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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
Manyak
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Common Switch Types

 

Introduction

Whilst a difference in properties of a switch may seem trivial to some, to those who use computers extensively as part of a hobby or a career, finding a keyboard perfect for you can make those long hours of typing or gaming much more comfortable, and a big part of how the keyboard performs is the switches or technology it uses.

 

The question is often asked "which switch is the best for gaming/ typing/ programming etc", the answer is simple: There isn't one.

 

There is no switch perfect for a given task for everyone, only personal favourites and subjective recommendations.

 

Sometimes actuation forces is expressed in grams (g), however the gram is actually a measurement of mass, not force, we should really express the force in Newtons (N), but since we know:

 

1kg  ~ 9.81N ~ 10N

 

=> 1g ~ 0.01N

 

We don't want to be using decimals all the time, so instead we use the approximation: 1g = 1 centinewton (cN), a centinewton being 0.01N.

 

As a reference point your average rubber dome keyboard requires between 55cN and 60cN of force to actuate.

 

 

Common Switch Types

 

 

 

 

This is not a comprehensive list, there are many other less common varieties of Cherry MX, Alps and Topre switches, aswell as rarer switch types not covered here.

 

Below is a chart which shows relative popularity of each of the fairly common switch types. 

 

The data for this chart is collected from submissions of the membership form for the Mechanical Keyboard Club and updates automatically

 

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Switch Testers

Looking for a way to try some of these switches before buying a board? Consider getting a switch sampler of some Cherry MX switches such as those from:

Qwerkeys QWER8 V2 (Click to show)

 

Link

Price: £19.95

Comes with:

  • Cherry MX Red
  • Cherry MX Black
  • Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Blue
  • Cherry MX White
  • Cherry MX Green
  • Cherry MX Clear
  • Cherry MX Linear Grey/ Cherry MX Clicky Grey (depending on stock)
  • Mounting plate
  • 8x Transparent keycaps

 

Advantages:

  • Looks good as a show piece.
  • Large selection of switches.

 

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive than some of the other samplers.
  • Lack of global availability.
Max Keyboard (Click to show)

 

Link

Price: $12

Comes with:

  • Cherry MX Red
  • Cherry MX Black
  • Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Blue
  • Mounting PCB board
  • 4x Transparent keycaps
  • 4x O-rings (black)

 

Advantages:

  • 15% coupon off a Max Keyboard board as of Jan 2014.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Not as many switches as the Qwerkeys sampler.
Max Keyboard Pro (Click to show)

Link

Price: $20

Comes with:

  • Cherry MX Red
  • Cherry MX Black
  • Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Blue
  • Cherry MX Green
  • Cherry MX Clear
  • Cherry MX Tactile Grey
  • Cherry MX White
  • Red acrylic base
  • 9x Transparent keycaps
  • 8x O-rings (black)
  • 4x Clear rubber feet

 

Advantages:

  • 15% coupon off a Max Keyboard board as of July 2014.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Shipping costs may be high for non-US customers.
WASD Keyboard Switch Sampler (Click to show)

 

 

Link

Price: $12

Comes with:

  • Cherry MX Red
  • Cherry MX Black
  • Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Blue
  • Cherry MX Clear
  • Cherry MX Green
  • 11x coloured keycaps (Black, White, Light Grey, Dark Grey, Red, Green, Light Blue, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Lilac)
  • 5x O-rings (Red)
  • 5x O-rings (Blue)

 

Advantages:

  • 15% coupon off a Max Keyboard board as of Jan 2014.

 

Disadvantages:

  • No mounting plate or PCB.
Deck (Click to show)

 

Link

Price: $6

Comes with:

  • Cherry MX Red with green LED
  • Cherry MX Black with white LED
  • Cherry MX Brown with orange LED
  • Cherry MX Blue with blue LED
  • 4x backlighting compatible keycaps (D, E, C, K)

 

Advantages:

  • LED backlit! (powered by USB)
  • Great value for the money

 

Disadvantages:

  • More switches would be good
Cooler Master (Click to show)

 

Link: NA, EU

Price: $12

Comes with:

  • Cherry MX Red
  • Cherry MX Black
  • Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Blue
  • Cherry MX Clear
  • Cherry MX Green
  • Mounting PCB board
  • 6x Transparent keycaps
  • Outer casing

 

Advantages:

  • $15/ €13.95 coupon off a Cooler Master mechanical keyboard as of Jan 2014.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Would be nice to see an MX White aswell.
WASD 6-Key Cherry MX Switch Tester (Click to show)

 

Link
Price: $15

Comes with:

  • Cherry MX Red
  • Cherry MX Black
  • Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Blue
  • Cherry MX Clear
  • Cherry MX Green
  • Steel mounting bracket
  • 6x Transparent keycaps
  • 6x Red O-rings
  • 6x Blue O-rings

Advantages:
  • Good selection of switches.
  • Two different kinds of O-rings.
     

Disadvantages:

  • Would be nice to see an MX White aswell.

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