Mechanical Keyboard Guide

Davidion

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
Messages
152
I agree with you 100% pretty much. However, for 20 bones this is one hell of a deal. Replaced my ooooooold dell quietkey.
Just installed it at home and am typing this post out on it right now. Compared to a Dell quietkey from a couple of years ago that I've been using as a standby, the key layout feels slightly different; it's probably just due to the ctrl keys being a little narrower and the alt/space keys being shallower than the Dell, which had oversized alt key and spacebar.

But goddamn does this ever feel better! clickclackclickclackclickclack
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
10,870
^^^Updated with Avant KBs

OP updated with links to manufactures. This will make it easier to find keyboards you want to know more about.
 

NukeULater

Gawd
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
913
I was able to get the ABS M1 for $20 at newegg.com recently. I just couldn't pass it up for the price since I can't afford a Das S. One day I will own a keyboard with blue MX cherry switches...
 

Metaluna

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
393
You can sometimes find Alps-based Dell AT101W keyboards for not much more than $20 at surplus places. I paid something like $14 for a new one not too long ago (I'd post the link but it looks like the vendor doesn't carry them anymore).
 

nakedhand

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
2,127
This is an awesome thread. Thanks OP and contributors, subscribed!

After going through every post, I am more than inclined to get the FILCO with brown Cherry switches the next time I go to the US. ... AND the Deck Fire, a Steelseries 6v2 and so on, sigh... But FILCO first, I like the sound too, thanks for link to Hot Hardware video.

Its key for me, that the keyboard isn´t super loud, which is why I never use my Model M (1994) any longer, short of when I need to defend myself in the event of burglary.

Does anyone have an idea, what the most quiet mechanical keyboard would be?
 

Davidion

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 3, 2009
Messages
152
This is an awesome thread. Thanks OP and contributors, subscribed!

After going through every post, I am more than inclined to get the FILCO with brown Cherry switches the next time I go to the US. ... AND the Deck Fire, a Steelseries 6v2 and so on, sigh... But FILCO first, I like the sound too, thanks for link to Hot Hardware video.

Its key for me, that the keyboard isn´t super loud, which is why I never use my Model M (1994) any longer, short of when I need to defend myself in the event of burglary.

Does anyone have an idea, what the most quiet mechanical keyboard would be?
That's like asking which variety of Ambrosia doesn't grant you the immortality!
 

Lateralus

More [H]uman than Human
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
15,179
Based on my experience, after owning the following mechanical keyboards:

Das Keyboard Ultimate (Cherry Blues)
Filco Majestouch (Cherry Browns)
Topre Realforce 103UB
ABS M1

I can say with certainty that the Topre is the quietest. It is also buttery smooth to type on...it's really a spectacular keyboard.

The Das Keyboard and ABS are the loudest of the group, with the Das being much more satisfying to use IMO. I'm hoping the stiffness of the ABS will get better as it breaks in but I still don't regret the purchase at only $20...quite a bargain if you don't mind the noise.
 

izzypizzy

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Messages
477
I'm very tempted to order a filco.

Looking at the tenkeyless, and trying to decide between cherry blacks or browns. I game a lot, so I'm leaning towards the blacks, but from my understanding, browns are a good choice for both gaming and typing, while blacks aren't that great for typing.
 

nakedhand

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
2,127
I can say with certainty that the Topre is the quietest. It is also buttery smooth to type on...it's really a spectacular keyboard.
Thanks for the info. I think its going to be a Topre Realforce. I have been watching (mostly listening) to videos of people typing on youtube (dont do this if there is a chance your wife will see it..), and I like what I hear. My only worry is that it is heavier on the keys than I like.

At elite keyboards they state:

Realforce 87U Tenkeyless: 35, 45, and 55gram sensitivity, 4mm travel Topre Electrostatic Capacitive Key Switches

...so which one is it? Is it adjustable? Can someone shed some light on this?
http://www.elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=topre_keyboards,rftenkeyless&pid=rf_se1700
 

leemik

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 15, 2007
Messages
114
I just got a Compaq 11800 and I want to swap the the space bar switch with the pause key switch.. but I can't figure out how to get the switch out.. Is there a special tool I need? or can someone send me a link on how to take the switch out?

TIA!
 

Metaluna

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
393
At elite keyboards they state:

Realforce 87U Tenkeyless: 35, 45, and 55gram sensitivity, 4mm travel Topre Electrostatic Capacitive Key Switches

...so which one is it? Is it adjustable? Can someone shed some light on this?
http://www.elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=topre_keyboards,rftenkeyless&pid=rf_se1700
It's not user-adjustable. What they've done is vary the force of the switch depending on the position of the key. So keys that you tend to hit with your weaker fingers (e.g. little finger) have a lighter feel than, say, the spacebar or the F and J keys. They also make a version where every key is a constant 55g, but from what I've read most people prefer the variable version which feels lighter overall.

I'd say the keyboard overall feels a little heavier than my Filco with Cherry browns, but with a more positive tactile feel (the click on the browns is barely detectable). The only key that feels too heavy to me is the spacebar, which is a common complaint about these boards.
 

sayu

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
435
I just got a Compaq 11800 and I want to swap the the space bar switch with the pause key switch.. but I can't figure out how to get the switch out.. Is there a special tool I need? or can someone send me a link on how to take the switch out?

TIA!
Make a hook out of a paper clip and unclip the upper switch housing in each of the four corners of the left/right side.
 

nakedhand

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
2,127
It's not user-adjustable. What they've done is vary the force of the switch depending on the position of the key. So keys that you tend to hit with your weaker fingers (e.g. little finger) have a lighter feel than, say, the spacebar or the F and J keys. They also make a version where every key is a constant 55g, but from what I've read most people prefer the variable version which feels lighter overall.

I'd say the keyboard overall feels a little heavier than my Filco with Cherry browns, but with a more positive tactile feel (the click on the browns is barely detectable). The only key that feels too heavy to me is the spacebar, which is a common complaint about these boards.
Thanks for educating me on this Metaluna. Much appreciated. It sounds like a great keyboard, I am usually a little heavy on the spacebar, so I doubt that will bother me much. But great to know. Obviously the only right thing to do is get a FILCO brown cherry as well :D
 

Jshay

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 27, 2010
Messages
484
Thanks for educating me on this Metaluna. Much appreciated. It sounds like a great keyboard, I am usually a little heavy on the spacebar, so I doubt that will bother me much. But great to know. Obviously the only right thing to do is get a FILCO brown cherry as well :D
I have the FILCO Browns and they have a very light touch to them. Highly recommend them :) Tried my rubber dome keyboard afterward and typing felt so repetitive.
 

i2abid

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
1,328
Waiting on a Deck Legend Frost tactile in the mail :) I hope a mechanical keyboard is all you guys make it out to be!
 

Peanut Butter

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
365
Got my Filco with Cherry Browns yesterday. Blows that ABS M1 I had waaaaaaaaay out of the water. Typing on this feels like a dream. Works great in gaming, as well.
 

Lateralus

More [H]uman than Human
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
15,179
Got my Filco with Cherry Browns yesterday. Blows that ABS M1 I had waaaaaaaaay out of the water. Typing on this feels like a dream. Works great in gaming, as well.
:cool: Right on. Now you see the way...the M1 is so stiff, I'm afraid it might turn some people away from mechanical boards (though most here seem to be pleased, so that's a good sign!). Typing on Cherry Browns is pretty much a night and day difference. So much smoother and far less resistance. The Filco w/ Cherry Browns is a great choice to step up to if you've tried the M1 and want something more refined, more quiet, and more pleasant to type on.
 

reswob

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 10, 2005
Messages
1,589
I just picked up an IBM model M, which came from IBM itself. Needed a bit of a wiping to get it looking good, functions flawlessly for a 20+ year old keyboard.
 

Takeda Kenshi

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 4, 2006
Messages
204
:cool: Right on. Now you see the way...the M1 is so stiff, I'm afraid it might turn some people away from mechanical boards (though most here seem to be pleased, so that's a good sign!). Typing on Cherry Browns is pretty much a night and day difference. So much smoother and far less resistance. The Filco w/ Cherry Browns is a great choice to step up to if you've tried the M1 and want something more refined, more quiet, and more pleasant to type on.
I want a mechanical keyboard pretty badly, but I am having a hard time deciding on what switch to get. The Cherry Blues look to be the best, but could I use them for gaming? Would it be that much more difficult than the Brown/Blacks? Or should I just wait for Cherry Reds to be utilized by Filco? So difficult. :confused: :confused:
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
10,870
Cherry Blacks are better for gaming because they are more stiff, which help reduce accidental key presses. You can use Cherry Blues for gaming but you may see some accidental key presses since the keys are much lighter than the Blacks. Browns are a good balance between both.

It's great to see more members converting over to mechanical keyboards, I hope the tend continues. I'm closer to buying a Deck Legend any day now to complete my build.
 

i2abid

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
1,328
just got my deck legend frost tactile and loving it so far, especially the skull and crossbones key lol
 

sayu

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
435
Accidental keypresses really isn't the major issue when comparing Cherry switches for gaming IMO. The problem with using Cherry Blue switches for gaming is that the click leaf moves by design, so it doesn't work well when you try to "float" the activation point for rapid presses of a button. This is not a problem on brown and black switches.
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
10,870
just got my deck legend frost tactile and loving it so far, especially the skull and crossbones key lol
How does the switches feel?

Accidental keypresses really isn't the major issue when comparing Cherry switches for gaming IMO. The problem with using Cherry Blue switches for gaming is that the click leaf moves by design, so it doesn't work well when you try to "float" the activation point for rapid presses of a button. This is not a problem on brown and black switches.
That is also correct.
 

i2abid

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
1,328
How does the switches feel?
The switches feel awesome, these keys feel slightly stiffer than my friends cherry browns. When I popped off my Esc key to swap for the skull and crossbones the switches were white/maybe clear? I think I prefer the extra stiffness, just feels tougher and I'm having a great time gaming and typing :)
 

i2abid

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
1,328
I played with the Steelseries 7g at Fry's a couple months ago and it feels pretty similar to the Legend tactile. Obviously the blacks don't have the feedback but they feel a little stiffer in my opinion. So I think I've found a great middle ground where brown is too soft and black is too hard, the white/clear-ish switches are just right for me (like a slightly softer tactile black maybe). But regardless of these three switches I've experienced, I don't think I'll be pleased going back to rubber dome membrane stuff again lol.
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
10,870
Thanks. I will be buying one soon, so I just wanted to know if the extra cost of the Frost model was worth it. Seems like it though. I want softer keys this time around.
 

i2abid

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
1,328
I would've enjoyed a fire or toxic model if they had it in tactile. I'm just tired of blue leds so I figured whats another 7-8 bucks on a pricey purchase anyways and went with the frost eheh. Hope the keys are soft enough to your liking if you purchase one though, it's a beautiful board!
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
10,870
The Deck Ice I had was great but typing wasn't as great. Mainly because of the small layout and tiny enter and backspace keys. I may go for the cheaper Legend Fire or Tactile(Blue LED).
 

Lateralus

More [H]uman than Human
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
15,179
Cherry Blacks are better for gaming because they are more stiff, which help reduce accidental key presses. You can use Cherry Blues for gaming but you may see some accidental key presses since the keys are much lighter than the Blacks. Browns are a good balance between both.
Huh? The Browns require less activation force than Blues or Blacks. If anything, they should be the most prone to accidental key presses out of those IMO (though accidental key presses haven't been a problem for me on any of my boards other than the Topre where key presses require very little force and are soooo smooth you can press a key and not realize it if you're resting your hand on the keyboard and not paying attention!).

WorldExclusive said:
It's great to see more members converting over to mechanical keyboards, I hope the tend continues. I'm closer to buying a Deck Legend any day now to complete my build.
Yes sir -- I agree 100%. I think it's awesome to see people willing to pay over $100 for a quality keyboard that will last a LONG time, instead of shelling out for flashy designs and media keys. I've used and seen enough rubber dome/membrane boards to know that their durability leaves something to be desired (not to mention they aren't as fun & satisfying to type on).

sayu said:
Accidental keypresses really isn't the major issue when comparing Cherry switches for gaming IMO. The problem with using Cherry Blue switches for gaming is that the click leaf moves by design, so it doesn't work well when you try to "float" the activation point for rapid presses of a button. This is not a problem on brown and black switches.
I don't really understand this. I felt that gaming was great with Cherry Blues because of the distinctive click; since there is a very defined actuation point, I could "preload" the key by pressing it until the resistance increased to the point just before the click. You always know when the keys are going to actuate. The Cherry Blacks are linear, and though they offer more resistance there is no click or bump; it's just a smooth press until the key bottoms out. It seems like that would be less desirable when playing a game since there is no tactile feedback that lets you know when the key press registers or is about to register, but I guess I just need to experience them for myself since most people do consider the Blacks very good for gaming. :)
 

sayu

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
435
I don't really understand this. I felt that gaming was great with Cherry Blues because of the distinctive click; since there is a very defined actuation point, I could "preload" the key by pressing it until the resistance increased to the point just before the click. You always know when the keys are going to actuate. The Cherry Blacks are linear, and though they offer more resistance there is no click or bump; it's just a smooth press until the key bottoms out. It seems like that would be less desirable when playing a game since there is no tactile feedback that lets you know when the key press registers or is about to register, but I guess I just need to experience them for myself since most people do consider the Blacks very good for gaming. :)
Try this. Press the key down to the point just before the activation point, then rapidly press the button without letting the key return all the way up to the starting position. You'll notice that while the board does actually register all those presses, the switch may only click once. A very odd feeling.

That being said, blues are my favorite of the Cherry switches and blacks are by far one of my least favorite switch types (not just among the Cherry switches). I don't like the blacks for gaming and never understood the whole "accidental keypress" argument since accidental keypresses have never been an issue for me even on the lightest of switches (if you have an ABS M1, try taking the tactile leaf out of all the switches, its ridiculously light).
 

WorldExclusive

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
10,870
The Cherry Blacks work for me because I don't type fast and I have large hands. If you are a good typist, you tend to have more precision since you know where all the keys are. I tend to fat finger keys when I increase my typing speed and button combos, that's why I hate flat laptop style keys, can't feel my way around. Cherry Blacks are the only switches I've tried so far but I'm very interested in trying tactile switches this time around.
 
Top