Corsair K90 vs Ducky Shine vs ?

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
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Alright, I'm in the market for a mechanical keyboard and I figure if I'm gonna pay over $100 for one I kinda want it to be backlit (and also have some basic multimedia keys). I'm okay w/either red or brown switches. It seems like these two are the prime candidates.

I made a lil' pros/cons list but then Newegg threw a huge monkey wrench into it by slashing the Corsair prices until Monday, but here it is anyway (roughly ranked in order of importance)...


Corsair K90 - currently $83 after DC/MIR @ Newegg

+ nice looking aluminum back plate that's open on the sides (easier to keep clean, I'm a hairy mofo)
+ nice metal roller drum for volume & discrete multimedia keys (could do w/o the latter but since I don't use an ext. amp I really like that vol. control)
+ rubbery soft touch coating on key caps
+ $45 cheaper atm (about $20 when regularly priced)
+ Corsair support & 2 yr warranty
+ cushy wrist rest that screws on
+ discrete Windows key disabling button
+ USB pass-thru port
+ discrete macro keys (which I'll probably use more as app shortcuts than for gaming)
+ thick braided USB cable

- F keys, Home/Insert/Page block, and macro keys are not mechanical, rubber domes
- I've read more than a couple of complaints amongst reviews that individual LEDs have gone out on keys within weeks of use, Corsair's warranty/support counters this some I guess
- rubbery coating can get dirtier or oily faster, I dig tho

Ducky Shining DK9008S - $142 to $150 @ Tiger Imports

+ available w/other Cherry MX switches (I might possibly try browns rather than red)
+ available w/other backlighting color options (might opt for white instead of the tired blue)
+ multimedia keys for volume & track control
+ discrete computer, e-mail, internet & calculator keys
+ DIP switches underneath to disable Windows key
+ standard key caps all around make replacement easier
+ removable/replaceable USB cable

- volume & multimedia keys require Fn + F-key combination (volume bothers me particularly)
- price difference


Not a lot of negatives either way, just can't seem to make up my mind. Thoughts? Anyone own both or either? Any other suggestions?

Update: They both use Costar stabilizers which lead to slightly different feeling Shift/Enter keys, more info in a post below, along with some initial impressions of the K90 and a Rosewill with brown switches that I also bought.
 
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Retne

Limp Gawd
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Feb 25, 2005
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It's kinda hard to say no to the k90 @ $83. If they had done that a couple days sooner I probably would have bought one. I have seen a bit more complaints of hardware issues with the K90 but that might just be the larger market saturation skewing the google results.

Any idea what kind of MX switch you prefer? The reds are linear so that might turn you off if you're looking for a more tactile feel.
 

Racer_J

Gawd
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Jan 17, 2012
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While I don't have experience with a mechanical board (well experience beyond the 80s), I do have experience with rubber domes and in particular on the G11/G15. I bring this up because I have a hunch Logitech makes this board and Corsair rebrands it. There are entirely to many similarities with the 18 Gkeys and media buttons.

The K90 caught my eye when I saw it was mechanical as I thought oh kool a mechanical G11/G15. As you pointed out though its not fully mechanical so I lost interest. I've never had an issue with key response on the Gkeys not the Fkeys on the G11/G15. The QWERTY keys on the hand when typing is another matter.

I don't think you will run into problems with the rubber dome keys on the K90 but, a lot of reviews complain about their feel as you go back and forth between them and the mechanical keys. I can see that being pretty bothersome.

The K90 would also require using the software and I don't know if the software is from Corsair or if it's from Logitch. I haven't had any issues with the Logitech software o the G11/G15 but I obviously have no experience with the software on the K90.

Honestly I wish they had made the K90 out of plastic rather than metal and used all mechanical keys on it instead.


Going by your list of what you deem important, it's more of a price issue since the K90 is currently marked down since the Gkeys were at the bottom of the list. If I were you, I would pick the one that would be better for you long term rather than letting "a good deal" impact your judgment as you could accidentally purchase something that will only work of the interim. For the sake of clarity, either board can be deemed "a good deal" and it really just depends on one's perspective.
 

BurntToast

2[H]4U
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Logitech makes the K90? Pass around whatever you're smoking to the rest of us!

I tried out the Corsair K90 for a while and personally hated it. I think that Cherry MX Reds are way over rated for gaming. But if that's all you know, they just might grow on you. They are just too sorf and provide zero feedback like membrane or tactile switches do.

Not every key is mechanical. The entire macro side of the keyboard is encased in plastic, no alluminum at all. So it feels weak. The entire bottom of the keyboard is encased in plastic, which isn't a big deal. But the fact that the plastic is thin just doesn't give it a good weight. Does not feel solid at all in comparison to a real mechanical keyboard.

The corsair software for both their mice and keybord is absolute crap at this point.

The K90 has backlighting. But it is nowhere as good as my other keyboards. The intensity isn't as good and it just isn't as uniform.

What I do like about the K90 is that the top part of it is naked, there is no bezel/shell surrounding the keys. So cleaning out the keyboard requires less work since you shouldn't have to pop off the keys as often.

I actually put in an order for a Ducky Shine yesterday. It should arrive on Saturday. I got it with Cherry MX Blue switches and with LEDs. I was either looking for white, pink or green LEDs. I was happy to see that the last Blue switch version they had available was in white :)

Keep in mind red/brown switches are not silent. The sound is much more distinct when comparing red switches to membrane keys than it is between red switches and blue.

If you must have a quiet mechanical then look at the brown or clears. But my preference is with blues as the tactile response is more pronounced than the browns.

If your computer is in a shared room (family room/bedroom that you share with the wife) then look at getting browns. If not, don't be afraid to get the blues. They rock!

I ended up ordering the Ducky Shine because I wanted a mechanical backlit keyboard with a standard key layout. I was considering the KBT Race but I didn't dig the right hand side of the keyboard. Most importantly the SMALL shift key. So I went with a full size keyboard, the Ducky Shine.

The Shine is a very minimalist keyboard that looks well built. Backlit keyboards have less of an issue when it comes to keys wearing down. Being able to replace the USB cable with an off the shelf cable really adds to the life of the Ducky Shine.
 

Racer_J

Gawd
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Jan 17, 2012
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657
Logitech makes the K90? Pass around whatever you're smoking to the rest of us!

I said I have a hunch. I did not say they actually do. Look at the K90 and then at the G510. The Macro Keys on the K90 even have G1, G2, G3, etc. on them. It's obviously not a spitting image of the G510 but it's not far fetched to think Logitech is involved given the similarities and the use of the same Gkeys. Do you really think Logitech wouldn't cry foul if they had nothing to do with it? Just because something has company "X"'s name on it doesn't mean it was made by company "x".

Try actually comparing products next time instead of being in a rush to make a quip.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
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I'm okay w/red or brown switches I think, I haven't actually been able to try out reds but I'm not a fan of the super clicky-ness of blues (don't think my housemates would be either!) and I'm not sure I want stronger blacks... So I'm leaning towards red/brown, I've only tried brown and blues first-hand tho (CM Quick & BWU). Either way, I like a light press, so I guess either Ducky or Corsair have me covered on that end

I probably won't be using the macro keys in gaming much, if at all, so as long as I can manage to map them to open the calculator and the programs pinned to my taskbar then it's all good. :p Mostly going for the K90 over the K60 for the backlighting and wrist rest rather than the macro keys. Corsair really needs to drop this FPS/MMORPG stratification, or start producing a separate non-Vengance line of peripherals w/a more generic focus.
 

Impulse

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What you said about the bottom of the K90 does worry me some BurntToast, 'specially because my keyboard sits on a shelf. It's not the typical janky keyboard tray, it's a pretty big slide-out wooden shelf that's the size of the desk; but still, it's not rock solid itself. Hadn't heard that particular complaint before...

As far as the backlighting goes I've just read the opposite, that they're too bright on anything but the lowest setting (same for Ducky actually), altho I did see they shine thru differently on the rubber dome keys, meh.

I've gone w/the K90 for now but I might actually end up purchasing a Ducky w/browns later as a gift, that'll give me a good chance to try it out and compare it to the K90 (as well as another opportunity to try out browns). :D Just need to figure out if I wanna splurge and get her a Ducky Shine (or even go cheap and get a CM Quickfire!).

Worst case, I lose a couple bucks on the K90 after selling it to get a Ducky. The price kinda swayed me on the K90 for now, the wrist rest I can always add to the Ducky tho, and the USB port / macro keys / etc. are just fluff to me. I really like the look of that open aluminum back plate and the volume roller for some reason tho. :eek: Not very [H]ard of me I guess...

I've always adjusted volume w/my keyboard's multimedia keys, so pressing Fn+F2 or whatever constantly would kinda bug me. I really really wish Ducky had used those four program shortcut keys at the end for volume -/+/mute (and possibly play/pause), leaving track control and app shortcuts to the F-keys. Is that something that could be changed w/Autohotkey? :confused:

Heh, if I did that w/a Ducky the OCD in me would have me looking for alternate keycaps for those keys before long... Lemme know how you like the Ducky btw!
 
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Impulse

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I guess I could add the upcoming CM Storm Trigger to the comparison (what happened to the Quickfire moniker?)... Looks like a direct competitor to the Ducky. Beyond the macro keys, I'm not sure it'll bring anything that the Ducky doesn't already provide, but it'll probably be more readily available (and red lighting seems to be the rarest for Ducky anyway!). The Ducky or even the K90 still looks sleeker imo tho, that angular case just looks off.
 

hdgamer

Gawd
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That's funny, I upgraded my logitech keyboards on my computer to 1 k90 and 1 Ducky Shine.

I have to say both are great keyboards, but for the price, the ducky is waaayyyy over priced!! It has a nice feel to it (got the reds) and the led's are very bright when you set them at their highest. The cons on that keyboard are the keys wobble slightly, the led settings reset every time you shut off the computer (this bugs the shit out of me), there's no wrist rest, and no media buttons (have to use the fn key which I hate).

The corsair offers all this plus a bunch of useless G-macro keys that I never use. Personally the K90 is way better imo. It just looks better, feels better, and has more features that add more value to your money. Screw the keyboard snobs that tell you should spend $150 for a basic keyboard.

But I'm happy with both, just don't see the value in the Ducky Shines imo...
 

Impulse

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Updated the original post to add a plus for the Corsair (the rubbery key paint) and note the fact that they both use Costar stabilizers... More info on that subject:

One thing I did notice between the K90 and the Rosewill is that all keys on the latter seem to bottom out and sound the same... On my K90 the two Shift keys and Enter (largest keys outside of space) don't seem to clack as loudly as the rest when they bottom out, they might wobble a bit more too (tho the Rosewill has slightly more wobble in general).

It's not something that jumped out at me and bothered me, just kinda curious. Are those large keys stabilized different on these two keyboards? Anyone else notice those keys bottom out differently on the K90? (almost like they don't fully bottom out)

Apparently those keys feel different on the K90 vs the rest of the keys (or the Rosewill) because the K90 uses Cherry stabilizers, as do Leopold & Ducky, whereas the Rosewill uses Costar stabilizers (along with Filco, DAS, etc.). You can see the difference in construction on this review, read the picture captions carefully as sometimes they're out of sequence or referencing stuff not pictured:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/rosewill-rk9000-review/4

As far as the difference between them, it's just another personal preference thing. From what I've gathered Costar stabilized keys more closely resemble non-stabilized keys but they can be more fragile than Cherry's stabilizers and can squeak at times... Although the Rosewill I've got here doesn't have a hint of squeak, despite the fact that various reviews claimed the space bar does it when it's new.

Meanwhile Chery stabilizers are apparently more durable and easier to replace caps on (also easier to find caps for), but they feel more dampened when the keys bottom out. Key travel is identical imo, just as smooth (and linear in my case), it just doesn't clank as crisply when you bottom out those large keys... Supposedly they also loosen up with time tho (in a good way).

You can read more about stabilizers here (Geekhack poll), here (overclock.net discussion), here, and here (Ducky discussion at GH). Personally I kinda like the feel of it on Shift (particularly when gaming), since that's a key you'll always bottom out on, I'm more ambivalent about it on Enter. Oddly my Backspace feels a lot more like the smaller keys even tho I think it should also be stabilized, so either it isn't or it's already looser.

Buying a mechanical keyboard (or two!) sure turned into some kind of rabbit hole. :D This is worse than audiophile discussions, hopefully they last as long as a good pair of headphones tho!
 

Impulse

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Initial thoughts, the domes don't bother me much (F5 or Home might eventually, heh) and I'm actually enjoying the red switches quite a bit, even for typing... I've tried blues and while I do like them for typing I don't enjoy the noise at other times, not the best feel for rapid tapping in games either. I can actually already avoid bottoming out pretty often on reds, YMMV.

I just received a Rosewill with browns too and frankly I'm not crazy about those, the kb itself is great but I don't really notice the tactile bump on browns unless I'm typing slow or really looking for it... Which means they're fine for gaming and just about as quiet as reds but they're nowhere near as nice as blues for typing. A lot of people describe them as a good middle ground but frankly I don't see it, I think I'd rather go all nothing. Blues if you can stand it or really want that click, red/black for a much smoother feel if not.

I really like the rubbery soft touch coating on the K90 keys too, something I don't see mentioned much... It probably gets dirty quicker but for now it's nice. The feel of the volume drum's just sweet as well. I read some comments about the K90's bottom not being very solid but frankly I don't see it, feels just as solid as this Rosewill (which is a Filco rebrand I think?). The Corsair's got much better riser feet too, tho the Rosewill's got much wider rubber pads for traction.

The bottom of my K90 was kinda dusty, I think it's plastic residue or something, anyone seen this?

The wrist rest is pretty nice, it's not padded but it has a soft touch coating to it too, good middle ground imo. All LEDs were fine out of the box. The aluminum plate looks even better in person (so does the Rosewill's inner red plate for that matter, tho much less visible obviously) and the lighting tho different across the domes looks very sharp overall imo (and way way bright on the highest setting).

Oh and the backlight stays on whatever setting you left it at even thru reboots (one of the minor complaints I've seen about Ducky). I'm pretty happy with it, and with the more subdued Rosewill with more traditional caps (it'll be a gift).
 
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