** rjkoneill's Keyboard Guide **

Soldato
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I came across my rambling (which I posted a version of in the official mech kb thread) about MX Switches, which includes switches not on your guide (as some are less common, to those almost impossible to find).

Here it is for anyone interested:

Switches

Linear: Favoured switch for FPS gamers, but are also fine for typing.

  • MX Red switches have a very light feel to them and are easily bottomed out. Red’s seem a bit lighter than the average membrane keyboard and will not fatigue you using it.
  • MX Black switches have a feel slightly heavier than a new membrane keyboard. They are harder to bottom than Red’s, and some complain of fatigue after a long gaming session using them. My personal preference of the linear switches.
  • **MX Dark Grey are a heavier variant to MX Black, and were sometimes used as the switch for the spacebar key for MX Black keyboards.
  • **MX Super Grey was a very stiff switch, with an activation force of well over 80g.

Click: Switches aimed at typists, but can be good for MMO’s and other slower paced games.
  • MX Blue. Have a very nice feel, with a noticeable bump before actuation, then a click as they are pressed. The switches themselves aren’t too loud, but the click they make cannot be silenced, which is rather loud. Similar weight to a membrane keyboard, with a nice bump as they activate, coupled with a click. This switch is my personal preference of the clicky variety.
  • MX Green is a heavier variant of the MX Blue switch. These are identical to Blue, with added weight. They are both rare and much more fatiguing. They started out as the spacebar key for the keyboards using the MX Blue switches.
  • MX White/Milk are almost identical in feel to the MX Green, but have a softer clicking sound.

Tactile: Seen as a middle ground of typing and gaming, whilst being very good at both jobs and staying quiet. These are my favoured switch type.
  • MX Brown switches feature a small bump at the activation point, which can be felt when not mashing the keys in a ham-fisted manner. They are lighter than a membrane keyboard, but not as light as the MX Red switch.
  • MX Clear switches are rare. These have a similar activation force to the MX Black switch due to the tactile bump, but feature a more prominent bump than the Brown switches. This gives a feel similar to that of the clicky switches, whilst being much quieter. Currently my favourite switch.
  • **MX Grey – sometimes referred to as Light Grey - is heavier than the Clear switch, and around the same activation as a Green or Dark Grey. These were often used as the switch for the space bar of a keyboard with Clear switches.

**These switch types are extremely rare, and untested by me. All of the others I have tested.

I also know of three main types of O-Ring, with 40A-R, 40A-L & 50A-R.

Softer dampening:
40A-L reduce the keystroke by 0.2mm, and are the least intrusive to the switch, giving a small amount of dampening, while reducing the noise.
40A-R reduce the keystroke by 0.4mm, reducing the keystroke further, and giving greater noise reduction.

Harder dampening:
50A-R reduce the keystroke by 0.4mm, and give a hard landing to the switch, reducing the noise.
 
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Associate
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No Topre Love? :confused:

It's all about personal preference.

Personally I like my Filco Cherry Brown, but I love my RF87U and FC660C.

I have the red o-rings [40A-L] from WASDKeyboards because I'm currently using the Filco at work.
 
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Caporegime
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@rjkoneill (and anyone else TBH :p)

What switch would you recommend for my requirements? Red or brown? :)

- as quiet as possible
- gaming (FPS such as BF 3 and soon BF 4) and typing, I can be gaming for long periods i.e. 4-5 hours and typing a fair bit

Was leaning towards brown originally but I think red might be better as they will be quieter (?) + easier on the fingers for those long intense gaming sessions? Only concern is that red keys will be too easy to activate......

1 week on and I still can't decide :o :p

I think I have decided on the CM rapid fire tenkeyless keyboards.

Would a brown or red switch be "much" louder than a membrane keyboard?
 
Soldato
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yes louder it would be


I would go with red but it depends on how you type.

I changed from brown to Blue to red and haven't looked back.
 
Soldato
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Browns are rather good! I think all mechanical keyboards will make noise no matter what you do, but dampening and using o-rings will reduce the noise.
 
Caporegime
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Thanks :)

I am quite a heavy hitter with my keyboard :o :p And being use to membrane (and especially one that is pretty old now so needs a bit more force to register a key press...) I can see myself bottoming out on mech. non stop........

Have read about those o-rings but mixed opinions on them, some say they are better and others say they aren't :/ Would they suit brown or red switch better?
 

rjk

rjk

Caporegime
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brown and red feel very similar. i just find the bump offputting in honesty. if you can, buy a brown and red and return the one you like least.

i dont like orings but its personal taste again.

in honesty, if you are that heavy with your keyboard, a black switch may suit you best. depends if you touchtype or not too really
 
Caporegime
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brown and red feel very similar. i just find the bump offputting in honesty. if you can, buy a brown and red and return the one you like least.

i dont like orings but its personal taste again.

in honesty, if you are that heavy with your keyboard, a black switch may suit you best. depends if you touchtype or not too really

Thanks :)

Have decided to just wait for the corsair raptor k30, if it ever comes in stock that is........ :p

£70 is just too much for a keyboard imo
 
Associate
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Great guide thanks. Being visually impaired which keyboad would your recomend for me as having the most clear led lighting options? Looking for a mechanical keyboad but dont want to waste lots of money to find i can not see the keys
 

rjk

rjk

Caporegime
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Can I ask what is the difference between ABS and PBT key caps?

The Deskauthority Wiki has a good overview

ABS
Most keyboards in the world have keycaps made of ABS. ABS is short for "Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene", being a copolymer of these three monomers. ABS exists in many different formulations for different applications.

(Poly)styrene is the main ingredient. Butadiene makes it more flexible and less brittle. Acrylonitrile makes it harder. ABS, and other blends with Polystyrene (PS) are some of the most commonly used plastics for computer equipment, including keyboard cases.

ABS keys is the prefered plastic to double-shot molding. That is because most other plastics shrink too much in the moulding process. Legends on ABS keys can also be pad-printed, laser-etched (burned) or laser-engraved (with or without infill). Because of the low shrinkage, some keyboards have space bars made of ABS even if other keys are made of PBT or POM.

Yellowing
ABS (and other polystyrene blends) will gradually turn yellow over time when subjected to ultraviolet light, a component of sunlight.
Yellowing occurs faster if the plastic contains flame-retardant chemicals, but it is more often used in the plastic of keyboard cases than in keys. You can sometimes find vintage keyboards where the case is very yellow, the space bar is less yellow and the other keys (made of PBT instead of ABS) have not yellowed at all.
Yellowing can be reversed with the Retr0bright process.

PBT
PBT (short for "polybutylene terephthalate") is one of the hardest, most durable materials for keycaps. It is more resilient against heat and chemicals than ABS, but its properties also makes it more difficult to mould, which makes it more uncommon.

Legends on PBT keys are often laser-etched or dye-sublimated but only very rarely double shot moulded. Because of shrinkage during demoulding, PBT is also rarely used for the largest key, the space bar, with a notable exception being Cherry.

PBT does not turn yellow from exposure to ultraviolet light, like ABS does. The resilience against heat makes it a good candidate for dyeing in a hot dye bath.
PBT keys can be found on the IBM Model M, Topre Realforce keyboards, some vintage Apple keyboards and all contemporary grey and some older beige/grey keyboards from Cherry in the G80 and G81 series.

Polycarbonate
Polycarbonate (PC) is used mostly for key caps that are clear and transparent. PC does not yellow like polystyrene/ABS and is more impact-resistant than acrylic (PMMA). It is sometimes blended into ABS to make ABS-PC.

Coloured, transparent key caps made from PC have been made by Signature Plastics.



ABS is generally used on most stuff but can get shiny after a long usage term.

PBT has a nicer 'feel' and generally doesn't lose its texture. the caps are also a little thicker in some instances but in my experience this doesnt add/detract from the typing experience.
 
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