Mechanical Keyboard Guide

WorldExclusive

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I found this Mechanical Keyboard Guide @ Overclock.net when researching a few boards out there. It has overviews and links to the manufactures so you can purchase each board. I think this will put to rest the debate between mechanical and dome/scissor switch keyboards for typing, gaming or both.

Source:
Overclock Mechanical Keyboard Guide (Manyak)
http://www.overclock.net/computer-peripherals/491752-mechanical-keyboard-guide.html

Geek Hack (Mechanical Keyboard Forum)
Great for general info on any mechanical keyboard.
They have a FS Section, along with Group Buys for Key Cap Sets and Individual Switches, Mechanical Boards and many different types of aftermarket accessories.
http://geekhack.org/

Here's a list of current mechanical keyboards for sale:

When purchasing a mechanical keyboard always choose the PS/2 version over the USB version. PS/2 offers infinite N-Key rollover while USB only offers 6 key rollover with 4 modifiers. If you need a USB connector for your PC, purchase an "Active" PS/2 to USB converter. Non-active PS/2 converters do not properly transmit all data from mechanical keyboards. You can find one here (Used with the IBM Model M Keyboards):
http://www.clickykeyboards.com/index.cfm/fa/items.main/parentcat/11298/subcatid/0/id/124184


Adesso Mechanical Keyboards
http://www.adesso.com/en/home/keyboards/mechanical-keyboard.html
Price: $80-100
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue

Adesso Mechanical 22 Key Numpad
http://www.adesso-shop.com/index.ph...id=136&zenid=fc2a0c1bee65088597ec7887cac1d2ca
Price: $39
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue

CHERRY Mechanical Keyboards
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...tegory=63&Manufactory=12559&SpeTabStoreType=1
http://www.provantage.com/~56IKEYB_CHER.htm
Also Search Google
Price: $50-150 (Depending on Model)
Switch Type: Cherry MX Black, Red and Brown

Cooler Master Quick Fire Rapid
http://www.cmstore-usa.com/keyboards/
Price: $80-100
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue and Red(US) / Brown (Asia)

Cooler Master Trigger
http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=3089&product_name=CM Storm Trigger
Price: NA
Release Date: NA
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Black and Red

Corsair Mechanical Keyboards
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...tion=corsair&bop=And&Order=PRICED&PageSize=20
http://www.corsair.com/vengeance-gaming/vengeance-gaming-keyboards.html
K60 Standard or K90 Backlit w/ 54 Macro Combinations
Switches: Cherry MX Red with Rubber Dome F1-12 and Macro Keys
Price: $99-129

Das Keyboards
http://www.daskeyboard.com/
http://www.google.com/products?rlz=...esult_group&ct=title&resnum=3&ved=0CCgQrQQwAg
Price: $110-130
Switch Types: Cherry MX Blue (Professional and Ultimate models), Cherry MX Brown

Deck Keyboards (Popular Brand)
http://www.deckkeyboards.com/
http://www.performance-pcs.com/cata...search_in_description=1&keyword=deck+keyboard
Price: $100-176 82-Key SFF also available
LED Colors: Blue, Red, White and Green
Switch Types: Tactile (Cherry MX White), Linear (Cherry MX Black)

Ducky Keyboards
http://www.tankguys.com/mechnical-keyboards.html
Switches: Cherry MX Blue, Red, Black, Alps and Brown
LED Colors: Red, White
Price: $80-140

Ducky Dragon 2012 DK-9087 Limited edition (Backlit TKL)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=y3T-39IP1NY
http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?31963-Ducky-Dragon-2012-DK-9087-Limited-edition
Swiches: TBA
Price: TBA

Filco Keyboards (Popular Brand)
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=filco&x=0&y=0
http://us.ncix.com/search/?q=filco
http://www.keyboardco.com/keyboard_search.asp (EU Site)
Price: $109-160
Switch Types: Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Red and Black

Gizmine/HoCoo - "Wooden Mechanical Keyboard" (Keyboard is completely made out of wood, even the keycaps!)
http://www.gizmine.com/gzkb/wooden+keyboard/woodkb.shtml
Price: $649
Switch Type: N/A

Happy Hacking Keyboards (HHKB) (Best of the Best)
http://www.elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=pfu_keyboards
Price: $300-500
Switch Type: Topre Capacitive Switches

IBM Model M - Original Keyboards
http://www.clickykeyboards.com/index.cfm
Price: Variable
Switch Type: Variable

iOne Scorpius M10 (Great Value)
http://www.google.com/products?rlz=...esult_group&ct=title&resnum=3&ved=0CB8QrQQwAg
Price: $50-75
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue

iOne Xarmor U9BL
http://www.ione.com.tw/2009/Product/6A_SC-U9 BL.asp
https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=iOne+Xarmor+U9BL
Backlit Blue illuminated keys
Audio Passthough (Mic + Audio Out)
Price: Varies
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue

KBC Poker Keyboards
Taobao.com - http://search8.taobao.com/search?q=kbc+poker&commend=all&pid=mm_11109405_2341274_9052620
Elite e-sports gaming (qtan @ GeekHack) http://geekhack.org/forumdisplay.php?81-Elite-e-sports-gaming-equipment - Best Option
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue, Red, Brown and Black
Price: $80-140

Leopold Keyboards
http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=leopold
Switch Type: Cherry MX Brown, Red and Blue
Price: $89-140

Monoprice Mechanical Keyboards
http://www.monoprice.com/products/s...ing_Keyboards&utm_campaign=NP_Q2_2012#1080906
Switch Type: Cherry MX Red w/ Red LED Backlit and Cherry Black
Price: $97-130

Noppoo Choco Keyboards
Taobao.com - http://search8.taobao.com/search?q=noppoo+choc&commend=all&pid=mm_11109405_2341274_9052620
Ebay - http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw...c+poker&_osacat=0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue, Red, Brown and Black
Price: $80-120

Optimus Maximus (If you got it, why not spend it)
http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/optimus/
http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/keyboards-mice/9836/?cpg=froogle
http://www.performance-pcs.com/cata...roduct_info&cPath=53_85_233&products_id=23346
Price: $1,599-1,899
Switch Type: Cherry ML Black (Different from Cherry MX Black)

Razer Blackwidow and Blackwidow Ultimate
http://store.razerzone.com/store/razerusa/en_US/DisplayCategoryProductListPage/categoryID.49136200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...NodeId=1&Description=razer+blackwidow&x=0&y=0
Full Programmable Keys allow Effortless Configuration
Individually Blue Backlit Keys With 5 Levels of Lighting
Price: $80-140
Switch Type: Blue and Brown

Rosewill Cherry MX Mechanical Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...l mechanical&bop=And&Order=PRICED&PageSize=20
Price: $80-110
Switch Type: Cherry Blue, Brown, Red and Black

SIIG Keyboards
http://www.siig.com/it-products/key...op-keyboard-with-mechanical-key-switches.html
http://www.google.com/products/cata...0&ei=ZuKvT-vKNajusQfimc3-Aw&ved=0CAcQ8wIwAA#p
Price: $75-100
Switch Type: Simplified Alps White

SteelSeries 6Gv2 Now Available!!!
http://steelseries.com/us/products/keyboards/steelseries-6gv2
http://www.google.com/products?rlz=...ming keyboard&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wf
Price: $99
Switch Type: Cherry MX Black

SteelSeries 7G
http://steelseries.com/us/products/keyboards/steelseries-7g
http://www.google.com/products?rlz=...esult_group&ct=title&resnum=3&ved=0CCQQrQQwAg
Price: $109-150
Switch Type: Cherry MX Black

The MiniGuru (TBA 2012)
http://www.guru-board.com/
Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue, Brown and Red
QWERTY, DVORAK and COLEMAK Programmable via filmware
Customizable colors, keys and switches

Thermaltake eSports Mechanical Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...90&isNodeId=1&Description=thermaltake&x=0&y=0
Price: $90-100
Switch Type: TBA

Torpe Realforce Keyboards (Best of the Best)
http://www.elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=topre_keyboards
Price: $228-350
Switch Type: Topre Capacitive Switches

Unicomp (IBM Model M)
http://www.pckeyboard.com/
Price: $79 and up
Switch Types: Buckling Spring, Enhanced Quiet Touch

WASD Keyboards (My Top Pick)
http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/
Create custom or semi-custom colored key cap layouts!!!! Engraved or Laser Etched Keycaps.
Board Only (without key caps) is available along with individual custom key cap sets.
Switch Types: Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Black and Red (ISO layout now available)
Price: $90-150

ZOWIE CELERITAS
http://zowiegear.com/index.php?opti...cle&id=137:announcementkeyboard&catid=37:news
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823826001&cm_re=zowie-_-23-826-001-_-Product
Switch Type: MX Cherry Brown
Price: $101




More boards will be added soon along with switch types. If you know of any other additional keyboards, please notify me and I will post them.

Here's my "Leopold White w/ Red Switches and Doubleshot Red on Black Caps"
http://i.imgur.com/OVyAi.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/IjQCa.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/XKOJo.jpg
 
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AVT

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
4,753
Honestly, I wish there was some sort of hybrid between mechanical/scissor that had all of the benefits of mechanical but the key design and smaller travel distance (2mm vs 3.5mm) of scissor keys.

But there isn't.
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
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Messages
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Makes sense but there would be no room for the springs. Scissors remove the springs.

I would be a great invention though, get to it! lol
 

crazjayz

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
2,093
Honestly, I wish there was some sort of hybrid between mechanical/scissor that had all of the benefits of mechanical but the key design and smaller travel distance (2mm vs 3.5mm) of scissor keys.

But there isn't.

3 words. hydraulic actuated keys.

Makes sense but there would be no room for the springs. Scissors remove the springs.

I would be a great invention though, get to it! lol

Oh yeah, needs to be invented first.
 

sayu

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
435
I'm not a fan of short throw switches, but non-membrane short throw switches do exist. Topre makes short throw capacitive switches, but they are hard to find and only available in Japanese layouts and there is also the Cherry ML switches which are only available in a few models (ML-4100, Optimus Maximus, and a few others).
 

Vittra

Gawd
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
899
I'd love to try a Topre. At twice the price of a Filco though, I just can't justify it. :(

That is a great source of info WorldExclusive, thanks. When I was looking into Mechanical Keyboards I found a ton of info over at http://geekhack.org/ as well.
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
11,057
Torpe is to rich for my blood. http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=topre_keyboards,realforce

I just received an email from Filco about their 87-key blue switch keyboard. Pre-orders should be starting soon. I'm trying to decided between blues and browns. Blacks are too stiff even though they are the best for gaming. Brown switches seems like the best balance between the three. GeekHack is an awesome source also. They actually take the keyboards apart.

No problem for providing the info. This is the Hardforum so we should be using the best of the best.
 
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skriefal

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 26, 2003
Messages
220
Honestly, I wish there was some sort of hybrid between mechanical/scissor that had all of the benefits of mechanical but the key design and smaller travel distance (2mm vs 3.5mm) of scissor keys.

But there isn't.

Sounds like you're looking for a Cherry G84-series keyboard. Here's one example:

http://cgi.ebay.com/CHERRY-G84-4400...947QQcmdZViewItem?rvr_id=&itemid=320360414947

They use mechanical keyswitches but with the shorter key throw that is commonly found in laptop keyboards. I personally hate short-throw keys, but if you like them... then this is probably your only option without scissor switches.

(Edit: I see that Sayu already referred to these above, with his reference to the "ML-4100" (aka G84-4100)).
 

WorldExclusive

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Messages
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The Happy Hacking Professional Keyboard uses the same switches as the Torpe.

The HHK Lite use membranes. I wouldn't call them mechanical either, but the Torpe switches seems like the ultimate layout for typing.
 

xnorthx

Limp Gawd
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Sep 13, 2008
Messages
400
I've recently been in touch with [H] member watanabe getting some info about his "Filco Majestic bluetooth brown cherry kb".

sadly, i don't think the bluetooth model is in production anymore. I'd love a reliable wireless mechanical switch keyboard :cool:
 

JaYp146

Supreme [H]ardness
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Apr 24, 2005
Messages
5,546
I'd love a mechanical keyboard that's relatively quiet.

The only reasons I'm not using a vintage 1993 IBM Model M right now are that it's too damned loud for my housemates and lacks media buttons ..
 
Joined
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Indeed the only sound that the blacks/browns make are from bottoming out when you hit the key too hard. The blues/clears have an artificial click mechanism built in to notify you when you've actuated the switch.

If you want to try out a mechanical board w/o spending a lot, you can pick up an at-101w on ebay for about $10-15. It comes with black alps switches which are somewhat similar to the cherry browns.
 

sayu

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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happy hacking keyboards are not mechanical! :eek:

Thats a gray area on whether Topre switches are considered mechanical or not since they are actually capacitive. I generally consider anything that's not a rubber dome + membrane as mechanical, or as someone else put it, anything with springs = mechanical. Topre switches don't have membranes, but they do have rubber domes and springs. For that matter, Model M's are membrane boards and yet everyone has no problem calling them mechanical.
 

Eva_Unit_0

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Messages
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It's interesting that the older stuff is still the best.

So true. My first-gen Model M (manufactured 1984, no capslock/numlock/scroll lock lights) is amazing. If you guys have never tried a mechanical keyboard you should at least check them out. After using my Model M, membrane keyboards feel really mushy. The only other decent keyboards are keyboards on thinkpads :p

I've heard good things about das keyboard too, if you want newfangled things like usb and windows keys. But das keyboard isn't built around a steel frame so you can't use it to defend yourself during the zombie apocalypse like you can with the model M. :D
 

thedintedcan

Limp Gawd
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Jan 11, 2005
Messages
264
I was a rogue and bought a filco ten-keyless in cherry browns for gaming. I have since had a chance to try cherry blacks and blues, and I feel I made a good choice. Its a good mix between stiff "kachuncks" with the blues, and there being no resistance at all with the blacks.
 

Uberbob102000

2[H]4U
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Apr 29, 2006
Messages
2,243
Ughh... thanks guys. Now I feel the need to buy a HHKP for my self in order to replace my G15. :p
This forum does suck sometimes, like when you want to not spend money.

@ thedintedcan: What are the blacks like? I'm not quite sure what they'd be like to type and game on.
 
Joined
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I was a rogue and bought a filco ten-keyless in cherry browns for gaming. I have since had a chance to try cherry blacks and blues, and I feel I made a good choice. Its a good mix between stiff "kachuncks" with the blues, and there being no resistance at all with the blacks.

Umm what? Blacks have the highest resistance of those (80g peak, 60 at actuation), with the blues in the middle (50g) and browns being the softest (44g). Unless you're talking about the tactile bump. But the tactile bump on the browns is so subtle (when compared to something like the buckling springs in model m's) it might as well not be there.

The blacks are best for gaming imo. They're fine for typing if you're prone to accidently hitting the wrong keys a lot since the high resistance will prevent a lot of those from registering if you notice it early enough. But the lack of any tactility means you'll probably be bottoming out a lot. For typing I would definitely recommend Topre boards or Model M's.
 

NukeULater

Gawd
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Sep 12, 2006
Messages
913
I'm currently looking at a Filco Majestouch Tactile Click NKRO, or the new Das S keyboard. Both have blue MX cherry switches, but they both have their positives and negatives. The Das has media buttons which I use a lot and really miss since switching from my G15, but it seems to have some issues which are being sorted out as we speak. On the other hand, the Filco is just a good keyboard with sweet switches.

Anyone care to help me with this?
 

NeoMatriX724

Limp Gawd
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Jul 26, 2007
Messages
269
I just picked up a Das Keyboard Pro for home and a Filco Tactile (nonclick) for work. The Cherry Blue switches definitely feel a bit more comfortable with the *Click* at the end. There might some mental attachment with it, but I do feel as though there is a bit more of a "tactile" feel with those.

The Cherry Brown's, however, are much nicer for a work environment. The force needed to trigger the keys is actually a fair amount less than the blue's and also much less noisy. I'm in love with both.

I really couldn't originally justify these keyboards before and thought they were just a novelty or "geek-cred" type thing. But after using htem for a few weeks. I find myself never going back. A few of my co-workers have taken the plunge too and picked up the Filco's.
 

BETA.

2[H]4U
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I am planning to try one of these Mechanical Keyboards for the first time. But, in my case only for gaming purposes and not typing. So I am looking at the Filco with the Cherry Black switches. I wanna see for myself if all this talk about mechanical keyboards are actually better for gaming, instead of a comfort thing.
 

skriefal

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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So true. My first-gen Model M (manufactured 1984, no capslock/numlock/scroll lock lights) is amazing.

The Model M did not enter manufacturing until late 1985, and pre-1986 models are rare. But many people see the 1984 copyright date and incorrectly assume that is the date when the keyboard was made. Check the label on the back of the keyboard. It should indicate the build date on a separate line...
 

AVT

Supreme [H]ardness
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Since I just received my M1 (figured it was good price/performance), I figured I'd give you guys this FYI: all of these keyboards are LOUD. Far, far louder than scissor-key keyboards.

They definitely feel nice to use. But the noise might be annoying enough to be a deal-breaker to some. I may decide to return mine because of it.
 
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Eva_Unit_0

[H]ard|Gawd
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The Model M did not enter manufacturing until late 1985, and pre-1986 models are rare. But many people see the 1984 copyright date and incorrectly assume that is the date when the keyboard was made. Check the label on the back of the keyboard. It should indicate the build date on a separate line...

ah yes, you are right. October 24, 1986 here :cool:
 

sayu

Limp Gawd
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Since I just received my M1 (figured it was good price/performance), I figured I'd give you guys this FYI: all of these keyboards are LOUD. Far, far louder than scissor-key keyboards.

They definitely feel nice to use. But the noise might be annoying enough to be a deal-breaker to some. I may decide to return mine because of it.

Just about all keyboards are louder than scissor. Cherry browns/blacks and Topres for example, will likely be quieter than your standard rubber dome board, so saying "all these keyboards are LOUD" is a bit misleading.

The M1 just happens to be particularly loud, as are most keyboards with some variant of Alps switches.
 

ar55x

n00b
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Nov 8, 2009
Messages
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Am myself deciding between Deck and Filco blacks. Will pick up one or the other as an xmas gift to myself :)
 

AVT

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Just about all keyboards are louder than scissor. Cherry browns/blacks and Topres for example, will likely be quieter than your standard rubber dome board, so saying "all these keyboards are LOUD" is a bit misleading.

The M1 just happens to be particularly loud, as are most keyboards with some variant of Alps switches.

My bad, I assumed that the loudness associated with this keyboard was because it was using mechanical switches in general - it's louder than any rubber dome keyboard I've had.

I'll probably return this board and try out one made by Cherry.
 

Daemas

Gawd
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Apr 11, 2009
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791
Am myself deciding between Deck and Filco blacks. Will pick up one or the other as an xmas gift to myself :)

Just bought a deck legend frost (with the cherry MX clear switches), hopefully it's worth the 80% of an intel 80GB G2:()

EDIT: I should be getting it on Friday
 

Spare-Flair

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If I were to bust out one of my older keyboards or buy a genuine vintage mechanical one that people consider computer junk and therefore "cheap", are there any problems running them in a modern OS?

I remember they used to have adapters for the old AT DIN to PS2, is that workable for a modern system?

Out of all the modern mechanical solutions, I don't see any wireless options?
 
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WorldExclusive

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PS2 is still the best connection for keyboard to achieve true n-key rollover or pressing 6+ keys at the same time. You'll be fine.
 

Eva_Unit_0

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If I were to bust out one of my older keyboards or buy a genuine vintage mechanical one that people consider computer junk and therefore "cheap", are there any problems running them in a modern OS?

I remember they used to have adapters for the old AT DIN to PS2, is that workable for a modern system?

Out of all the modern mechanical solutions, I don't see any wireless options?

yeah my M has an AT connector and I just run it through an AT->PS2 converter. Works fine. I have a PS2->USB adapter around here somewhere that I could try if ps2 ever goes away entirely, but after that many converters I don't know for sure if it will work.
 

Daemas

Gawd
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Apr 11, 2009
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791
Just got my Deck legend Frost in the mail. This thing exudes quality. Worth the $176 (probably a $25 dollar premium because of the LEDs)? No way, but since it's the only one with LEDs, it'll have to do.. Will I ever want to go back to membrane keyboards? No way. I don't use any of the extra stuff that comes with keyboards nowadays anyways. I don't use media keys, macro keys, or USB hubs. This is a very well built, no frills, no bullshit keyboard. Plus I could use it to bludgeon somebody to death.

If the $176 is too rich for your blood, I recommend a Majestouch Tactile Touch NKRO It was the board i was going to buy until i heard about the decks.
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
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11,057
I just bought a Deck Ice 82-Key from a forum member. I can't wait to test it!
This works for me since I'm a FPS/Action/Racing gamer. So I need a small footprint. No need for macros.

I'm thinking about buying the black non-transparent cover for it. I really don't like the see through cover.
 

Chops

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 22, 2005
Messages
439
Picked up a Unicomp Space Saver. It's definitely a change from the G15 V1 I had been using. Unicomp is much nicer to use and frees up quite a bit of room on my desk which I like. Sure is noisy though :eek:

Just hoping that someday I can score a sweet deal on a Topre Realforce.
 

OkuluS

n00b
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
44
Cherry Blacks are great for gaming. Whoever said they don't have any resistance is uninformed! It's just linear compared to the Blue's and Browns. The white's do look like a nice balance though I haven't gotten to try one yet.

Here's a little information for those interested in mechanical and other types of switches. The Topres have very intelligent 6+4 rollover, which should be more than enough for most people.

http://hothardware.com/cs/blogs/mrt...hanical-key-switch-keyboards-demystified.aspx
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
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Messages
11,057
Well just giving an update. I just received my Deck Ice 82-Key board from the seller. It's absolutely amazing. Probably the best board I've ever used. I'm sure it has Cherry Black switches since there's no clicking and firmness but when the keys bottom out that's when you get that special mechanical sound. I'm using it for gaming and not much of a typist so the work best for me. Deck probably makes the only back-lit mechanical boards and I highly recommend them.
 

mistachewey

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
71
I've only owned dome type keyboards until a few days ago, when i got my IBM M in the mail:D

brings me back to when i learned to type on one in middle school. and no more sticky keys from that logitech anymore YAY!
 
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