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Recommended Mechanical Keyboards.

post #1 of 305
Thread Starter 
OCN's Recommended Mechanical Keyboards.


This list has been compiled to help users looking for a new mechanical keyboards find a reliable board that is right for them, here you can find the mechanical keyboards most recommended by users of OCN. It's worth noting however that this list is not an absolute guide on the only mechanical boards worth buying, there are probably a few keyboards that haven't been added to the list yet because they haven't been recommended enough, this is simply a list of suggestions rather than the definitive authority on which mechanical keyboards are good.


Would you like to make some suggestions of boards to add? If so fill out the form below.

Mechanical keyboard recommendations (Click to show)

Other links! (Click to show)
If you'd like to learn more about mechanical keyboards, you can go here.

If you'd like to join our mechanical keyboard club, you can go here.

If you'd still like more help choosing a mechanical keyboard you can go here.


If you spot an error anywhere in the list, feel free to send me a PM about it and it will be fixed.


Due to the fact that prices vary from store to store and country to country, instead of listing a specific price I've opted for using Low, Medium, High and Very High to give you an estimate of the boards cost, these are only a guide though, depending on your location the prices could be slightly lower or a lot higher.

  • Low: <$80
  • Medium: $80-$130
  • High: $130-$200
  • Very High: >$200


In light of some users not realising which boards have less common layouts for the bottom row key sizes, the list has now also been updated to show which boards have a “standard” layout for the bottom row, and which have a different layout.

For the purposes of this thread, I'll define the “standard” bottom row layout as having the following key sizes from left to right:

  • Ctrl – 1.25
  • Windows – 1.25
  • Alt – 1.25
  • Spacebar – 6.25
  • Alt Gr – 1.25
  • Windows – 1.25
  • Menu – 1.25
  • Ctrl – 1.25


If the keyboard has a “non-standard” layout, the key sizes will be stated from left to right.

Need some help deciding on a switch? Learn more about them in the Mechanical Keyboard Guide or discuss them in the Mechanical Keyboard Club.


Here are the boards recommended by users of OCN:


MX Brown
Full size (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Ultimate



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: USB 2.0 passthrough, detachable cable

Cons: Detachable cable can be hard to plug in/ remove

Bottom row layout: Non-standard - 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


Cooler Master Storm QuickFire XT



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Great build quality

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Standard


Ducky Shine 3



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2



Backlighting: No

Price: high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout: Standard


Logitech G710+



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: Multimedia keys, macro keys, USB 2.0 port, backlighting, removable wrist rest, preinstalled O-rings

Cons: Some of the old batches had problems with the backlighting, orange section not for everyone, only available with MX Browns

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.25, 6.5, 1.25, 1, 1, 1.5


Max Keyboard Nighthawk X8



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Customisable backlighting (choose what switches you want what colour at point of sale), 2x USB 2.0, audio jacks, braided cable

Cons: Availability

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


QPAD MK80



Backlighting: Yes

Price: high

Pros: Backlighting, 2x USB 2.0, media keys

Cons: Non-braided cable, price(?)

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


WASD v2



Backlighting: No

Price: medium – high

Pros: Build quality, DIP switch, customisation (Standard available with your choice of base colour and WASD, Esc colour, Custom available with complete customisation of each keycap colour, font and lettering). Extras like O-rings pre-installed also availble for a surcharge.

Cons: Shipping expensive for outside North America

Bottom row layout: Standard

TKL (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid



Backlighting: No

Price range: low - medium

Pros: Multimedia keys, detachable braided USB cable, can deactivate Windows key

Cons: Excessive amount of branding on some of the older versions?

Bottom row layout: Standard


Ducky Shine 3 TKL



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless



Backlighting: No

Price range: high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout: Standard


KUL ES-87



Backlighting: No

Price range: high

Pros: Excellent build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location, keycaps not amazing.

Bottom row layout: Standard

Compact (Click to show)

KBT Pure Pro



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons: Short backspace, short right shift.

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1, 1, 1.25, 5.5, 1, 1, 1 + standard left, down right arrow keys.


KBT Race



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: Available with PBT keycaps, removable USB cable

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1.25, 1.25, 6.25, 1.25, 1 + 1.25 left, down and right arrow keys.


MX Blue
Full size (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Ultimate



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: USB 2.0 passthrough, detachable cable

Cons: Detachable cable can be hard to plug in/ remove

Bottom row layout: Non-standard - 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


Cooler Master Storm QuickFire XT



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Great build quality

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Standard


Ducky Shine 3



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2



Backlighting: No

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout: Standard


Max Keyboard Nighthawk X7



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Customisable backlighting (choose what switches you want what colour at point of sale), 2x USB 2.0, audio jacks, braided cable

Cons: Availability

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


QPAD MK80



Backlighting: Yes

Price: high

Pros: Backlighting, 2x USB 2.0, media keys

Cons: Non-braided cable, price(?)

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


WASD v2



Backlighting: No

Price: medium – high

Pros: Build quality, DIP switch, customisation (Standard available with your choice of base colour and WASD, Esc colour, Custom available with complete customisation of each keycap colour, font and lettering) Extras like O-rings pre-installed also available for a surcharge.

Cons: Shipping expensive for outside North America

Bottom row layout: Standard

TKL (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Multimedia keys, detachable braided USB cable, can deactivate Windows key

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Standard


Ducky Shine 3 TKL



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location, Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium to high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout – Standard


KUL ES-87



Backlighting: No

Price range: high

Pros: Excellent build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location, keycaps not amazing.

Bottom row layout: Standard

Compact (Click to show)

KBT Pure



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons: No arrow keys?

Bottom row layout: Standard


KBT Pure Pro



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1, 1, 1.25, 5.5, 1, 1, 1 + standard left, down right arrow keys.


Vortex KBT Race



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: Available with PBT keycaps, removable USB cable

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1.25, 1.25, 6.25, 1.25, 1 + 1.25 left, down and right arrow keys.



MX Red
Full size (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Ultimate



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: USB 2.0 passthrough, detachable cable

Cons: Detachable cable can be hard to plug in/ remove

Bottom row layout: Non-standard - 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


Cooler Master Storm QuickFire XT



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Great build quality

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Standard


Ducky Shine 3



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium to high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout: Standard


Max Keyboard Nighthawk X9



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Customisable backlighting (choose what switches you want what colour at point of sale), 2x USB 2.0, audio jacks, braided cable

Cons: Availability

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


QPAD MK80



Backlighting: Yes

Price: high

Pros: Backlighting, 2x USB 2.0, media keys

Cons: Non-braided cable, price(?)

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5

TKL (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Multimedia keys, detachable braided USB cable, can deactivate Windows key

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Standard


Ducky Shine 3 TKL



Backlighting: No

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless



Backlighting: No

Price: medium to high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout: Standard


KUL ES-87



Backlighting: No

Price range: high

Pros: Excellent build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location, keycaps not amazing.

Bottom row layout: Standard

Compact (Click to show)

KBT Pure



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons: No arrow keys?

Bottom row layout: Standard


KBT Pure Pro



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1, 1, 1.25, 5.5, 1, 1, 1 + standard left, down right arrow keys.


Vortex KBT Race



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: Available with PBT keycaps, removable USB cable

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1.25, 1.25, 6.25, 1.25, 1 + 1.25 left, down and right arrow keys.



MX Black
Full size (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Ultimate



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: USB 2.0 passthrough, detachable cable

Cons: Detachable cable can be hard to plug in/ remove

Bottom row layout: Non-standard - 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


Ducky Shine 3



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium to high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium to high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.


QPAD MK80



Backlighting: No

Price: high

Pros: Backlighting, 2x USB 2.0, media keys

Cons: Non-braided cable, price(?)

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5


WASD v2



Backlighting: No

Price: medium – high

Pros: Build quality, DIP switch, customisation (Standard available with your choice of base colour and WASD, Esc colour, Custom available with complete customisation of each keycap colour, font and lettering) Extras like O-rings pre-installed also available for a surcharge.

Cons: Shipping expensive for outside North America

Bottom row layout: Standard

TKL (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Multimedia keys, detachable braided USB cable, can deactivate Windows key

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Standard


Ducky Shine 3 TKL



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium - high

Pros: Build quality, great backlighting

Cons: Cherry stabilisers

Bottom row layout: Standard


Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium to high

Pros: Build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location.

Bottom row layout: Standard


KUL ES-87



Backlighting: No

Price range: high

Pros: Excellent build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location, keycaps not amazing.

Bottom row layout: Standard

Compact (Click to show)

KBT Pure



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons: No arrow keys?

Bottom row layout: Standard


KBT Pure Pro



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1, 1, 1.25, 5.5, 1, 1, 1 + standard left, down right arrow keys.


Vortex KBT Race



Backlighting: Yes

Price: medium

Pros: Available with PBT keycaps, removable USB cable

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with extra keys – 1.25, 1.25, 1.25, 6.25, 1.25, 1 + 1.25 left, down and right arrow keys.



MX Green, MX Clear or MX White
Full size (Click to show)

Deck Legend Ice Edition (MX Clears)



Backlighting: Yes

Price range: high

Pros: Great build quality, 7 levels of backlighting

Cons: Price is a little high, keycap font/ general aesthetics of the board not to everyone's taste.

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with an extra key – 1.25, 1.25, 1.25, 6, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1.25


Cooler Master Storm QuickFire XT (MX Greens)



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Great build quality

Cons:

Bottom row layout: Standard

TKL (Click to show)

Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid (MX Greens)



Backlighting: No

Price range: medium

Pros: Multimedia keys, detachable braided USB cable, can deactivate Windows key

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Standard


KUL ES-87(MX Greens and MX Clears)



Backlighting: No

Price range: high

Pros: Excellent build quality, simplistic design, very compatible with aftermarket keycap sets

Cons: Non-braided cable, can be hard to find depending on location, keycaps not amazing.

Bottom row layout: Standard

Compact (Click to show)

KBT Pure (MX Whites)



Backlighting: Yes

Price: Medium

Pros: Two-layer PCB, removable USB cable, available with PBT keycaps

Cons: No arrow keys?

Bottom row layout: Standard



ALPS
Full size (Click to show)

Matias Quiet Pro



Backlighting: No

Price: medium - high

Pros: 3x USB 2.0 ports, it's quiet. tongue.gif

Cons: Glossy case (?), Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 7, 1.5, 1, 1.5


Dell AT101W



Backlighting: No

Price: Low

Pros: Easy to find for relatively cheap

Cons: It may take some work to bring the board up to a usable condition (whether it be aesthetically or functionally).

Bottom row layout: Standard

TKL (Click to show)


Compact (Click to show)




Topre

Full size (Click to show)

Realforce 103u



Backlighting: No

Price: High

Pros: Topre switches

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 7, 1.5, 1, 1.5

TKL (Click to show)

Realforce 87u



Backlighting: No

Price: high

Pros: Topre switches

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Non-standard – 1.5, 1, 1.5, 6, 1.5, 1, 1, 1.5

Compact (Click to show)

Happy Hacking Professional 2 and Type S variant



Backlighting: No

Price: high - very high

Pros: Topre switches

Cons: Can be hard to find depending on location

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with no Ctrl or Windows keys – 1, 1.5, 5, 1.5, 1



Other
Full size (Click to show)

IBM Model M



Backlighting: No

Price: Varies wildly if you can find them, also depends on version.

Pros: Legendary build quality, for many it's the progenitor of mechanical keyboards

Cons: Originally IBM versions are harder to find commerically as they are now produced by Unicomp.

Bottom row layout: Non-standard with no Windows or Alt keys – 1.5, 1.5, 7, 1.5, 1.5

TKL (Click to show)


Compact (Click to show)



Edited by Paradigm84 - 7/23/15 at 3:39am
post #2 of 305
Not sure if you would like us to recommend?

I thoroughly enjoy my Leopold Full Keyboard with Brown Switches. Very good build quality for a good price:

Standard: http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=leopold,fullsize&pid=fc500rtab

Otaku: http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=leopold,fullsize&pid=fc500rtabn
 
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post #3 of 305
Thread Starter 
Hey, I'd love the recommendations but could you possibly do it via the form here?

It's just so it's easier to collate the results more numerically. smile.gif

Thanks for your contribution!
post #4 of 305
for full size mx blues and browns , das keyboards. they make super awesome stuff. ive had mine for years and its been one of the best investments for my computer
    
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post #5 of 305
I just filled out the survey, but I am sure Ducky will be a popular model (don't own one).


Also, just ordered a Chco Min - can't afford a HHKB yet, so keep it in mind.
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post #6 of 305
Thread Starter 
Cheers guys. smile.gif

Also in the MX Brown TKL section there is an example of how I might lay out the entries, what do you think?
post #7 of 305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm84 View Post

Hey, I'd love the recommendations but could you possibly do it via the form here?

It's just so it's easier to collate the results more numerically. smile.gif

Thanks for your contribution!

Done. Thanks cheers.gif
 
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post #8 of 305
Thread Starter 
Can I get some opinions on the layout so far? I've added some more boards to test if the layout is ok. smile.gif
post #9 of 305
looks good so far. add the HHKB to the topre tkl catagory thumb.gif
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Intel i7 5960x @ 4.8ghz Asus X99-E WS 2 x Nvidia Quadro K6000 Corsair Dominator Platinum 64gb 2666 
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2 x Samsung 850 Pro 512gb {RAID 0} Swiftech H320 w/ Noctua NF-F12 iPPC Arch Linux w/ OpenBox 2 x LG 31MU97 Cinema 4K 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Vortex KBC Poker II PBT EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G2 Corsair Obsidian 450D Zowie FK1 
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Steelseries QCK+ Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80Ω Audioengine D1 Intel X540-T2 NIC 
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Intel Avoton C2750 Octa-Core ASRock C2750D4I Samsung 64gb ECC 1600mhz 8 x Samsung 850 Pro 1TB 
OSPowerCaseOther
FreeNAS SilverStone ST45SF-G 450w SilverStone DS380 Intel X540-T2 NIC 
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Intel i7-4960HQ Intel Iris 5200 Pro NVIDIA GT 750M 2gb 16gb (2x8gb) 1600mhz 
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1tb PCIe SSD 15.4" {2880x1800} IPS SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] SteelSeries QcK Mini 
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Project Arch
(16 items)
 
BigByte
(8 items)
 
Macbook Pro
(8 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 5960x @ 4.8ghz Asus X99-E WS 2 x Nvidia Quadro K6000 Corsair Dominator Platinum 64gb 2666 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2 x Samsung 850 Pro 512gb {RAID 0} Swiftech H320 w/ Noctua NF-F12 iPPC Arch Linux w/ OpenBox 2 x LG 31MU97 Cinema 4K 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Vortex KBC Poker II PBT EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G2 Corsair Obsidian 450D Zowie FK1 
Mouse PadAudioAudioOther
Steelseries QCK+ Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80Ω Audioengine D1 Intel X540-T2 NIC 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel Avoton C2750 Octa-Core ASRock C2750D4I Samsung 64gb ECC 1600mhz 8 x Samsung 850 Pro 1TB 
OSPowerCaseOther
FreeNAS SilverStone ST45SF-G 450w SilverStone DS380 Intel X540-T2 NIC 
CPUGraphicsGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4960HQ Intel Iris 5200 Pro NVIDIA GT 750M 2gb 16gb (2x8gb) 1600mhz 
Hard DriveMonitorMouseMouse Pad
1tb PCIe SSD 15.4" {2880x1800} IPS SteelSeries Sensei [RAW] SteelSeries QcK Mini 
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post #10 of 305
I broke a storm trigger in about a month. I dropped it from about a foot which hit the mini USB detachable cord connector. The connector is soldered directly onto the PCB by 4 points and the force was enough to shear it off completely. I am admittedly hard on equipment but I have dropped many keyboards many times and actually never damaged one, except the storm trigger. Not a big deal for most users but thought I would toss it out there.

Why do I drop so many keyboards, my gaming station...
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q6600 G0 1.275vid @ 3.6Ghz Gigabyte UD3R MSI 4870 1g (852/995) 2x2gb G.Skill 1066 PC2 8500 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
250gb Barracuda/150 VRaptor Vista Home Premium 64 46" LCD HD Antec NeoPower 650w Modular 
Case
Antec 900 
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My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q6600 G0 1.275vid @ 3.6Ghz Gigabyte UD3R MSI 4870 1g (852/995) 2x2gb G.Skill 1066 PC2 8500 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
250gb Barracuda/150 VRaptor Vista Home Premium 64 46" LCD HD Antec NeoPower 650w Modular 
Case
Antec 900 
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