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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread will serve as a quick reference point for some of the questions you may have regarding keyboards, this is so we can reduce the number of repeat threads in the section.
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Note however that this thread is just for quick and easy questions, more in depth questions such as "What are all the Cherry MX switch types?" will be dealt with in the Mechanical Keyboard Guide.

Questions:

  • Do you definitely need a mechanical keyboard?
  • How much is a 'good' mechanical keyboard?
  • Which switch should I pick?
  • Which switch is the best for gaming?
  • Why should I pay so much for a mechanical keyboard?!
  • Will a mechanical keyboard make me better at games?
  • Which board size should I get?
  • Why are Topre boards so expensive?
  • Why can't I find any customizable RGB backlit mechanical keyboards?

Do you feel like a question has been missed out? Feel free to PM me and suggest it!
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Do you definitely need a mechanical keyboard?

Put simply, no.

Mechanical keyboards are not necessary by any means and you should never feel pressured in to getting one if you don't have the funds or inclination to get one.

What I will say is that peripherals are one of the most important parts of your rig, it's all well and good having an expensive PC, but it might not be as enjoyable to use if you're not matching the rig with decent peripherals. Choosing quality peripherals can make your time spent on the PC, whether it be for working or gaming less strenuous and more comfortable.

How much is a 'good' mechanical keyboard?

The prices of mechanical keyboards vary massively, from sometimes $30 for a super budget board to hundreds of dollars for a custom board with an aluminium case, and there will be good boards available anywhere in that bracket.

For example, the Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid has been on sale for as low as $50 before, and it is a great board.

Which switch should I pick?

As above, the choice of switch is highly subjective. Before buying a board with a switch you may not like, you could consider buying a switch sampler, a list of which can be found here in the Mechanical Keyboard Guide.

Which switch is the best for gaming?

Despite what many peripherals manufacturers may argue, there isn't a best switch to use for gaming, or any purpose in fact, it's all down to personal preference and at the end of the day when it comes to buying a keyboard, only your opinions on a switch are what matters as you are going to be the one using it.

That being said, certain switches have advantages and disadvantages over others for certain purposes. One such example is MX Blue switches for gaming.

MX Blue switches (and all clicky MX switches) exhibit a property called hysteresis where the actuation and reset points are different. What this means in terms of gaming is that you can't easily hold the switch above the actuation point for quick actuation. This is because after actuation the switch slider must move up considerably past the reset point to allow the switch to reset. Some people don't like MX Blues for gaming for this reason, however as mentioned previously, it's all personal preference.

Why should I pay so much for a mechanical keyboard?!

See the first post of the Mechanical Keyboard Guide.

Will a mechanical keyboard make me better at games?

Theoretically? No.
In reality? Possibly.

The reduction in travel time on mechanical switches, which is what would help in games, is negligible.

The time you save from the key travelling less, is significantly smaller than your reaction time, which means any variation in your reaction time whilst playing an intensive game would use up the time saved from the key travelling less.

However, it's worth noting that the placebo effect can come in to play in situations like this, if you are confident that the mechanical keyboard is making you better at the game, then you may play better even though the change in how you play due to the board is negligible.

Which board size should I get?

As a general rule I'd suggest going for these sizes for the following reasons:

  • Full size - You want a board with all the features, macros, media functionality, wrist rest, USB/ audio passthroughs. Also if it's not going to be moved very often.
  • TKL - You want a smaller board that's more portable and not as wide so your arms can be closer together, this is more comfortable over long periods for some people.
  • 75% - You want a portable board, but still want to keep the F row
  • 60% - You want a super-portable board you can take with you wherever you go.

Why are Topre boards so expensive?

Topre switches are a unique design produced by a single company, when one product is highly desirable and lacks the distribution channels of some of the larger companies like Razer or Logitech, price goes up.

Why can't I find any customizable RGB backlit mechanical keyboards?

Cherry MX switches have indented areas for the LED in the top half of the switch top, with two holes through the top and bottom of the switch for the LED legs. Customizable LEDs (ones that do not just pulse through the colours) are either too big to fit in the indentation or have 3 legs, which means they cannot be installed correctly.

Customizable RGB backlit Cherry MX boards will be out soon however as Cherry are using a clear casing for the RGB switches, meaning the LED can be positioned somewhere else. These will be available on Corsair boards first, then other boards after 2014.
 

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TotallydubbedHD on YT
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Great mini-guide.
However, I'm not sure I agree with "$5000 gaming PC" - mech keyboards aren't mainly for gamers.
I actually bought mine because I love typing and the typing experience is night and day over any membrane keyboard. I think it has to do with the phrasing of that sentence. Sounds directed towards gamers only, rather than the general PC user.
Heck one could argue that due to some light switches, people that have arthritis would cause less stress to their wrists and fingers.
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Totally Dubbed View Post

Great mini-guide.
However, I'm not sure I agree with "$5000 gaming PC" - mech keyboards aren't mainly for gamers.
I actually bought mine because I love typing and the typing experience is night and day over any membrane keyboard. I think it has to do with the phrasing of that sentence. Sounds directed towards gamers only, rather than the general PC user.
Heck one could argue that due to some light switches, people that have arthritis would cause less stress to their wrists and fingers.
I was just illustrating the idea of people spending large amounts of money on the hardware, but skimping when it comes to the devices they use to interface with the hardware.

I have rephrased it.
 

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I miss Case Labs
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This might be a little thread necro, but may I suggest adding a section to the FAQ for those looking for information on building boards themselves? Howtos, vendors, things to watch out for, etc?
 
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