#1 Posted by Rorie (2554 posts) -

For the longest time, I've been using Dell keyboards with my PC. They're cheap (if you work at any medium-sized company, they usually have stacks of them lying around), and they work pretty well. But after a few weeks of using a mechanical keyboard at GameSpy, I want to take the plunge. Any recommendations? My requirements:

No crazy color schemes. I don't really need a "gaming" keyboard, so I don't want the WASD stuff in bright red or anything. I'm also pretty well set against anything that has glowing keys.

Has to be a full keyboard. I need my numpad.

I do not care about volume of typing. I live by myself and my keyboard can be as loud as I want, dammit.

Leaning towards some variant on the Razer Blackwidow. Any other items I should check out?

Staff
#2 Posted by Andorski (5179 posts) -

Ducky, DAS Keyboard, and the Cooler Master Storm mechanical keyboards are the ones I would look at. The first thing you should probably figure out is which Cherry MX keyswitch you would want your keyboard to have. It's all subjective, but the major consensus is that Blues are good for typing, Reds are good for twitch gaming, and Black/Browns are all-around decent for either gaming or typing.

#3 Edited by Cirdain (2996 posts) -
#4 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Wait for the K95 Vengeance. It's in manufacturing, has the nicest keys, and while it is a "gaming" keyboard, it doesn't look like one and has a lot of really good non-gaming features. Plus, if you're still into MMOs, it's got a big ass macro bank if you want it. Otherwise, it's going to have higher build quality and I believe better keys than the Razer but I could be wrong, they may be using the same keys. If you want stuff like dedicated media/volume buttons, the Blackwidow I think is without them.

As far as I know, both of them let you disable the key glow, and either way you should be pretty happy. I'd just pick the Corsair any day, as Razer's build quality has been inconsistent at best in my experience.

@andorski said:

Ducky, DAS Keyboard, and the Cooler Master Storm mechanical keyboards are the ones I would look at. The first thing you should probably figure out is which Cherry MX keyswitch you would want your keyboard to have. It's all subjective, but the major consensus is that Blues are good for typing, Reds are good for twitch gaming, and Black/Browns are all-around decent for either gaming or typing.

Also good advice. Make sure it's FULL Cherry keys though, some keyboards just use em for the "important" gaming keys. Probably less of an issue with other key switches.

The K95 is using all Red Cherry switches.

#5 Posted by Rorie (2554 posts) -

I'll google for "mechanical cherry" but I'm pretty sure I'll get some odd results. Don't know much about switches, etc.

Staff
#6 Posted by Rorie (2554 posts) -

@andorski: holy crap they make a lot of those Duckys!

Staff
#7 Edited by Rorie (2554 posts) -

@mordeaniischaos: Nice, thanks. Is there an estimated street date for the K95? (I'm seeing a lot of articles on it from January.) I'm in no big rush.

Staff
#8 Edited by ajamafalous (11823 posts) -

@rorie said:

I'll google for "mechanical cherry" but I'm pretty sure I'll get some odd results.

Make sure you turn off safe search.

#9 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@rorie: Newegg says the 21st, that's about as concrete as we can get but it hasn't been super consistent. It was originally listing the 6th so it could change again, but I doubt it. It's sold out at the moment on Newegg but it looks like Amazon has it up for pre-order still. Pretty vague on the ship date though. Considering it went into manufacturing a couple of weeks ago according to a corsair rep on their forums, it shouldn't take more than a month at this point. Hard to know honestly though. I've been waiting for the damn thing to come out for ages.

For the switch types, it's mostly about how light/stiff you want the keys to be and just how tactile you want them to be. If you want a tactile "click" you'll want a blue or brown switch, the latter being the less clicky and more tactile. For a click-free key you'll want the red or black switches, the latter of which being being "stiffer" (requiring more force to press).

#10 Edited by CheapPoison (716 posts) -

I am not the biggest expert but i did a lot of research on this a while back because i was curious myself, but i haven't pulled the trigger.

I'll echo a few things already said in the thread. I have heard a lot of complaints about the blackwidow, but at the other hand i know quite a few people who are perfectly happy with them. So I guess it has something to do with quality control. It is probably one of the cheaper option(I think, I am in Europe so there aren't even too many options here if you don't directly order from a manufacturer, which seems like a bother) but you might get a stinker in there.

I would stay clear of the coolermaster storm one. The first keyboard they made, the coolermaster tenkyless quickfire(?), was manufactured by the guys who made filco and the new full sized keyboard was from the same producer as the blackwidow. So potentially riddled with the same problems. And that keyboard really looks like a gaming keyboard which is an instant turn off.
Also i wouldn't be too concerned with some keyboard not being fully mechanical. I always thought people were overreacting seeing as it mostly the f row of key that are not mechanical to shave of a bit of cost. I mean sure it is dodgy but it never felt like a deal breaker to me.

It probably also is a good to try every kind of switch. I haven't tried them, but from what i heard it's something really personal. Cause some want to loud feedback and tactile feel of some for typing, but then others hate it for those reasons. MordeaniisChaos had mentioned the use the generally are used for but it's really up for debate what you like. It might not matter but it is/was something i was very paranoid about, dropping over a hundred on a keyboard and then not being completely satisfied.

Leopold and Wasd keyboards are other brand you could consider. Wasd is mostly for getting a custom keyboard layout, but you can get a standard one aswell.

#11 Posted by Pr1mus (3780 posts) -

The Blackwidow is excellent. The standard non-backlit model is not flashy at all either. It's worth checking if they fixed the space bar getting loose quickly problem that the first generation had.

#12 Posted by Xel (114 posts) -

I have the DAS Keyboard and highly recommend it.

#13 Posted by Korwin (2815 posts) -

If you're looking for no nonsense then DAS Keyboard gets a good rep. However if you are looking at mechanical keep in mind that the noise of you typing is going to drive anyone you talking to online crazy (people bitch about my Blackwidow all the time), if this is a concern take a look at the stealth Blackwidow.

#14 Posted by JustinNotJason (421 posts) -

Heard good things about the ducky keyboards. But if you're looking for a quality typing keyboard look into the Unicomp keyboards. They're based on the original Mechanical Keyboards from the 80's.

http://pckeyboard.com/page/category/UKBD

#15 Edited by kyokushin_nanaya (40 posts) -

I also have a Das Keyboard, one for work and another at work. The one I have at work is the silent one so I don't drive my co-workers insane. The 'silent' one (it's not very silent actually) has brown switches compared the the blue of my normal Das Keyboard.

While it's the same brand, the difference is immense. The blue switches 'pop' up faster than the softer 'brown' kind and feel a little bit musher, but still quite nice to type on compared to normal keyboards.

That being said, the Das Keyboard does suffer in some parts. The part that isn't the key of the keyboard can get scratched easily and is prone to fingerprints if you're fingers slide of it. Also, it takes to grease quite easily, so if you don't wipe it occasionally, it looks terrible.

However, if you decide to go for a mechanical keyboard, I welcome to the clickly clank club. You're going to piss some people off, but my god, it's hard to go back.

#16 Posted by Rumour (95 posts) -

I have a DAS Model S Ultimate. It seems like it might be exactly what you're looking for. Solid sleek keyboard that isn't flashy. Blue switches, nice and clicketty-claketty. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Just make sure your touch typing is up to snuff because none of the keys are labelled.

#17 Edited by Avanzato (82 posts) -

At home I have a Filco tenkeyless as I needed a compact keyboard, with brown switches but stupid expensive. For work I bought Qpad MK-50's with red switches and I prefer the key feel of the reds to the browns in the Filco. Qpad is a 'gaming' keyboard but doesn't have any of the gaming bling other than a odd font on the q key, also half the price.

If you wish to be murdered by anyone you work with then the noise of blue keys will swiftly drive them mad and you will get your wish. I don't like the clicky noise and though the red/brown are not silent they are quiet enough when you learn not to bash the keys too hard.

#18 Posted by ThomasG666 (154 posts) -

I tried Das Keyboard and felt amazing!

#19 Posted by Winternet (8002 posts) -

HA! Keyboards. For a PC. HA! Hilarious.

#20 Posted by Scrawnto (2433 posts) -

I've got a DAS Model S Ultimate with the brown switches. It's really nice. I haven't used any other mechanical keyboards for comparison though.

#21 Posted by llamaegg (216 posts) -

Another really good brand, though dumb expensive is Happy Hacking keyboards, very small keyboards that are full featured.

Personally I would never give up my FILCO.

#22 Posted by AlisterCat (5470 posts) -

I use a Razor Black Widow and it is fantastic. The only 'gaming' feature is some bindable hotkeys on the left but that's it. The 'ultimate' version has backlit keys but you can ignore that version and go with the standard.

#23 Posted by Vman (19 posts) -

I have heard very bad things about Black Widows, they tend to break and feel cheap. I myself have chosed to buy a CM Storm keyboard. http://www.cmstorm.com/en/products/keyboards/ I have the quickfire Pro, and man is it an amazing keyboard. I have one with Cherry MX Red switches and they are very light touch. That means great for gaming but meh for typing.

#24 Edited by Jams (2959 posts) -

@rorie said:

For the longest time, I've been using Dell keyboards with my PC. They're cheap (if you work at any medium-sized company, they usually have stacks of them lying around), and they work pretty well. But after a few weeks of using a mechanical keyboard at GameSpy, I want to take the plunge. Any recommendations? My requirements:

No crazy color schemes. I don't really need a "gaming" keyboard, so I don't want the WASD stuff in bright red or anything. I'm also pretty well set against anything that has glowing keys.

Has to be a full keyboard. I need my numpad.

I do not care about volume of typing. I live by myself and my keyboard can be as loud as I want, dammit.

Leaning towards some variant on the Razer Blackwidow. Any other items I should check out?

Unicomp, Inc. Ultra Classic White Buckling Spring USB Just ordered one Sunday. It's supposed to be exactly as the original IBM model M keyboard that everyone loved so much. I don't think it's technically mechanical, because it's buckling spring (but better).

Edit: Sorry, but this is the one I actually order and it's the same as the original model-m. The other is some updated version that cuts the weight down on the keyboard (who really wants that though?).

http://pckeyboard.com/page/Classic/UNI044A

#25 Edited by djou (850 posts) -

@branthog recommendation from an older forum thread I bought an Elite Leopold tenkeyless Cherry Brown switches. This is my second mechanical after a child spent with an IBM unicomp. The Leopold is probably the most well built keyboard I've ever owned. Solid and no nonsense, the device has no branding or media keys. The brown switches are clicky, but not distractingly loud. Its also affordably priced. I thought about getting a DAS, Filco, or one of the many other recommended mechs but $100 was a good price point for me and I absolutely don't regret. My typing speed and accuracy aren't markedly improved, but its so much more pleasant than the domed keyboard I used previously.

edit: just saw you mention that you need the number pad. They make one like this as well. (link)

#26 Posted by JouselDelka (967 posts) -

what does mechanical mean? how is it different than a normal keyboard?

#27 Posted by joey (976 posts) -

what does mechanical mean? how is it different than a normal keyboard?

it goes "clack clack clack" way more good

#28 Edited by Ben_H (3296 posts) -

@joey said:

@jouseldelka said:

what does mechanical mean? how is it different than a normal keyboard?

it goes "clack clack clack" way more good

Not necessarily. Only blue switches make a lot of noise. All the rest of the common types are relatively quiet. Browns make a bit of noise but not much. Reds are practically silent.

As for the question at hand, if you go with a Das Keyboard or a Filco Majestouch of some type you can't really go wrong. Filco makes the least flashy keyboards of all. I have a Majestouch 2 with red switches and I adore it. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

#29 Posted by Bane (383 posts) -

I've got a Steelseries 6Gv2 and a 7G. They look about as plain as a keyboard can look, and they've got Cherry Black switches inside.

If nothing else their website has some additional info that may be useful in choosing a keyboard.

#30 Posted by Psychonautics (20 posts) -

It doesn't look like it has been mentioned but I have been using a Mionix Zibal 60 for about a year now. The MX Cherry Black switches took a little bit of time to get used to but I love them now. Its a thick heavy keyboard that feels like it could stop a bullet.

The keys have individual green back lighting but that is off by default, besides the back lighting its about as simple as a keyboard can get. I recommend it.

#31 Posted by shinboy630 (1132 posts) -

As many others have said, if you want a good mechanical keyboard but don't need one for gaming, DAS is the way to go.

#32 Edited by Branthog (7340 posts) -

@djou said:

@branthog recommendation from an older forum thread I bought an Elite Leopold tenkeyless Cherry Brown switches. This is my second mechanical after a child spent with an IBM unicomp. The Leopold is probably the most well built keyboard I've ever owned. Solid and no nonsense, the device has no branding or media keys. The brown switches are clicky, but not distractingly loud. Its also affordably priced. I thought about getting a DAS, Filco, or one of the many other recommended mechs but $100 was a good price point for me and I absolutely don't regret. My typing speed and accuracy aren't markedly improved, but its so much more pleasant than the domed keyboard I used previously.

edit: just saw you mention that you need the number pad. They make one like this as well. (link)

Yep. You can't go wrong with the Leopold. It's a pretty solid keyboard-enthusiast's pick. If you want to dress it up a bit, buy yourself a key remover from the same site and get some colored keys (I got red keys for WASD/ESC and blacked-out keys to replace the Windows meta keys).

Having spent countless hours reviewing Ducky, Das, Happy Hacker and many other beloved mechanical keyboards, I concluded that the Leopold (designed by the same guy as the more expensive and beloved Filco keyboards, but even better according to his own admission) are the way to go. If you have a preference of tactile feel, pick a different switch color/type, but brown is a solid middle ground if you do a lot of typing and gaming, both. The build quality, feel, and performance is unrivaled, even by far more expensive keyboards (it's only $99).

That isn't to say you won't be happy with other solutions. Just that it is an exception piece of hardware that I have never heard anyone dissatisfied with (and I travel in keyboard-enthusiast circles where there is unending nit-picking).

#33 Posted by Jams (2959 posts) -

@joey said:

@jouseldelka said:

what does mechanical mean? how is it different than a normal keyboard?

it goes "clack clack clack" way more good

That's a great.

Mechanical switches work like this (cherry blue's in particular). Most other keyboards that are rubber dome and there are also buckling spring keyboards too.

#34 Posted by Rorie (2554 posts) -

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. I'll let you know what I wind up going with!

Staff
#35 Edited by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

@rorie: You're a mechanical keyboard.

#36 Posted by TyCobb (1944 posts) -
#37 Edited by djou (850 posts) -

@branthog: Agree. Thanks for this recommendation! This thing is so solidly built, I feel like I will never need another keyboard again.

#38 Posted by Harabec (77 posts) -

What would be the best switch type if noise is an issue? I really can't be making a racket at night while my roommate is trying to sleep and not knowing anyone who has a mechanical keyboard to test the loudness has made me hold off on a purchase.

From the sound of it Blue and probably Brown are too loud for my needs. So from the sound of it, Black and Red would be the switch types that are best for my situation.

The SteelSeries 6Gv2 looks like it offers what I want, but can anyone offer an opinion on the noise level and general quality? Other brands which fit into a gaming/typing (yet quiet) are also welcome.

#39 Posted by Amafi (520 posts) -

@harabec: I have a couple MX Brown keyboards (Zowie Celeritas and a logitech G710+) and they don't make much more sound than most membrane keyboards. Stay away from blues and blacks and you should be fine.

#40 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -
#41 Posted by mbr2 (559 posts) -

I'd recommend Filco or Das Keyboard, both with red switches. Don't even bother with Razer and Steelseries.

#42 Edited by Nerolus (244 posts) -

If I'm not mistaken the K95 is exactly like the K90 Corsair Vengeance (which is what I have), and it is great for just about everything. The only difference between the two (as far as I know) is the color scheme. I really like the stainless steel base. Here's some pros and cons:

The good:

  • Mechanical, satisfying typing. I can type way better, faster and more comfortably on this than any other keyboard I've typed on (granted most of my previous typing has been on laptop keyboards or shitty membrane keyboards).
  • It has media keys. I can't live without my media keys. Instant pause button, volume scroll wheel, etc.
  • The software is pretty easy to use.
  • It looks nice, has blue lights if you're into that (I don't really care for it, but sometimes I like to play in the dark and need help finding the FKeys and shit.
  • The rest pad is nice and solid, screwed onto the keyboard
  • ALL the keys hover above the stainless steel base. There is no plastic lip around the edge. It is the EASIEST keyboard I've ever cleaned. You can shoot duster through it and all the crumbs and shit will fly off the sides. The keys are easy to pop off if you need to. I've had it for almost a solid year and shit does not collect inside this thing.

Not so good:

  • Not every single key on the keyboard is mechanical. All your main ones are, the arrow keys and the delete key are mechanical. The number pad and Fkeys are membrane (although a nice membrane, not logitech quality).
  • There are a bunch of macro keys. I thought I'd need them or use them, but it turns out I'm usually just too lazy to bother to set them up. I wish I could detach the macro keys until I got hooked on another MMO. I've got extra room on my desk so no big deal. I should probably map the default profile to launch apps to make use of it or something

All in all, I love this keyboard. I got it on sale via newegg for like $115 or something a year ago. It's great, I love it.

Just for the record: My friend also has a K95. She spilled tea on it once and it instantly died. It's working now so I think they replaced it for her.

#43 Posted by IcedWhale (49 posts) -

I sold my mechanical off cause it was always getting picked up on voice chat even with the gates set. Not sure if you expect to recorded stuff or use voice chat much but you might want to consider the lower noise switches if you think you might.

#44 Edited by Harabec (77 posts) -
@mbr2 said:

I'd recommend Filco or Das Keyboard, both with red switches. Don't even bother with Razer and Steelseries.

Don't Das keyboards only come in Blue or Brown switches. With the Brown being their "silent" version?

#45 Edited by Andorski (5179 posts) -

I sold my mechanical off cause it was always getting picked up on voice chat even with the gates set. Not sure if you expect to recorded stuff or use voice chat much but you might want to consider the lower noise switches if you think you might.

This is an issue with MX Cherry Blue switches. Brown, Black, and Red switches are much quieter.

#46 Posted by Winterblink (34 posts) -

@rorie

Hey Matt, not sure if you already picked something up, saw this topic late. I have a Black Widow Ultimate Stealth Edition, it's got the solid mechanical feel without being TOO clicky, and the key sounds are only a bit louder than a normal keyboard. Been one of the best keyboards I've used, so I can't recommend it enough.

#47 Edited by Devildoll (876 posts) -

@andorski said:

@tiredmonkey said:

I sold my mechanical off cause it was always getting picked up on voice chat even with the gates set. Not sure if you expect to recorded stuff or use voice chat much but you might want to consider the lower noise switches if you think you might.

This is an issue with MX Cherry Blue switches. Brown, Black, and Red switches are much quieter.

other ways to combat this would be to use a headset mic, rather than something that picks up the entire room.
And also to use push to talk, instead of broadcasting 24/7