MSI GK-601 Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

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Looking Closer at the MSI GK-601

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The GK-601 has a standard 104 key layout with dimensions of 18.1(L)x6.4(W)x1.2(H) inch / 460(L)x162(W)x30(H) mm and weighs 2.87 lbs (1300 g.) The keyboard enclosure is made entirely out of plastic though the heft comes from an internal metal plate.

For those unfamiliar with MSI’s other products, the GK-601 is part of MSI’s new GAMING brand. This keyboard’s appearance takes inspiration from MSI’s other flagship products such as the MPOWER motherboards which as of late have been using a yellow and black color scheme. Pictured below is the MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning Edition.

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The GK-601 features a braided cable terminating with gold plated audio and USB plugs. Behind the number pad is a USB hub with two USB 2.0 jacks and analog audio extensions. The USB ports are fully compatible with any USB device though take caution with high-powered USB accessories.

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A keypuller is included in the package for changing keycaps or cleaning the keyboard.

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Every key is backed by a Cherry MX Red switch and lit by an amber LED. To my eyes, the backlight color is most similar to the yellow-orange produced by sodium vapor lamps used in street lights.

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Included are four yellow keycaps to optionally substitute the WASD keys.

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The F-keys function as dual function keys in conjunction with Fn modifier key located between the right Alt and Ctrl keys.

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Like the media keys, profiles are triggered by pressing the Fn key with the corresponding F-key. There are no indicator LEDs telling which profile is being used, though a small on-screen message on the computer monitor will briefly appear when a profile is switched.

F12 has a dual-function to enable GAMING mode which disables the Windows key. GAMING mode is indicated on/off by a LED where the Scroll Lock LED is normally supposed to be. There’s nothing to lose here since Scroll Lock doesn’t do anything on modern PCs.

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The lighting levels and modes are controlled by Fn dual function keys in the numpad.

There are three brightness settings and the ability to pulse the backlight. The backlight can also be turned off.

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