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Peripherals Mechanical keyboard recommendations needed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Aterius Gmork, 25 Feb 2014.

  1. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Dear bit-tech keyboard lovers out there, please help me find a new mechanical keyboard.

    I used to have some Razer keyboard, but after 5 years of use it broke yesterday - or rather only the "L" key broke.

    Now I need a new keyboard, but I am lost for where to start. I have looked at the Razer Black Widow but it looks like the "Beats" of keyboards.

    Requirements:
    -mechanical
    -full numeric keypad, yes I actually need it
    -preferably no laptop style keys

    Nice to have (in order of importance)
    -backlight
    -media control keys
    -quiet
    -easy to clean (such as the Corsair K65 keyboard)
    -reprogrammable keys

    Budget:
    As much as necessary, as little as possible. Really hesistant to state a budget, because I am prepared to spend more if the keyboard is worth it.
     
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  2. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Swinging the banhammer Super Moderator

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    A couple of questions before suggestions:

    When you say quiet do you mean that you don't want clicky (blue) switches?

    What do you mostly use it for? As this will affect switch choice.

    GK
     
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  3. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    The keyboard will be using for typing and gaming - general computer usage really. I'd prefer a keyboard that is good for typing though, because I am sure it will be just fine for my gaming requirements.

    Right now I am using a gaming keyboard at home and some cheap Cherry garbage at work, both use laptop keys and I hate them both for typing, the latter one with a passion.

    Are blue switches similar to the ones used in the IBM keyboards? Then I might prefer a keyboard that is less clicky.

    Here's an explanation on what I mean with 'quiet': For univerity as well as gaming I use voice chat. In the past people have complained about being able to hear me typing a lot and it required quite a bit of tweaking to get rid of the noise triggering the mic. Maybe I hit the keys quite hard, but I have tested this and it's not just me, friends trigger the mic just as frequently. Still the new Keyboard shouldn't be a lot louder if possible.

    Anyway, I digress: Typing, probably no blue switches.

    Thanks for the help, really appreciate it!
     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2014
  4. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Assuming you're happiest with UK/German ISO layout, and you don't want to be fannying around with keycaps, I recommend the following boards in ascending order of price:

    • Cherry G80-3000 - standard entry level mech
    • CM Storm Quickfire Ultimate - fulfils most of your nice to haves, I personally don't like the looks
    • Ducky Zero Shine - a cut down version of the flagship backlit keyboard
    • Corsair Vengeance K70 - a very nice keyboard, try to find one under £100 though
    • Ducky Shine 2 or 3 - last year and this year's top commercially available backlit mechanical keyboards
    I'd recommend red or brown switches to start you off, red if you predominantly play FPS or fast action games, brown if you type a fair bit and play more variety of games. Clear switches are very hard to come by in a gaming keyboard, but I find them to be very quiet as I don't bottom them out.

    Where will you order from? Are you still based in Germany? G80s must be ten a penny in the Cherry homeland!

    You could also consider a refurb, or place a wanted ad on the marketplace.
     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2014
  5. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    You can listen to all the people above, or, you could just get one of these :)

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/cool...m_medium=cpc&gclid=CMPcrvm257wCFZShtAodkAsAIw

    Honestly - for the money, absolutely the most feature packed keyboard you could get. every switch is programmable (except tilde - 5 as these are used for jumping profiles) and their are 5 different profiles, so you can jump between 5 hardware layouts almost instantly. The pcb is AWESOME, and it has a nice standardised layout with a nice backlight. The plate is ok at best, but, comparable to any other keyboard you would be looking at.

    There are fewer LED modes than you would find on a ducky shine board - though everything else is on par with a ducky shine board.

    This keyboard also polls faster than a ducky if you are interested hehe, and utilises full speed usb protocol which most keyboards don't, but it means it happily does nkro over usb without any trickery.

    CM quickfire XT is also a great keyboard, one of the best stock cherry mx keyboards I have typed on (that's no joke, is true), no backlight or great hardware features though.

    Plus with the CM you will get a removeable cable, and a keyboard made in Taiwan, Ducky and Corsair (I think corsair) are made in china - Though,the CM (trigger z and XT certainly) have costar stabs where as I think all the other boards listed are cherry stabs.
     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2014
  6. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    The Quickfire range is pretty awesome in general, with ridiculously exhaustive layout options!

    One thing I'll say about them having owned a few is that it really doesn't matter who the OEM was, the quality is all but identical. When you start delving into enthusiast forums it's easy to be sidelined by a whole bunch of people who once heard about someone's cousin who bought a $55 iOne keyboard second hand and one of the keys squeaked a bit, and therefore all keyboards ever made by iOne since must give you hand cancer...

    Oh, and if I had to buy a board right now? It's be a big ol' Cherry. I've fallen back in love with them again :D
     
  7. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    Some of the quickfire range are better than others,

    I disagree though shirts, the oem does make a difference to the quality of the board. Things like quality control and actual quality of the item on the insides differ between oem's - and the ones that roll out of a costar factory, are better (sometimes significantly) than ones that roll out of an iOne factory.

    Like the quickfire TK, I think is an awesome board, let down by a pretty pants pcb. To a usual person, using a keyboard normally, probably wouldn't make any difference :)
     
  8. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    I don't dispute that there are quality differences, but...

    Nail. Head. We're not usual persons. Well, I am mostly...

    Case in point. Without pulling them apart, the perceived quality of a Rapid next to a Pro is indistinguishable to a non-enthusiast. Everyone I showed them to preferred the look and feel of the Pro (I know, right?).

    Even the worst mech will still be substantially better constructed than all but the most expensive rubber domes.
     
  9. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Thank you for your suggestions guys. Noob questions incoming, brace yourselves.

    I can only get the Cherry, Corsair and CM Storm keyboards from Amazon Germany.

    From what I have seen the Cherry and the CM Storm keyboards have brown type keys while the Corsair uses the red type keys.

    Which one would actually be better for typing? I lift my fingers from the keys even though I use a ten finger systems, if that helps. Is there even much difference? Which one would be quieter?

    The Cherry costs 60€ while the other ones are 120€ each. Looks wise I prefer the Corsair K70, looks way less tacky than the CM Storm. The cheaper Quickfire XT seems to use blue switches so it's out.

    To be honest I am really reluctant to buy the Cherry keyboard. At work and school I had the pleasure to use quite a few and every single one was awful. They weren't mechanical, still I am not sure. It's half the price but I don't want to end up buying twice. Also I like the usb hub and backlight the other two offer.

    Also I can change they keycaps on the Corsair K70 right?
     
  10. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    If it helps, I am typing this on a G80-3494 which is a lovely, if basic, board. As with all Cherry MX switch boards, you can change the caps, and I'd personally suggest brown switches if you will be doing more typing than gaming.

    Non-mechanical and mechanical Cherry boards are worlds apart!
     
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  11. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Braced and ready :)

    The small tactile bump from the browns helps some, light fingered people to avoid bottoming out when typing. Personally it's so slight and I'm so sausage fingered that it makes little to no difference. Without bottoming out, the reds are infinitesimally quieter, but in my experience you wouldn't notice any difference in practice.

    Cherry G80s are much better than their rubber-dome offerings. However, they are still cheaply constructed and compared to a premium mechanical keyboard they flex a lot. I still love them though, and they are largely PCB mounted which makes changing the switches a doddle. However, if backlighting and USB are important to you then avoid.

    You can, although because they use an odd profile on the bottom row it's not straightforward and will seriously limit your choices. This gives you some kind of guidance, but essentially if you plan to go down the keycap route then your best bet is an ANSI layout keyboard which uses 1.25 modifiers on the bottom row. You can usually tell just from looking at a photo whether that's the case.


    I knew someone would ninja me typing a really long reply :grr:
     
  12. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    I don't plan to replace all key caps, especially since I like the black on silver layout of the K70 or K95. It's just nice to know that it will be possible to replace the usual suspects that wear down quite fast.

    I will ask at work tomorrow, but I think I might just by the Cherry board. If I don't like it I'll use it at work as it will be better than the laptop key POS I have to use and if I like it I will keep it take it to work anyway and get another one or one of the other two.

    Is there any reason to go for the CM Storm Trigger-Z over the Corsair Vengeance K95? They both seem to support nkro?

    Is there a reason why do all mechanical keyboards have such tacky names aimed at 14 year olds even though they cost half a kidney? Why can't they call them CM Awesometype or Corsair Nicekey? :rolleyes:
     
  13. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by a mechanical Cherry board.

    Having never used a Trigger or K95 I can't honestly comment which is better with any authority.

    What are you saying about the name of my Cougar Attack X??? :lol:
     
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  14. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    yes, the trigger-z is entirely programmable, you can remap each key to whatever you want it to be on a hardware level, so you can plug it into a different machine and they would remain how you set them - and there is 5 profiles you can switch between with a simple key combo.

    I don't overly like corsair boards.
     
  15. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Have you actually used a CM keyboard Margon? If yes - how is the driver software? Easy to use or flashy g4m3r garbage?
     
  16. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    I got one here in front of me in browns - it's a good board.

    The software is very easy to use small footprint. I guess that yes it is gamer focused

    [​IMG]

    but it's very powerful - I much prefer some kind of gui over trying to set the programming up on the board like with the poker2.

    the only thing I found wasn't very clear - is the board, is not in any profile out the box, it's in default profile - you set the profile up in the software, and you think that your keyboard is profile 1, but it isn't, the layout will not become live until you put it into profile one, which is FN + 1, then, it will stay there until you change it, even between pc's, and you can put it back to default profile with FN + `

    Having a programmable board, I basically feel is essential for me, but that is only now I am used to having them, my boards that aren't programmable, I don't really use anymore, because I don't like their layouts.
     
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  17. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Ok, thank you! Awesome!

    I read somewhere that the CM Storm software was supposed to be 500mb so that's a relief.

    If I like the Cherry with the browns I will get the CM Storm.
     

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