Mechanical Keyboard Guide

Serpico

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Blazestorm

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You can remap your caps-lock to control in Windows pretty easily. I did it for both my desktop/laptop.
 

Serpico

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I haven't looked into that in a while, but thanks. Do you go right into the registry or do you use registry editing applications like SharpKeys?
 
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First posting:

Thank you all:D My last IBM M keyboard finally died. :( I salted away a half a dozen them back in the early 1990's and one by one they went to keyboard heaven, or where loaned out never to return.. I didn't think I could replace them. I was searching to see if anyone made such a key board when Google pointed out this forum for mechanical Keyboards. Not only is this style of keyboard still made but a copy of my beloved IBM keyboard is still in production, plus I have links to other brands of mechanical keyboards. People complain about the cost of this type of keyboard but My old IBM's outlasted numerous Logitechs, Microsoft, and other such keyboards. I see I have a lot to educate myself about mechanical keyboards, we didn't have any such choices back when the IBM M 's where still in production. this is going to be fun.
 
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Serpico

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I ended up using SharpKeys, very easy to use. Aside from reassigning my Caps Lock key to ctrl, I also assigned the left Windows key to ctrl and swapped the left side ctrl and alt keys. This way I can have the same keyboard shortcuts for Windows and OS X, finally!
 

Spare-Flair

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Okay guys, I've in Canada and it's harder to find mechanical keyboards in stores or even to get them shipped here cheaply.

I want a mech. keyboard so badly, I had a dream about one last night. I'm serious. I dreamed about typing and right now I'm typing on a mushy logitech keyboard that feels like typing on mud and puke with pieces of cheap vinyl laid over top of it.

I want something loud, something with a ton of tactile feel, great feedback, a great old 1980s keyboard feeling, but also modern looking and in black. What should I look for? I'm lost with all these different switches and keyboards.
 

sayu

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Loud and tactile would indicate a board with either Cherry blue, Alps white, or buckling springs.
 

Lateralus

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I want something loud, something with a ton of tactile feel, great feedback, a great old 1980s keyboard feeling, but also modern looking and in black. What should I look for? I'm lost with all these different switches and keyboards.

What sayu said. I'd recommend a board with Cherry Blues. A board with buckling springs would give you that 1980s feel, but I'm not aware of any that are black and modern looking. Based on the feedback on Geekhack, the Cherry Blues provide a similar typing experience but are available on some really good looking boards including the Das Keyboard and the Filco Majestouch. I can't recommend the iOne Scorpius M10 based on reports of poor build quality (not sure if that's even an option for you in Canada, but if it is I would steer clear despite the fact that it's the cheapest of the bunch).
 

sayu

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A board with buckling springs would give you that 1980s feel, but I'm not aware of any that are black and modern looking.

Unicomp SpaceSaver comes in black (sorta) and could be worse in terms of aesthetics...

pckeyboards210141087.jpg
 

Lateralus

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^ Cool, I hadn't seen that one. Not bad when compared to those old IBM Model-M keyboards (I know they have a "classic" look, but I prefer a more modern design).
 

Spare-Flair

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What sayu said. I'd recommend a board with Cherry Blues. A board with buckling springs would give you that 1980s feel, but I'm not aware of any that are black and modern looking. Based on the feedback on Geekhack, the Cherry Blues provide a similar typing experience but are available on some really good looking boards including the Das Keyboard and the Filco Majestouch. I can't recommend the iOne Scorpius M10 based on reports of poor build quality (not sure if that's even an option for you in Canada, but if it is I would steer clear despite the fact that it's the cheapest of the bunch).

Is this a good choice? They don't have anything else in stock that seems decent. This is DAS Professional with Cherry Blue.
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=54108&vpn=DASK3ULTMS1 (8 55800 00117 3)&manufacture=Metadot

What about the I-Rocks? That is Cherry Brown. If I understand correctly, those are Cherry Brown which is silent and tactile?
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=40035

What about the Steelseries? These are Cherry black which is silent and linear?
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=54386&vpn=64225&manufacture=Steelseries

What is the difference between linear and tactile?
 
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Lateralus

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Yes, the first one is a good choice. The Cherry Blues are NOT quiet and will definitely provide the tactile feel that you desire. The Das keyboards have great build quality as well; it'll most assuredly outlast several cheaper keyboards.

As for the Cherry Browns, they are great switches but I'm not sure they are what you're looking for. They require less force to actuate, and are both quieter and less tactile than the Cherry Blues. By less tactile, I mean that the actuation when you press a key is less pronounced or less defined than that of the Blues. You can still feel the "bump" but it's much quieter and smoother (or less sharp) than the Cherry Blues.

The Cherry Blacks are classified as linear because there is no bump or click when you press them (the bump and click are characteristics of the Cherry Blues and Browns, as well as some other switches). The Blacks are completely smooth from the start to the end of their travel, and back. I don't think these are what you are looking for. There is no click and no tactile feedback when the key actuates. This thread may help illustrate the differences in key feel, but the best test is to try them for yourself in order to appreciate their individual characteristics. Given the description of what you want though, I still believe a board with Cherry Blues is what you want.

Hope that helps!
 

Spare-Flair

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Yes, the first one is a good choice. The Cherry Blues are NOT quiet and will definitely provide the tactile feel that you desire. The Das keyboards have great build quality as well; it'll most assuredly outlast several cheaper keyboards.

As for the Cherry Browns, they are great switches but I'm not sure they are what you're looking for. They require less force to actuate, and are both quieter and less tactile than the Cherry Blues. By less tactile, I mean that the actuation when you press a key is less pronounced or less defined than that of the Blues. You can still feel the "bump" but it's much quieter and smoother (or less sharp) than the Cherry Blues.

The Cherry Blacks are classified as linear because there is no bump or click when you press them (the bump and click are characteristics of the Cherry Blues and Browns, as well as some other switches). The Blacks are completely smooth from the start to the end of their travel, and back. I don't think these are what you are looking for. There is no click and no tactile feedback when the key actuates. This thread may help illustrate the differences in key feel, but the best test is to try them for yourself in order to appreciate their individual characteristics. Given the description of what you want though, I still believe a board with Cherry Blues is what you want.

Hope that helps!

Thanks for all your help. I think I am set on Cherry Blues. I really should avoid the Scorpius M10 then? Unforutnately, I can't find any vendors with the DAS keyboard with markings on the keys in Canada. For some reason, the only stock stores carry are the blank key ones. There is no way to try anything in person, everything will have to be ordered online. Has anybody used the blank key DAS? Is it easy to use without the markings? Do you eventually memorize where all the keys are? I am good for touch typing but I am worried about the symbols, etc. I may have to settle for the blank keys version, I've checked several US vendors and the weight of the keyboard and unbalanced shipping polices (most use webstores use couriers like UPS whom I cannot accept packages from due to private brokerage fees they charge when crossing a boarder), the cost will be too high.
 

Lateralus

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Thanks for all your help. I think I am set on Cherry Blues. I really should avoid the Scorpius M10 then? Unforutnately, I can't find any vendors with the DAS keyboard with markings on the keys in Canada. For some reason, the only stock stores carry are the blank key ones. There is no way to try anything in person, everything will have to be ordered online. Has anybody used the blank key DAS? Is it easy to use without the markings? Do you eventually memorize where all the keys are? I am good for touch typing but I am worried about the symbols, etc.

I would avoid the Scorpius M10 purely due to the amount of reviews that claim that it is prone to malfunction. You might get a good one, but the amount of people that experienced problems out of Amazon's small sample size concerns me. I would spend the extra for the Das.

I actually own the Das Ultimate (blank key version). I was looking for the Das Professional with key inscriptions, but someone had the Ultimate at a good price so I went with it. No regrets here. I think the Professional does look nice, but I also think the Ultimate has a very unique look. I mean, who has a keyboard with blank keycaps? It's dark, it's geeky, and it's certainly unique. It says that you don't need markings on your keycaps in order to use your keyboard. You are a master of the keyboard and know where the keys are without any visual reminders. :cool: Yes, I was a bit hesitant at first but I am familiar with the standard keyboard layout and I was willing to risk making some mistakes in order to improve my overall typing speed and familiarity with a standard keyboard. That's what the Das Ultimate offers you. It disciplines you into being a better typist and makes you love it for its attitude. It says "I don't need to show you where the keys are; if you are buying this keyboard you should know (or you will soon learn)." It makes a statement and has the extra benefit of discouraging other people from using your computer. :D
 

Serpico

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Spare-Flair - Are the Filcos an option for you? The people at the geekhack forums seem to prefer them over the Das keyboards. Lots of reports of people unhappy with their long term build quality and reliability. Not 1000% sure of that as I haven't used the Das keyboards myself, but I do trust the geekhack community and it is why I ended up passing on them and getting a Filco instead.
 

Spare-Flair

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Spare-Flair - Are the Filcos an option for you? The people at the geekhack forums seem to prefer them over the Das keyboards. Lots of reports of people unhappy with their long term build quality and reliability. Not 1000% sure of that as I haven't used the Das keyboards myself, but I do trust the geekhack community and it is why I ended up passing on them and getting a Filco instead.

Yes, I could get a Filco from Elitekeyboards.com but I am waiting on a reply from them on what method they ship with. As I said before, I can't accept anything that ships from the States via UPS. USPS is fine. Do you know of any other vendors for DAS and Filco keyboards you would recommend checking out?

Aww, the Filco Cherry Blues have green LEDs :p, I wanted Blue. I will check out Geekhack to see if I can get any other opinions on DAS vs. Filco.
 

Lateralus

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I don't know anything about the Adesso keyboards (never heard of them). I'll just say that I own a Das Keyboard (with Blues) and a Filco (with Browns) and I'm more than pleased with both. Some people don't care for the glossy bezel of the Das Keyboards while others say that the key inscriptions on the Filco boards won't last as long as those of a Deck. If I ever have any trouble out of my Das Keyboard, I would buy a Filco with Cherry Blues. Both are excellent keyboards in my experience.
 

Spare-Flair

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I don't know anything about the Adesso keyboards (never heard of them). I'll just say that I own a Das Keyboard (with Blues) and a Filco (with Browns) and I'm more than pleased with both. Some people don't care for the glossy bezel of the Das Keyboards while others say that the key inscriptions on the Filco boards won't last as long as those of a Deck. If I ever have any trouble out of my Das Keyboard, I would buy a Filco with Cherry Blues. Both are excellent keyboards in my experience.

Does the glossy bezel on the DAS get fingerprints and other smudges on it easily? Easy to clean or have to clean often?


Whoa, the ABS M1s were discontinued because Newegg is coming out with house brand Rosewill ABS M1's equipped with Cherry Blues. I might have to wait to see how these turn out and at what price point. The NKRO is reportedly bad on M1s and these don't have a PS2 cable so I expect the USB to have some issues.

http://geekhack.org/showthread.php?t=10602

I hate the logo still. Will probably cover it up. Who's dumb idea was it to name a computer parts company Rosewill?
 
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Blazestorm

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The DAS does get quite dirty with dust and crap. You can wipe it off bit still, I would have preferred a matte surface.

Also some of the keys are turning glossy from use, I might order one of those blank sets from elitekeyboards.com (meant for the Filco's but should be fine with the DAS). I got my DAS for $60 so I'm not really complaining. I like the USB hub for USB sticks but that's about it.

But I'm sure I do more typing that most people...
 

Spare-Flair

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I'm tempted by the Unicomp keyboards

http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/en104wh.html

Buckling springs sound interesting and I have childhood memories of IBM keyboards. $99 is a decent price. I wonder why the USB version cannot ship outside the US? Of course I know a mechanical keyboard should always be hooked up via PS/2 for NKRO purposes but that's a strange stipulation on the USB version of this keyboard.

Anybody who has a Unicomp keyboard, what is that red bump that is under the logo? Looks like a red LED dome. Why would you have that there? A red LED would be distracting and a dome bulb is pretty ugly. Is it that or is it just part of the sticker?
 
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Dan_D

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The DAS does get quite dirty with dust and crap. You can wipe it off bit still, I would have preferred a matte surface.

Also some of the keys are turning glossy from use, I might order one of those blank sets from elitekeyboards.com (meant for the Filco's but should be fine with the DAS). I got my DAS for $60 so I'm not really complaining. I like the USB hub for USB sticks but that's about it.

But I'm sure I do more typing that most people...

Yeah mine is already showing wear on the keys. They are turning glossy from the typing. I certainly type and spend more time on my computer than most people do. As for the bezel, I'd have preferred a matte surface as well but this wipes off easily enough. The keys developing the glossy surface from usage bothers me more than the shiny bezel does. Not that either bothers me that much.
 

sayu

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I'm tempted by the Unicomp keyboards

http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/en104wh.html

Of course I know a mechanical keyboard should always be hooked up via PS/2 for NKRO purposes but that's a strange stipulation on the USB version of this keyboard.

Anybody who has a Unicomp keyboard, what is that red bump that is under the logo? Looks like a red LED dome. Why would you have that there? A red LED would be distracting and a dome bulb is pretty ugly. Is it that or is it just part of the sticker?

Just cause you hook up a mechanical board to PS/2, doesn't make it NKRO. Unicomp boards are not NKRO capable.

That "red bump" is just part of Unicomp's logo. I believe it's supposed to represent a track point.
 

Serpico

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Just cause you hook up a mechanical board to PS/2, doesn't make it NKRO. Unicomp boards are not NKRO capable.

Exactly. There are two versions of the Filco mechanical keyboards, those with NKRO and those without it. All use mechanical keys, all use PS/2 plugs, but not all have NKRO.
 

Cabbs

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Filco Brown Tenkeyless user here. This is my second mechanical keyboard, first being a full-size Filco with Cherry Blues. I like the Browns and compactness better.

Ever since I picked up a mechanical keyboard, membranes just feel like crap.
 

db_Iodine

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I've been battling my mind over blue and brown switches. I've already decided to get the Filco Tenkeyless but the switch decision seems a lot toucher than the actual keyboard model decision. :confused:

I would say my use is about 60% typing and 40% gaming, and my gaming is only RTS/RPG games. I would think the click of blue switches would give me a good feedback on typing, and I don't think I would mind it while playing any of the games I play. I'm still torn on this decision because I can't actually try blue or brown switches anywhere here in Finland. I've tried the black switches on Steelseries 7G and I thought they were kind of hard to press, and typing on them required too much force imo.

I like my keypresses light but I have no idea how much force a normal membrane keyboard typically requires. Anyone know? Could be a good comparison, since currently I'm typing on a Logitech Illuminated and typing on this feels like I'm tapping on a fat chick's belly.

Long story short: Help me decide between Filco tenkeyless with brown or blue switches.
 

Lanx

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42grams to make a cherry brown register, and 45grams to make a msergo4k register. i just had some weights and just put em on top until they clicked.
 

db_Iodine

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So brown would be close to a normal membrane board then. The blues supposebly have an actuation force of 50g, which would be a little more but I think the click might just be worth it.
 

Lateralus

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So brown would be close to a normal membrane board then. The blues supposebly have an actuation force of 50g, which would be a little more but I think the click might just be worth it.

I was actually going to suggest the browns, but if you really want the click then by all means go with the blues. The feedback is great when typing and they aren't hard to actuate at all (like you, I also have a Logitech Illuminated). Some people prefer the browns for gaming, and it's true that they require less force to actuate. You could find yourself accidentally depressing keys (I've done this on my Realforce dozens of times when not paying attention, lol).
 

Indeterministic

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Been wanting a mechanical for a long time and I'm still looking around, though I really need one that has slimline keys and lighting which only shows letters (doesn't bleed through between keys). Perhaps my day will come /wish
 

NukeULater

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Been wanting a mechanical for a long time and I'm still looking around, though I really need one that has slimline keys and lighting which only shows letters (doesn't bleed through between keys). Perhaps my day will come /wish
Take a look at Deck keyboards then. I know they are illuminated.
 

Indeterministic

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They do :p

one LED per key, we have the hands-down brightest keyboard illumination on the market.

Problem is a lot of light between keys. Edit: And fat keys.

I'm just very picky when it comes to hardware :p
 

Lateralus

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Take a look at Deck keyboards then. I know they are illuminated.

But they don't have laptop-style keys. I think he's definitely going to be waiting a LONG time unless he's willing to give up something, because the only backlit keyboards I'm aware of are the Decks and they definitely don't have low profile keys.

This thread might be of some use if a shorter key travel is more useful to you than key illumination.
 
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