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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 17:22 
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Joined: 01 Jul 2010, 20:01
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Part I
General overview of the switch types.

For the next couple weeks I will have a few different mechanical keyboards in my hands to examine the different switches and how they feel. The purpose of this thread is to briefly explain the switch types, and for you to ask any question regarding them so you can make an informed decision on switchtype if purchasing a mechanical keyboard.

While there are well over a dozen different switch types from Cherry Corp, I have four of the more common and readily available switches known as CherryMX switches. These are the switches you have probably all heard of. Being Black, Blue, Brown and Red.

Lets break the switchtype down by a few categories. Linear, Tactile and Clicky. LInear switches are just as they sound, linear. They require a constant force to actuat and press the key all the way down, while you do not need to press the key all the way down for the key to activate, there is no click or bump to let you know when the key has been actuated. MX Black and MX Red are linear switches. They are usually preferred by gamers and people that bottom out their keys. I find them to appear more quiet than clicky switches, only producing a clack sound when bottoming out and a very slight ping when they rebound to the top. The difference between red and black is how much it takes to press the key down.

Here is a diagram of a linear switchtype:
Attachment:
180px-Mx_red_illustration.gif

Next on our list are Tactile switches. These are the MXBrowns. There are several other switches that are tactile, like Clears that I wanted to get my hands on but they are either unavailable or delayed from most manufacturers (12-14 months on the CODE keyboard from WASD for example). Tactile keys have a slight tactile bump when they key is activated. To me Browns feel very similar to reds as they have a pretty low actuation force, but the tactile bump I mentioned letting you know when the key has been registered. Its not overly pronounced, like how the MX Clears sound (I have never tried clears), but it is there and you feel it. Tactile keys are better than linear keys for general typing as you can more easily get away with not bottoming out the key.

Here is a diagram of a Tactile switch:
Attachment:
Mx_brown_illustration.gif

This brings us to (IMO) one of the best typing switches. MXBlues. These are known as Clicky switches. They make an audible CLICK when the key is actuated and there is no doubt at all if the key was actuated or not. I have heard it referred to as a tactile click, because there is also a slight bump at the same time the key clicks. While typing on these Blues, I find that I don’t make any typos. But the downside is they can seem loud. I don’t have a sound level meter so I can’t know for certain if and how much louder they are, but its not necessarily the loudness of the sound, but the pitch of the sound. The click is a higher pitch compared to the clack any of these switches make when bottomed out, so the click really cuts through everything around you.

Here is a diagram of a Clicky switch:
Attachment:
Mx_blue_illustration.gif


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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 17:22 
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Joined: 01 Jul 2010, 20:01
Posts: 77
Reserved; Part II

Part II will cover my impressions after a week of use. I plan on using them each for a few days. Doing some gaming, typing and overall general use.

Either here or in PartIII I will cover more keyboard specific observations between the keyboards themselves as I have 2 different models from one company; CMStorm Quickfire (TKL Stealth and Rapidfire, same keyboard, different keycaps) and the CMStorm XT (full size 104key). The 4th being a WASD V2. These are all made by Costar. (this does not mean they are all the same)


Last edited by frag85 on 17 Oct 2013, 17:29, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 17:22 
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Reserved: Part III?


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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 18:34 
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I don't have a lot of experience with different switches, but can say that I love the Cherry MX Blues and I absolutely prefer mechanical to membrane keyboards. The blues are very tactile and very clicky. You can hear me typing from just about anywhere in my home and I frequently get comments about it when I'm on the phone. If you need to type while you're on the phone or without disturbing your housemates, it's good to keep a quieter keyboard handy. I like supplementing my mechanical keyboard with a bluetooth chiclet-style Apple keyboard for quiet times.


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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 18:40 
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Location: Gloucester, UK
Bifurk8 wrote:
I don't have a lot of experience with different switches, but can say that I love the Cherry MX Blues and I absolutely prefer mechanical to membrane keyboards. The blues are very tactile and very clicky. You can hear me typing from just about anywhere in my home and I frequently get comments about it when I'm on the phone. If you need to type while you're on the phone or without disturbing your housemates, it's good to keep a quieter keyboard handy. I like supplementing my mechanical keyboard with a bluetooth chiclet-style Apple keyboard for quiet times.


I have Blacks and love them... the reds and browns were a bit too light to touch for me and the Blues were to "clicky" so the blacks were perfect... they are a heavy push!

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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 20:24 
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Just a note, once this gets posted I will load it as an article. That will then generate a thread here for comments on the full article.


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PostPosted: 17 Oct 2013, 21:16 
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Thanks for this, I'm interested in getting a mechanical keyboard, but the bar of entry is expensive. So I was going to try blues as I like the bump I get from my current membrane keyboard and do very much like the idea of a clicky sound.

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PostPosted: 18 Oct 2013, 01:26 
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I previously used a membrane keyboard very similar, if not identical to the Saitek PZ30AU. Now I'm on a Das Professional Model S which I believe uses the Cherry Blue switches.

The pressure required for a key press is a good bit less on the Das, but the travel time from unpressed to fully bottomed out is very similar. On the Das, I don't have to completely bottom out to press a key like I did on the Saitek.

But, the Das gives a lot more "spring back" after your let off the key and it absolutely improves my typing and provides good tactile feedback when gaming to tell me whether the key is still depressed or not while holding it at that threshold between being pressed and not. If you need to quickly tap a key, you get really nice feel for whether you tapped it or not and whether you're holding it down or not since it really snaps back in to place.

*Edit: I do have to give a big shout out to Saitek, even though I haven't used their keyboard daily in a few years. I still have it, despite being at least 10 years old. A year or two ago I went to clean it out and broke a few clips on the spacebar and shift key. A quick email to Saitek and I had a handful of replacement keys in the mailbox a few days later, no charge, no RMA bullshit. Just a hand written envelope with replacements for the keys I fucked up. Very classy folks.


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PostPosted: 27 Dec 2013, 22:06 
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Joined: 06 Aug 2010, 04:25
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owner of maxkeyboard nighthawk(brown switches)
cm quickfire
and genovation 682 customized it to my liking

Image
Image

I prefer the brown switches the most, blacks are fine, reds too soft, blues too loud, havent tried greens or clears,


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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2013, 18:57 
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Joined: 28 Dec 2013, 18:40
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very informative thanks!


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