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What Is N-Key Rollover? A Basic Definition

Tesoro Gram XS keyboard with n-key rollover

A keyboard with n-key rollover, or abbreviated as NKRO, has the ability to scan each button press individually, as opposed to having the PC do it. As a result, every pressed button, or key, is noted, even if you’re pressing a bunch of keys simultaneously.

Sometimes you'll see the "n" in n-key rollover replaced with a number. That number tells you how many keys you can press simultaneously with the keyboard being aware. For example, if your keyboard has 6-key rollover, you can press six keys at once with successful input. N-key rollover is particularly relevant/helpful for gaming keyboards.

Not all keyboards come with n-key rollover, as implementing the feature comes with certain cost and design challenges.

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

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Scharon Harding

Scharon Harding is a Senior Editor at Tom's Hardware. She has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, Scharon covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.