Your opinion on the so-called "gaming" keyboards?

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Jan 3, 2009
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So, everyone swears up and down that the best keyboards are mechanical, which cost around $100-150 typically. I was reading several sites on keyboards, some of which were very detailed about all the different key switch types:

http://www.overclock.net/t/491752/mechanical-keyboard-guide#post_6009418

and from what I saw, mechanical seems to be the way to go for typing, but, I am not sure if they would be best-suited for gaming. (Granted, there are several different types of "mechanical" switches that people seem to just lump together).

Problem is, nearly every gaming keyboard I have seen tend to be as expensive if not ridicously even more expensive, but are almost always the extremely cheap rubber-dome type found in $20 keyboards. A lot of them seem to try to entice the customer with flashy bells and whistles like touchscreens and leds and crazy designs.

So what I want to know is, are gaming keyboards all just flash and not really designed under the hood to last or for actual gaming? Are there any that use better designs than rubber dome? Is mechanical even ideal for gaming? Nearly every gaming keyboard I have seen come out this year was full of people booing it for having rubber dome keys and mostly being a flashy gimmick.
 

Skull_Angel

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Yup, all flash, nothing special from your typical "gaming" keyboard. What's "best" for gaming is what you're most comfortable with that won't hinder your playstyle. Most membrane "gaming" keyboards are 2-KRO with an optimized gaming area while a majority of the normal mechanical boards are 6-KRO or NKRO in many newer ones; most normal gamers will never notice the difference, but for complex button combos it may become an issue.

There are some obvious advantages to mechanical, but a lot can be subjective rather than truly objective. Best advice is to reasearch popular switch types/variants that you have access to, try out what interests you most and then make your decision.
 

sinclair-zx81

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I've been liking that Logitech G105 MW3 that places have been selling cheap. Nice green back light that is the perfect brightness for me, not annoyingly bright or an obnoxious color... and it feels comfortable. I think the last full mechanical keyboard I owned said IBM on it.
 

Skull_Angel

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I forgot to add, despite the bells-and-whistles thrown into one, I'd never consider paying more than $30 (USD) on a typical membrane keyboard since there will be no discernable quality differences.
 

TurdFurgusand

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Mechanical switches work well for gaming, many people use reds or browns. (maybe blacks too I think). It basically boils down to personal preference though. Some people just don't care that much about the small tactile details, and some do. A good entry level gaming keyboard is the coolermaster rapidfire with reds, or their other one with browns.
 

Skull_Angel

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Eh, stwich types and varriants get labled too much; there is no best for anything except what you personally like, that's why you need to try out what you can.
 

koek

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personally i preferr using a gaming keyboard playing RTS games, for shooters :D mouse is priority number 1
 

Filter

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Mechanical keyboards work wonders in gaming and are just not for typing. Ive had numoreous friends like the op and thought mechanical keyboards were a gimmick. Till they the 2 different ones I own and they all went and bought one
 

Moogles

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Gaming keyboards do not equal mechanical keyboards. Mechanicals are just better constructed, higher quality, more comfortable, no lost key presses, better tactile response, etc. I'd say next to having a quality display and and SSD it's the best purchase you can make because it affects everything you do on your computer.
 

rudy

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The short answer is yes, gaming keyboards are just hype. In fact up until mechanical keyboards became popular most of the good gamers I know had some random keyboard, none of the really good ones I know had a "gaming" keyboard.

And it gets to what another posted stated, almost all membrane keyboards are just really similar and low quality a $5 keyboard can be just as good as the $60 gaming board. Once you found a keyboard that did not have key jamming on major combos you stuck with it.

Now there is no specific reason why mechanical keybaords need to be NKRO, but once you are already paying $60+, it became an issue of why not right? So anyhow once I discovered mechanical keyboards I flushed every membrane out of the my life except the ones built into laptops or for special needs that I cannot replace. IE I have not found a good wireless mechanical keyboard for the HTPC yet.

That said if someone offered a membrane keyboard with at least 6KRO I might buy it if it was under $30. But since no company has been smart enough to do that mechanical keybaords are taking over. Keyboards like the razer, rosewill and CMs go down near $60 so you have to ask why would you ever buy any of those expensive membrane boards anymore.
 

wtburnette

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I have no idea what kind of keys my Logitech G11 uses, but I've used this keyboard for years and LOVE it. First and only gaming keyboard I've ever used and it was well worth the $70 I paid for it.
 

SoFGR

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I have tried many mech keyboards since late 2010, deck legend ice - quifckfire pro - quickfire rapid - steelseries 6GV2 and noppoo choc mini, i currently use a noppoo choc mini at home with reds and a razer blackwidow at work.

Red switches are pretty much ideal for double tapping and blues are perfect for touch typists, i pump out 80wpm+ on typeracer.com while english is not even my native language, my wpm when chatting in greek-lish ( greek language with latin fonts ) is much higher

what i like about the noppoo

a) cheap, yet very good build quality all around
b) 84 keys layout, very neat :)
c) POM keycaps, very smooth feel !
d) lots of fn shorcuts for media playback etc
e) NKRO over USB

what i don't like

a) stabilizers on right shift - backspace - enter rattle a bit, will try some WD40 lubrication soon
b) numpad function is activated by toggle not "hold fn"
c) a friend of mine commented that the red switches on this board are just as stiff as the black switches on his steelseries 6gv2
d) some keycap fonts are fading a bit already :(

about the blackwidow

pros :

1) i didn't pay for it :p, i gave my deck legend to guy a who couldn't stand the clicky sound of mx blues and he gave me his razer BW for free
2) it's perfect for typing, i can type really fast because i don't have to bottom out the keys, audible and tactile feedback is a must for touch typists !
3) wide distribution

cons

a) horrible build quality ! clearly not worth the money
b) 2KRO
c) blue switches are terrible for double tapping, it should not marketed as "gaming keyboard" in the first place
d) kinda high without the feet, i had to buy a wrist rest filled with ergobeads to relieve my sore wrists
e) font is hideous, glad it's wearing out so fast :p
f) glossy finish is a freaking dust magnet
 
Last edited:

SoFGR

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N-Key-Roll-Over

http://deskthority.net/wiki/Rollover,_blocking_and_ghosting#n-Key_Rollover

most membrane keyboards can not register more than 3 or 4 button presses at once, I remember when i was still waiting for my noppoo to arrive, I settled for an old MS digital pro, the tactile bump really allienated me when i started using it for gaming, plus i could not throw grenades in BF3 while strafing to the left. :( ( W + A + G )

long story short, once there's NO WAY i'm going back to rubber domes, be it gaming or typing, mech boards are more expensive to build for a reason :)
 
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So basically, I should go with a red-switch mechanical keyboard, and most gaming keyboards are the useless rubber dome?

Are there any red-switch gaming keyboards that aren't hundreds of dollars?
 

MacLeod

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NKRO is way way overrated IMO. Keyboard X has 60 KRO! Great! When will you ever need to press 60 keys ay once? The Black Widow is supposed to be 2KRO but when I test it on the Microsoft anti-ghosting page, I can press 5-6 simultaneously in pretty much any configuration. To date I've not had any problems with it. The most I have to press is in Batman AC fighting Solomon Grundy when you have to hold space bar to run, double tap the 3 key to quick fire a weapon and use the WASD to steer and it goes off without a hitch.

Now the MX Blues can be a pain for double tapping and I had a problem with my BWU in that Batman scene but after I got used to it, its no problem at all and I now prefer MX Blues for gaming and most definitely for typing.

As for "gaming keyboards" I admit to being a sucker for them. They have cool features (that you don't need) cool light and looks (that you don't need) and software that's usually a pain in the balls to work with (that you don't need) but yet I buy them.

As long as you realize you're paying extra for shiny bells and whistles and not any better performance, I don't see a problem with it. To me a gaming keyboard is something you buy after you've bought what you "need" for your rig. Don't sacrifice $100 on a gaming keyboard if you're running a GT430 video card.
 

Skull_Angel

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NKRO is way way overrated IMO. Keyboard X has 60 KRO! Great! When will you ever need to press 60 keys ay once? The Black Widow is supposed to be 2KRO but when I test it on the Microsoft anti-ghosting page, I can press 5-6 simultaneously in pretty much any configuration. To date I've not had any problems with it. The most I have to press is in Batman AC fighting Solomon Grundy when you have to hold space bar to run, double tap the 3 key to quick fire a weapon and use the WASD to steer and it goes off without a hitch.

...

The Blackwidows register more than 2 keys in "certain combos" because it has a gaming optimized matrix layout; someone claimed that it's capable of 6-KRO under an updated firmware, but I haven't heard or seen any confirmation.

Generally you'll never need higher than 6-KRO in gaming, unless you play multi-player with a friend on the same keyboard.

PC component upgrades v. peripherals is a bit silly, tbh. Some peripherals will last and some won't; generally a decently constructed capacitive switch (mechanical) board will last through more than one full build, but a "gaming" RD will feel like garbage after a bit of use. The standard RD design was never meant to be anything more than a cheaply manufactured product that was cost-effective enough to package with computers and help reduce the overall price.

No hate on RD boards, I'm just stating that they're not really worth much.
 

MacLeod

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Going by this website Im getting no less than 5 in any configuration I can come up with and easily 6 or more in others. I did get the new firmware update when I started using the Synapse spyware. I tried to take a screen shot while mashing a bunch of keys down but it wont let me.
 

TheGamerZ

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I have no idea what kind of keys my Logitech G11 uses, but I've used this keyboard for years and LOVE it. First and only gaming keyboard I've ever used and it was well worth the $70 I paid for it.

Membrane just like all other logitech boards
 

Skull_Angel

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But, you're not able to consecutively hit 6 keys, yes? It's an optimized 2-KRO; in many cases ave. Joe gamer will never know the difference, but technical Bob is probably going to run into issues when he trys to pull off some of his button combos. May not mean life or death, but it's always an inconvenience when a keypress fails to register.
 

canon.tk

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NKRO actually does make a difference. I was using IBM membrane keyboards for years, I actually did like those boards a lot, and when doing PVP in WoW I would notice my computer beeping at me a lot. I never understood why. So I did some research and discovered how the key matrix works, along with NKRO and mechanical keyboards.

I was very hesitant in purchasing one, this was just when mechanical keyboards were starting to become popular (over 3 years ago), but I got a Filco with black switches. Never looked back.

My favorite gaming switch is Cherry MX reds, which I also like for typing. Browns are good for typing.

I don't like gaming with tactile switches.
 

Zomoa

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But, you're not able to consecutively hit 6 keys, yes? It's an optimized 2-KRO; in many cases ave. Joe gamer will never know the difference, but technical Bob is probably going to run into issues when he trys to pull off some of his button combos. May not mean life or death, but it's always an inconvenience when a keypress fails to register.

Correct. A pro or even semi-pro gamer will notice ghosting - sometimes your keypresses get missed by the keyboard when you are alternating between complex hotkeys using different shift modifiers, while holding a key and trying to jump/use hotkeys to alter your view etc.

Even 6KRO ghosts sometimes in the hands of a fast player. Pretty satisfied with the 20KRO of my current keyboard.

2KRO will get in the way of even a moderately fast gamer
6KRO is "good enough" for the average joe
20KRO to NKRO is what the fastest will want to use.

Once you go mech with the right switches for you and your desired task, you wont go back to membrane. The difference in feel, speed, and accuracy is pretty astounding once you've attuned with your keyboard. For instance, I can "glide" along my reds, applying minimal pressure ( the keys activate when the switches are ~1/2 way down ) which enables me to spend slightly less time on each key.

Replacing your membrane keyboard with a mechanical one is something I can definitely recommend to anyone that can afford it.
 
D

Deleted member 222586

Guest
So basically, I should go with a red-switch mechanical keyboard, and most gaming keyboards are the useless rubber dome?

Are there any red-switch gaming keyboards that aren't hundreds of dollars?

If you don't need the numpad (aka you don't use it A LOT), I'd get this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823129006

It's probably one of the best so-called "gaming keyboards" out there, since it comes from the same OEM as the top-brand "Costar".

I had one... and they look almost identical the a Filco... and they cost around half.
 

Dan_D

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Mechanical keyboards work wonders in gaming and are just not for typing. Ive had numoreous friends like the op and thought mechanical keyboards were a gimmick. Till they the 2 different ones I own and they all went and bought one

I don't think gaming keyboards offer anything other than a nicer feel in gaming. I prefer the consistent and satisfying key presses and tactile feedback in all things, not just typing. Membrane keyboards just don't do it for me.
 

hluo87

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Jul 19, 2011
Messages
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I have tried many mech keyboards since late 2010, deck legend ice - quifckfire pro - quickfire rapid - steelseries 6GV2 and noppoo choc mini, i currently use a noppoo choc mini at home with reds and a razer blackwidow at work.

Red switches are pretty much ideal for double tapping and blues are perfect for touch typists, i pump out 80wpm+ on typeracer.com while english is not even my native language, my wpm when chatting in greek-lish ( greek language with latin fonts ) is much higher

what i like about the noppoo

a) cheap, yet very good build quality all around
b) 84 keys layout, very neat :)
c) POM keycaps, very smooth feel !
d) lots of fn shorcuts for media playback etc
e) NKRO over USB

what i don't like

a) stabilizers on right shift - backspace - enter rattle a bit, will try some WD40 lubrication soon
b) numpad function is activated by toggle not "hold fn"
c) a friend of mine commented that the red switches on this board are just as stiff as the black switches on his steelseries 6gv2
d) some keycap fonts are fading a bit already :(

about the blackwidow

pros :

1) i didn't pay for it :p, i gave my deck legend to guy a who couldn't stand the clicky sound of mx blues and he gave me his razer BW for free
2) it's perfect for typing, i can type really fast because i don't have to bottom out the keys, audible and tactile feedback is a must for touch typists !
3) wide distribution

cons

a) horrible build quality ! clearly not worth the money
b) 2KRO
c) blue switches are terrible for double tapping, it should not marketed as "gaming keyboard" in the first place
d) kinda high without the feet, i had to buy a wrist rest filled with ergobeads to relieve my sore wrists
e) font is hideous, glad it's wearing out so fast :p
f) glossy finish is a freaking dust magnet

agree with you about widow, i am planning to buy a noppoo also
 

Dan_D

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Messages
59,560
for gaming, quick response is the thing, membrane maybe better per say.

No it wouldn't. There is nothing that indicates membranes are better at anything. Membrane keys actuation points also vary as the membrane wears. This leads to less responsiveness. Mechanicals run the same until they die. Unless you physically break a switch. Most of the time electronics give out in the keyboard before the switches do.

c) blue switches are terrible for double tapping, it should not marketed as "gaming keyboard" in the first place

I have no problem double tapping with Cherry MX Blue keys.
 

dr.stevil

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I personally don't buy into the hype of mechanical keyboards. I used them quite extensively in the past and they really don't offer anything that a good 'modern' keyboard doesn't... besides a slightly different feel and sound. IMO, it's all personal preference. I like them, don't get me wrong, but not nearly enough to spend what the manufacturers are asking for them.

With that said though, there are some extremely shitty keyboards around. I just picked up a cheapo logitech "washable" keyboard from BB not long ago for occasional use and boy does it suck. Theres almost no tacile feedback and just feels like a flimsy cheap POS. It just doesn't feel 'right'.
 
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