Cherry MX Silent switches are nothing particularly new, but until now, they were limited to one type (linear Red switches) and one company--Corsair. Now, though, the Corsair exclusivity has expired, leaving other companies free to implement the quiet switches onto their own keyboards.
Further, Cherry opted to add a new switch type to the silent crew with a Black option. Now, then, there are four total Cherry MX Silent switches: Silent Red, Silent Black, Silent RGB Red, and Silent RGB Black.
The “silent” part is achieved via a rubber pad that dampens the sound of both the switch bottoming out the rebound noise. Note that otherwise, the specifications of the switches are identical to those of their non-silent counterparts. It’s worth noting that both Red and Black switches are linear, meaning there’s no extra click within the key travel.
As indicated in the table below, there’s not much difference between the four Silent MX switches (the clear switch housings on the RGB versions notwithstanding) other than the force required for operation. Reds are quite light; Blacks offer a firmer feel for those who like linear switches but not the lightness of Reds.
Between MX Silent and standard MX switches, there’s a slight difference in the pretravel and total travel, due to the added rubber components.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Silent Black / Silent RGB Black||Silent Red / Silent RGB Red||Black / RGB Black||Red / RGB Red|
|Actuation Force||60cN +/-20||45cN +/- 15||60cN +/-20||45cN +/- 15|
|Pretravel||1.9mm +/-0.6||2mm +/-0.6|
|Actuator Travel||3.7mm -0.4||4mm -0.4|
|Bounce Time||< 5ms|
|Lifetime||50m key presses|
There have been no non-Corsair keyboards announced to date that have Silent MX switches on board, but we expect to see a glut of them relatively soon. Even hardcore mechanical keyboard fans generally admit that their clicking and clacking can get a bit grating in noise-sensitive settings such as offices, dorm rooms, and small apartments. Reducing the noise without losing much of anything in the way of performance will surely attract a few buyers. (Alternately, you can use a third-party dampening system on your existing switches.)
I know this firsthand since I already own two of them Cherry MX Pink keyboards (typing on one of them right now).
To those who ask about O-Rings: O-Rings reduce the travel (hence you bottom out earlier on) and kinda dampen the noise. Here, noise is NON existant. If you soft type on them you hear ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, like, your breath makes more noise. If you bottom out you do indeed travel the 4 mm that is the Cherry MX travel length of the keyboard but you hear a muffled "thuck" sound, heavy and not annoying at all, very very low on the register and volume.
They are a miracle to behold in an open office environment because they actually make less noise than e.g. the classic MS membrane keyboards that many offices use. Yeah, you heard right, they are MORE silent than membrane keyboards. For that alone, it's worth the price of admission.
For more relevance:
and here is my keyboard when it first arrived some time ago, minutes before plugging it in: