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Saitek Cyborg or Sidewinder X4

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November 14, 2011 8:28:11 PM

I dont know if this is the right place to post this but maybe you guys could help. I am picking up a new keyboard and am between 2 choices right now. The Saitek Cyborg V5 or Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4. I would perfer a keyboard with a blue backlight but I can live with a red one. I am open to other ideas too if you guys can recommend a good gaming keyboard that is not too pricey, basically worth the price
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November 14, 2011 9:07:24 PM

I have the Cyborg v5 and the Sidewinder x6.

Reason I have both:
Bought the X6 as a replacement gaming keyboard (and to get backlit keys) and everything was going fine until I spilled a full glass of water on the keyboard. I unplugged it immediately and tossed it aside, thinking it was dead. I bought the Cyborg and used it for about 2 weeks before I got the X6 back out to see if it still worked. Miraculously it did, so I went back to using it because I slightly preferred it. Also, I'm talking a full 16oz of water that was spilled on the keyboard. I unplugged it almost immediately, but I fully expected the keyboard to die - I still have 100% functionality with no degrade of features! Here is my comparison:

MS Sidewinder x6:
  • Great backlit keys (with adjustable level of light)
  • Slim, comfortable design with built in palm rest (although key touch is not as nice as others, including Cyborg)
  • "Gamer" designed for multiple key press recognition
  • WASD keys marked (not well enough IMO) for finding keys without looking
  • Media Keys and programmable buttons through their very intuitive macros system (including ability to disable Win, other keys during game playing)
  • Keyboard is program aware and has 3 separate settings configs
  • Detachable num-pad is great for when you need it, gets out of the way when you don't
  • Very durable and appears to be water resistant (My own personal experience)
  • Matches the Sidewinder x8 Mouse (:p )
  • Does require Intellitype software by MS although their support on their gaming products has been awesome over the last few years.

    Saitek Cyborg v5:
  • Great basic keyboard layout with comfortable keys (prefer the keys on this keyboard over the X6, but it wasn't enough)
  • Full keyboard with num-pad (non-detachable)
  • Basic media keys for volume, etc.
  • Backlit keys with adjustable light inensity
  • "Gamer" designed for multiple key press recognition
  • Simple solution with true plug-and-play functionality (no drivers needed)



    I've never owned one of the Logitech or Razer keyboards but I've used both companies mice quite extensively. After considering the Logitech for quite sometime, I deemed the price to much for what was offered. I found the X6 and Cyborg (v5) far less for similar features (more so on the MS X6). After my experience with both Logitech and Razer's mice, I found their quality quite lacking (I went through 4x Logitech G5s - cord issue, and 3x Razer Diamondbacks - similar issue to the Logitechs). Since then I've switched to wireless gaming mice - MS X8.

    On a separate note, I also liked the OCZ Illuminati Keyboard but it suffered a similar fate as my Sidewinder X6 (spilled water) but unfortunately it did not make it. I really liked the backlit design and the keyboard was pretty comfortable with the built in palm rest. One of the major downsides was the chicklet keys over the standard key feel leaving it more like a laptop keyboard than a desktop keyboard. The color modes were nice going between blue and red, but it didn't have any real bearing on usability, except when used in the dark of course.
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    November 14, 2011 9:16:13 PM

    l0ckd0wn said:
    I have the Cyborg v5 and the Sidewinder x6.

    Reason I have both:
    Bought the X6 as a replacement gaming keyboard (and to get backlit keys) and everything was going fine until I spilled a full glass of water on the keyboard. I unplugged it immediately and tossed it aside, thinking it was dead. I bought the Cyborg and used it for about 2 weeks before I got the X6 back out to see if it still worked. Miraculously it did, so I went back to using it because I slightly preferred it. Also, I'm talking a full 16oz of water that was spilled on the keyboard. I unplugged it almost immediately, but I fully expected the keyboard to die - I still have 100% functionality with no degrade of features! Here is my comparison:

    MS Sidewinder x6:
  • Great backlit keys (with adjustable level of light)
  • Slim, comfortable design with built in palm rest (although key touch is not as nice as others, including Cyborg)
  • "Gamer" designed for multiple key press recognition
  • WASD keys marked (not well enough IMO) for finding keys without looking
  • Media Keys and programmable buttons through their very intuitive macros system (including ability to disable Win, other keys during game playing)
  • Keyboard is program aware and has 3 separate settings configs
  • Detachable num-pad is great for when you need it, gets out of the way when you don't
  • Very durable and appears to be water resistant (My own personal experience)
  • Matches the Sidewinder x8 Mouse (:p )
  • Does require Intellitype software by MS although their support on their gaming products has been awesome over the last few years.

    Saitek Cyborg v5:
  • Great basic keyboard layout with comfortable keys (prefer the keys on this keyboard over the X6, but it wasn't enough)
  • Full keyboard with num-pad (non-detachable)
  • Basic media keys for volume, etc.
  • Backlit keys with adjustable light inensity
  • "Gamer" designed for multiple key press recognition
  • Simple solution with true plug-and-play functionality (no drivers needed)



    I've never owned one of the Logitech or Razer keyboards but I've used both companies mice quite extensively. After considering the Logitech for quite sometime, I deemed the price to much for what was offered. I found the X6 and Cyborg (v5) far less for similar features (more so on the MS X6). After my experience with both Logitech and Razer's mice, I found their quality quite lacking (I went through 4x Logitech G5s - cord issue, and 3x Razer Diamondbacks - similar issue to the Logitechs). Since then I've switched to wireless gaming mice - MS X8.

    On a separate note, I also liked the OCZ Illuminati Keyboard but it suffered a similar fate as my Sidewinder X6 (spilled water) but unfortunately it did not make it. I really liked the backlit design and the keyboard was pretty comfortable with the built in palm rest. One of the major downsides was the chicklet keys over the standard key feel leaving it more like a laptop keyboard than a desktop keyboard. The color modes were nice going between blue and red, but it didn't have any real bearing on usability, except when used in the dark of course.


  • On the x6 I was reading there were no little stands in the back to tilt the keyboard, now im one that always uses the tilt. Is that true and if so does it bother that it is not tilted
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    November 15, 2011 4:32:02 AM

    Puresilence said:
    On the x6 I was reading there were no little stands in the back to tilt the keyboard, now im one that always uses the tilt. Is that true and if so does it bother that it is not tilted

    It doesnt really bother me at all. I mean it's already at a slight angle as it is, not a drastic one but it's fine for me. Come to think of it I normally used the risers too, but with the palm rest and the slight angle, this one doesn't need it IMO. If I were you, I'd still try to hit up a local electronics store to see if they have one. Here is a pic of the side view to give you an idea. It's just the numpad because I needed more light.

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    November 15, 2011 6:35:20 AM

    l0ckd0wn said:
    It doesnt really bother me at all. I mean it's already at a slight angle as it is, not a drastic one but it's fine for me. Come to think of it I normally used the risers too, but with the palm rest and the slight angle, this one doesn't need it IMO. If I were you, I'd still try to hit up a local electronics store to see if they have one. Here is a pic of the side view to give you an idea. It's just the numpad because I needed more light.


    Thanks for the pic l0ckd0wn, i got one more question for ya cause now im trying to choose between the x4 or x6. From what i was reading the x6 has some rollover problems. You have any issues with that? Cause the x6 looks better than the x4 and comes with more but if there is rollover problems it might sway my decision in another direction
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    Best solution

    November 16, 2011 1:55:19 AM

    As the researcher behind the "anti-ghosting" feature of the X4, maybe I can give some insight. By the way, I am not speaking for Microsoft here - this is just my personal take on things.

    You are correct when you say that the X6 suffers from roll-over issues. However, this is not unique to the X6. This is a problem that almost all keyboards have, including most gaming keyboards. It's fundamental to the basic matrix design. In a nutshell, this type of keyboard can typically report any 2 keys pressed together, but some fraction of 3 key combinations (typically less than 5%) do not report correctly. Many manufacturers rearrange the internal matrix to try to make sure that the bad combinations do not include the ones used in popular applications. (e.g. CTL-ALT-DEL has to work!) This is kind of equivalent to sweeping the dirt under the rug - you really didn't solve the problem, you only moved it someplace else where you hope it won't be noticed. Some manufacturers make a big deal out of their rearrangements, and talk about certain regions having "anti-ghosting" and they talk about those keys being able to be pressed simultaneously. What they don't talk about is pressing those keys with any others outside the region. It is not uncommon to find that pressing a single key outside the region causes problems inside. Of course, this depends on the particular design.

    The X6 uses the matrix rearrangement trick. I guess you could debate if one keyboard has a better rearrangement than another. Certainly, some choices work better for some games than others.

    I would rather have a keyboard that just didn't have this issue. They exist, but they tend to be very expensive. The X4 is an exception. This keyboard uses resistive multitouch techniques internally that allow it to recognize any combination of keys, up to an absurd number. Before the X4, the standard way to get this sort of functionality was to add a diode in series with each key - a rather expensive proposition. Although the X4 is a less expensive keyboard than the X6, its "anti-ghosting" feature competes directly with high-end gaming keyboards. In this respect, it is far superior to the earlier X6. Of course, the X6 has features that the X4 does not. But for me, knowing that "what I type is what I get" is a far more valuable feature than a relocatable numpad, or knobs. This is a matter of personal preference, and others might reasonably decide differently.

    As a side note, the ability to press lots of keys simultaneously on a USB keyboard exposed a bug in earlier versions of Windows. When a large number of keys were pressed (>11), Windows would sometimes generate false keypresses. Some reviewers (including the one here at Tom's) incorrectly attributed this to the X4. This bug was patched in Win 7 SP1. This fixed the problem, not only for the X4, but also for other USB keyboards as well. If you do get an X4, I highly recommend getting the latest Service Pack.

    Finally, here are some pointers to additional information:


    Lots of information on ghosting and the specific capabilities of the X4:




    How to change the backlight color on an X4 (will void your warranty):



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    November 16, 2011 6:32:20 AM

    Thank you PaulHDietz, I was already leaning toward the x4 just because it had the best reviews and you just fully convinced me to get it. I was more than willing to spend the extra cash on the x6 or G510 but from a lot of the stuff i was reading they both suffer from some serious ghosting issues and some being usually combinations that I use in games (such as CTRL + W + R). So i shall order the x4 and let you know how I like it. And thanks for the extra links, I would love it in blue, I just have to get up the courage to take the thing apart lol
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    November 26, 2011 5:55:45 AM

    Best answer selected by Puresilence.
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