Keyboard advice: thinking of getting a mechanical Page 2

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  • mal 9 Mar 2012 00:28:55 22,006 posts
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    The ALPS I've had for years now, although I don't use it much. Doesn't help it's PS/2 based. The Majestouch I've had for about 18 months I guess. Haven't actually used it an awful lot yet as I haven't had a desktop machine set up for a while and my netbook keyboard is okay for what I use it for (and most EGing at home is done on my trusty E71 for the record)

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  • mal 9 Mar 2012 00:31:12 22,006 posts
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    I do use a Dell AT102 at work though, and I'd bring in my personal one if that broke. I've tried other keyboards and they just don't compare - I hate soggy keyboards.

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  • Deleted user 9 March 2012 00:38:06
    By mechanical do you mean a typewriter? I've never seen one wired up to a PC before but I guess it is possible, personally i'm not sure, I don't think you have keys like F1, F2 etc, but I guess you can live without those.
  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 00:50:10 76,371 posts
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    No, it means it's got a mechanical switch under each key rather that a rubber mat or plastic membrane. The keys are usually just sprung with a spring.

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  • Deleted user 9 March 2012 00:54:02
    But on that subject, I am going to buy an old fashioned typewriter at some point. Some people dream of having man-caves, I dream of having a classic study where I'm surrounded by shelves of books, and have a mahogany desk with nothing but stacks of paper and a typewriter atop.
  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 00:57:47 76,371 posts
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    I've got an old Remington in it's case, not a clue what to do with it. Might just eat the ribbon and do a Bukowski.

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  • mal 9 Mar 2012 01:00:25 22,006 posts
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    Hmm, not sure about that. Old mechanical typewriters were a pain in the arse, constantly jamming or skinning your finger cos you had to hit the key so hard your finger slipped off the key and then it sprung back up trapping your finger in the workings. Give me an electromechanical typewriter any day of the week.

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  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 01:02:42 76,371 posts
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    For reasons of practicality it has to be a toss up between an IBM electric typewriter and an old greenscreen running DOS and WordPerfect with a dot matrix printer which users that perforated paper with the holes on both sides.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 01:04:34 09-03-2012

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  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 01:12:15 76,371 posts
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    Not out of place in any office with leather bound books and the smell of rich mahogany imo.

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  • mal 9 Mar 2012 01:14:32 22,006 posts
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    Dot matrix? Surely golf-ball or at least daisywheel.

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  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 01:16:36 76,371 posts
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    For the IBM typewriter, yeah. If it's a PC, it's got to be an offensively loud piece of beige furniture.

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  • gamingdave 9 Mar 2012 01:22:57 4,121 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    ....with a dot matrix printer which users that perforated paper with the holes on both sides.
    If I was to ever run down a corridor clutching a piece of paper to bang on a glass wall and interrupt a meeting with, I would want to have torn it off one of those :)

    I think I have now narrowed it down to either the Logitech Illuminated, Cherry G80-3000 with blue keys (cant find it with brown), or go all out and get the Filco with browns.

    The Logitech sounds the quietest, followed by the Filco, but the Cherry gives me entry to mechanical and can be had for the least amount. The Logitech adds the lighting, but not sure how often if ever I would use it. Whilst I love the idea of a late night Silent Hunter session on the projector, its happened once in the last year, and with any M/K games I think I can find the keys without looking.

    Cheers for all the advice so far, definitely helps to hear real world views, and trying to navigate keyboard sites like geekhack.org can be a bit overwhelming.
  • mal 9 Mar 2012 01:38:39 22,006 posts
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    If you need office chic, then you absolutely need a line printer. Fucking behemoth machines that can run through a ream of paper in seconds, all while screaming like a banshee.

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  • mal 9 Mar 2012 01:40:28 22,006 posts
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    Oh, and re keyboards, I've never seen a decent Logitech keyboard, even though I swear by their mice. I think they made Compaq's keyboards, and those were horrible wet lettuce things.

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  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 04:13:10 76,371 posts
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    Line printer! Yeah, that's the thing.

    And you have to be wearing a white coat and a pair of these to operate it.




    Edited by Dirtbox at 04:41:41 09-03-2012

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  • Khanivor 9 Mar 2012 04:46:57 39,907 posts
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    Edited by Khanivor at 04:48:42 09-03-2012
  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 04:54:01 76,371 posts
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    As Logitech go, I'm not a fan. Mice are okay in a pinch, but their keyboards range from too spongy to too hard. I don't mind some of their speakers though.

    I've gone completely off the boil of this thread, but ideally you need to test them out for yourself to find out which cherry MX switch type is best as they all have a different tactile feedback. From there your path is pretty clear as to which keyboard you'll want to invest in.

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  • Dirtbox 9 Mar 2012 04:56:02 76,371 posts
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    Ah cool, found this handy FAQ which should make it clearer.

    Personally, I like my cherry MX switches black like my men, but I'm constantly mis-pressing them and making stupid mistakes when I type, but they're great for gaming. Browns are probably a better idea for an all-rounder though.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 05:03:39 09-03-2012

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  • ming 9 Mar 2012 10:08:09 275 posts
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    @gamingdave, I don't think that there would be much if any difference in construction. I have the cheapest mechanical keyboard I could get, and it still weights 1.5 kg. Everything I have read says that mechanical keyboards are made in the same way, which is very sturdy.

    There must be cheaper MX brown keyboards than the examples you quote, as the only difference is the switch, which I would imagine costs the same. I would not pay that much as the noise is matter of preference rather function. Most of the time I can easily ignore the noise, it is just that it is impossible to type quietly with it.
  • gamingdave 9 Mar 2012 10:51:43 4,121 posts
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    Browns definitely look like the happy all rounder, with the tactile feedback of the blues without the extra click.

    Been reading about all the various key switches at geekhack and it would appear that, at least in the UK, there aren't really many lower priced boards with browns in, its either black or blue.

    --edit--

    Apparently Cherry themselves have never made a UK board with browns, and I don't seem to be able to find anyone else making boards in their price range. So if you want browns it looks like you have to jump up a price bracket.

    Edited by gamingdave at 11:24:01 09-03-2012
  • mal 9 Mar 2012 11:23:54 22,006 posts
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    Yeah, browns are a little hard to get hold of. I don't think they're really equivalent to the blues - I find it quite hard to type on without bottoming out the keys. If I remember the graphs right, they do have a lower travel force than blues or blacks, so at least when I type it's not silent as I keep bottoming out the keys. Having slept on it, if I had to buy again I'd probably go for MX blues, although I'd probably stick with Filco as the construction is top notch, and it's nice and compact and modern-looking.

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  • mal 9 Mar 2012 11:51:05 22,006 posts
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    The FAQ link DB posted has some animations of how the different Cherry MXes work which are pretty awesome. I wish I'd seen that before I invested.

    I used the graphs provided by getdigital.de when I bought mine. It shows the extra force needed by blacks, but it also shows that to get over the tactile bump on blues you need to apply enough force to bottom out the key. I'd recommend getDigital for service, and I would use them again myself if they sold anything other than keyboards and pointless geek tat.

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  • mal 9 Mar 2012 11:53:00 22,006 posts
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    Oh, and to follow up myself a third time, I've never seen a brown board with UK layout, but luckily I can adapt to the US layout fairly easily. My Filco brown is US layout.

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  • MetalDog 9 Mar 2012 11:54:43 23,706 posts
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    Damn you guys.
    I haven't used a mechanical since the IBM I spraypainted red and yellow died - man that keyboard was awesome - and garish.

    You're making me want to splash out on another, you buggers.

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • disusedgenius 9 Mar 2012 11:56:35 5,147 posts
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    Just out of interest - where would you guys go to actually test these things? I'm seriously considering getting something for home, but the only one I've managed to get onto is one of the Das ones which a guy at work uses.
  • mal 9 Mar 2012 12:21:54 22,006 posts
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    God knows. I don't know any bricks and mortar shops that sell the Filco keyboards. I don't even know any shop in the UK, virtual or otherwise that sells keyboards with MX browns on.

    Oh, and I've just remembered - there is a company which I think is in the UK that makes reproduction IBM-style mechanical keyboards, but I didn't trust their esales system enough to get one of those. They're also less sleek than the Filco.

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  • gamingdave 9 Mar 2012 15:37:12 4,121 posts
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    @mal, I read the graphs slightly differently, and it looks to me like the brown and blues need the same force to trigger, and bottom out, but because of the blues design you need less force to start it moving. Either way the idea is when you get the feedback, be it the click or the physical signal, you know you can release, and hence avoid bottoming out.

    You say you wish you had seen the diagrams, do you think they tell you something different?

    Still think browns are for me. If I was going blue I would be very tempted by the standard (blue) Cherry as its half the price of the Filco.

    Pretty sure I am going to go for the Filco with brown though as it gets such a good reception, now to decide over full layout or without the numpad, and whether to go ninja or not.
  • mal 10 Mar 2012 11:44:07 22,006 posts
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    gamingdave wrote:
    @mal, I read the graphs slightly differently, and it looks to me like the brown and blues need the same force to trigger, and bottom out, but because of the blues design you need less force to start it moving. Either way the idea is when you get the feedback, be it the click or the physical signal, you know you can release, and hence avoid bottoming out.

    You say you wish you had seen the diagrams, do you think they tell you something different?
    Bear in mind the actuation point is slightly after the click, but in practice the keys tend to run away with you after the bump/click anyway, so it's neither here nor there.

    I say I wish I'd seen the animations because I find it easier to visualise the action from that than from a graph.

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  • gamingdave 10 Mar 2012 12:20:01 4,121 posts
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    From looking at the graphs and the animations you do get a sense for the action, but I guess the only way to know is to try them. Unfortunately I have nowhere local to try them, and so need to go with recommendations and reading.

    It does appear that the blue and brown are very similar, but that the blues make more noise, giving more feedback, allowing you to slow down earlier. So with the blues it's easier to know when to decelerate/release, and hence easier (in theory) not to bottom out, or at least bottom out with less force. I assume with time though, you can get the same level of competence with the browns (being that they have the tactile feedback), and so it mainly comes down to preference over the sound.

    Everyone seems to say blues are the best for typing, but that browns are second best, and better for gaming. I do find it odd to think of them as vastly different though (typing and gaming that is) as surely the aim in both is to trigger the key quickly and accurately.

    People talk about the blacks and reds being best, as you get the feedback from bottoming out, but only need to travel a very short distance back up from the actuation point to reset. I can see how in practice this may seem best, but then I am used to fully releasing before re-triggering.

    I suppose in a lot of gaming you are only using a few keys, which does make a difference.

    @mal, do you think from looking at the animations you would still switch and go blue if buying again? Now you can see what is happening in the brown swithces would you say what you would expect them to feel like (from viewing the action) matches the real experience?

    Have to say if I was going blue I would greatly consider the Cherry G80 as you can get it off Amazon for 60. For the browns it would be the Falco from The Keyboard Company. They do the Unicorp Model M as well as a load of other nice looking boards, and have most Cherry boards in a range of keys. They definitely look like the best UK supplier.

    Edited by gamingdave at 12:23:28 10-03-2012
  • mal 10 Mar 2012 12:45:27 22,006 posts
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    Yes, I think I'd still go for blue if I went again, as I think the action would be more positive. Also, to be honest I'm slightly disappointed by the browns not being as silent as I'd hoped in practice, as bottoming out is quite noisy

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