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[Mechanical Keyboards] Clickity Clack! CODE Keyboards back in stock... and gone!

cardboard delusionscardboard delusions FFXIV: Tnegasu VainchelonRegistered User regular
This thread started as a small question as to what others use for Mechanical Keyboards and I feel I should do it some justice and post some info for those looking.

The main thing to think about when considering a mechanical keyboard is how much do you care about typing. I feel like if you've gotten this far, you care a good deal and you should. If you built a PC or spend many hours a day in front one, do yourself a favor and treat your fingers to something worth typing on. Some people have used a mechanical keyboard back from 20-30 years ago, possibly remembering your old IBM Model M, or worked at a retail location that still uses Cherry keyboards at the register, but many others are less familiar with mechanical keyboards.

The big difference from keyboards today and a mechanical model is that a mechanical will have individual switches under each key. Most keyboards you pick up off the shelf today utilize a rubber dome or a scissor switch, which is very common in laptop keyboards. These both give a similar resistance on key press and require the key to be fully depressed or actuated to recognize keystroke. With a mechanical keyboard, each key has a switch with different actuating force required to log the keystroke. Some prefer a firmer touch, while others like a light tap, it is all preference so when choosing, try and base your decision on testing out a few different types of switches as every person will like something different. Another thing to consider is if the keystoke is tactile (whether or not you feel physical resistance when you press). Lastly, you should consider sound - if you live with someone who may be agitated by the clicky-clacky noises of typing be cognizant of how that may affect your relationship with them. :P


The Switches
Please note these are the four most common switches you will find. These are not the only types available, but for most people this should suffice as a guide.

Cherry MX Blue Switches
attachment.php?attachmentid=197802&stc=1&d=1298910971
Tactile: Yes, precise
Clicky: Yes
Actuation Force: 50g
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom
Considered the best for typing, blues will have a resistance similar to a standard keyboard with a noticeable tactile bump and distinguishable clicking sound.

Cherry MX Brown Switches
attachment.php?attachmentid=197803&stc=1&d=1298910971
Type: Tactile Switch
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 45g (55g Peak Force)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom
Cherry browns can be considered a middle ground between typing and gaming as they offer tactile resistance but not so much that you can't repeatedly press keys for quick movement or actions.

Cherry MX Black Switches
picture.php?albumid=3859&pictureid=22301
Type: Linear Switch
Tactile: No
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 60g (40g-80g overall)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom
Cherry black keys will have a smooth feel the whole way through the push, but require more force than any of the other boards. Some may find this tiresome in longer gaming sessions.

Cherry MX Red Switches
attachment.php?attachmentid=197801&stc=1&d=1298910971
Type: Linear Switch
Tactile: No
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 45g
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom
Cherry reds are quickly becoming a favorite for gamers as they offer the same smooth feel as the cherry blacks, but with much less actuation pressure required.

Cherry MX Clear Switches
attachment.php?attachmentid=197804&stc=1&d=1298910971
Type: Tactile Switch
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 55g (65G peak force)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom
Cherry clear are considered to be stiffer than browns but offering the same tactile bump, so you get more resistance from bottoming out.

Common Mechanical Keyboards
There are quite a few brands of mechanical keyboards, here are a few more popular ones:
Cooler Master
Rosewill
Steel Series


OP Qustion:
I've been using my Filco Ninja w/ cherry browns for a few weeks years and I absolutely love it. I am wondering though, again I know it's all preference, but does anyone use cherry blacks or reds for gaming. I know Razer has the BlackWidow w/ blues but I'm not really interested in all those bells and whistles. Just trying to gauge which keyboard will be my next purchase.

cardboard delusions on
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dicefool
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Posts

  • freshmasterfreshfreshmasterfresh Registered User
    I got a Filco with blacks, and I use it for gaming. I like it quite a lot. The keys are predictable, so I often don't even press them all the way down to the bump stop.

    The only mechanical keyboard I have to compare it to is my 1987 IBM Model M, and I much prefer the linear action of the blacks.

    happysig.png
  • cardboard delusionscardboard delusions FFXIV: Tnegasu Vainchelon Registered User regular
    I'm leaning towards picking up a CM Storm Quickfire Rapid w/ red switches, seems to be everyone should try and own a cherry red.

    camo_sig2.png
  • verbelverbel Registered User regular
    I am using a filco with cherry blues and I really like it. Sometimes I wish it had browns so I could type in silence. Overall I really like the clicking of the blues so I will stick with them.
    Spoiler:

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  • cardboard delusionscardboard delusions FFXIV: Tnegasu Vainchelon Registered User regular
    Nice - you're on GH too!

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  • CarbonFireCarbonFire See you in the countryRegistered User regular
    I just got one of these this past december:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823201044
    d08103f4_rosewill-mechanical-keyboard-rk-9000-5227456.jpeg

    Super boring to look at, but the Cherry MX Red keys are sublime. Have it hooked up through PS/2 port so I get full n-key rollover, which is really nice to have in games (the main reason I got a mechanical KB). Keyboard is built like a tank, and the keys are not really any louder than your typical rubber dome KB (if you don't bottom them out, they're even quieter).

    Only a few cons to speak of: Space bar squeaked when I first got the KB (common problem, easy fix). Printed keys get dirty fairly easily, though I'll probably be replacing some of the frequently used ones (WASD). Had to get a separate wrist rest, but that is pretty typical with most mechanical keyboards because of their height. Also no media keys, but there's 3RVX for controlling volume, so who needs those :P

    Overall been very happy with my purchase, and plan on keeping this keyboard for many, many years.

    Steam: CarbonFire MWO, PSN, Origin: Carb0nFire
  • verbelverbel Registered User regular
    I would like to try a board with reds but have not had the chance as of yet. I really want one of the mini model M's but they go for to much so I don't see that happening.

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  • TrenogTrenog Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    I've got a Filco with Browns and it's great to use. Very comfortable to type and for the occasional game. Some of the keys are showing a need for cleaning though now that I've had it for almost a year now. Sadly it isn't nkro since I didn't see that model until after I bought this one. Still great for typing however!

    I remember reading about reds being a betweener of black and brown with an emphasis on the lightness of browns (whereas clears have the toughness of blacks) so they always intrigued me.

    Trenog on
    steam_sig.png
    Spoiler:
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    I use a Das Keyboard Pro Silent with MX Browns and swear by it. Just stick with your browns, you won't be disappointed.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • CarbonFireCarbonFire See you in the countryRegistered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote:
    I use a Das Keyboard Pro Silent with MX Browns and swear by it. Just stick with your browns, you won't be disappointed.

    Yeah, Browns would have been my second choice, and would have gone with those had I need a keyboard more for typing than gaming.

    Steam: CarbonFire MWO, PSN, Origin: Carb0nFire
  • ParielPariel Registered User regular
    I'm using a Rosewill RK-9000BR (same as CarbonFire, but with Cherry MX Browns). I really love it, although I would like to try out Blues soon.

  • cardboard delusionscardboard delusions FFXIV: Tnegasu Vainchelon Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Pariel wrote:
    I'm using a Rosewill RK-9000BR (same as CarbonFire, but with Cherry MX Browns). I really love it, although I would like to try out Blues soon.

    NewEgg has the Quickfire that has blues, they also have Razer Blackwidow around the same price, I want to try blues too, just don't know if I want one more than a having reds.

    cardboard delusions on
    camo_sig2.png
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    CarbonFire wrote:
    GnomeTank wrote:
    I use a Das Keyboard Pro Silent with MX Browns and swear by it. Just stick with your browns, you won't be disappointed.

    Yeah, Browns would have been my second choice, and would have gone with those had I need a keyboard more for typing than gaming.

    I do both, a lot of typing and a lot of gaming. I'm a software engineer, so typing comes with the territory. In that sense, I find the Browns to be the perfect compromise switch. I found I liked the Blues a TAD better for gaming, but nearly as much for typing.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    I absolutely adore my blues. They are serviceable enough in bf3 and tor, and a complete joy for typing

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    And this is why I tell everyone to try and type on a variety of MX switches before they buy a keyboard, if they can...because no one is going to be able to tell you what balance of sound, tactile feedback, spring action + mechanism and key pressure is going to make your fingers happy.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • ApostateApostate Registered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote:
    And this is why I tell everyone to try and type on a variety of MX switches before they buy a keyboard, if they can...because no one is going to be able to tell you what balance of sound, tactile feedback, spring action + mechanism and key pressure is going to make your fingers happy.

    Speaking of which does anybody know of a store that has them on display so you can try these? Best Buy doesn't carry any that I'm aware of. I'm in the Seattle area.

    I suppose I could order one and just ship it back if I don't like it but that can be a hassle sometimes (also expensive in some cases).

  • minor incidentminor incident a crow, a scavenger type Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    I'm a longtime fan of Cherry Blues. I loved them on my Razer Blackwidow.

    Unfortunately the noise (CLICKER-CLACK) was getting to be a bit much for my wife since my PC is now in the bedroom, so I switched to a Corsair K90 with Cherry Reds and I absolutely love it. It's a bit lighter of a touch than the Blackwidow which took a little getting used to, but now I love it, and it's so very quiet. It's totally fine for gaming, and even better for typing than the Blues were.

    Of course, my one deal-breaker requirement for a keyboard is backlighting, since I do most of my gaming in a dark room, so my choices are limited with regards to mechanical keyboards.

    If you have a Microcenter near you, they keep all their keyboards out on display to try out.

    minor incident on
  • verbelverbel Registered User regular
    I would like to try a Happy Hacking Professional 2. They are super expensive so I don't know if I would be willing to spring for it, but I am interested in what it may feel like. I don't think I would want to use it for gaming at all but for coding it might be pretty good.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Apostate wrote:
    GnomeTank wrote:
    And this is why I tell everyone to try and type on a variety of MX switches before they buy a keyboard, if they can...because no one is going to be able to tell you what balance of sound, tactile feedback, spring action + mechanism and key pressure is going to make your fingers happy.

    Speaking of which does anybody know of a store that has them on display so you can try these? Best Buy doesn't carry any that I'm aware of. I'm in the Seattle area.

    I suppose I could order one and just ship it back if I don't like it but that can be a hassle sometimes (also expensive in some cases).

    Best Buy's around here (Portland Oregon area) have the Razer Blackwidow, which is Cherry Blue's, but that's it. Do you have a Microcenter or a Fry's up there? Those would be your best bet.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    The Razer Blackwidow Stealth Edition is steadily turning out to be a waste of money. The actual lettering on the keys is rubbing off. I got my tax credit and am thinking of getting something with back lighting. I'm considering the Ultimate Edition but am open to any suggestions, as long as it's another mechanical.

    It has a year warranty, and I bought it directly from Razor, which originally could be considered a bad move, but it might come in handy now. Maybe they'll let me change it out and I'll pay the different on an Ult.

    Cantido on
    steam_sig.png
  • minor incidentminor incident a crow, a scavenger type Registered User regular
    Cantido wrote:
    The Razer Blackwidow Stealth Edition is steadily turning out to be a waste of money. The actual lettering on the keys is rubbing off. I got my tax credit and am thinking of getting something with back lighting. I'm considering the Ultimate Edition but am open to any suggestions, as long as it's another mechanical.

    That's one of the reasons I went with the Ultimate (non-stealth) a year or so ago. The lettering won't rub off like on the printed keys.

    For what it's worth, I loved my Ultimate for like a year, but it eventually got to be too annoying for my wife since the computer is now in the bedroom where she likes to watch movies and sleep (of all things).

    That being the case, I recently bought a Corsair K90, which uses Cherry reds, and it's backlit. It's very quiet. No audible click at the actuation point, only a thud when the key bottoms out. The backlighting is as perfect as the Black Widow, and it's got a nice batch of macro keys. It's very industrial and sexy looking. It's basically a slab of aluminum with the keys on top. It doesn't have the audio pass-through, but I've never actually used that. The only other thing to note on the K90 is that while MOST keys are mechanical, a few are not. The main keyset, arrows, and numpad are all mechanical, but the esc, f-keys, and home/end/pageup/pagedown block are membrane domes. I don't personally mind, but it's something that should be pointed out.

    So yeah, it you otherwise love the Black Widow, the Ultimate is a solid piece of hardware, and is probably exactly what you'd expect. If you'd like to try something new, the Corsair K90 is about as good as you're likely to find in backlit mechanical keyboards. It's rock solid and looks fantastic.

  • cardboard delusionscardboard delusions FFXIV: Tnegasu Vainchelon Registered User regular
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    My Das has laser etched keys, and they are still rubbing off after about six months. When I get another mechanical one of these days, I'll probably get something back lit. Anything short of injection molding is going to rub off.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • CarbonFireCarbonFire See you in the countryRegistered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote:
    My Das has laser etched keys, and they are still rubbing off after about six months. When I get another mechanical one of these days, I'll probably get something back lit. Anything short of injection molding is going to rub off.

    I didn't think the laser etching could rub off, I thought it just got really dirty.

    Steam: CarbonFire MWO, PSN, Origin: Carb0nFire
  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    Just get blank key caps!

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • cardboard delusionscardboard delusions FFXIV: Tnegasu Vainchelon Registered User regular
    High five bear!

    camo_sig2.png
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    CarbonFire wrote:
    GnomeTank wrote:
    My Das has laser etched keys, and they are still rubbing off after about six months. When I get another mechanical one of these days, I'll probably get something back lit. Anything short of injection molding is going to rub off.

    I didn't think the laser etching could rub off, I thought it just got really dirty.

    You'd think, but I've tried everything to clean them out. Wet cloth, Clorox wipe, qtip with peroxide...I still have several keys that are either very faded, or very dingy.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Cantido wrote:
    The Razer Blackwidow Stealth Edition is steadily turning out to be a waste of money. The actual lettering on the keys is rubbing off. I got my tax credit and am thinking of getting something with back lighting. I'm considering the Ultimate Edition but am open to any suggestions, as long as it's another mechanical.

    That's one of the reasons I went with the Ultimate (non-stealth) a year or so ago. The lettering won't rub off like on the printed keys.

    For what it's worth, I loved my Ultimate for like a year, but it eventually got to be too annoying for my wife since the computer is now in the bedroom where she likes to watch movies and sleep (of all things).

    That being the case, I recently bought a Corsair K90, which uses Cherry reds, and it's backlit. It's very quiet. No audible click at the actuation point, only a thud when the key bottoms out. The backlighting is as perfect as the Black Widow, and it's got a nice batch of macro keys. It's very industrial and sexy looking. It's basically a slab of aluminum with the keys on top. It doesn't have the audio pass-through, but I've never actually used that. The only other thing to note on the K90 is that while MOST keys are mechanical, a few are not. The main keyset, arrows, and numpad are all mechanical, but the esc, f-keys, and home/end/pageup/pagedown block are membrane domes. I don't personally mind, but it's something that should be pointed out.

    So yeah, it you otherwise love the Black Widow, the Ultimate is a solid piece of hardware, and is probably exactly what you'd expect. If you'd like to try something new, the Corsair K90 is about as good as you're likely to find in backlit mechanical keyboards. It's rock solid and looks fantastic.

    Alright. If Razer says piss off I'll consider that a major alternative. Also, I have Amazon Prime, so that would be a favored retailer.

    The stealth is not a bad keyboard. Maybe I'll keep it and move to my workdesk someday...

    steam_sig.png
  • SeolSeol Registered User regular
    Recently got myself a Cherry G80-3000LPCGB-2 - basically a Das in an incredibly boring casing. £60, which is as cheap as you can get mechanicals in the UK. Cherry Blues, principally for typing (I don't really PC game).

    Loving it so far.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Razer says they are willing to send me the individual Blackwidow keys that are rubbing away. Isn't that sweet of them? I would consider buying an Ult anyway.

    But it occurred to me: I've only replaced the weakass keys of a laptop keyboard, not a desktop keyboard, let alone a heavy duty mechanical keyboard. Is it simple?

    steam_sig.png
  • AiouaAioua Novus Ordo Seclorum Lord of the ForumRegistered User regular
    Blackwidow's keys are supra easy to replace. (Assuming the standard is the same as the ultimate I have, and I wouldn't see why not)
    The switch ends in a + shaped post, there's a corresponding hole molded into the underside of the keycap. They're held on entirely by friction and gravity. Just pull up!

    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we got booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • minor incidentminor incident a crow, a scavenger type Registered User regular
    Aioua wrote:
    Blackwidow's keys are supra easy to replace. (Assuming the standard is the same as the ultimate I have, and I wouldn't see why not)
    The switch ends in a + shaped post, there's a corresponding hole molded into the underside of the keycap. They're held on entirely by friction and gravity. Just pull up!

    What Aioua said. Almost all (at least cherry-style) mechanical keycaps are nothing more complicated than pulling straight up. Way, way easier than laptop keys.

  • verbelverbel Registered User regular
    CarbonFire wrote:
    GnomeTank wrote:
    My Das has laser etched keys, and they are still rubbing off after about six months. When I get another mechanical one of these days, I'll probably get something back lit. Anything short of injection molding is going to rub off.

    I didn't think the laser etching could rub off, I thought it just got really dirty.

    I have some Dye sublimation keys that I have used for a long time and I don't think they will wear out. I think double shots look better though and they will not wear down either. Thats the great thing about the cherry switches as its pretty easy to find keys that will fit them.

    camo_sig2.png
  • AiouaAioua Novus Ordo Seclorum Lord of the ForumRegistered User regular
    So, I spilled half of a rum & coke into my blackwidow. Popped off the effected keys, swabbed it out, thought I was good. Then I noticed coke leaking out the bottom of the keyboard. Fuck. Proceed to disassemble the keyboad. (The plastic bezel is a pain in the ass to get off, btw.) Underside of the board is covered in sticky, sticky coke residue. Go to town with some isopropanol and qtips. Put the thing back together. Then I notice a few of the keys must've gotten coke inside the switches, as they don't click anymore and take about three seconds to slowly creep back up after being pressed.

    Well. I'd just taken the thing apart and I knew I'd probably break the thing if I tried to replace the switches with new ones. So with nothing to lose, I started swabbing isopropanol directly into the switch itself, while mashing it over and over. They loosened up considerably! After a day they were kind of sticky again, so I repeated the process. I do this for a few more days, and they're almost as good as new. And now, a week later, you can't tell at all!

    So good job to Razer for making the thing not short and burn out, and a double good job to Cherry for making switches that not only survived that ordeal, but actually fully recovered!

    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we got booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Well, they are mechanical switches...no amount of alcohol, or coke, or rum, should permanently harm them. You're only real fear would be getting liquid on the USB hub/board on the side of the keyboard, which it sounds like you didn't.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
  • mojojoeomojojoeo Ghost dog at my side.Registered User regular
    edited February 2012

    I love it and I want it BUT the cherry blue one is 65$- cherry blues for gaming? I hear not great things? Anyone comment to that?

    otherwise i guess ill eat it and get the reds.

    mojojoeo on
    Marge Simpson: You liked "Rashomon".
    Homer Simpson: That's not how I remember it.
  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    I haven't tried reds out but I'm very fond of my blues.

    I mostly play swtor and bf3 as far as games go, and this board has been serving great so far

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    what switch you like is really a personal thing, depends if you like a smooth action or a little bump, and how heavy/light you like the key presses. best thing to do is find a place that has a few different types on display and try them out.

    I personally don't really like reds, too light.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • mojojoeomojojoeo Ghost dog at my side.Registered User regular
    that is my fear- I dont want feather keys.

    Dont know what to do as i have no way to go feel what the differences are.....

    Marge Simpson: You liked "Rashomon".
    Homer Simpson: That's not how I remember it.
  • MrDelishMrDelish Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    I have blues and think they're great.

    edit: they're definitely not feathery. They have a nice amount of resistance and plenty of clackity clack.

    MrDelish on
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    mojojoeo wrote:
    that is my fear- I dont want feather keys.

    Dont know what to do as i have no way to go feel what the differences are.....

    Blue is actually the preferred switch type in the StarCraft 2 community. I am personally more of a fan of browns...but honestly, you really need to try them to know. You're best bet is to find a place that has a few different keyboards out you can try, or order from a place that you can do an exchange if you hate the feeling of the switch.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh
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