Mechanical keyboard appreciation thread

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Rys, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Rys

    Rys PowerVR
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    I can't be the only one around here that loves a good mechanical keyboard. I got into them a few years ago at the prompting of a couple of great friends. One of them (hi Bob, if you're reading this!) literally gave me single Cherry MX switches of each colour/type to play with, and didn't stop talking to me about keyboards until I gave in and got one. I'm glad he bullied me.

    In recent times my mechanical keyboard fetish has escalated, with custom keysets, a keyboard I'm building myself almost from scratch, and a 60% board all either on my desk or on the way in the coming months. One of the keysets arrived today and I'm currently typing this to you on the board I've put them on, and they're glorious (PuLSE SA if you want to do some Googling).

    keyboard.jpg

    Anyway, thought I'd kick off a thread because I'm obsessed. As well as that Filco Majestouch (formerly a Ninja, now with the PuLSE SA caps), I've got a Pok3r (both with Cherry MX blue switches, CLACK CLICK CLACK), and there's an Ergodox Infinity (with MX blues) on the way, with custom keysets for them both arriving later in the summer.

    There's a surprisingly large community around mechs, with hand-made artisan caps, custom cases, fully custom boards with modular programming and lots more. It's one of my more enjoyable hobbies these days, given I'm sat at the computer all the time. Might as well type on greatness.
     
    #1 Rys, Jun 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  2. PixResearch

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    Not at your level by any stretch but I do love them. Wouldn't use anything else at home.
    But - I do hate other people having them in an office environment - most are pretty loud!
     
  3. Rys

    Rys PowerVR
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    Pretty much everyone in the CPA team has a Filco with noisy switches. We sit with headphones on for most of the day, so I think we've managed to tune it out or get used to it. If anyone's genuinely bothered by it, they haven't said in a long time.
     
  4. PixResearch

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    There's never anyone there whenever I come across to CPA! ;-P (but I'll listen out next time)
     
  5. nutball

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    I've caught the bug recently. Bought a couple of mechs, one for work one for home. Planning on changing the switches to Gateron Clears. Bought two sets of http://www.mechsupply.co.uk/product/dsa-royal-navy to go on them.

    I'm in to TKL at the moment, but I'm quite tempted to buy a Clueboard, I like the idea of building my own.
     
  6. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    I've been thinking of giving one a try, I've been using low-profile keyboards with laptop style keys forever. Which mechanical keys are the ones that are firm but quiet? I can't have the clicky-click, it'd drive my wife nuts.
     
  7. Rys

    Rys PowerVR
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    You probably want MX Red or Black switches (from the Cherry MX range at least). I'm not that familiar with other switch types if I'm honest. Maybe nutball has an idea.
     
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  8. willardjuice

    willardjuice super willyjuice
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    Cherry blue 4 lyfe! :-D
     
  9. nutball

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    I'm also coming from a laptop so a full-hit mech has been a bit of a shock. I'll be honest I'm still adjusting. How firm are you wanting? Like Rys said MX red or black is probably best if you want smooth without the click.

    You can buy O-rings that fit on the stems of the switch and reduce both the travel of the key and the noise.

    There's a whole sub-Reddit on this https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/

    Be wary because it's like Alice In Wonderland. You go down the rabbit hole and never come out :)
     
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  10. Silent_Buddha

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    You can get the Logitech G710/+ (+ uses brown switches, non + uses blue switches) which has O-rings fitted to the keycap stems to prevent them from bottoming out with a clack. If you do that go for the brown switches as they have a lower noise profile and lighter actuation force needed.

    Still noisier than icky standard rubber dome switches, but quieter than standard Cherry MX switches of the respective color with most of the Cherry MX feel.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #10 Silent_Buddha, Jun 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
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  11. Silent_Buddha

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    Definitely not alone. :)

    I've been using mechanical keyboards for quite a few years now. The switches I currently use are MX Browns as they are a little more conducive to gaming than the blues while still having good endurance typing characteristics. The blues are better for lots of typing, however. Reds and blacks are better for gaming, but not as good for lots of extended typing.

    But that said, Blues are just a replacement for glorious buckling spring switches (like the old IBM Model M). Unfortunately the IBM Model M isn't made anymore which is why the Cherry MX Blues became so popular. Otherwise you had to either buy a used IBM Model M off E-bay or find a relatively expensive modern keyboard using buckling spring switches.

    However, thanks to reddit, I recently found out there's actually an affordable maker of keyboards using buckling spring switches.

    http://www.pckeyboard.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Category_code=UKBD&Product_code=UNI0P4A

    And, inevitably, they had to also make them as ugly as the old IBM Model M keyboards as well. :p Unfortunately, good luck finding custom keycaps.

    I'll be picking one of those up in the next month or two. My fingers and hands are tingling in anticipation. My neighbors may not forgive me though.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  12. Rys

    Rys PowerVR
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  13. Jawed

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    My IBM 1391406:

    http://www.seasip.info/VintagePC/ibm_1391406.html

    was manufactured in 1991 (25 years old on 7 June) and a friend rescued it from a skip in the late 1990s for me.

    Needless to say, I love it.

    A proper keyboard. No stupid Windows key getting in the way, either.
     
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  14. Silent_Buddha

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    Yeah, there's been lots of similar projects over the years hence the "relatively expensive modern keyboard using buckling spring switches."

    I love my keyboards, but not quite enough to spend over 300 USD on one. :) Often very tempted to, but not enough temptation to pull the trigger.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  15. Sinistar

    Sinistar I LIVE
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    Just started using a mechanical keyboard about 6 months ago, only switched because my Logitech keyboard died, and reading all the praises of them. Using the new "Cherry MX Silent Red" switches, never used any other switches, so I can not make a comparison.
     
  16. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    Not entirely appropriate for this thread, but it feels almost the same - I got myself a Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Pro case for my iPad Air 2 and it types incredibly well. I really love it, I now find myself back to resenting ever having to type on the touch keyboard again. It also makes such a huge difference not sacrificing the screen space for the keyboard. Really happy about this and can't recommend it enough. It can still easily detach and work as a separate Bluetooth keyboard as well, and it doesn't have any of those annoying typing start delays that others have, as it is triggered by a magnet on either the iPad cover part or one that you can just flip over from the keyboard that otherwise supports the cover. It also works great in both portrait and landscape mode. Anyway, you can read a review on the thing if you're interested as all the pros (hardly any cons) are in there: near infinite battery life, pair with multiple Bluetooth devices, etc.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  17. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    By the way, typing.com seems a pretty nice training website that's really easy to use. I did a one minute test there with my new keyboard and scored 82 WPM with 98% accuracy. Will try it on a regular computer later.

    EDIT: regular Windows 10 PC with cheap Microsoft keyboard: 89 WPM, 98% accuracy

    Just for the heck of it, I will try my Mac Mini and Logitech K120 as well, and finally the touch screen keyboards on iPhone (6S) and iPad

    EDIT2: measuring with touch screen keyboard is harder. I have issues with capital letters getting stuck in particular for second letters of capitalized words and the test would be more useful if it allowed the autocorrect to weigh in.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    #17 Arwin, Jun 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  18. Davros

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    I agree with Buddha the IBM Model M is the keyboard of the Gods

    I currently use a ZBoard Merc
    Every key (not just the additional ones) is not only remap-able but programmable right down to the millisecond so programming a key (and the delay between key-presses) to execute a combo in a fighting game is really easy.
    The keyboard auto loads the correct profile when you run a game and unloads the profile when you exit the game.
    by default it comes with 90 profiles (all editable) and you can create your own
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    #18 Davros, Jun 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  19. hoom

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    I managed to score one of these from work last year :yep2:
    [​IMG]
    Kinesis Advantage USB (with Qwerty/Dvorak keys)
    Uses Cherry MX brown.

    I'd been told about Kinesis by one of the IT guys 10 years ago when I started & was getting the OK to rearrange one of the cheap office keyboards for Dvorak.
    Had been lusting after it ever since but far too scared to fork out cash for one (even 2nd hand are US$299).

    Then one day the current IT boss walked into my area with a cardboard box from the basement, said 'I've found something you might like' & pulled it out (me being notorious as the only Dvorak user in the office & regularly extolling the virtues of my funny keyboard at any chance, yeah I'm like a keyboard vegan :oops:).
    To his surprise I immediately recognised it, yelped with glee, snatched it from his hands, gave it a big hug while jumping up & down in circles babbling nonsense for several mins while he carefully backed away with an odd look on his face :runaway:


    It took a lot of getting used to & up to speed with the odd layout (particularly I tend to get my thumb placement/order confused for backspace/delete/enter/space which can create some deeply frustrating delays to sort out) & a couple of buttons that don't map properly to the Windows Dvorak profile (its got hardware Dvorak switching but I found it generally works better with the Windows profile), had to actually learn to use the number row rather than switching to number pad since it doesn't have a separate one & copy/cut/paste are pretty awkward.

    When I left they let me take it home, heathens would have thrown it away otherwise. Minor miracle they hadn't sometime in the preceding 10 years.

    Actually haven't used it for coming up a year now since the layout is not really great for gaming.
    Have pulled it out to type this though, pleasantly surprised at pretty quick getting back in the swing of it :smile2:
    The feel is actually not that much different than a membrane one but a bit audibly clicky when the speed cranks up which does give some flashbacks to messing around on old BBC computer at primary school.

    Edit: this got me looking on their website to see if they have some kind of fix for the keys not mapping properly & its got a 'click option', with it enabled there is a speaker that makes a click for each keystroke...
    Edit2: ok so the problem is my using the Windows Dvorak language, setting to US international & using the hardware switch the keys do map properly.
     
    #19 hoom, Jun 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  20. Blazkowicz

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    Happiest thing I've read in a while!
    There's something rather terrible when you have a non-QWERTY keyboard and the game uses high level input rather than reading raw keyboard codes like DOS games and classic Windows games. (in linux, it's all the time)
    Not only that messes up WASD (ZQSD), the number row is toast too and getting the weapons on 1, 2, 3 etc. can be difficult. Yes the game could be localized but with random stuff and demos and open source there's still tons of English-only stuff, that all defaults to QWERTY.



    Dreaming of a laptop with a thick keyboard!
    Very unlikely, but if there were a $500 laptop except the keyboard is great and the laptop costs $600, that'd be the best deal ever.


    My desktop keyboard is a bit embarassing but the keys are hard (membrane), the Windows logo is old and I can bang it at will.
     
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