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Three Mechanicals Reviewed: Ducky, Razer, Rosewill

post #1 of 5
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Recently, mechanical keyboards have become quite popular. More companies have realized that enthusiasts, such as the kind folks who peruse these forums, are no longer pleased with the mushiness and relatively short lifespan of rubber dome keyboards. As result, enthusiasts now have a greater selection of keyboards to choose from. No longer are we resorting to purchasing used IBM Model Ms that have become discolored from old age and cigarette smoke but rather procuring brand new and in some cases, backlit mechanical keyboards.

I have in my possession three such beasts. Unfortunately, none of them are backlit but at the heart of these keyboards are mechanical Cherry MX switches. The MX Blue team is represented by the Razer Blackwidow (regular) and the Rosewill RK-9000. The MX Brown team is represented by the Ducky 9008G2 (OCN Edition).

31048010100799423191448.jpg

We'll start off with the cheapest of the three.

Razer Blackwidow
An actual attempt at a gamer's mechanical.

The Price
$60 plus tax if you live near a Fry's and it goes on sale.
$70 or so if you get it from Amazon when inventory is not low.
$79.99 MSRP.

The Good
The macro keys are nice and convenient and even though there are only 5 of them, at least all of them are mechanical switches (I'm looking at you, Corsair). I used the macros in my office for opening Notepad, Microsoft Lync, company software and the calculator. They're relatively easy to set up with Razer's drivers, which are available to download online. Most likely, you'll also want to grab the firmware updater.

The presence of media keys is rather welcome. The cable is braided and is sturdy. They keys have a rough texture that set them apart from the other two keyboards. It's a heavy keyboard that you know will stay planted on the desk.

The num lock, caps lock and scroll lock LEDs are dimly lit. You can tell they're there but they're not burning a hole in your eyes the whole time.

Typing on this board, once you get your hands to fit on it, is a breeze. I think I can easily exceed 120 words a minute of accurately mad clickiness with this board.

The Bad
The first thing that differentiates the Razer from the other two is obvious. You see it? Yeah, it's that glossy surface. It's a fingerprint magnet and is not suitable for people who are obsessed with a clean keyboard. This contributes to the tackiness of the board but I guess there are those who do like this look.

There is also occasional sticking of the keys where if you press down the key, it doesn't come back up. I resolved it with my F1 key by pulling out the keycap entirely with a keycap puller. It is also true that the print becomes dirty much easier for commonly used keys. It is also hard to comprehend why the capitalized key is actually printed on the bottom for keys like the += key.

The inch and a half or so that includes the lit up Razer logo is annoying. I could never get my hands to properly fit on it so I ended up having the lip of that propped up on a wristrest the whole time I had this thing at work.

The Meh
Razer's choice in switches was met with some controversy mostly because the MX Blue switches have a longer travel for resetting (lifting up) than actuating (pressing down), making double-tapping more difficult for some gamers. It is also noticed somewhat in typing words with repeated letters such as need, food and possess. Of course, the same goes for the RK-9000 because of the identical switch choice. I personally do not have too much of an issue most of the time but it is something to watch for.

The cable is not detachable but this is strictly an item of personal preference.

Supposed 2KRO over USB with a gaming optimized WASD matrix. Some people may find an issue with this but I personally did not.

Overall Score:
7.5 - If you can find it around $70 or less, it's a good deal.



Rosewill RK-9000
Newegg Exclusive MX Blue Mechanical

The Price
$99.99 on Newegg (MSRP). Shipping sometimes free and may have promo code.

The Good
This board is solidly built. The enclosure doesn't resonate and doesn't make unnecessary clacks when the key is resetting. The red metal plate they use is quite attractive and the key feel is actually heavier than the Razer. I'm not sure what that is attributed to but with both the Blackwidow and the RK-9000 being MX Blues, I was expecting similar key feel. It feels meatier and more satisfying than the Razer, which was already a satisfying keyboard to use.

The cable is braided and is detachable. It comes with both a PS/2 and a USB cable. There's NKRO over PS/2 (which I did not get to test) or 6KRO over USB.

There are no keys that get stuck randomly.

The Bad
My spacebar squeaks a bit. Both my RK-9000s do this so it might be an issue with this batch or it could be widespread.

The Meh
I've heard this mentioned before so I'll put it here: it has a Rosewill logo. If you work with a company full of technology-savvy people like I do, they'll think you're crazy for buying a Rosewill when you can obviously have a Logitech. Then you tell them about the price and how it's mechanical and they all realize that your single keyboard costs more than their motherboard and CPU combined at home. I don't think much of the logo but I realize some think it's extremely ugly. I still think it's better looking than the pulsating snake on the Blackwidow.

Bright LEDs for the Num Lock, Cap Lock and Scroll Lock does tend to be annoying if you look at them dead-on but isn't an issue if you're sitting at your computer typing or gaming. I guess this isn't that bad if you're not staring at them.

I use media keys a lot, and this board doesn't have any. I knew this from the start so it's not that bad but would be nice to have. There are no macro keys and also no manufacturer-specific drivers.

The same problem exists for the MX Blue switches on the Rosewill RK-9000 as does on the the Razer Blackwidow. Repeated letters or double tapping might not work as well as you would expect them to.

Overall Score
8.5 - The spacebar might squeak, and it might not have the coolest looking logo, but it does have physical features and quality that warrants a purchase.



Ducky 9008G2 MX Brown
Tankguys/OCN Board

The Price
$110.00 plus shipping from Tankguys for the ABS keycap version. Shipping came out to be ~$13 for me.

The Good
The MX Brown switches are a lot quieter and aren't susceptible to the double tapping issue.

The cord is detachable. There's a keypuller, lavender WASD keys and two red escape keys for your viewing pleasure. There's also a nice bag that the board comes in. Classy.

The media keys exist via an Fn key. There are four keys that you can use for opening your Internet browser, My Computer, Calculator and Mail.

The Bad
The most noticeable thing about this keyboard is that the spacebar is wrong. I cannot, for the life of me, get used to why the spacebar uses an MX Clear switch. It ruins the flow of my typing and is one of the primary reasons why I can't type quickly with this keyboard. I spend half my typing time going back to add or delete spaces.

The second thing is that on each key reset, there's a clack. If you try to type quickly on this board, you'll notice that it'll clack a lot. It's not because you're bottoming out but because you're letting go of the key too quickly when you've finished the keystroke. It effectively makes the whole selling point behind MX Brown switches being "silent" moot.

It pings. Of the three mechanical keyboards I have, this is the one that pings. It's not a very noticeable ping but it's definitely there with the reset clack. This might be attributed to the material chosen for the enclosure because there's a lot more resonance with this than both of the others.

The Meh
The curvature of the keycaps themselves feel like it's a much smaller keyboard than it actually is. I feel like my fingers are being cradled each time I'm typing which could be both good or bad. For me, I felt like I had to shrink my frame for this keyboard. That is a feeling I've never had on any other keyboard, mechanical or otherwise.

The Brown switch is almost too light once you've become used to the MX Blue. It feels almost pointless to have because the bump is barely noticeable. You might as well get the MX Red.

Overall Score
7 - For almost twice the price of a Razer Blackwidow, this board is just not that great of a deal. It clacks, it has a weird spacebar that uses proxy switches, and it pings.




More images will be added when I get to take better photos.
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Malignance
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post #2 of 5
Quote:
It pings. Of the three mechanical keyboards I have, this is the one that pings. It's not a very noticeable ping but it's definitely there with the reset clack. This might be attributed to the material chosen for the enclosure because there's a lot more resonance with this than both of the others.

Bummer. Ducky's should quack not ping.
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post #3 of 5
My Ducky (DK-1087) w/ blacks uses a grey switch under the spacebar. I don't understand why they use a different switch for the spacebar.
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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by ripster;15268665 
Bummer. Ducky's should quack not ping.

he is right, ducks go quack. filcos go ping

it is why the filco is the natural predator of ducks
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post #5 of 5
i understand why the ducky's use a different spacebars and i love it. You are most lilkely putting more pressure on the spacebar than the other keys on the board so they made it a heavier switch. IDK what you're talking about pinging, could just be faulty switches, that would be Cherry's problem not Ducky. My ducky is also silent, doesn't make noise when i let go of keys. My blackwidow pings and the keys wore off after 3 months of use so I switched to a Ducky with PBT keys and MX Blacks, best decision I've made about my computer so far.
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