Four Keyboards And Four Mice For LAN Party Gamers, Rounded-Up

Results: Volume And Activation Force


Keyboards can be a bit more difficult to test than, say, CPUs or graphics cards. There’s no Sandra or 3DMark for peripherals. As a result, we had come up with various testing methods to “benchmark” these products.

Our volume test compares the noise each keyboard creates while typing five paragraphs of dummy text from Each was recorded with a microphone array one foot away that allows us to control the ambient noise level and cancel out any sound not coming directly from the keyboards. The average decibel level of the entire test gives us a pretty accurate representation of each board’s average operational volume.

As we might have expected, at around 60 dB, the Razer BlackWidow is by far the loudest due to its mechanical switch design. That puts the Razer in the same range as a moderately loud conversation. Depending on your environment, it isn't hard to imagine the folks around you getting annoyed by loud key presses.

The Siig and Kensington keyboards both come in at 38 dB, which is about average for a notebook keyboard. Neither is completely silent, but they certainly won't irk someone sitting nearby.

At 42 dB, the Logitech K800 is only slightly louder.

Activation Force

Finger exhaustion and strain over time are not unusual for most power users, and actuation force plays a big part in that. The more force needed to press any given key, the faster you'll become fatigued. To test this, we used a set of small stacked weights. We placed them, one at a time, on a selected key until it depressed. To help ensure accuracy, the front of each board was tilted upward until the keys were completely level.

Unexpectedly, the BlackWidow actually requires the least amount of force to trigger at just 0.049 Newtons. While this board’s high noise level might have made you think it'd require considerably more force to register each key, our tests show the exact opposite to be true. Meanwhile, at almost 0.068 Newtons, the Kensington board took the most force to register a keystroke. The Logitech and Siig boards are much closer to the Kensington than the Razer, scoring 0.062 and 0.064 Newtons, respectively.

The data shows that there doesn’t seem to be any direct correlation between activation force and noise level. Ultimately, though, these measurements really only matter if you plan to use one of these keyboards extensively. If you're only buying a peripheral for LAN party gaming, characterized by plenty of noise, headsets, and hours of gaming at a time (rather than days of use), these results might be superficial to you.

  • Hadoe
    "high-quality console graphics"

    Heh, good one Toms... good one.
  • atavax
    i wonder at what dpi's they tested acceleration. It was my understanding that a lot of mice have acceleration issues at different dpi's. I have seen multiple sources that say the G9 has negative acceleration at low sensitivities.
  • samwelaye
    I've had my g9x for quite a while now, love this mouse!
  • Trewyy
    G9x now down to $55 on Newegg :) I should mention that it was a good review, as always!
  • ShadyHamster
    Five programmable buttons near the thumb rest, a mechanical button below the scroll wheel, and a battery indicator set the G500 apart from standard mice.

    That should be DPI indicator not battery.

    And whats up with pitting 1 mechanical keyboard up against 3 membrane keyboards? Before even reading the article i knew that the mechanical keyboard would be the clear winner, who would care about the loudness of the keys at a lan party, 99.9% of people would have headphones.
  • Swordkd
    Before I bought my Razer mouse(Imperator 2012), I read reviews on newegg and decided to discount the issue that they seemed to be having. After a few months of use, the mice would start to double-click from a single "click". Sure enough, less than 6 months of light to moderate use, my mouse now suffers from this malady once out of every 20 clicks or so. Enough to annoy me.

    I will not recommend that brand mouse to anyone ever again.
  • Soda-88
    No 6Gv2?
  • kitsunestarwind
    Logitech G9X is a fantastic mouse, been using mine since they first came out, never a complaint and has led to me having very sharp and accurate aim in games like BF3. Buy one it is worth it!
  • alidan
    das keyboard professional
    razor naga

    that's my setup...

    that said, sound and weight to press are not lower or higher is better... they are prefferences, i personally love the sound that a cherry blue makes and wish it was a bit louder because i make more sound on each key by bottoming them out apposed to activating the switch.

    and weight, i hear it more often than not that for gaming heavier presses are better because its less likely to accidently activate.

    now, impersonally just because of prior things i have had, i can never recommend razor... but at the same time i use a razor because i want that 12 key pad, and Logitech mouse is even smaller than the already small naga, and i cant get use to its bad form factor... its really the only razor anything i recommend just because there is no other competition that i can tell people to go with outside the small logitech and only if they have small hands.

    also, i dont know if it was mentioned, but the razor keyboard from what i remember has such a strict policy, that if you remove a key cap, you void the warranty. there are story's of the s and j key switched, but because of razors warranty, they have to send it in and get it replaced that way, and its a razor product, you know it will fail... the keyboard doesn't have a mounting plate, so its more likely to fail than other mechanical keyboards because of the solder point stress before the keys naturally give out.
  • blubbey
    'The G500 was reported to be too long,'

    I know of course this is personal preference and everyone's different, but either their hands are small or mine are of reasonable size because I can almost cover the entire mouse (fingertips and base of my hand can just about hit the mouse mat at the same time). Unfortunately I don't have much else to compare it to, only random mice however it is larger than any I can remember, so I might just have larger than 'normal' hands.

    Something else you might want to consider that others have found is that the scroll wheel is very 'light' to use. I'm indifferent about it seeing as I'm used to light scroll wheels but a few people have raised that point in reviews that I saw before buying it (~$45 on sale). I've also found that the weights are prety much useless, it's already quite a weighty mouse so an extra few grams really didn't matter for me.