to do something a little more creative. Basically you can turn on the LED program mode then using the function key and the F1 and F2 keys you adjust until you get the color you are looking for. The Function key will light that color and then you can select what keys you would like to have that color. This lets you run through and create your own design using the 35 available colors/shades. Here are a few examples of what I played around with.