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View Full Version : Looking for a mechanical keyboard.



TeenageAngst
01-26-2014, 07:59 AM
I've been in the market for a while now and yet I still don't know exactly what I want. I've only gotten to mess around with a few keyswitch types, but so far I'm leaning towards one of two options:

The first is a Unicomp:

http://pckeyboard.com/page/UltraClassic/UB40P4A

I like the sound of buckling springs, they're a lot deeper and sound less plasticky. They also have a healthy amount of resistance, but whether or not it's too much idk since I don't think Unicomp keyboards are sold in stores and I don't know of anyone around here with a Model M.

The second is a keyboard with Cherry MX Green switches like this Coolermaster:

http://www.amazon.com/CM-Storm-QuickFire-XT-Mechanical/dp/B00EHBECAW/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1390737353&sr=1-2&keywords=cherry+mx+green

I honestly don't know why green switches are so rare but it pisses me off. I tried typing on blue switches, the "go-to" clicky switch of the gaming industry and they were waaay too light. Reds don't have any feedback at all and browns I honestly haven't tried yet so idk. However, green seems to be right up my alley. The only issue is, and this is something I've noticed with all cherry switches, they sound horrid if they're clicky. I like the audible response but these sound like crappy plastic.

So I'm stumped. Maybe I'm leaving something out and I don't know it. Any suggestions?

Ranguvar
01-26-2014, 12:05 PM
I've been in the market for a while now and yet I still don't know exactly what I want. I've only gotten to mess around with a few keyswitch types, but so far I'm leaning towards one of two options:

The first is a Unicomp:

http://pckeyboard.com/page/UltraClassic/UB40P4A

I like the sound of buckling springs, they're a lot deeper and sound less plasticky. They also have a healthy amount of resistance, but whether or not it's too much idk since I don't think Unicomp keyboards are sold in stores and I don't know of anyone around here with a Model M.
I own both an IBM Model M and a Unicomp Model M and both feel the same to me at least. The Unicomp board has great resistance and it sounds virtually the same as my IBM model. Gaming on it or typing for hours can cause a lot of fatigue though do to the heavy resistance, but once you get used to it, you wont be able to type on anything else. Like you said, I have tried keyboards with switches and they feel cheap and sound like shit. I think buckling springs feel the best, but if you need a lighter keyboard, macro/multimedia buttons, or back-lighting get something else.

As for quality, the Unicomp I received was pretty good, albeit for a weird indent on the space bar (bad molding?) and a right control key that rests higher than the surrounding keys.The black finish looks good and everything works right after using it for two years :thumbsup: I cant really recommend any other switch keyboards, but buying the Unicomp wouldn't be a mistake.

Taw
01-26-2014, 05:35 PM
I've been using a Corsair Vengeance K60 for over a year and I have to say it's definitely my favourite keyboard I've had. It doesn't have any macros though, but I believe the K90 does. It's uses red switches, which took me about a week to adjust to I'd say. It may be an option, if you're looking for that. Another nice thing is the volume bar on the top right, you just roll it up or down to adjust the sound which makes it quite handy.

Keep in mind if you DO get this keyboard you should update it's firmware. For a while I had a problem where my keyboard would have a key randomly "stick" unless I tapped the key again to stop it, which was quite irritating. It wouldn't happen often, but since the firmware update it hasn't done it. Friend of mine says he still gets it but I'm not sure why that'd be.

ShadWolf
01-26-2014, 07:34 PM
I find mechanical keyboards uncomfortable to use, because keys are like big and stick up its hard to reach certain keys while trying to reach over the top of them to press another key in sequence. That said I still have to find a decent keyboard I like where the Keys aren't so chunky, I prefer keyboards usually that are flat keys like Laptop keys or like Apple Keyboard.

I really doubt there's be a Gamers Version of flat keyboard like laptop keyboards or Apple Keyboards, would be nice if there were ones like them but has all the extra twerks a gamer needs for games. I've used Apple Keyboards for gaming and they're pretty good, and don't have that issue where you're struggling to press a key because finger gets stuck between two keys and the one you are gonna press.

TeenageAngst
01-26-2014, 10:47 PM
I find mechanical keyboards uncomfortable to use, because keys are like big and stick up its hard to reach certain keys while trying to reach over the top of them to press another key in sequence. That said I still have to find a decent keyboard I like where the Keys aren't so chunky, I prefer keyboards usually that are flat keys like Laptop keys or like Apple Keyboard.

I really doubt there's be a Gamers Version of flat keyboard like laptop keyboards or Apple Keyboards, would be nice if there were ones like them but has all the extra twerks a gamer needs for games. I've used Apple Keyboards for gaming and they're pretty good, and don't have that issue where you're struggling to press a key because finger gets stuck between two keys and the one you are gonna press.

You're talking about chiclet keys. Chiclet keys are the worst keys ever, and of course because Apple started using them now EVERYBODY has them on every goddamn keyboard and laptop. Flat keys offer no physical feedback as to where your hands are so it makes touch-typing a nightmare. They're the least ergonomic design possible because they're a flat, horizontal plane that forces a typist's hands at awkward angles. And for gaming, forget about it. You'll bottom out every single press because the scissor switches have absolutely no travel. There is a reason the industry as a whole abandoned them in the early 90s, because they were a god-awful creation that fell by the wayside of ergonomic keyboards with bowed keys and healthy keystrokes.

Runefox
01-26-2014, 11:49 PM
I've got a Das Keyboard Professional Silent myself, which uses Cherry MX Brown switches. The Browns are tactile, but I'd personally call them a much less clicky Blue. They have a nearly linear feel while typing, but while gaming you can feel the actuator and feather pretty easily if you're gentle.

If you want to be absolutely sure when you've pressed a key, the Unicomp keyboards are probably best. Thing is, they require a lot of force. I had a real Model M for a while and while it's a pretty amazing keyboard, it's tough to get acclimated to it because you really have to hammer the keys.

ShadWolf
01-27-2014, 04:53 AM
You're talking about chiclet keys. Chiclet keys are the worst keys ever, and of course because Apple started using them now EVERYBODY has them on every goddamn keyboard and laptop. Flat keys offer no physical feedback as to where your hands are so it makes touch-typing a nightmare. They're the least ergonomic design possible because they're a flat, horizontal plane that forces a typist's hands at awkward angles. And for gaming, forget about it. You'll bottom out every single press because the scissor switches have absolutely no travel. There is a reason the industry as a whole abandoned them in the early 90s, because they were a god-awful creation that fell by the wayside of ergonomic keyboards with bowed keys and healthy keystrokes.
I don't really see what's so important about physical feedback tbh…
I just find those big chunky keys annoying where you have man over your hands in such a way so you don't accidentally hit the wrong key, quite often I make more typos on those kind of keyboards than I do with the traditional flat ones. As far as laptops go, laptops pretty much almost always had flat keys design anyways. I've never seen laptops with big huge chunky keys that stick out, except for those old first generation IBM model laptops.

If there every comes a hybrid mechanical type keyboard that's cross between chick let keys and traditional modern keyboard that be nice to have so then I don't have to worry about hitting the wrong keys as often.

Tiido
01-27-2014, 06:38 AM
Those high keys on old laptops are a total joy to type on. I wish someone made a new kind of laptop with such keys, to hell with thinness haha.

I personally am not very fond of the Model M and likenesses, you need to hammer the keys, which makes things even louder than they already are. I can imagine how people who are used to typewriters like them, but I cannot imagine there are a whole lot of people with that background these days and still not done any "computer work" haha.
My favorite kind of keyboards are certain OEM things manufactured by Mitsumi which use a pretty cool system that is mechanically sound, is pretty silent and has all the feedback one can want.
Some details here (contains dirt and stuff, and series of photos how I get rid of that) : http://www.tmeeco.eu/BitShit/Soup/
I go through that procedure some once a year. I like relative cleanliness as far as keyboards go.

TeenageAngst
01-27-2014, 03:39 PM
I don't really see what's so important about physical feedback tbh…
I just find those big chunky keys annoying where you have man over your hands in such a way so you don't accidentally hit the wrong key, quite often I make more typos on those kind of keyboards than I do with the traditional flat ones. As far as laptops go, laptops pretty much almost always had flat keys design anyways. I've never seen laptops with big huge chunky keys that stick out, except for those old first generation IBM model laptops.

If there every comes a hybrid mechanical type keyboard that's cross between chick let keys and traditional modern keyboard that be nice to have so then I don't have to worry about hitting the wrong keys as often.

I have an iBook from 2005 that has the best non-mechanical keyboard on it. It used flatter keys but they were bowed, they weren't chiclet so they touched one another, and they were nice and big too. They had extremely comfortable actuation and feedback. THAT is what laptop keys used to be and what they are no longer. Also, they're not "big, chunky keys" if you want those you have to go back to like the 80s with the Commodore 64 and Apple IIe. They're just normal keyboards.


I personally am not very fond of the Model M and likenesses, you need to hammer the keys, which makes things even louder than they already are. I can imagine how people who are used to typewriters like them, but I cannot imagine there are a whole lot of people with that background these days and still not done any "computer work" haha.

I already hammer the keys, and I'm looking for a clicky kind of sound. If my keyboard sounds like artillery fire I'll be happy.

Also it looks like you basically disassemble, clean, and reassemble a $10 rubber dome keyboard. Why.

Jaxinc
01-28-2014, 04:10 AM
I have a Cyborg v.7 that has good feedback and that clack sound you like(don't understand this). It also has LED controls with varying colours, media controls for music, volume and a windows kill key.

Tiido
01-28-2014, 05:23 AM
Also it looks like you basically disassemble, clean, and reassemble a $10 rubber dome keyboard. Why.
Rubber dome it definitely isn't (different and vastly better tech here)... nor is it a 10usd thing (but could likely be had for that if you keep looking at ebay, but that is true for almost anything). If it wasn't worth the clean I would have bought another, but there isn't any to buy to begin with and I have tried to get a backup if this manages to fail in some way (it is made in summer of 1995, and I have had it since 1998).
I had a real model M about 7 years ago, and I sold it for about 1.5€ to a friend, as I didn't like how loud it is nor how impossible it is to press keys real fast on it. If I had known their real value at that time lol... live and learn. I got that one with an IBM 386 based machine, sadly I don't have the computer either anymore.

TeenageAngst
01-28-2014, 12:00 PM
You must be using some kind of arcane and interesting switch type then cause those look like domes in the picture.

Tiido
01-28-2014, 08:01 PM
Cylinder is a whole lot closer description but it is not quite that either, there are no domes. Key cap presses down on both the "cylinder" and central shaft that holds a conductive brush on one end, whet you've pressed enough the cylinder "collapses" and brush hits the film where circuit is printed on (which is also completely liquid proof, as in in will not disintegrate when soaked, even with stuff like sodas that are corrosive enough to eat up the silver paint in all the cheaper keyboards). and you have a keypress, the shape of the brush also cancels most of the noise one would get otherwise. Release the finger enough and the cylinder pops back to its original form and pushes the key up. It is much faster than any spring based mechanism, and does not feel mushy like most rubber dome based mechanisms or really cheap spring based keyboards that don't have the buckling action - those are even worse that domes, much worse...
I imagine all the better keyboards use same kind of mechanism, but I have not had chances to disassemble any. It is expensive to make due to how the central shaft is constructed - one has to join a piece of plastic with carbon rubber in a way that is won't separate, and it seems Mitsumi knows how to do that (Mitsumi also makes game controllers for Sony and Nintendo, or at least used to).

Onnes
01-29-2014, 12:33 AM
Don't go with Coolermaster unless you read up on everything first, especially their software and firmware. They have some damn screwy mechanical keyboards. I have the Storm Trigger with Reds, and it requires an additional 5V power supply for its full backlight functionality. This external power supply isn't provided, and none of the ones I have fit properly. It works fine without it, and still has the backlight, but the very concept is madness. And aside from enabling a Windows key, I neglect the software entirely in favor of AutoHotkey.

Considering the price I got it at, it was a great purchase. But I find it far from an ideal product.