Mechanical Keyboard Guide

Discussion in 'Mice and Keyboards' started by WorldExclusive, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. TaK

    TaK Gawd

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    buckling spring boards still have the best feel to them imho. after that, it's complicated ALPS/cherry blues, and cherry browns/topre capacitive.

    for the money, i'd get a filco tenkeyless w/blues. it's worth it.
     
  2. Chops

    Chops Limp Gawd

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    TaK, can you give any impressions on how the Comp. ALPS compare to the Simple ALPS? I was wondering when I was shopping but couldn't find anything solid on it aside from Simple using less parts inside the switch. I can't even think of a board that used Comp...
     
  3. TaK

    TaK Gawd

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    I'm not sure if you can even get complicated alps anymore.
    That being said, if you can find any, complicated originals have a lighter keypress and a heavier click to them... sometimes. depends on when they were made. some people prefer simplified alps copies over the original, it's all a matter of taste really.

    if you want to try some, get a filco w/ fukka switches, an old Dell AT101W, or an old apple extended keyboard. they all use ALPS, but have totally different feels to them.
     
  4. Chops

    Chops Limp Gawd

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    Are the Filco's with XM whites the same as the White Fukkas? I see on elitekeyboards they have tenkeyless ones and the $50 B stock has XM's vs the $85 Fukka White
     
  5. TaK

    TaK Gawd

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    I've not used the XMs but they're supposed to be very stiff and uncomfortable compared to the fukkas. imho the fukka switches are really nice.
     
  6. DeFex

    DeFex [H]ard|DCer of the Month - June 2011

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    Its hard to tell from the picture on their site, do the LEDS shine through the letters themselves or just between the keys?
     
  7. speedy523

    speedy523 [H]ard|Gawd

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    sayu, can you post your impressions on the HHKB Pro 2?

    im looking to pick it up for my new build, but just want to get some feedback on it before I drop around $250 on it :)
     
  8. WorldExclusive

    WorldExclusive [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Each key is individually lit. They shine very bright through the letters also. The keys will never rub off.

    I really like my Deck 82-key but I may buy a Deck Fire Legend in the near future.
     
  9. Spare-Flair

    Spare-Flair [H]ardness Supreme

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    Are there any good mechnical keyboard with more features than just the regular keys? I would love a volume knob for example.
     
  10. Spare-Flair

    Spare-Flair [H]ardness Supreme

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    Wait a second, that Majestouch Tactile Touch NKRO looks identical to this ABS M1 keyboard at Newegg.

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produc...mc=OTC-sho6b0tCA-_-Keyboards-_-ABS-_-23224001

    What's up with that? Reusing the same housing? Different keys? Or just a rebrand? Look at the capslock/numlock/scroll lock area and it's identical to the same font.
     
  11. WorldExclusive

    WorldExclusive [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Map the F keys in windows.

    The M1 uses Alps which is very loud on that board while the Filco uses blue, brown, black and white switches. They may look the same but the Filco is 10x better in quality.
     
  12. Spare-Flair

    Spare-Flair [H]ardness Supreme

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    Is loudness not a selling point of mechanical keyboards? I guess I need to do more reading on this subject. It's too bad nobody carries these in brick and mortor stores so that you could actually demo typing on them to feel the difference.
     
  13. TaK

    TaK Gawd

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    They're from the same OEM manufacturer. Both of them are variations of the Costar CST-104, but the Filco has tons more features. It's got full NKRO, brown cherry switches (as opposed to the cheap ALPS variant on the ABS), better keycaps, better controller, etc.
    iirc the Das, steelseries 7g, and several other mechanical keyboards are variations of the same Costar 'board.
    They range in price, but it's like buying a base-model car vs. a fully loaded model.
     
  14. Auzner

    Auzner Limp Gawd

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    Model M 1391401 :cool:
     
  15. WorldExclusive

    WorldExclusive [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It's a silly loud sound. If you go to YouTube, there are people who type on the boards so you can hear the sound. Compare the sound of the M1 to the Filco and then you'll hear the quality. You don't want a board so loud that it interferes with your gaming or echos through your home.
     
  16. sayu

    sayu Limp Gawd

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    Short answer: I love Topre switches, I love my HHKB Pro 2. Generally speaking, I prefer my Realforce boards over the HHKB, but the HHKB's small size makes it great to take around with my laptop.

    Long answer:
    Switches -- Of all the switches I've tried, Topre switches are my favorite. It's hard to describe the feel of the switches without making them sound bad, so I won't even try.
    For credibility's sake, I currently own boards with cherry brown/blue/black, alps white/black in a few variations, topre, buckling springs, and a few other obscure switches that are no longer in production.

    Build quality -- The HHKB is light in weight compared to other mechanical boards, but decently heavy for its size when compared to your average Logitech. The switches in the HHKB are mounted on plastic instead of metal like the Realforce boards, but the board itself is still quite sturdy (no flex, even when you try twisting it). The keycaps have a nice textured finish to them and the lettering (if you get a model thats not blank) is dye-impregnated so it won't wear off.

    Layout -- This is the part that makes or breaks the HHKB. I personally find the HHKB great for typing/coding, but bad for gaming (depending on the type of game). The DIP switches allow a little bit of customization with the layout, I personally have del set to backspace and left alt set to Fn.


    The ABS M1 is made by the same OEM (Costar) as the Filco boards. There are a few differences between the M1 and the closest Filco equivalent though.

    -The M1 uses black alps/fukka switches (tactile, non-clicky) while the Filco Zero uses white alps/fukka switches (tactile and clicky).
    -The M1's case and keys have a different finish to them, its a coarser finish. The key lettering is also in a different font.
    -The M1 has 2-key rollover and the Filco has 6-key rollover. However, both boards do suffer "the das problem" of key transposition when typing at high speeds (higher speeds than the das, so its not as common).


    EDIT: Cleaned up post, was rushing earlier.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  17. TaK

    TaK Gawd

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    I heard something in the bible about god taking all the good keyboards up to heaven, and then all the keyboards that make transposition errors get left behind.

    the end is nigh.
     
  18. speedy523

    speedy523 [H]ard|Gawd

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    thanx for the reply.

    i liked the small size of the HHKB while still retaining full size keys, and im probably going to get a separate keyboard for gaming, its just that im most likely not gonna drop this amount of money on a keyboard again any time soon so i wanted to make sure i picked the right one :D

    also, do you have any recommendations for a particular site where to order the keyboards? ive only found one which sells the realforce and hhkb and its elitekeyboards.

    and lastly, do you know of any stores which carry these kind of keyboards for trying out? since even though i may think i chose the right keyboard, ill never really know till i try them all out lol :)
     
  19. sayu

    sayu Limp Gawd

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    Only places you'll even have a chance of seeing these boards in store are in Japan, or some other asian countries.

    If you're in the US, the only real place to buy Topre boards is elitekeyboards. The only other way to get them would be to import them from Japan, which costs significantly more (my Realforce 101 and HHKB were purchased before elitekeyboards was around, paid $354 for the HHKB and $285 for the 101).
     
  20. Zuriick

    Zuriick Limp Gawd

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    I am exactly where Sayu is with my HHKB Pro. I have also been through a lot of different keyboards with various switches and I find the HHKB to be my favourite of all. I don't game at all so it is perfect for what I do. It's minimal and it has the keys I need, none of the macro/media/etc nonsense.
     
  21. black0ut

    black0ut Limp Gawd

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    I'm looking to buy a new keyboard (this microsoft comfort curve doesn't pick up half my keypresses) and I'm confused by "N-key rollover". It says it's specifically for when you press more than N keys at a time.... I don't think I would ever need that. I type at around 80 wpm (maybe more); would I need n-key rollover?

    Btw, looking at the filco tactile touch/click.
     
  22. sayu

    sayu Limp Gawd

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    For general typing, N-key rollover usually doesn't mean much. You'd probably have to be a typing god to break the standard 2-key rollover. NKRO is something that gamers find more important.
     
  23. kencheeto

    kencheeto 2[H]4U

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    Don't think you'll need it. I type 120-130wpm and use my Filco tactile touch thru USB which precludes NKRO, haven't noticed any keys dropping. Comes with the PS/2 adapter so you can get NKRO, but I haven't seen any need yet.
     
  24. Spare-Flair

    Spare-Flair [H]ardness Supreme

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    NKRO is more for gamers than touch typists. Typists want accuracy in hitting only one key at once but gamers will appreciate accurate response when depressing multiple keys at once (moving while holding crouch or reloading, sprinting, etc.).

    NKRO is what you find on piano keyboards so you can hit multiple notes IIRC.
     
  25. black0ut

    black0ut Limp Gawd

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    Now that I think about it, I do press multiple keys in games... what's the default level of NKRO when it doesn't explicitly say it has NKRO? e.g. the filco tactile touch non NKRO version.
     
  26. sayu

    sayu Limp Gawd

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    2-key rollover is the general standard.
     
  27. black0ut

    black0ut Limp Gawd

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    Eh, I usually press w+a/d+ctrl/space... this will be a tough call, an extra key for $35.
     
  28. sayu

    sayu Limp Gawd

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    I don't know the exact conventions they use to get these n-key numbers, so this is just my view of it.

    n-key numbers don't include modifiers and from what I see, 2-key rollover usually doesn't have issues till 4 keys from two different rows not counting modifiers. Example, a 2-key rollover board can usually do QA and QAW just fine but will have a problem with QAWS.
     
  29. n3ckcutta

    n3ckcutta Limp Gawd

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  30. rflcptr

    rflcptr [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's not a mechanical keyboard, n00bie.
     
  31. sayu

    sayu Limp Gawd

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    The board has a cheap version of 6-key rollover -- it's only for certain keys, not the entire board. The layout is pretty bad if you ever plan on typing IMO.
     
  32. skriefal

    skriefal Limp Gawd

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  33. NeoMatriX724

    NeoMatriX724 Limp Gawd

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    The NKRO for the Filco is about 6-keys at once for USB. PS/2 provides full NKRO functionality. I use one at work, and find it fantastic. My old dell boards at work really were terrible on the rollover and it'd trip me up quite often (as well as quality issues). On the Filco, even 6 key rollover is overkill. If you're not the fastest typist and are getting the board purely for typing (as opposed to gaming), I'd say just save yourself the 35 bucks.
     
  34. Metaluna

    Metaluna Limp Gawd

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    That's why I'm thinking of selling my DAS (Cherry blues). It's a well-made board but makes a really loud sort of snap-CLUNK sound on every keypress (the snap is the Cherry switch, and the clunk is the key bottoming out). It's almost like the designers went out of their way to make the loudest noise possible. My Model M and Unicomps are loud too, but for some reason the sound isn't as irritating to me. Maybe because the resistance is higher so the keys don't bottom out as hard.
     
  35. swiftstrike

    swiftstrike [H]Lite

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    This thread made me super interested in mechanical keyboards. I've been doing some research on them on the internet. All of it make me want to go try one, but the looking at the price tags just hurts, being only a 1st year college student w/o a job yet. Plus I don't really "need" one. But I think the old keyboards in my dorm computer lab are mechanical. One of the first clues was that it weighed a lot. The keys were very light, but I don't think they are tactile. The brand is called Wyse apparently. I think I got to go try typing some more on them to see if I like it. O yea, any advice on where I can get a cheap tactile mechanical keyboard?
     
  36. SockMan!

    SockMan! 2[H]4U

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    If you want new, the ABS M1 is probably one of the cheapest mechanical keyboards out there. A few bucks more and you can spring for a Unicomp keyboard, which should be similar to the classic IBM Model M buckling spring keyboards. I haven't tried either since I already have a Filco, but either will probably be better than most membrane keyboards.

    If you don't mind used, you can try rummaging around the computer labs and asking the professors there; they might have a few Ms around (though probably not in use since they are very noisy).
     
  37. Chops

    Chops Limp Gawd

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  38. swiftstrike

    swiftstrike [H]Lite

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    I imagine the noise of the Model M/ Unicomps will be very annoying to my roommate/ future roommates during my college years. I do want to try one though. I haven't seen any model M's at my college yet, but I have yet to visit all the computer labs. The scorpius looks really nice, but I don't really want to jump into mechanical keyboards with such a high price, even though it's considered pretty cheap in the mechanical keyboard world. Would you guys recommend getting something dated like the Dell AT101w from ebay?
     
  39. sayu

    sayu Limp Gawd

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    I'm not too fond of the AT101W's myself, but I know some people do like them. I'd say to try looking for something like a Compaq MX-11800 (Cherry brown switches) as a cheap starting point.
     
  40. Metaluna

    Metaluna Limp Gawd

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    If you're worried about annoying a roommate, I'd avoid any of the audible clicky switches, including cherry blues and buckling springs. I personally find the sound of the blues more irritating than the buckling springs, but it's purely a personal issue. It's impossible to predict what someone else will or won't like, so I would try to minimize the issue entirely and try to find a quiet tactile board (e.g. Cherry browns).