Mechanical switch keyboards: Worth it?


I’ve just joined the swarm with my brand new Roccat Ryos TKL Pro. I blame TWIT.TV’s video review, and my shopaholic friend who doesn’t know anything about computers but is wowed by flashing lights on keyboards. (I also blame NCIX, because they have a deal that gives a free Roccat Savu mouse. The deal is still on, for you Canucks.)

Mine has Cherry Brown switches, and I simply cannot feel the activation click, unless I press 10x slower to look for it. This keyboard might as well have Cherry Blacks. (I grew up on the god-like IBM Model M keyboard. I still have one, but I have nothing with a PS/2 port to plug it.)


There are pretty decent PS/2-to-USB converters out there for a few bucks these days, just FYI.

The actuation action on MX Browns is pretty light, along with the key itself, but no switch is going to have quite the tactility of a buckling spring. I still find MX Browns really pleasant to use (and will still have my board at work if the job hadn’t offered to replace it with the Topre-based keyboard I’m thwacking away at right now), as the mixture of light pressure, long travel distance, and relative quiet compared to MX Blues/buckling springs was really ideal.


I bought a Kinesis Advantage a couple of weeks ago for carpal / cubital tunnel relief. Was hard to learn the new layout at first, but the cherry brown keys are very nice and comfortable so far.


I shouldn’t be throwing too much of a wet blanket on the cherry browns…as soon as the keyboard arrived I plugged it into my work laptop and used that for the rest of the day. It felt so GOOD and RIGHTEOUS.


If you’re looking for more of a tactile response than the browns without the clickiness, try out clears. The Code keyboard is a good example.


Just putting it out here that there are many cool stuff over at website such as a 40% keyboard and a 60% on sale there.


I got one of these to replace a Razer Blackwidow Ultimate that went bad after less than a year. Pleased with it so far. I will say that the Cherry MX black switches in this are not my favorite, I like the blue ones (or any that click), I think the Razer had those.


I like that carrying case that your keyboard comes with!


Indeed Razer has MX Blues … I believe Razer now produce their own switches, a copy cat of the Cherry switches, likely a cost cutting initiative. I don’t know how good these “orange” switches are. This complicate an already very complicated hobby!


Yeah its nice, though my KB does not travel. The packaging for this is phenomenal. It all comes in a very sturdy cardboard box with a magnetic seal. I kept it just because it was too nice to throw away.


Well, I finally pulled the trigger on a Corsair RGB. I wanted a K70 but they are IMPOSSIBLE to find, so I went with the only one I could get, a K95 RBG with MX Cherry keys. I wanted Browns, but the Reds were all I could get. I haven’t ever used ANY MX Cherry keys, so for all I know the Reds will end up being my favorite, anyway.

It won’t process the order for 3-5 days but I should have it early next week. Possibly Friday?


Sense memory tells me that CTRL is the key at bottom left. I find these keyboards with extra stuff on that left wing really mess me up.


I keep my hands at the “home position” when I type (or hovering over WASD when gaming, give or take) and as such the CTRL key is in the same position using a longer keyboard with custom keys as it would be using a regular keyboard, for me anyway. I suppose if you were a “no look hunt and peck” that might be a problem, though.


Or when laying hands down to begin typing in the da–ohhh, oh, I see now, Corsair. Clever.

Reds are actually the only major Cherry switch (discounting the until-recently rarities like Clears) I haven’t used, so I’m curious to hear your thoughts on them. Enjoy the new toy :)


I have a Corsair K95 like that one, and like it well enough, but if I had to do it over again I would have picked something with switches that had a more obvious tactile response. I ended up putting O-rings under the keys, which reduces their travel a bit. And just now I noticed that the LED under one of the macro keys has died. :-( Hmm. I may have to look up the warranty.


Having LED died is one of my fears of mechanical keyboard hobby. I think I need to learn soldering!

In case any of you feel brave, here is a good guide


I watched a video for this K95 with the red keys and it looks harder to type - is that what you mean, Papageno? I like to type, so would O-rings help that? I don’t know a lot about O-rings, other than it seems like it would be a pain to install them?


They are time consuming to install, but I think the theory is that in reducing the travel, it speeds up your typing (given that there is basically zero tactile response with the Cherry MX Red switches). As a side benefit, it makes the keyboard a bit less noisy.

One caveat: if you do install the O-rings, make sure they’re fully seated on the keycaps or you’ll get missed keystrokes–that happened with my comma key for a while and I thought maybe the switch was defective till I checked it.


O-rings are often used to reduce noise. On Cherry keys, there is a faint-to-loud sound when a key is fully depressed to its maximum extent. How loud it is depends on whether or not your keyboard has a metal backplate and what metal it’s made of, plus things like the natural dampening effect of the case.

Anyway, the o-rings are soft rubber, which make almost no noise when squished between the keycap and the keyswitch, and which stop the keycap from depressing that last millimeter or so and hitting bottom.

This also does have the effect of shortening the total travel. Some folks find the deep keywells of mechanical boards somewhat off-putting (compared to the relatively shallow travel of most rubber domes), so having a higher “bottom” can be pleasant for them.

Finally, o-rings soften the blow of landing. How much they do so depends on the hardness of the o-rings you buy–the softer, the squishier the landing.

I think some folks see MX Reds as hard to type on as they are very light compared to most keys you see. It takes very little pressure to start them moving, and unlike a tactile keyswitch like Browns, Blues, or Clears, they have a linear force measurement, so it never gets very hard to keep them moving and there’s not an obvious “bump” where pressure grows then gives way suddenly. As such, some people with a heavy resting posture for their hands might find themselves pressing keys accidentally until they get used to it. (You only need to depress a Cherry MX switch about halfway down the stem to actuate it and have the PC recognize the key)

Of course, compare this to MX Blacks, which have a very heavy actuation force and take quite a bit of pressure to bottom out. That’s nice, insofar as they tend to be quiet unless you’re a very heavy typist (no “click” midway through, like with MX Blues, and it’s so hard to bottom them out that you rarely get the “thock” from that, either), but on the other hand, I found them very tiring to use for long sessions (I used them at a job with an absurd amount of typing). Of course, the same is true for me and buckling springs, which is why I haven’t bought a Unicomp or a Model M from eBay. . .


Oh, okay, cool - thanks for the info (both of you guys)! I don’t have any O-rings on order, so I’ll give myself some time to acclimate to the new keyboard and if I decided O-rings are a thing I should try, I’ll get some (they don’t look very expensive).

Now I’m imagining the keys working like a sea of tiny bobble heads, just brushing my fingers lightly over them will set them all to jogging up and down, here and there, like an army of tiny puppets manipulated by a meth addicted puppeteer, for some reason.