Software

I had some experience with Cooler Masters Portal software with my MM830 mouse review just a few weeks ago. But I did notice that Cooler Master seems to have their software split a little with two different downloads currently. That said after downloading the one that supported the new SK keyboards I was surprised at their setup. They actually install a basic program that detects what product you are using and let you install, update, update your firmware, and also uninstall the software all in one place.

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Once you install and update everything you load the software for the SK keyboards. While it does match the look of the other Portal software, one of the best features of that was Cooler Master finally integrating all of their software together so it was a little disappointing to see that the SK boards aren’t tied into that the same way. The second program loads up and drops you right into the lighting controls. Given that this is the main reason I think most people will care at all about keyboard software, unless they want to make macros. So they have a photo of the keyboard, in this case, the SK650 and over it, each key has a color overlay. This shows the current LED color. This is the static light page where you can set the color using the setting on the right to set the entire boards color. This is the most basic lighting and for a lot of people, all you really need.

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Now there are a lot of other options as well. You can do your own custom layout or there is a long list of effects. I’ve got pictures of each option below. I should point out a lot of them also have their own options like speed controls, directionality, color, etc. For the system status one, you can pick from CPU load or the EQ. I didn’t have any luck with the EQ, I’m guessing you need to be using a USB based Cooler Master headset for that to work. But the CPU load was interesting. I love that there are so many effect options and that most let you customize them as well. But it is the custom layout that I mostly stick with, allowing me to match my lighting to my setup or to imitate some of my favorite keycap sets by matching the colors of the alpha and regular keys.

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Beyond recording basic macros with the keyboard function layer, you also have the option to do it in the software. The macro tab lets you create, record, then assign. You can also dive in and change delays and add loops as well.

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You also have the option to reprogram your key layout. This could be as simple as adding a macro to an unused key or using the entire number pad for custom rebinds.

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Once you get your lighting and keymapping all set you can save it with the profiles page. The best thing here is that not only can you flip between four profiles. But you can also export or import them. So if you find something you like you can back it up for future use if you lose it or share with friends.

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