New SteelSeries tournament-focused keyboard has Cherry MX Red switches, costs a mere $100

Peripheral manufacturer SteelSeries has launched a new tournament-ready mechanical keyboard called the Apex M500. Its biggest selling point is the use of Cherry MX Red mechanical switches that guarantee 50 million key presses, making this device ideal for PC gamers. It’s also backed by the company’s SteelSeries Engine customization software, for quickly creating macros and programming individual keys.

As a brief explainer, Cherry Corporation provides a number of keyboard switches in its Cherry MX family. The “Red” versions are typically found in gaming keyboards, provide an actuation force of 45g, and aren’t “clicky” like many mechanical keyboard keys.

Related: SteelSeries’ new gaming mouse is all the bells and whistles, without the high price tag

In addition to using Cherry MX Red switches, the keyboard also offers anti-ghosting technology with 104 key rollover. “Ghosting” means that when you press multiple keys simultaneously, some of those key presses don’t show up on the screen or are missing in a string when executing multi-keyed commands. The keyboard will support up to 104 simultaneous key inputs (although that will never happen unless you’re an alien), enabling fast gameplay and input precision.

A built-in “smart” cable management system eliminates tangles and interference. This is accomplished by three cable guides that “adapt” to your current setup. That’s important, as there’s nothing more visually unappealing than a mess of cables draping across the desktop and potentially getting in the way of your gaming.

The Apex M500 keyboard features blue LED backlighting, making it a perfect fit for your dark PC gaming cave. It also features a traditional key layout for universality so that it can be used in other applications other than PC gaming. On a whole, it’s a performance-focused keyboard that doesn’t add bulky, unnecessary features, making it affordable for everyone.

Backing this new keyboard is the company’s SteelSeries Engine software. Compatible with both Windows and OS X, the tool lets gamers program individual keys for better combo execution, advanced macros, saved game profiles, and more. The latest version is Engine 3, which requires Windows 7 or newer, or Mac OS X 10.8 or newer. Engine 2 is also available for Windows XP machines and Macs running OS X 10.7.

The latest Engine software comes packed with GameSense, which is capable of changing the keyboard’s illumination in real time to reflect in-game events. This is most apparent in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as the company worked with Valve to have the keyboard change its illumination when the ammo level gets low, taking out an enemy with a headshot, getting hit by a bullet, and more.

The new SteelSeries Apex M500 mechanical keyboard is available now in North America at the SteelSeries website and Newegg, costing $100.

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