Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
The look of the Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB is quite interesting with its black and grey color scheme. Thermaltake also plays with different elevations on the keyboard while maintaining a flat surface for keys. That being said, the overall design is unique. I did not like it at first, but it grew on me over time. I do admit it looks super clean and is well-designed as the different levels play a part in making the volume scroll wheel more accessible. The ARGENT K5 RGB also comes with a wrist rest, which is appreciated. The size of the wrist rest is rather strange, as it does not actually reach each end of the keyboard itself. The wrist rest itself is quite soft with its synthetic leather wrapping and a memory foam-like material within. This can attach to the ARGENT K5 RGB with magnets that flip out from the bottom.
The Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB measures in at 465 mm length, 161 mm width, and 46 mm height. Compared to other keyboards, this is slightly bigger than average. In terms of mass, this weighs in at 1465g, which is a little heavier, but this is expected with the greater size. Going into build quality, the top deck does show a small amount of flex when pushing into the keyboard, but it is not noticeable in any actual use case, as this did not occur until I applied a significant amount of force. As this uses an aluminum top plate, this keyboard is quite sturdy. I proceeded to try to twist the keyboard, finding little to no give. The build quality is more than satisfactory for general use and performance, so there is nothing to worry about unless you have a mild case of gamer rage and decide to smash the ARGENT K5 RGB against a wall.
The Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB comes with the standard 104-key QWERTY ANSI layout with the added benefit of dedicated media keys, gaming profiles, light brightness, Windows lock, and a scroll wheel. The QWERTY ANSI layout is the standard American layout, which uses the single row Enter key, as seen in the image above. The keyboard has a standard bottom row, meaning that all keys on the bottom row are the same size, excluding the space bar. Moving to the top right side of the keyboard, we have our previously stated keys and a volume scroll wheel, but on the left, we find the three LED indicators for Number Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock, from left to right. The media keys are nothing special, being regular buttons on the keyboard. The scroll wheel is very smooth, but each tick seems to change the volume by 4 rather than the regular 2. Thermaltake can do some tinkering here to adjust the precision of the scroll wheel, but the scroll wheel itself works very well. The placement of the mute/unmute button is on the side of the scroll wheel. This position is good as it does not allow for accidental presses while requiring an adequate amount of pressure to actuate.
Taking a look at the keycaps, we have ABS keycaps. If you are unfamiliar with different types of keycaps, most keycaps are made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS plastic. This is a softer plastic that can shine over time. There is another plastic called polybutylene terephthalate or PBT, which is harder and is more resistant to human oils. These premium keycaps would have been a great addition to the ARGENT K5 RGB, especially when you consider the keyboard's price. Typing on these ABS keycaps feels fine and will be sufficient for most users, but those who appreciate PBT keycaps and the better sound produced will likely order another set of keycaps.
Onward to the secondary functions located on the top Function row, all these functions can be activated by using the Fn key positioned next to the right Alt key. F1 to F5 opens mail, new browser, documents, calculator, and music, in that respective order. F6 controls the lighting effects. F7 and F8 control the speed of the lighting effects. F9 to F11 control the RGB values of the lighting effects. Lastly, F12 opens the lighting effect color control, but in my use case, it did nothing. I personally do not use functions that opens applications very often as I find it easier to just hit my Windows key and type the application I want, but I did enjoy the lighting effect control. You have quite a significant amount of control without software in regard to RGB effects, which I will expand on later in this review.
Moving on to key rollover, the Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB has full N-key rollover, meaning every single key pressed will register even if they are all pressed simultaneously. This means there will be no ghosting issues, where some keys may not be registered. Gamers and fast typists who have fast actions per minute or words per minute will benefit from this, as it will allow more keys to be recognized at the same time. In reality, people usually only need 6-key rollover, so the addition of N-key rollover is nice for competitive gaming.
The Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB features Cherry MX Speed Silver linear switches. They have a 1.2 mm actuation distance, total travel distance of 3.4 mm, and an actuation force of 45g. If you are not used to these switches, you may find yourself accidentally pressing keys due to the short travel distance. As the ARGENT K5 RGB is mechanical, the switches are much more solid compare to membrane keyboards. Comparing these to other linear switches I have used, it could be smoother, but for a pre-built keyboard, it is still competitive. The ARGENT K5 RGB also comes in a Cherry MX Blue variant, which is better suited for a louder, tactile feel.
At the back of the Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB is a cable that splits into two USB cables and a 3.5mm audio jack. It comes out from the center and is fixed. My one complaint about the placement of the cables is how there are no runways underneath the ARGENT K5 RGB. I personally like these tunnels as they help reduce clutter on my desk. I appreciate Thermaltake for using braided cables, which offer durability and feel better compared to rubber cables. As previously mentioned, this cable splits into two USB connectors and a 3.5mm audio jack. The extra USB and audio plugs are passthrough for the USB port and audio jack port at the back of the ARGENT K5 RGB. This is a nice addition to have, as it gives the user more options and gives them easier to access ports.
On the bottom, there are four rubber feet on the corners to keep your keyboard in place. There are extending prop up feet that have two different levels to them to adjust to the elevation wanted by the user. These feet have their own rubber tips to keep the Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB in place.
Once the lights are off and the Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB’s lights begin to flare, the keyboard becomes something else. Not only is there RGB shining from below the keycaps, but there is RGB shining from around the sides, too. As I have mentioned previously, you can use function keys to adjust the RGB settings. There are fourteen lighting effects accessible by the user through the keyboard itself. The lighting is very nice, but if you really wanted to, you still have the option to shut it off completely as there are six brightness levels if you include off being one.
Moving on to the software, we have Thermaltake's iTAKE Engine. For starters, the name of the software is awfully close to another program I have installed, but it must just be a coincidence. The iTAKE Engine is a 75.6MB compressed file. iTAKE Engine is Thermaltake's software used for all of their gaming peripherals. It allows users to sync all RGB in the Thermaltake ecosystem. Upon installation, it recognized the Thermaltake ARGENT K5 RGB immediately. iTAKE Engine has four tabs being the customize, macros, lighting, and TT sync tabs, which I will expand on shortly.
As we open the iTAKE Engine, we start at the Customization page where you can reassign buttons to a different key, macro, media, function, launch an application, change gaming profiles, or disable it entirely. This page can be useful to some users, but personally, I had no use for it, as I do not generally reassign my keys. The Macro tab gives you the option to record macros to later be applied in the customize tab. Macros are really useful for tasks like spamming entries into Menti for those online parties nowadays, haha.
The Lighting tab is something I believe most users will actively use. The keys have eleven lighting effects ranging from a rainbow wave to the classic static. I personally think this is a sufficient amount of effects, but would like the ability to layer effects, as effects like flow and ripple default to a black base, basically disabling the lights. With the perimeter lights, we have the generally the same effects from the key lighting effects, but with the addition of marquee. There are two more effects that control both the key and perimeter lights, being music mode and temperature. I could not get music mode to work, but temperature worked exactly as expected. There are some fixes needed in the lighting tab. You cannot adjust the lights by changing the color code, as it will always default to green. The only way to match the colors is to change each RGB value individually, which is not too bad, but slightly annoying. Finally, we have the TT Sync tab, which syncs all Thermaltake products together, making consistent lighting easier.
The overall software was very easy to use, but tweaking is needed to refine its quality.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software