Mechanical Keyboards...

Discussion in 'Geek Cave: Computers, Tablets, HT, Phones, Games' started by aufmerksam, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    So I'm a bit deeper in this hobby than I planned. I was looking for a cheap blue keyboard to match the Nautilus keycaps I have coming for a group buy. I looked at Ducky, Leopold, Varmillo and Filco but nothing quite matched. Then I found Akko

    05F4F287-3640-473D-80B8-E4677E79EB8F.jpeg

    Blue switches. Feels nice and I like the look very much. I haven't tried to reprogram the keys yet, but it's available. I really like that it came with this plastic dust cover

    306BA152-6A79-48E4-A534-5714541238DF.jpeg

    other projects I have going:

    CMStorm Trigger - My first mech. The 'T' key is dysfunctional so it needs to be replaced. Also I can't use the macro keys in MacOS and I'm trying to hack a hardware solution for that.

    Tada68 - Ordered a TADA68 low profile case from KBDfans with brown switches and a KBD67 PCB. I need to lasercut a plate for it.

    XD87 - This is a white TKL kit from KPREPUBLIC. Probably the cheapest TKL kit I could find. I bought it because I wanted an ISO keyboard for my Mac with QMK firmware. These have Gateron Red. Going to be matched with KAT Milkshake keycaps
     
  2. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    What style keycap is most visible? By that I mean in two ways. Top or front marked and what color combo (eg. white lettering on black or black on white, etc).

    I am a weak touch typist and have to look at the keys quite a bit especially for the $ and &, etc. With dim side lighting at night it is really hard to see the correct keys with the Ornata and its glare inducing island of light and weak through the key top illumination. I am thinking of giving mechanical another go. Not sure what tactile style yet, but want high visibility for the quick glance.

    As an aside are any particular keycaps more conducive to the tip of the finger being less prone to slide when trying to type from home row?

    EDIT: And do all the gaming oriented keyboards have the number row markings reversed with the shift for $ on the bottom, I do not like that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
  3. Xen

    Xen Friend

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    Top or side marked caps... I guess it depends on your posture when typing, but I expect top to be more visible. Color schemes... sets using complimentary colors generally are more visible. With shine-throughs, I would guess darker key bodies will enhance the lighted markings.

    Sliding off... My recent memory of keycap shapes have been limited Cherry Profile or OEM Profile. I have not tried DSA, SA, etc shapes yet. Also keycap material can also contribute to the feel of the key. I like PBT keycaps because they have a slight texture to them compared with ABS keycaps which can be super smooth.

    Hmm... Both my of shine-through keycap sets have the shift markings at the same level as the number. I guess its to save money and mimic the F-keys: "1!" and "[email protected]" versus "F1" and "F2". My non-shine-through keycaps have the more traditional marking style.
     
  4. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    It's because the led is either on the top or bottom of the switch, so if you put a shine-through legend on the other side of the stem from where the LED is, it'll get almost no light.
     
  5. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    On the subject of key profiles and whatnot.

    I prefer SA and MT3/KAT - which are shorter forms of SA - but I haven't noticed any one profile being more slippery.

    Some don't like SA because it's so tall, which is something to consider, but they're also the least slippery, since the Signature Plastics finish is so slick it creates stiction.

    EnjoyPBT sets are the most textured I've tried, and after that MT3 abs.

    Texture wears out though.
     
  6. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I just came across this and it looks really good

    https://www.pcgamingrace.com/products/glorious-gmmk-pro-75-barebone-white-reservation

    For $100 it has basically everything I want
    -fully programmable open source firmware
    -high profile aluminum case
    -hot swap enabling any switch you want
    -rotary encoder for brightness or whatever (not digital volume you neanderthal)
    -detachable cable

    Layout looks very similar to a laptop. I would have already bought one but in the EU it's 200€

    Oh yeah, worth noting that it doesn't come with keycaps or switches.
     
  7. mimart7

    mimart7 Friend

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    I have the full size version of this keyboard. I do like the fact that you can swap switches. I have browns, which is far less noisy than blues, and more accurate than reds.
     
  8. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    The Pro is a bit more involved than the base gmmks, it's not as good but it's much closer to the 400-700$ low run stuff.

    If it has one issue it's that the stock stabilisers are pretty poor and a slickly different size than common ones so putting good ones that don't rattle on it is a bit of a pain.
     
  9. mimart7

    mimart7 Friend

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    At this price level, you can't expect the stabs to be great.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  10. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Maybe someone here can help me out.

    I find that I like thinkpad scissor switches, with the high pressure "activation" point and the quick drop after, but I want a bit more travel.

    I don't really like clicky switches, though can live with them if maybe muffled. I especially hate the high pitched click of Razer switches. Cherry browns are too soft. I've never tried the MX Clears which are supposed to be higher pressure. Most membranes are roughly where I'm ok with for pressure needed, but they feel squishy in travel which I don't like.

    Logitech RomerG switches don't have enough tactile bump for me either. Their "perfectstroke" keyboards actually have a nice feel (which I think are some kind of scissor switch?) in terms of linear pressure and movement, but holy crap the build quality on them is horrible and there's so much wobble.

    I did try a Topre once, but it was both very low pressure and also the kind where it was heavier in the middle and light at the edges and that just threw me off completely. I might like a high pressure model across the entire board, but that's mighty expensive.

    So basically: I like a high pressure activation/bump, little or no click, decent travel. I don't care about RGB (a bit of plain backlighting would be nice though) or programmable keys, don't need media controls, etc

    What options do I have to look for?
     
  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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  12. jmcmasterj

    jmcmasterj Friend

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    You may like the clears. I have a board with clears on them and like them for typing. My favorite all around switch is a new set of blacks i have on a ducky keyboard. I also own red and brown, which i don't like as much as the others.

    Have you tried a switch tester such as this one? https://www.amazon.com/WASD-Cherry-Zealio-Keycaps-Sampler/dp/B07V4H646W
     
  13. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    That's actually really interesting. That must be super new? Are there any keyboards sporting this switch yet?

    not specifically on a switch tester, but I've tried keyboards with Cherry...
    brown - bump is not bumpy enough lol
    blue - not bad, but overall not a fan of the artificial click (I wonder if I'd like green with the higher pressure)
    red, black - don't like linears at all
     
  14. jmcmasterj

    jmcmasterj Friend

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    green has a nice weight, but is just as loud as blue. If you like bumps, then I find clears the bumpiest lol
     
  15. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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  16. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I think @jmcmasterj has a few good ideas for you. One thing I have discovered is that clone switches like a brown for instance can be quite different than the Cherry. I had a clone and it was a lot stiffer than the cherry to press, As for the browns, they are just like reds for starting pressure and just a bit more force to activate, no real bump, that is a joke. Here is an article that helped me.

    https://switchandclick.com/cherry-mx-guide/

    I think the stiffer cherries or other brands might float your boat. As for keyboards that might use them, I would look at Mechanicalkeyboards.com site for stuff that may have the keys you might want.

    I ended up with a Leopold 60% with Cherry Browns and like it quite a lot, although I have heavy fingers at times so may try a heavier switch in the future.

    Oh, you may wish to learn about keycap profiles, you may find you have a preference for one style over another. I am liking the Cherry profile, cuz it is less tall than oem.

    https://switchandclick.com/?s=profiles

    Good luck
     
  17. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I don't know if I've ever tried any clones. Most of my experience with different switches and keyboards has been what was on display at a bestbuy or a local computer store, or the few that my friends might have. I know there's an entire crazy subreddit and modding community, but I kinda don't want to fall down into that rabbithole and start thinking about building my own, because that way lies madness and I already learned my lesson there with headphones.

    Hmm keycap profiles I didn't even think about, but looking at that link I'm ok with the oem style or maybe DSA. I don't remember which keyboard I tried once, but it had very aggressively scooped keycaps which I did not like at all.
     
  18. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Testing switches actually brought me some sanity. I could say that these more expensive boutique switches aren't a big deal to me. Switches are also the most rational part of the hobby too. The craziness comes with brass plates, back weights, PCB mounting styles, etc.

    I had a similar experience with headphones too. Going to my first meet and trying out a +$10k was nice to finally hear what a system like that sounded like. No doubt it was good but I also know I wasn't missing that much with my $600 setup.
     
  19. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I actually had an original IBM Model M keyboard that I found in my parent's basement that I was briefly thinking to use (loud enough to wake the dead, but the tactile feel was terrific), but I wound up gifting it to a friend of mine who'd appreciate it way more.
     
  20. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Because 90% of it is lubrication, and everything else is chasing the 1%.

    For linear switches you can get anything to be smooth with the right amount of 205g0 and people chase either the right sound, or they want a specific colorway. No, I don't get either of those things.

    For tactiles people chase very specific things in the bump profile - is there any linear pre-travel, is there linear post-travel to activation, is the tactile event smooth or sharp, etc. As well as sound, the community is obsessed with the sound of switches to the point of fetishism.

    Personally I found a brand that makes really good silent linears with really tight tolerances and now I just use those in everything.
     

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