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mech keyboards, what switches and why
posted in Hardware
1
#1
0 Frags +

yo i am going to rant about mechanical keyboards and what u should get and what you should reconsider

WARNING: EVERY SWITCH, BOARD, MATERIAL, AND SOUND IS PREFERENCE! JUST BECAUSE I SAY IT, DOESN'T MEAN YOU'LL LIKE IT!

alright to begin, there are 3 main types of switches.
clicky (produces a click sound when activated)
linear (zero feedback, key goes straight down)
tactile (small bump is felt when activated)

CLICKY:
A lot of people are already familiar with click switches. They're the most marketed switch type there could possibly be. Loud, satisfying, and they don't differ much from any other clicky switch.
So, should I get clicky switches? Not necessarily. If you're a person that likes playing TF2 comp, chances are this might not be the choice for you. Loud, springy switches may annoy your teammates to death, even if you have push-to-talk enabled on whatever VoIP client you use. However, if you don't mind this or your mic is good, then here's some notable clicky switches you should consider and ones you should probably reconsider:

Good Clicks:
Cherry MX Blues
Kalih Box Jades
Kalih Box Navies
Kalih Box Pinks
Kalih Speed Bronze
Kalih Speed Pink
Razer Greens

Reconsiderable Clicks:
Outemu Blues
Gateron MX Blues

The reason Outemu and Gateron are not as quality as Cherry, is because Cherry was the original producer of the blues. Gateron and Outemu made their own versions after that.

LINEAR:
Linear switches are likely the most common switch when dealing with mech enthusiasts. They aren't great for gaming, but they are wonderful for typing. I personally use lubed Gateron Milk Yellows (generic ik) as they're very smooth and don't give me a lot of ping or scratch. So, that being said, what are some good linear switches? Keep in mind, most linears do not sound or feel great if you do not lube them.

Good linears:
Gateron Milk Yellows (cheapest)
Gateron Ink Red/Black/Blue V2s
Silent Linear/Linear Alpacas
Cherry MX Reds
Cherry MX Blacks
NovelKeys Cream
Healios
Tealios
Sakurios
Roselios

Reconsiderables:
any optical gateron linears

TACTILES:
Now for the last category. Tactile switches produce a small feedback when activated. Feedback varies on switch. That being said, here's some considerables.

Good Taccies:
NovelKeys Blueberry
Holy Pandas
Zealios
Durock T1s
Koala Tactiles
Glorious Pandas

Reconsiderables:
Cherry MX Brown
Kalih BOX Brown
Gateron Brown
Outemu Brown

this is basically my thoughts on some popular or unpopular switches, some will disagree and agree as that's just common when getting into mech boards
if u have a question you can ask me or ask r/mechanicalkeyboards or join a mech board discord as theres hundreds of those
or if you want to do your own research here's a switch data chart for tons of switches
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hGgMsplLzMIr_7P5Z39QUb2A_0ALO7uYY6CDUTUVUb4/edit#gid=0

yo i am going to rant about mechanical keyboards and what u should get and what you should reconsider

[b]WARNING: EVERY SWITCH, BOARD, MATERIAL, AND SOUND IS PREFERENCE! JUST BECAUSE I SAY IT, DOESN'T MEAN YOU'LL LIKE IT![/b]

alright to begin, there are 3 main types of switches.
clicky (produces a click sound when activated)
linear (zero feedback, key goes straight down)
tactile (small bump is felt when activated)

[b]CLICKY:[/b]
A lot of people are already familiar with click switches. They're the most marketed switch type there could possibly be. Loud, satisfying, and they don't differ much from any other clicky switch.
[i]So, should I get clicky switches?[/i] Not necessarily. If you're a person that likes playing TF2 comp, chances are this might not be the choice for you. Loud, springy switches may annoy your teammates to death, even if you have push-to-talk enabled on whatever VoIP client you use. However, if you don't mind this or your mic is good, then here's some notable clicky switches you should consider and ones you should probably reconsider:

Good Clicks:
Cherry MX Blues
Kalih Box Jades
Kalih Box Navies
Kalih Box Pinks
Kalih Speed Bronze
Kalih Speed Pink
Razer Greens

Reconsiderable Clicks:
Outemu Blues
Gateron MX Blues

The reason Outemu and Gateron are not as quality as Cherry, is because Cherry was the original producer of the blues. Gateron and Outemu made their own versions after that.

[b]LINEAR:[/b]
Linear switches are likely the most common switch when dealing with mech enthusiasts. They aren't great for gaming, but they are wonderful for typing. I personally use lubed Gateron Milk Yellows (generic ik) as they're very smooth and don't give me a lot of ping or scratch. So, that being said, what are some good linear switches? Keep in mind, most linears do not sound or feel great if you do not lube them.

Good linears:
Gateron Milk Yellows (cheapest)
Gateron Ink Red/Black/Blue V2s
Silent Linear/Linear Alpacas
Cherry MX Reds
Cherry MX Blacks
NovelKeys Cream
Healios
Tealios
Sakurios
Roselios

Reconsiderables:
any optical gateron linears

[b]TACTILES:[/b]
Now for the last category. Tactile switches produce a small feedback when activated. Feedback varies on switch. That being said, here's some considerables.

Good Taccies:
NovelKeys Blueberry
Holy Pandas
Zealios
Durock T1s
Koala Tactiles
Glorious Pandas

Reconsiderables:
Cherry MX Brown
Kalih BOX Brown
Gateron Brown
Outemu Brown

this is basically my thoughts on some popular or unpopular switches, some will disagree and agree as that's just common when getting into mech boards
if u have a question you can ask me or ask r/mechanicalkeyboards or join a mech board discord as theres hundreds of those
or if you want to do your own research here's a switch data chart for tons of switches
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hGgMsplLzMIr_7P5Z39QUb2A_0ALO7uYY6CDUTUVUb4/edit#gid=0
2
#2
0 Frags +

what ARE good switches for gaming, anyways?

what ARE good switches for gaming, anyways?
3
#3
-1 Frags +
piratewhat ARE good switches for gaming, anyways?

you'd want something with a low actuation force/travel distance because its less tiring for gaming. everything else is preference.

[quote=pirate]what ARE good switches for gaming, anyways?[/quote]

you'd want something with a low actuation force/travel distance because its less tiring for gaming. everything else is preference.
4
#4
17 Frags +

it's pretty funny that this is written with such a definitive tone because there's a lot here that is just not true (and a lot that is preference, but that you are definitely in the minority on)

it's pretty funny that this is written with such a definitive tone because there's a lot here that is just not true (and a lot that is preference, but that you are definitely in the minority on)
5
#5
12 Frags +

this may be the worst list i've ever seen LOL

this may be the worst list i've ever seen LOL
6
#6
11 Frags +

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71sb3zHHnEL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

[img]https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71sb3zHHnEL._AC_SL1500_.jpg?tag=teamfortresst-20[/img]
7
#7
4 Frags +
TuxKingVikingThe reason Outemu and Gateron are not as quality as Cherry, is because Cherry was the original producer of the blues. Gateron and Outemu made their own versions after that.

this chain of logic does not support your argument at all

TuxKingVikingLINEAR:
They aren't great for gaming, but they are wonderful for typing.

nah

TuxKingVikingKeep in mind, most linears do not sound or feel great if you do not lube them.

nah

[quote=TuxKingViking]
The reason Outemu and Gateron are not as quality as Cherry, is because Cherry was the original producer of the blues. Gateron and Outemu made their own versions after that.
[/quote]
this chain of logic does not support your argument at all
[quote=TuxKingViking]
[b]LINEAR:[/b]
They aren't great for gaming, but they are wonderful for typing. [/quote]
nah
[quote=TuxKingViking]
Keep in mind, most linears do not sound or feel great if you do not lube them.
[/quote]
nah
8
#8
1 Frags +

i mean he did say its all just preference
honestly any mechanical keyboard is fine, and any switch is fine as long as it feels and sounds good to you
if you're interested in trying different keyboards and switches, some good places to shop are:
https://kbdfans.com/, https://www.banggood.com/, https://novelkeys.xyz/, https://www.aliexpress.com/ and many many more
there are so many switches out there, and you'll almost always find a typing test or a review of said switch on youtube, same thing goes for keyboards!

i mean he did say its all just preference
honestly any mechanical keyboard is fine, and any switch is fine as long as it feels and sounds good to [i]you[/i]
if you're interested in trying different keyboards and switches, some good places to shop are:
https://kbdfans.com/, https://www.banggood.com/, https://novelkeys.xyz/, https://www.aliexpress.com/ and many many more
there are so many switches out there, and you'll almost always find a typing test or a review of said switch on youtube, same thing goes for keyboards!
9
#9
10 Frags +

the only unacceptable switch is a loud ass clicky one right next to ur microphone i dont wanna hear u typing your dissertation during scrims

the only unacceptable switch is a loud ass clicky one right next to ur microphone i dont wanna hear u typing your dissertation during scrims
10
#10
1 Frags +
liasTuxKingVikingKeep in mind, most linears do not sound or feel great if you do not lube them.nah

while I wouldn't have worded it in such an all-or-nothing way, this is one of the few things he is sorta right about, actually. mx-style switches especially mx-style linears benefit a lot from lubing. once you try it, you can never go back...

[quote=lias]
[quote=TuxKingViking]
Keep in mind, most linears do not sound or feel great if you do not lube them.
[/quote]
nah[/quote]

while I wouldn't have worded it in such an all-or-nothing way, this is one of the few things he is sorta right about, actually. mx-style switches especially mx-style linears benefit a lot from lubing. once you try it, you can never go back...
11
#11
-4 Frags +
carterthis may be the worst list i've ever seen LOL

idk if u read the top or not but i would advise u to read it again

[quote=carter]this may be the worst list i've ever seen LOL[/quote]
idk if u read the top or not but i would advise u to read it again
12
#12
-2 Frags +

linear switches for typing over gaming is not "up to preference" that is some square peg round hole shit, enjoy your constant double-press typos

linear switches for typing over gaming is not "up to preference" that is some square peg round hole shit, enjoy your constant double-press typos
13
#13
0 Frags +
Adnuraklinear switches for typing over gaming is not "up to preference" that is some square peg round hole shit, enjoy your constant double-press typos

cherry reds and speed switches have ludicrously low actuation force, most nicer linears are more in the 60-80g range and double pressing is never really an issue

[quote=Adnurak]linear switches for typing over gaming is not "up to preference" that is some square peg round hole shit, enjoy your constant double-press typos[/quote]

cherry reds and speed switches have ludicrously low actuation force, most nicer linears are more in the 60-80g range and double pressing is never really an issue
14
#14
0 Frags +

they're still not ideal for typing over games, the use case is not appropriate lol

they're still not ideal for typing over games, the use case is not appropriate lol
15
#15
4 Frags +

I mean the ridiculous thing about his statement was saying they're bad for gaming, but the notion that linears or tactiles are 'better' for either typing or gaming is just dumb anyways

I mean the ridiculous thing about his statement was saying they're bad for gaming, but the notion that linears or tactiles are 'better' for either typing or gaming is just dumb anyways
16
#16
2 Frags +

anyone using the silver speed switches yet?

anyone using the silver speed switches yet?
17
#17
2 Frags +
mustardoverlordwhile I wouldn't have worded it in such an all-or-nothing way, this is one of the few things he is sorta right about, actually. mx-style switches especially mx-style linears benefit a lot from lubing. once you try it, you can never go back...

Totally agree that lubing linears makes a significant difference (I use lubed Novelkey Creams) - but just because they aren't lubed doesn't mean they don't sound or feel good imo. I think non-lubed reds specifically are great.

[quote=mustardoverlord]
while I wouldn't have worded it in such an all-or-nothing way, this is one of the few things he is sorta right about, actually. mx-style switches especially mx-style linears benefit a lot from lubing. once you try it, you can never go back...[/quote]
Totally agree that lubing linears makes a significant difference (I use lubed Novelkey Creams) - but just because they aren't lubed doesn't mean they don't sound or feel good imo. I think non-lubed reds specifically are great.
18
#18
-1 Frags +
mustardoverlordI mean the ridiculous thing about his statement was saying they're bad for gaming, but the notion that linears or tactiles are 'better' for either typing or gaming is just dumb anyways

linear > clicky/tactile for gaming. The reason being that tactile/clicky switches have to travel farther up the ROM of the plunger to reset whatever mechanism is creating the click or bump before you can register a second, separate stroke than a linear switch would. It's admittedly not a major difference, but it's very real and will introduce microsecond delays in inputs that wouldn't exist on linear switches, which can make the difference at the top levels of competitive gaming. For casual gaming it's fine to just get whatever switches you like the most, but if you're asking about min-maxing for gaming specifically, the correct answer is linear switches and probably even Cherry Silvers or equivalent switches with higher actuation points for shorter keystrokes. This is a literal microsecond difference and most people won't care and/or will just get used to the delay, but one is objectively faster than the other, and therefor better for time-sensitive tasks like those common in very high level competitive gaming.

For typing the same doesn't apply because hitting a key 2 microseconds slower isn't going to make a difference, but I do think that most people would prefer 1.) a heavier switch and 2.) a tactile/clicky switch. Both for the reason that they discourage bottoming out for every keystroke, which can make typing for long periods of time more comfortable. Again, most people probably won't care, but at least from personal experience it does make a big difference in comfort when typing out papers, emails, etc for long times.

lias(I use lubed Novelkey Creams)

I have Creams on my LAN (lmao) kb, how much better would you say they are with lube in them? I know they're supposed to be self-lubing with PTFE impregnated plastic, so I haven't tried lubing them personally, but would you say it improves them a lot or just a bit?

[quote=mustardoverlord]I mean the ridiculous thing about his statement was saying they're bad for gaming, but the notion that linears or tactiles are 'better' for either typing or gaming is just dumb anyways[/quote]

linear > clicky/tactile for gaming. The reason being that tactile/clicky switches have to travel farther up the ROM of the plunger to reset whatever mechanism is creating the click or bump before you can register a second, separate stroke than a linear switch would. It's admittedly not a major difference, but it's very real and will introduce microsecond delays in inputs that wouldn't exist on linear switches, which can make the difference at the top levels of competitive gaming. For casual gaming it's fine to just get whatever switches you like the most, but if you're asking about min-maxing for gaming specifically, the correct answer is linear switches and probably even Cherry Silvers or equivalent switches with higher actuation points for shorter keystrokes. This is a literal microsecond difference and most people won't care and/or will just get used to the delay, but one is objectively faster than the other, and therefor better for time-sensitive tasks like those common in very high level competitive gaming.

For typing the same doesn't apply because hitting a key 2 microseconds slower isn't going to make a difference, but I do think that most people would prefer 1.) a heavier switch and 2.) a tactile/clicky switch. Both for the reason that they discourage bottoming out for every keystroke, which can make typing for long periods of time more comfortable. Again, most people probably won't care, but at least from personal experience it does make a big difference in comfort when typing out papers, emails, etc for long times.

[quote=lias](I use lubed Novelkey Creams)[/quote]
I have Creams on my LAN (lmao) kb, how much better would you say they are with lube in them? I know they're supposed to be self-lubing with PTFE impregnated plastic, so I haven't tried lubing them personally, but would you say it improves them a lot or just a bit?
19
#19
1 Frags +
liaslias(I use lubed Novelkey Creams)I have Creams on my LAN (lmao) kb, how much better would you say they are with lube in them? I know they're supposed to be self-lubing with PTFE impregnated plastic, so I haven't tried lubing them personally, but would you say it improves them a lot or just a bit?

More than anything it makes the sound more satisfying, which I personally like. I suppose they get marginally smoother too, but nothing crazy. The PTFE supposedly reacts with PTFE powder/lube, so I lubed mine with PTFE grease. Plenty of guides on reddit etc. if you're curious. I can't say that it has been much different than using other traditionally lubed switches though.

[quote=lias][quote=lias](I use lubed Novelkey Creams)[/quote]
I have Creams on my LAN (lmao) kb, how much better would you say they are with lube in them? I know they're supposed to be self-lubing with PTFE impregnated plastic, so I haven't tried lubing them personally, but would you say it improves them a lot or just a bit?[/quote]
More than anything it makes the sound more satisfying, which I personally like. I suppose they get marginally smoother too, but nothing crazy. The PTFE supposedly reacts with PTFE powder/lube, so I lubed mine with PTFE grease. Plenty of guides on reddit etc. if you're curious. I can't say that it has been much different than using other traditionally lubed switches though.
20
#20
0 Frags +

Currently using lubed gat yellows in a GPRO X and it is pretty good for a budget. I also got some case foam and lubed and band-aid modded. the POM plate on the GPRO X works really well with yellows, giving a more thockier sound. Yellows will always be budget king for me

Currently using lubed gat yellows in a GPRO X and it is pretty good for a budget. I also got some case foam and lubed and band-aid modded. the POM plate on the GPRO X works really well with yellows, giving a more thockier sound. Yellows will always be budget king for me
21
#21
0 Frags +
Brockanyone using the silver speed switches yet?

i have and they're sick

[quote=Brock]anyone using the silver speed switches yet?[/quote]

i have and they're sick
22
#22
0 Frags +
liasTotally agree that lubing linears makes a significant difference (I use lubed Novelkey Creams) - but just because they aren't lubed doesn't mean they don't sound or feel good imo. I think non-lubed reds specifically are great.

obviously this is preference, so I will not speak in terms of FACTS, but in terms of CONSENSUS:

the general consensus in the mech community is that creams are an overhyped switch that is fairly scratchy even when lubed unless it has been heavily broken in, so it would make sense that the difference isn't as apparent. I recommend trying a jwk switch, they rule.

ghadillilinear > clicky/tactile for gaming. The reason being that tactile/clicky switches have to travel farther up the ROM of the plunger to reset whatever mechanism is creating the click or bump before you can register a second, separate stroke than a linear switch would. It's admittedly not a major difference, but it's very real and will introduce microsecond delays in inputs that wouldn't exist on linear switches, which can make the difference at the top levels of competitive gaming. For casual gaming it's fine to just get whatever switches you like the most, but if you're asking about min-maxing for gaming specifically, the correct answer is linear switches and probably even Cherry Silvers or equivalent switches with higher actuation points for shorter keystrokes. This is a literal microsecond difference and most people won't care and/or will just get used to the delay, but one is objectively faster than the other, and therefor better for time-sensitive tasks like those common in very high level competitive gaming.

I am aware of the mechanics that supposedly explain this argument, but I still find it to be nonsense. There are basically no real world applications where that will make a difference, unless there's some game I don't know about where mashing the W key like 20 times per second in separate keystrokes actually matters. most pro players in actual esports just use whatever keyboard sponsors them, and tf2 players use all sorts of different switches and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. some people's preference will lead them to prefer switches with very light actuation, or even optical switches, but others might find that more likely to make them actuate a switch by accident or double tap a key and would therefore prefer a heavy switch like mx blacks. I personally have gamed on linears and tactiles and have not really felt like it impacted my performance in the slightest in real-world applications. to me it's in the same category as like mouse polling rate and input latency, where you don't want them to be awful but the products that advertise ridiculously high polling rate and low latency are not that distinguishable from other products in real-world settings.

ghadilliFor typing the same doesn't apply because hitting a key 2 microseconds slower isn't going to make a difference, but I do think that most people would prefer 1.) a heavier switch and 2.) a tactile/clicky switch. Both for the reason that they discourage bottoming out for every keystroke, which can make typing for long periods of time more comfortable. Again, most people probably won't care, but at least from personal experience it does make a big difference in comfort when typing out papers, emails, etc for long times.

bottoming out on every keystroke is only uncomfortable if your keyboard sucks imo! and I enjoy typing on both linears and tactiles, so I also think this is a bit of a myth, because I also know people who don't enjoy typing on tactiles and find the bump more uncomfortable than the bottom out in long typing sessions.

ghadilliI have Creams on my LAN (lmao) kb, how much better would you say they are with lube in them? I know they're supposed to be self-lubing with PTFE impregnated plastic, so I haven't tried lubing them personally, but would you say it improves them a lot or just a bit?

as I said in the other thread, that 'self-lubing' thing is just marketing bs. all mx-style linears benefit from lubing, and creams in particular benefit from heavy use before they reach their full potential (some would say using them unlubed first for a while to break them in, but I'm not personally sure if that makes a difference).

bertoCurrently using lubed gat yellows in a GPRO X and it is pretty good for a budget. I also got some case foam and lubed and band-aid modded. the POM plate on the GPRO X works really well with yellows, giving a more thockier sound. Yellows will always be budget king for me

gat yellows are indeed pretty much the best "true" budget switch (what constitutes budget will vary from person to person.

[quote=lias]
Totally agree that lubing linears makes a significant difference (I use lubed Novelkey Creams) - but just because they aren't lubed doesn't mean they don't sound or feel good imo. I think non-lubed reds specifically are great.[/quote]

obviously this is preference, so I will not speak in terms of FACTS, but in terms of CONSENSUS:

the general consensus in the mech community is that creams are an overhyped switch that is fairly scratchy even when lubed unless it has been heavily broken in, so it would make sense that the difference isn't as apparent. I recommend trying a jwk switch, they rule.

[quote=ghadilli]
linear > clicky/tactile for gaming. The reason being that tactile/clicky switches have to travel farther up the ROM of the plunger to reset whatever mechanism is creating the click or bump before you can register a second, separate stroke than a linear switch would. It's admittedly not a major difference, but it's very real and will introduce microsecond delays in inputs that wouldn't exist on linear switches, which can make the difference at the top levels of competitive gaming. For casual gaming it's fine to just get whatever switches you like the most, but if you're asking about min-maxing for gaming specifically, the correct answer is linear switches and probably even Cherry Silvers or equivalent switches with higher actuation points for shorter keystrokes. This is a literal microsecond difference and most people won't care and/or will just get used to the delay, but one is objectively faster than the other, and therefor better for time-sensitive tasks like those common in very high level competitive gaming.
[/quote]

I am aware of the mechanics that supposedly explain this argument, but I still find it to be nonsense. There are basically no real world applications where that will make a difference, unless there's some game I don't know about where mashing the W key like 20 times per second in separate keystrokes actually matters. most pro players in actual esports just use whatever keyboard sponsors them, and tf2 players use all sorts of different switches and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. some people's preference will lead them to prefer switches with very light actuation, or even optical switches, but others might find that more likely to make them actuate a switch by accident or double tap a key and would therefore prefer a heavy switch like mx blacks. I personally have gamed on linears and tactiles and have not really felt like it impacted my performance in the slightest in real-world applications. to me it's in the same category as like mouse polling rate and input latency, where you don't want them to be awful but the products that advertise ridiculously high polling rate and low latency are not that distinguishable from other products in real-world settings.

[quote=ghadilli]
For typing the same doesn't apply because hitting a key 2 microseconds slower isn't going to make a difference, but I do think that most people would prefer 1.) a heavier switch and 2.) a tactile/clicky switch. Both for the reason that they discourage bottoming out for every keystroke, which can make typing for long periods of time more comfortable. Again, most people probably won't care, but at least from personal experience it does make a big difference in comfort when typing out papers, emails, etc for long times.
[/quote]

bottoming out on every keystroke is only uncomfortable if your keyboard sucks imo! and I enjoy typing on both linears and tactiles, so I also think this is a bit of a myth, because I also know people who don't enjoy typing on tactiles and find the bump more uncomfortable than the bottom out in long typing sessions.

[quote=ghadilli]
I have Creams on my LAN (lmao) kb, how much better would you say they are with lube in them? I know they're supposed to be self-lubing with PTFE impregnated plastic, so I haven't tried lubing them personally, but would you say it improves them a lot or just a bit?[/quote]

as I said in the other thread, that 'self-lubing' thing is just marketing bs. all mx-style linears benefit from lubing, and creams in particular benefit from heavy use before they reach their full potential (some would say using them unlubed first for a while to break them in, but I'm not personally sure if that makes a difference).

[quote=berto]Currently using lubed gat yellows in a GPRO X and it is pretty good for a budget. I also got some case foam and lubed and band-aid modded. the POM plate on the GPRO X works really well with yellows, giving a more thockier sound. Yellows will always be budget king for me[/quote]

gat yellows are indeed pretty much the best "true" budget switch (what constitutes budget will vary from person to person.
23
#23
-4 Frags +

you should be like aimisadick but about keyboards

you should be like aimisadick but about keyboards
24
#24
0 Frags +

it's a hobby of mine!

it's a hobby of mine!
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