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Good mechanical keyboard?

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  • Mice
  • Keyboards
  • Peripherals
Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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January 29, 2013 1:40:25 AM

Hey all,

I've been in the market for my first mechanical keyboard lately. For a mouse, I know that I'll be getting the 2012 Razer Deathadder. Im not getting the 2013 version because it's twice as much, and I dont like the green color scheme. Plus, I don't need 6400 DPI. For the keyboard, I was thinking a Razer Blackwidow. Im really stuck between all the verisons. Ill break it down...

2012 Blackwidow:
PRO:
-Blue color scheme, which will complement the mouse; for an OCD person like me it's more important than you think lol
-A bit cheaper; a lot cheaper if you get the standard version - do I even need backlighting? (see below)
CON:
-Glossy finish; everyone complains about fingerprints, but I'm pretty neat and I don't eat at the computer. How much of a difference does a matte finish make?

2013 Blackwidow:
PRO:
-Matte finish; how important? (see above)
-Supposedly the backlighting is much better, but how important is backlighting? I don't work in total darkness a lot, and I mostly work during the day, next to a window. After all, backlighting adds quite a bit more to the price.
CON:
-Ugly ass green color scheme - doesn't really look good to the eyes, especially with a blue mouse next to it!

Thanks so much for helping me out guys! Everyone's opinion is valued!

Thanks again!

More about : good mechanical keyboard

January 29, 2013 7:25:18 PM

how bad is the gloss finish on the keyboard? unwrap the keyboard from the box and set it on the desk. it already looks covered in ugly fingerprints. clean it off. shift it around the desk so its in position. again, the keyboard is covered in ugly fingerprints.

while not a huge deal, matte is better. just not matte RUBBER.

as far as the deathadder mouse is concerned, the rubber finish is an absolute dust magnet. trust me, you will be cleaning the mouse every other day if you have any dust issues in your house. as far as performance goes, its overrated but it works.

a logitech mouse would also work.

you do not need 6400dpi. when i used to play fps games online in the past i was routinely in the top 10 and i used 800-1200dpi and ocassionaly 1200-1800 but definitely not past that. honestly it doesnt matter as much as you may think.

as far as the razer keyboard performance goes, it works i'll give it that but it does not support a ps/2 adapter which is the ideal connection.

the backlighting is cheap and i've heard of issues on the razer keyboards. not sure about the new version.

---

you may want to take a look at logitech mice as well or perhaps some other brands.

you may also want to look at other keyboard brands such as deck, das, wasd, unicomp.

if you can live with 2kro and no macro keys then the unicomp customizer is a sure win. since it is based on the original ibm model m it is practically indestructible and as the only keyboards with buckling spring technology its the best keyswitch for typing.

just some ideas.
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January 29, 2013 7:31:23 PM

ssddx said:
how bad is the gloss finish on the keyboard? unwrap the keyboard from the box and set it on the desk. it already looks covered in ugly fingerprints. clean it off. shift it around the desk so its in position. again, the keyboard is covered in ugly fingerprints.

while not a huge deal, matte is better. just not matte RUBBER.

as far as the deathadder mouse is concerned, the rubber finish is an absolute dust magnet. trust me, you will be cleaning the mouse every other day if you have any dust issues in your house. as far as performance goes, its overrated but it works.

a logitech mouse would also work.

you do not need 6400dpi. when i used to play fps games online in the past i was routinely in the top 10 and i used 800-1200dpi and ocassionaly 1200-1800 but definitely not past that. honestly it doesnt matter as much as you may think.

as far as the razer keyboard performance goes, it works i'll give it that but it does not support a ps/2 adapter which is the ideal connection.

the backlighting is cheap and i've heard of issues on the razer keyboards. not sure about the new version.

---

you may want to take a look at logitech mice as well or perhaps some other brands.

you may also want to look at other keyboard brands such as deck, das, wasd, unicomp.

if you can live with 2kro and no macro keys then the unicomp customizer is a sure win. since it is based on the original ibm model m it is practically indestructible and as the only keyboards with buckling spring technology its the best keyswitch for typing.

just some ideas.


I've actually been looking at a Das Keyboard Ultimate also. However, there is no backlighting, and it also has a glossy finish. It might even be a bit more expensive too. At first, I was completely on the Das' side, but way many more people have the Razers. If you've seen freddiew's channel, they all work on computer 24/7 and game, and they don't complain with Razer gear. From what I've heard too, Razer is the go to for gamers.

As for the Deathadder, no I don't have a dust issue. I actually used a friend's Deathadder in person, and it fit my hand just right. I entertained the thought of a Logitech Performace MX, but that's almost as expensive as the keyboard, and I'm on a bit of a budget. The ~$150 I have, I want to put the most of it towards the keyboard. What are your thoughts about that?

Thanks for your quick response!
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January 30, 2013 8:51:19 PM

if everyone jumped off a bridge would you jump off too? if you look close enough at society quite a few people just follow the mainstream nevermind if it is the correct choice or not. this is not meant as an insult just to let you know that what is popular is not always the best. i'll keep it short but try to highlight why.

you are right about the expense and gloss. i thought about this issue as well which is why i lean more towards wasd or deck myself. personally i want unicomp to update their keyboard matrix so that we can have n-key rollover. i've even sent them a message about this and talked with them about it.

i know quite a few people have razer keyboards. realize that the keyboards are available in almost any decent retail store while the others are found online only. the price on the keyboards is also high but still bearable.

while i've never taken gaming to the extreme i've always been right up there in the top in any game i've taken up and i also have a job in a technological field. i've used most of the different types of products available as well.

i am not making a complaint about razer. i am just being honest: razer is a 2nd rate company with 1st rate prices. while they do work they do have known issues. many other keyboards have their own problems. i've tried the keyboard out myself and while i did not keep it i did give it a propper runthrough in various tests in which it performed well enough. i'm a fast typer and on ocassion strain the usb bus so a polled keyboard is not ideal for me. a ps/2 adapter makes the keyboard force-interrupt which is ideal. for most people its not really an issue. the glossy coating was also an annoyance as well as the light weight of the keyboard but were less of an issue for me.

we have forced air heating which is why dust is an issue with the razer mouse coating. the razer mouse is pretty beefy and works well enough although not quite worth the price. i would prefer a ps/2 connection but i can live with usb for my application.

-----

if you do not have a dust issue in your house and the deathadder fits your hands then by all means it is not a bad mouse. i would recommend you find it on sale instead of paying full retail price though.

i definitely agree with the benefits of mechanical over rubber dome switches.

for around $100 your keyboard choices are more limited. basically it comes down to:

-razer mechanical keyboard
-unicomp customizer
-other mechanical keyboards (coolermaster, corsair, addesso, etc)

i've used an ibm model m for years (which the unicomp is based on) and not once single modern mechanical keyboard comes close (except the unicomp) to its feel. honestly if it was n-key rollover capable it would be perfect. i was using one made in 1985 which worked up until a glass of 80 proof was spilled on the circuit board. in fact, i used this very same keyboard for at least half of the gaming i've done over the years.

as i said earlier i've used the razer keyboard before and noted its flaws. just like the mouse though the keyboard will work and is not all bad. just note the issues.

i havent had the chance to test out any of the other brands i listed above in home but have had the chance to examine them and type on them at product displays. i've also heard my share of experience stories on a few of them. it seems that some of them work perfectly fine and others arent quite so good.

generally speaking if the board has a good keyboard matrix and uses the switches you want it should be fine. as i said before cherry mx blue are rather nice for gaming and typing but most gamers seem to prefer mx black switches for the no audible or tactile feedback. ultimately its your preference.

--

if it was my purchase for $150 i'd get either a logitech mouse or razer and a unicomp customizer. of course our opinions may differ....


..........

i said i was going to keep it short... but i guess its hard to describe with so few words.

good luck.
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January 30, 2013 9:12:15 PM

ssddx said:
if everyone jumped off a bridge would you jump off too? if you look close enough at society quite a few people just follow the mainstream nevermind if it is the correct choice or not. this is not meant as an insult just to let you know that what is popular is not always the best. i'll keep it short but try to highlight why.

you are right about the expense and gloss. i thought about this issue as well which is why i lean more towards wasd or deck myself. personally i want unicomp to update their keyboard matrix so that we can have n-key rollover. i've even sent them a message about this and talked with them about it.

i know quite a few people have razer keyboards. realize that the keyboards are available in almost any decent retail store while the others are found online only. the price on the keyboards is also high but still bearable.

while i've never taken gaming to the extreme i've always been right up there in the top in any game i've taken up and i also have a job in a technological field. i've used most of the different types of products available as well.

i am not making a complaint about razer. i am just being honest: razer is a 2nd rate company with 1st rate prices. while they do work they do have known issues. many other keyboards have their own problems. i've tried the keyboard out myself and while i did not keep it i did give it a propper runthrough in various tests in which it performed well enough. i'm a fast typer and on ocassion strain the usb bus so a polled keyboard is not ideal for me. a ps/2 adapter makes the keyboard force-interrupt which is ideal. for most people its not really an issue. the glossy coating was also an annoyance as well as the light weight of the keyboard but were less of an issue for me.

we have forced air heating which is why dust is an issue with the razer mouse coating. the razer mouse is pretty beefy and works well enough although not quite worth the price. i would prefer a ps/2 connection but i can live with usb for my application.

-----

if you do not have a dust issue in your house and the deathadder fits your hands then by all means it is not a bad mouse. i would recommend you find it on sale instead of paying full retail price though.

i definitely agree with the benefits of mechanical over rubber dome switches.

for around $100 your keyboard choices are more limited. basically it comes down to:

-razer mechanical keyboard
-unicomp customizer
-other mechanical keyboards (coolermaster, corsair, addesso, etc)

i've used an ibm model m for years (which the unicomp is based on) and not once single modern mechanical keyboard comes close (except the unicomp) to its feel. honestly if it was n-key rollover capable it would be perfect. i was using one made in 1985 which worked up until a glass of 80 proof was spilled on the circuit board. in fact, i used this very same keyboard for at least half of the gaming i've done over the years.

as i said earlier i've used the razer keyboard before and noted its flaws. just like the mouse though the keyboard will work and is not all bad. just note the issues.

i havent had the chance to test out any of the other brands i listed above in home but have had the chance to examine them and type on them at product displays. i've also heard my share of experience stories on a few of them. it seems that some of them work perfectly fine and others arent quite so good.

generally speaking if the board has a good keyboard matrix and uses the switches you want it should be fine. as i said before cherry mx blue are rather nice for gaming and typing but most gamers seem to prefer mx black switches for the no audible or tactile feedback. ultimately its your preference.

--

if it was my purchase for $150 i'd get either a logitech mouse or razer and a unicomp customizer. of course our opinions may differ....


..........

i said i was going to keep it short... but i guess its hard to describe with so few words.

good luck.

Yeah, I know about the mainstream bandwagon thing. My thought process was that if so many people are using it, it must be half decent. Logitech mice are nicer, i know, but they are a little too expensive, especially considering that it is the afterthought peripheral - im mainly looking to buy a keyboard, and use whatever was left for the Deathadder.

I took a look at the Unicomp keyboards you mentioned. My god, those are throwbacks! However, i noted that (as with the Model M), they use buckling-springs. After doing a bit of research, I saw that people generally preferred new Cherry MX Mechanical switches to the older buckling-springs of the Unicomps and Model Ms. What are your thoughts on that.

In terms of functionality, I've noted the Das Keyboard too for a while. It's a bit less mainstream, and people dub it "the modern Model M." Care to weigh in on that?

Thanks for answering!
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January 30, 2013 10:48:20 PM

you are correct, razer products are half decent. while they have some design flaws these are not severe enough to hamper useage.

most keyboards are replaced every few years. an ibm model m keyboard was designed to last. two different phillosophies. the only real update required would be a n-key rollover capable key matrix. in fact, designing such a good keyboard was a detriment since consumers would not have to buy a new keyboard every few years and very few companies design products to last nowdays. i'll list a few of the benefits later on.

the cherry mx switch while not bad doesnt have the tactile accuracy of a buckling spring. in a buckling spring the sound, tactile feedback and actual keystrike occur at the same time while in a cherry mx blue for instance it occurs at a different time. as far as why some may prefer cherry mx switches i can think of only three possible reasons:

-they do not want loud auditory feedback or less auditory feedback. the buckling spring switch is rather loud although not so loud as to be a nuisance.
-they prefer no auditory feedback and no tactile feedback for gaming. in essence, springs under keycaps. while perhaps okay for gaming they are not good for typing.
-they have wimpy fingers and find the keys too hard to press. the resistance is a good thing which i will cover later.

or it could just be preference. everyone has their own opinion.

i can say this though: the ibm model m has a cult following. what new keyboard can claim this? go to any good source on mechanical keyboards and this keyboard always receives honorable mention.

the das keyboard is no modern model m. this would be the unicomp customizer. if any cherry mx keyboard would be comparable it would be deck or wasd not das.

as you can tell, i've done my fair bit of research on the model m and other mechanical keyswitches. you can also tell that i've developed a fondness for the keyboard one often does not associate with perpherals. personally i truley do find the design to be that much superior.

benefits of the model m:

-dye sublimated keys can not be worn off and are the most costly to produce except perhaps two color plastic overmolded keys.

-removable keycaps can be washed in the dishwasher. you can then clean the interior with a vac or qtips. under the keycaps is a key with stem which the keycap snaps over. i think the new customizers use an all in one without this snap off keycap but the original model m and replacement model m parts fit.

-keyswitches are mounted to a metal plate. this increase the weight of the keyboard so it will not shift around on your desk and it provides a very sturdy surface on which to type. it can also serve as a makeshift weapon..

-the keyboard uses high grade plastic which is much harder and more durable then commonly found in most keyboards.

-higher resistance keys mean that more force is required for a keypress. this reduces accidental keypresses and influences typing speed.

-accurate tactile feedback and auditory feedback also improve typing accuracy and speed.

-model m keyboards can last quite a long time. mine was at least 20 years old when i purchased it. you can also easily replace any part on the keyboard should it fail. the company which currently makes them (unicomp) is also very friendly curteous and easy to deal with.

the negatives?

-only 2 key rollover at minimum but does support quite a few multiple keypresses for other combinations

-some people do not like the auditory or tactile feedback.

-some people find the keys to resistant. keep in mind that they are normally stiffer when brand new and "wear in" over time.


----------------------------------

of course the model m is not for everyone. i just wanted to give you some in depth information on the subject.

i hope this clears up some of your questions. yes i realize my opinion is rather one sided at times but this results from personal experience with the boards. yours may vary.

good luck, post back if you have any other questions.

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January 30, 2013 10:56:22 PM

Best answer selected by BambooChief.
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January 30, 2013 10:59:46 PM

ssddx said:
you are correct, razer products are half decent. while they have some design flaws these are not severe enough to hamper useage.

most keyboards are replaced every few years. an ibm model m keyboard was designed to last. two different phillosophies. the only real update required would be a n-key rollover capable key matrix. in fact, designing such a good keyboard was a detriment since consumers would not have to buy a new keyboard every few years and very few companies design products to last nowdays. i'll list a few of the benefits later on.

the cherry mx switch while not bad doesnt have the tactile accuracy of a buckling spring. in a buckling spring the sound, tactile feedback and actual keystrike occur at the same time while in a cherry mx blue for instance it occurs at a different time. as far as why some may prefer cherry mx switches i can think of only three possible reasons:

-they do not want loud auditory feedback or less auditory feedback. the buckling spring switch is rather loud although not so loud as to be a nuisance.
-they prefer no auditory feedback and no tactile feedback for gaming. in essence, springs under keycaps. while perhaps okay for gaming they are not good for typing.
-they have wimpy fingers and find the keys too hard to press. the resistance is a good thing which i will cover later.

or it could just be preference. everyone has their own opinion.

i can say this though: the ibm model m has a cult following. what new keyboard can claim this? go to any good source on mechanical keyboards and this keyboard always receives honorable mention.

the das keyboard is no modern model m. this would be the unicomp customizer. if any cherry mx keyboard would be comparable it would be deck or wasd not das.

as you can tell, i've done my fair bit of research on the model m and other mechanical keyswitches. you can also tell that i've developed a fondness for the keyboard one often does not associate with perpherals. personally i truley do find the design to be that much superior.

benefits of the model m:

-dye sublimated keys can not be worn off and are the most costly to produce except perhaps two color plastic overmolded keys.

-removable keycaps can be washed in the dishwasher. you can then clean the interior with a vac or qtips. under the keycaps is a key with stem which the keycap snaps over. i think the new customizers use an all in one without this snap off keycap but the original model m and replacement model m parts fit.

-keyswitches are mounted to a metal plate. this increase the weight of the keyboard so it will not shift around on your desk and it provides a very sturdy surface on which to type. it can also serve as a makeshift weapon..

-the keyboard uses high grade plastic which is much harder and more durable then commonly found in most keyboards.

-higher resistance keys mean that more force is required for a keypress. this reduces accidental keypresses and influences typing speed.

-accurate tactile feedback and auditory feedback also improve typing accuracy and speed.

-model m keyboards can last quite a long time. mine was at least 20 years old when i purchased it. you can also easily replace any part on the keyboard should it fail. the company which currently makes them (unicomp) is also very friendly curteous and easy to deal with.

the negatives?

-only 2 key rollover at minimum but does support quite a few multiple keypresses for other combinations

-some people do not like the auditory or tactile feedback.

-some people find the keys to resistant. keep in mind that they are normally stiffer when brand new and "wear in" over time.


----------------------------------

of course the model m is not for everyone. i just wanted to give you some in depth information on the subject.

i hope this clears up some of your questions. yes i realize my opinion is rather one sided at times but this results from personal experience with the boards. yours may vary.

good luck, post back if you have any other questions.

Yeah, it seems like the Model M has quite a following with tech geeks everywhere. However, I'm a little afraid of a buckling-spring keyboard. I don't want something louder than a mechanical keyboard, and I want something a little easier to type on (I admit it - I have wimpy fingers). Also, I don't like the sound of the Model M. I much prefer the light "click click click" of mechanical keyboards.

So in terms of just mechanical keyboards, I want something with MX Blue switches. Do you really advise against a Blackwidow? A Das? A Filco? Ducky? So many choices....
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January 30, 2013 11:03:05 PM

I'd also like to put it out there to clarify things - I have OSX (*** me, right?) Therefore I'd like keyboards that have dedicated Mac versions (ergo the Razer) or blank keycaps (Das)
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January 30, 2013 11:18:48 PM

as i said, buckling springs arent for everyone.

search google for "mechanical keyboard guide" and on hardforums there is a great post. i think buckling springs have 85g resistance while some cherry mx top out at 60. not a huge difference. in terms of sound they are louder but not much. dont let what i said scare you.

with that said, i'm not advising for or against a blackwidow. all i do is put all of the information on the table so that you may make an informed decision.

i've heard good things about ducky but they can be expensive and are basic. i've heard good things about deck and wasd but they are also expensive. i've heard people like their das keyboards as well. in general as long as product reviews arent noting any hardware failures or bad keymatrix designs or possibly faulty software i wouldnt advise against any of them.

i prefer quality which is why i tend to stress certain models over others. if you arent worried about the same things as i am then by all means, go with what you think works for you.

i know osx keycaps are available for the model m/customizer. i'm not sure about the others. however, since cherry mx keyswitches have removable keys you should be able to get mac keys, i'm not sure if they will match the keyboards other keys though, you may want keyboard specific versions.

Sarcasm: what, you mean an apple user doesnt drool over the ergonomic perfection that is the apple chicklet keyboard?

keep in mind that windows keys can be remapped to osx keys from within osx. the icon on the key doesnt influence this.

----

that was a rather quick reply.. i did not expect one so soon.
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January 31, 2013 12:09:11 AM

ssddx said:
as i said, buckling springs arent for everyone.

search google for "mechanical keyboard guide" and on hardforums there is a great post. i think buckling springs have 85g resistance while some cherry mx top out at 60. not a huge difference. in terms of sound they are louder but not much. dont let what i said scare you.

with that said, i'm not advising for or against a blackwidow. all i do is put all of the information on the table so that you may make an informed decision.

i've heard good things about ducky but they can be expensive and are basic. i've heard good things about deck and wasd but they are also expensive. i've heard people like their das keyboards as well. in general as long as product reviews arent noting any hardware failures or bad keymatrix designs or possibly faulty software i wouldnt advise against any of them.

i prefer quality which is why i tend to stress certain models over others. if you arent worried about the same things as i am then by all means, go with what you think works for you.

i know osx keycaps are available for the model m/customizer. i'm not sure about the others. however, since cherry mx keyswitches have removable keys you should be able to get mac keys, i'm not sure if they will match the keyboards other keys though, you may want keyboard specific versions.

Sarcasm: what, you mean an apple user doesnt drool over the ergonomic perfection that is the apple chicklet keyboard?

keep in mind that windows keys can be remapped to osx keys from within osx. the icon on the key doesnt influence this.

----

that was a rather quick reply.. i did not expect one so soon.


Christ. Now I'm in limbo between the Razer and the Das. The Filco/Ducky are almost twice the cost of the Razer/Das/Unicomp so I guess those are out. I have heard like one or 2 people complain about buggy Razer software. I've also heard that the typing experience on the Das is far superior. Sorry to keep bugging you (I've already voted your answer as the best - thanks) but should I go with the Das? Or does backlighting and macros make a difference?

Thanks for sticking with me!
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January 31, 2013 1:01:37 AM

generally speaking, if the keyswitches are the same the typing experience will be similar. things such as key height, key inclination and frame size and height can affect this but the keys themselves will feel about the same.

i never did install the razer keyboard software since you have to download it. i have heard that it was buggy but i never had any issues with the mouse software which i did install.

backlighting is aesthetic only. since using a pc in the dark is very bad for your eyes there really is no point.

as far as macros go... i've played many types of games including rpgs and never felt the need to use one single macro. honestly unless you play wow or use macro comands for work its not a huge deal. often games offer in-game macro commands using shift, alt or other combinations if needed.

as long as the keyboard works there is no right or wrong answer. i would suggest seeing and typing on the keyboard in person if you can.
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