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Mechanical Keyboards


Oerwinde

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I've been seeing a lot of talk about mechanical keyboards in PC gaming forums and such lately, but I don't know what kind of benefit you get that makes the extra hundred dollars worth it. Can anyone explain? Increased durability seems to be a big selling point, but I've never had a regular keyboard die on me, so that doesn't seem to be an issue.

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This is probably the best guide I've come across in both explaining the benefits of, and knowing what to look for in a mechanical keyboard. Nothing can substitute for the experience of actually trying one though. Fortunately, it's easier now than it used to be to test drive one at retail store, now that "mainstream" brands like Logitech, Razer, Asus and Corsair are making them and marketing them heavily.

 

The mech keyboard hipster will contend these companies new to the market produce an inferior product, and it may be partially true in terms of overall construction, but generally speaking the switches, and therefore the feel of the keypresses, will be the same whatever brand you go for because they're generally sourced from a single third-party company. Exception is made for some of the very cheapest models which use a generic clone of the ubiquitous "Cherry" instead of the real thing (as the patent has lapsed recently).

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Unfortunately, they don't seem to make wireless mechanical keyboards, so I'm unlikely to ever bother with one...

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Ok, so since I've never experienced keyboard fatigue and never worn out a keyboard, seems the main selling point of mechanical keyboards is they're loud. Doesn't seem like its worth the extra money.

 

Jesus, how much do you have to be using a keyboard for your hands to get tired from pressing the keys?

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Eh, I'd say it's more about the feel than the sound. One of those things that's impossible to quantify, but it's a classic case of "once you try it you won't want to go back". I know when I'm forced to use a membrane keyboard these days it feels like I'm typing on a sponge. But yeah, if you've never tried it then perhaps it's lucky that you don't know - after getting one for my home PC, I ended up having to buy one for my work PC, paid out of my own pocket - so all in all a rather expensive exercise.

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Yes, loudness is literally their only selling point. Glad we have that sorted out. :)

 

 

 

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Put fascists and sociopaths on your ignore list.

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Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

 

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There are a whole bunch of reasons someone would choose a mechanical keyboard over a membrane one.  Mechanical keyboards eliminate some problems that membrane keyboards sometimes experience, like ghosting.  They're also more precise and durable and some versions have tactile feedback (I prefer the light tactile feedback of Cherry MX Brown myself).  Now these days, even cheap ass membrane keyboards tend to be durable and precise enough that they're good enough for most people.  Unless you're a professional gamer who needs every last millisecond shaved off their keystroke and every last bit of precision for any edge they can get or a serious typist typing pages upon pages of characters every day, then you'll be fine without a mechanical keyboard, it will be a luxury rather than a necessity.  Still, it's as Humanoid says, it's something that you can completely go without, but once you try it, you very likely won't want to go back.  I know I sure won't ever buy another membrane keyboard, I've tasted the sweet ambrosia of Cherry MX Brown and I can't bear to have anything else now.  Luckily, since mechanical keyboards tend to be quite durable (there are IBM keyboards from the 80s still in use today, people swear by them) and the 10 keyless keyboard I bought is solid as a rock, unless I seriously abuse my baby, I won't have to buy a new one anytime soon, if ever.

 

Anyway, the bottom line is that a mechanical keyboard is something that most likely you don't really need.  If you're happy with your membrane keyboard then stick with that.

Edited by Keyrock
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I own a 8 dollar keyboard I bought maybe 5-7 years ago. I bought it because it has two USB ports on the sides and it's very low (I don't like to angle my wrists upwards like most keyboard want me to, I'm a flat typist). This poor keyboard has been through hell. I've spilled things on it, I've played Battlefield 2-4 on it (I suck and all my nerd rage goes into the keyboard), I've bashed it, beaten it, manhandled it, you name it.

 

The poor keyboard has lost keys from time to time, but they've always been possible to reattach. It has split in two (the upper part got unstuck from the lower part), but that was also possible to fix with some tender bashing. Most of the keys have lost their print so it almost looks like one of those naked keyboards. The foldable feet that used to live underneath it are long gone (probably from the first beating it took).

 

But it still lives! I'm super impressed by its durability. It's the keyboard that wouldn't die. Oh, and it's as far from mechanical as you can get: it uses some sort of rubber bubbles to register key presses.

 

When (if?) it dies, I will buy another one exactly like it.

Edited by mkreku

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If you find something you like then absolutely stick with it.  I loved my Microsoft Trackball Explorer so much that I wound up gluing parts I broke over the years (I was more careless with my stuff when I was younger) several times until it finally got to the point that it was beyond fixing.  After finding out, much to my horror, that Microsoft stopped producing them like a decade ago I tried several trackballs and none of them could hold a candle to me beloved Trackball Explorer.  I eventually wound up scouring the internet and finding a used one on Ebay for about twice the price I originally paid for a brand new one way back in the day (and that was the absolute best deal I could find).  Worth every single penny and I baby it like my life depended on it.

 

The point is, if you find something you really like, whether it's something that costs $5 of $500, stick with it.  Don't let anyone else sway you to get something else if you're happy with what you have.  If it works for you and makes you happy then that's all that matters.

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How did you break it?  Mine is solid as a brick.  I mean the casing is plastic, but it ain't no cheap ass plastic, it's thick and rigid.  I would need to apply significant amounts of force or use a tool to break it, I can't imagine breaking it by accident.  Did you spill something on it?

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I switched to mechanical keyboards, they're more accurate for two reasons: you can more quickly press the keys, and you know when you've pressed a key. They're a bit louder, even the "quiet" branded ones. If you type a lot or game you need a mechanical keyboard.

I agree with this, although the accuracy is not the unique selling point for me: my old Logitech Illuminated used some sort of clicky technique like notebooks to achieve comparable accuracy and feedback. However, after a key came lose, I didn't managed to ever fasten it again, no matter what tricks I tried. Unlike my current one with proper mechnical switches - just peel the keys off and plug them back on, simple as that, easy to maintain, clean and replace.

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Mine doesn't have any pretty lights.  It's cool bling, but it would have raised the cost of my keyboard by at least $30 or $40, likely more.  Mine has red WASD keys (came with the keyboard as well as regular black WASD keys) which makes those keys plenty visible even in the dark  and orange Tux logo OS keys (bought separately) that serve no practical purpose, they're strictly for bling purposes.

 

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