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Five Mechanical-Switch Keyboards: Only The Best For Your Hands

Test System And The Five Candidates

Test configuration and selection of the test objects

Our test introduces five mechanical keyboards that are currently on the market. We received a Mionix Zibal 60, but because the manufacturer dragged its feet sending us the layout we wanted, we decided to test the Ione X-Armor instead. This wired sister of the U27 is already a legend among aficionados.

The games used for testing include typical representatives from various genres, from Doom 3, Half Life 2, Crysis 2, WoW, and Need for Speed to Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein, Jack Jazzrabbit, and some other classics, which we test on a separate DOS-based system. WoW represents the test category of suitability for massively multi-player online role-playing games. Word processing capability is tested in Microsoft Word 2007.

Test System

We affix great importance to a native PS/2 interface, because the current high-end keyboards have at least one of these ports. We also used technology and games that exclude delays caused by an overloaded system.

Test System 1 (2011)
CPU and CoolerIntel Core i7 2600K (Sandy Bridge) @ 4.5 GHz, Prolimatech Genesis, 2 x Vertex Blue
Mainboard and RAMGigabyte Z68X-UD7B3, 8 GB Kingston HyperX 1600 Genesis
Graphics CardGainward GeForce GTX 580 Phantom
Hard DriveSamsung SSD 470-Series, 1 TB WD Caviar Blue
Connection PortsPS/2 and USB, both tested
Operating SystemWindows Ultimate x64

Of course, we ran classic games in their usual environments. For this, we revved up an older test machine.

Test System 2 (1992)
CPUCyrix 386 DX40
RAM8 MB RAM
Graphics CardTsenglabs ET3000
Hard DriveIBM, 500 MB
Connection PortsPS/2 (via original Cherry Adapter PS/2 to DIN )
Operating SystemMS-DOS 6.1

Keyboards Tested

Overview of the keyboards tested
SteelSeries 6Gv2

Ione X-Armor U9BL

Ione X-Armor U27 (Gemini)

Zowie Celeritas

Razer BlackWidow