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Keyboards

Post by Rumpy » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:45 pm

Well, I've had my Logitech G110 for at least 5 years now. I had never really been satisfied with it, even right out of the box, as the keys always felt sort of sticky and mushy. I had paid a lot for it at the time and didn't feel like returning it, so I stuck with it all these years. With my Birthday coming up though, I decided maybe it was time to get a new keyboard. Decided on the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate (2014), which is a mechanical keyboard, and I'm absolutely loving it. Didn't install Synapse, and works great as a regular keyboard. Honestly, I guess I didn't know what I was missing while using my G110, but I'm won over with mechanical keyboards now. It just feels so much more responsive and my typing speed has improved. This is my first Razer product, and I'm actually fairly impressed with the build quality. It feels fairly solid. Going to this from the G110, there's almost no comparison, other than to say that the G110 feels really cheap in comparison. This keyboard just feels really good to use.

To be fair, the G110 was made before the whole mechanical keyboard trend and Logitech has since started making mechanical keyboards, but I don't know how they stack up. All I know is that with my disappointment of the G110, I decided to go a different route this time around.

I actually ended up paying less for the Blackwidow than I did with the G110, which I feel is a better value. I think that maybe the G110 was priced better for the American market, but when taking the CND conversion rate into account, wasn't so much of a great deal in this market where I felt I was paying more for a very average product.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by wonderpug » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:48 pm

I've become such a fanboy for mechanical keyboards I almost literally recoil in disgust when I have to use someone else's membrane keyboard.

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Rumpy » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:04 pm

Yeah, I can totally see where you're coming from. The difference is like night and day to me. A good keyboard can minimize erroneous key presses caused by a sludgy feeling. And they just feel good to use.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by hitbyambulance » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:30 pm

posted in another thread: this is the one i got last fall - price has gone up since then, but it's still reasonably priced:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EAFSTCQ/

my only complaint with it (at the price i got it for) is that the keycap paint seems likely to wear off sooner than later. feels great to type on.

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Enough » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:01 pm

I love my mechanical keyboard so much but would never want my dad to know I spent over $100 on one lol.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:08 pm

I've become a big fan of both Mechanicals in general and Corsair in particular. They're so nice to work with.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:29 pm

wonderpug wrote:I've become such a fanboy for mechanical keyboards I almost literally recoil in disgust when I have to use someone else's membrane keyboard.
Ditto.

I've been an enthusiast ever since using an old school IBM Model M keyboard.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Daehawk » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:56 pm

I actually kinda miss my first IBM type keyboard in 1994. It was a great keyboard.

I use a Razer Chroma Blackwidow Stealth now.

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Rumpy » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:43 pm

Daehawk wrote:I actually kinda miss my first IBM type keyboard in 1994. It was a great keyboard.

I use a Razer Chroma Blackwidow Stealth now.

Enlarge Image
I was considering that one. But in the end, the Blackwidow Ultimate was on sale for $99, so that's what I went with. I thought I'd miss the red lighting I had seeing as this one's only in green, but it's actually pretty nice. I had heard so many misgivings about Razer in general, that there was a bit of trepidation going in, but I'm so glad now that I just jumped at it.

I find it kind of odd that to get a quality keyboard these days that one has to get a gaming keyboard as they don't seem to really make any generalized mechanical keyboards anymore. But maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:57 am

Rumpy wrote:I find it kind of odd that to get a quality keyboard these days that one has to get a gaming keyboard as they don't seem to really make any generalized mechanical keyboards anymore. But maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.
They're certainly still available; e.g. Unicomp, one of the original manufacturers of the IBM Model M keyboards, still makes countless variations of the tried and true old classic:
PCkeyboard.com wrote:Enlarge Image

About Us
Welcome to pckeyboard.com, Unicomp Inc.’s updated website and on-line store. Browse our pages to find the keyboard that is just right for you. Choose from over 2000 different keyboards. We stock our bestselling models and they can be found in the Featured Products section of our website.

If you are looking for something a little more custom, use our keyboard configurator tool to select from thousands of languages, color, and feature combinations. These products are built to order in our Kentucky manufacturing facility, typically within 2-5 days. Or, feel free to use our on-line help desk to request a brand new configuration. Among our latest additions is the SpaceSaver M which is designed to work specifically with Mac® and Apple® systems.

Why purchase an imitator when you can buy the original “Model M”. We have produced the buckling spring “Click” keyboard for IBM and thousands of discriminating users worldwide for 15 years…. Join the many that have made the switch to a much more accurate data entry alternative.
They also have an Amazon storefront where several of their stock designs are available.
Last edited by Anonymous Bosch on Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by hitbyambulance » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:31 am

my parents still have one of the IBM keyboards in a closet (we had two of them for our 286 machine [8MHz processor {10 on 'Turbo'}, EGA graphics, 640k RAM, 20MB hard drive], but the nicer one was sold with the machine.) i would like to try it out, but it has a DIN connector, and i read that DIN to USB adapters need to be 'active' in order to work correctly - if you can even find them. one would need a DIN-to-PS2 and a PS2-to-USB chain or a custom-made one.

http://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com ... ard-to-usb

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Rumpy » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:32 pm

Anonymous Bosch wrote: They're certainly still available; e.g. Unicomp, one of the original manufacturers of the classic IBM Model M keyboards, still makes countless variations of the tried and true old classic:


Oh, interesting. I just wonder why they aren't more known. It's almost as if these type of keyboards have reverted to being a niche. At a certain point, keyboard manufacturers seemed to go on the cheap, and mechanical keyboards have only made a recent resurgence in the gaming sector. I mean, if people were to get the chance to try these on store shelves, people would likely never look back.

How does an old keyboard like that compare to some of the modern mechanicals, I wonder?
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:18 pm

Rumpy wrote:How does an old keyboard like that compare to some of the modern mechanicals, I wonder?
Here's a review of the Unicomp Ultra Classic from PCmag.com that aptly describes how it compares:
PCmag.com wrote:Conclusions
The Unicomp Ultra Classic earns its name: It really is every bit as good as the IBM Model M keyboard it's been designed to so closely emulate. True die-hards have kept those keyboards for decades, and that there are many reports of them still working as well as they did when they first came out of the box is a tribute to their timeless construction. I can't say for sure that the Ultra Classic will enjoy that kind of longevity, but I do know that you're unlikely to find a keyboard that's much better for typing than this one. The Das Keyboard 4 Professional combines terrific typing with standalone media keys and even a volume wheel, but it costs twice as much as the Ultra Classic. And any gaming keyboard, whether one as basic as the SteelSeries Apex M500 or as fully decked-out as the Corsair K95 RGB, will offer a lot more functionality but an inferior typing experience. With an unadventurous design and an impressive lack of post-1995 features, the Ultra Classic can't do anything but type, but at that it excels. If that's what you need, and if those around you are tolerant of sound or have exceptional headphones, the Ultra Classic delivers it as few other keyboards are, and have ever been, capable of.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Kasey Chang » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:38 am

Buckling Spring keyboards, i.e. the IBM Model M / Model F are niche. Most "mechanical keyboards" nowadays refer to Cherry MX type switch based keyboards, with a small minority using ALPS-based switches, and a TINY minority based on Electrocapacitive sensing technology, commonly known as "Topre" after the Japanese company that pioneered it. There's also Hall Effect switches for keyboards.

Unicomp basically took over the US factory of Lexmark (which was IBM until they got out of the PC business) and keep making the keyboards, based on the original molds, but now updated with USB ports and such. It's also the only place you can get TrackPoint (the red nub pointer) unless you want to buy Lenovo.

So to summarize, popular mechanical keyboard can be classified as...

* Discrete switches

-- Cherry MX (and clones)

-- ALPS (and clones, including QS-1, Romer-G, and Matias)

-- SUPER niche-y "Hall Effect" magnetic sensor


* Full board (not discrete)

-- Buckling Spring (Model M/F etc.)

-- Electrocapacitive (Topre, licensed Topre, clones)
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Re: Keyboards

Post by hitbyambulance » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:23 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:There's also Hall Effect switches for keyboards.

speaking of, i was intrigued by this:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/xmit-h ... 33060.html

highly doubtful Hall Effect key switches will make a return anytime soon, however.

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Rumpy » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:33 pm

Well, that's a bit technical, Kasey. I think that anybody coming into it for the first time is easily going to become overwhelmed at the amount of choices and the technical terms and differences of each. I just know that the BlackWidow feels good to me, and feels more like a classic keyboard due a bit to its stiffness. It's also less showy than some of the others I've read about.

Out of curiosity, I saw both Logitech and Razer keyboards on display at Staples and the Razer definitely felt better to me.

And reading through this article has helped me understand some of the differences:
http://www.polygon.com/2015/2/23/737283 ... -keyboards
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Kasey Chang » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:42 pm

Don't get me started on how Razer's MX clones are inferior to genuine Cherry switches. :)

But really, don't buy gaming keyboards. Buy Filco, Leopold, or Ducky keyboards. :)

Or you can Read my guide to cheap keyboards on Amazon
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Rumpy » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:44 pm

*Shrug* It's all a matter of preference, Kasey.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:48 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:Don't get me started on how Razer's MX clones are inferior to genuine Cherry switches. :)

But really, don't buy gaming keyboards. Buy Filco, Leopold, or Ducky keyboards.
...or a brand new made-in-America IBM Model M keyboard, aka Unicomp. Because for those that have no need for all the bells, whistles, and flashing doodads of so many mechanical gaming keyboards, they do provide a superior typing experience that's simply unmatched by other switches, including Cherry (as reflected in the above review of the Unicomp Ultra Classic). Simply because they're "niche" doesn't make them any less worthwhile; IBM put an incredible amount of R&D into those Model M-era keyboards, which is exactly why Unicomp purchased the license, tooling, and rights to the design for the buckling-spring keyboard technology. There's certainly something to be said for it, given the enormous respect it has garnered over so many years, and the fact that they're still being manufactured in the US to this very day, and for a fairly reasonable price, too.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Kasey Chang » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:06 am

Actually, according to keyboard gurus, Model F is vastly superior to Model M in terms of key crispness.

And someone actually went to China to build new Model Fs.

https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:03 pm

Kasey Chang wrote:Actually, according to keyboard gurus, Model F is vastly superior to Model M in terms of key crispness.

And someone actually went to China to build new Model Fs.

https://www.modelfkeyboards.com/
Maybe so, but talk about niche! For the average Joe that's 'angels dancing on the head of a pin' territory, that almost certainly would not warrant forking over $350-plus for a functional keyboard.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Rumpy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:17 pm

And here I thought I was splurging for going $100+ on a keyboard... :D

Actually, you know what those remind me of? The keyboards for the Unisys ICONS we had to use at school, only they had trackballs built-in. Big beefy keyboards, they were. Weird computers too, as they had no internal storage at all, but instead relied on a network server. These were used up through the 90's when classrooms started to convert to using networked DOS PCs. In fact, in my computer class in high-school, we had one classroom full of these ICONS and the room next door were PCs. These ran on an operating system called QNX which would eventually become the basis for the Blackberry software.

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Moliere » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:26 pm

It’s a Clackdown: Top Mechanical Keyboards, Rated

This is what I've been using for the last year.
The Corsair K70 LUX ($120, RATING: 6) uses Cherry MX Red switches, which again are favored more by gamers over typists. My biggest issue with this keyboard is not the loss of tactile feedback (I scored 85 wpm with it) but rather the way its color backlighting is implemented. Here the keys are suspended high above the metal chassis, with lots of space around them, all of which makes for a ton of light leakage on the board. Look down and the keyboard is a sea of light, to the point where it’s hard to see the actual keys—although setting the backlight brightness to the lowest level helps. The keyboard features a USB pass-through port, but it does require two USB connections on your PC. A detachable wrist-rest and extra key-caps with a different feel (again, for gamers) are also included. The whole package is overkill for the typical user, though even I can admit the powerful and color-rich backlighting makes for quite a conversation piece.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:42 pm

Why does Wired only use a quarter of my screen, and use a font big enough to read from two counties over?
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Kasey Chang » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:05 am

I just use $50 (or less) mechanical keyboards... I have like 3 of them (one for each PC)
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Re: Keyboards

Post by hitbyambulance » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:06 am

Blackhawk wrote:Why does Wired only use a quarter of my screen, and use a font big enough to read from two counties over?
Wired's gone full-on mobile-phone screen formatting. because it's the future or whatever

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:35 am

hitbyambulance wrote:
Blackhawk wrote:Why does Wired only use a quarter of my screen, and use a font big enough to read from two counties over?
Wired's gone full-on mobile-phone screen formatting. because it's the future or whatever
I am also vexed by their paywall nagging, which being a print subscriber is insufficient to satiate.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Isgrimnur » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:48 am

Isgrimnur wrote:
hitbyambulance wrote:
Blackhawk wrote:Why does Wired only use a quarter of my screen, and use a font big enough to read from two counties over?
Wired's gone full-on mobile-phone screen formatting. because it's the future or whatever
I am also vexed by their paywall nagging, which being a print subscriber is insufficient to satiate.
I have been informed recently that my Wired print subscription will now permit me through the paywall.

Oh, and the wife bought me a Steelseries Apex M750 for Valentines Day. :horse:
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Re: Keyboards

Post by TheMix » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:20 am

Isgrimnur wrote: Oh, and the wife bought me a Steelseries Apex M750 for Valentines Day. :horse:
Wait... your wife bought you a Valentines gift? I don't understand. :?:
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Re: Keyboards

Post by hitbyambulance » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:33 pm

score of the month - got a Matias Mini Quiet Pro from Goodwill (MSRP: $130 - after electronics day 40% discount: about $4). i didn't find out after i got it home that the micro USB connector had broken off inside the keyboard, so i was disappointed. but luckily i work at a company with many people possessing proficient soldering skills... typing on it right now. for a small keyboard, i like it. some sort of imitation ALPS switches, i guess - very nice tactile feel. and yes, it has quiet typing clacks.

UPDATE: been using this board for a few hours now, and the 'p' key has a tendency to double-type on occasion when struck. aaaarg... guess i'll try putting it in the dishwasher in the unlikely event that helps.

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:02 pm

hitbyambulance wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:33 pm
guess i'll try putting it in the dishwasher in the unlikely event that helps.
Cleaning a grubby old membrane keyboard in a dishwasher is one thing, but that's generally a dreadful idea for any mechanical keyboard, as explained here by Das Keyboard:
daskeyboard.com wrote:Some Keyboards CAN Survive the Dishwasher

If you search the internet for stories about computer users who washed their keyboards in the dishwasher, you’ll find that it does work for some of them.

For example, this author on NPR tried cleaning his keyboard several years ago after reading about another user’s success. He said even though he chose to wait a week for it to dry, it was “absolutely spotless.”

Additionally, there are keyboards that are waterproof, if you really want to take this cleaning route but don’t want to risk ruining a keyboard. A Florida company called Seal Shield makes dishwasher-safe keyboards you could consider purchasing for your everyday use, and save your mechanical keyboard for specific purposes like long typing or gaming stints.

But Using the Dishwasher Isn’t the Way to Go

When you’re curious about how to clean your keyboard, and you do own a mechanical one, you should avoid the dishwasher method at all costs.

We already mentioned some of the drawbacks to dishwasher cleaning in our Mechanical Keyboard Guide, like how exposing circuits and other electrical parts to water could render the entire thing useless. Suddenly, you’d be looking at replacing that $100+ mechanical keyboard.
Mechanical Keyboard Guide wrote:While there are some articles reporting success in washing a keyboard in the dishwasher, putting an electronic device into a dishwasher where it will be drenched in water is a huge risk. The only way to do this is to completely take the keyboard apart, which usually voids the warranty. Hard water, or water from a water softener can cause corrosion inside the keyboard because of the salts and minerals. Using tiny amounts of alcohol or diluted liquid soap to clean the keyboard is a much better method than attempting to stick it into a dishwasher.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by hitbyambulance » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:59 pm

i ordered replacement switches for that keyboard, and will have a coworker help to desolder the old switch and solder on the new one.

my aforementioned 17-year-old Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro is developing a stress crack in the lower part of the casing - it's almost an inch long at this point. it's nearly time for its dishwasher cleaning, so when i do that i'll glue it.

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Daehawk » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:11 am

I just took mine apart and cleaned it.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by AWS260 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:55 pm

A) The current computing trend for making all things RGB is garish, crass, and dumb.

B) I am inordinately proud of the color scheme I came up with for my new keyboard. So pretty!

Image

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Re: Keyboards

Post by Unagi » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:28 pm

A. The current trend of putting flashing RGB lights on all things PC is ridiculous and hideous.

B. The flashing RGB lights on my new keyboard are mesmerizing.
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Re: Keyboards

Post by AWS260 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:30 pm

I had forgotten I had posted that! I guess this means my sense of humor is... consistent?

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hitbyambulance
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Re: Keyboards

Post by hitbyambulance » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:01 pm

hitbyambulance wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:59 pm
i ordered replacement switches for that keyboard, and will have a coworker help to desolder the old switch and solder on the new one.
forgot to update - it works great. the key was sliiightly lower than the other keys when reassambled, so i stuck a tiny bit of paper in the switch and replaced the key - it's the perfect height now. this might be my most favorite mechanical keyboard i've used in terms of feel.

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Dave Allen
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Dave Allen » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:51 am

I've had a Saitek Eclipse II for eight years. Why are its clacking keys suddenly driving my wife nuts when she is trying to sleep?
After trying to find an adequate (nearly) silent keyboard I'm picking it up at bestbuy in the morning.
Paid $99 (+tax) for a CORSAIR - Gaming STRAFE RGB MK.2 MX Silent Mechanical Wired CHERRY MX Silent RGB Switch Keyboard with RGB Back Lighting
apparently the classic Cherry MX RED switch has a new "silent" edition.
I shall see...
Last edited by Dave Allen on Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jztemple2
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Re: Keyboards

Post by jztemple2 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:54 am

Dave Allen wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:51 am
I've had a Saitek Eclipse II for eight years. Why are its clacking keys suddenly driving my wife nuts when she is trying to sleep?
After trying to find an adequate (nearly) silent keyboard I'm picking it up at bestbuy in the morning.
Paid $99 (+tax) for a CORSAIR - Gaming STRAFE RGB MK.2 MX Silent Mechanical Wired CHERRY MX Silent RGB Switch Keyboard with RGB Back Lighting
Oh, pretty lights! :D
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Kasey Chang
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Re: Keyboards

Post by Kasey Chang » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:34 am

Just keep in mind that those "silent" switches basically have tiny little rubber dampers built into the switches. So it may feel a little "mushy".

It also depends on the typing style. If you are the type that mashes keys no amount of internal silencing will make that quiet. :)
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