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Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It?

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Isn’t A Mechanical Keyboard Too Expensive?

The price of a Mechanical Keyboard is what makes people make the question: Is a Mechanical Keyboard worth it after all? Check out this article to find out more.

But what better than to learn about computer keyboards in general so that we have a full view of all the choices available.

Before A Gaming Keyboard Comes A Keyboard!

Before we start talking about what is a gaming keyboard, we should take a detour for what is a keyboard in general (small detour!).

What is A Keyboard

A computer keyboard is an input device that allows a person to enter letters, numbers, and other symbols (these are called characters) into a computer. It is one of the most used input devices for computers. Using a keyboard to enter lots of data is called typing.

So now we can give a definition of what is a gaming keyboard :

What is a Gaming Keyboard

Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It - Gaming Keyboard Definition

A Gaming Keyboard is a keyboard with additional characteristics designed for gaming. Those characteristics include:

Led or RGB lights for better aesthetic feel (because gamers spend lots of time gaming they need something good to look at haha – or of course the lights are useful in the dark).

Better pressing key mechanisms (mechanical switches) to sustain a long hour gameplay without causing discomfort.

More buttons and more complex software to enable macros and switching between macros in a fast manner.

Let’s see each feature in more detail.

Ghosting (The Problem). Anti Ghosting (The Solution)

Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It - Anti-Ghosting

Ghosting is when you press many buttons at the same time and not all of them register on your computer.

Is Ghosting Really A Problem For Gamers?

Well you might think, why you need to press many buttons at the same time. If you need to press for example Ctrl+Alt+Some Button then ghosting might create a problem for you. Or any other combination with Modifier Keys (Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Windows).

Also the key combinations that will not be ghosted might be different. Check out the following YouTube Video.

Ghosting YouTube Video

The above keyboard can register up to 3 simultaneous buttons but not all combinations.

Website To Test Your Keyboard For Ghosting

Check out this site for an online test of Ghosting.

My Keyboard Test – Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000

I put my keyboard for the test and it can register at most 6 keys. In some cases it can register 4.

For example it can register all QWERTY keys at the same time. But if I register ASDF I can’t register any more.

I can register 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 all together (6 keys total) but 6, 7, 8, 9 , 0 only (5 Keys).

Care for the Modifier Keys they might work outside of the website!

N-Key Rollover

Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It - N-Key Rollover

Well N-Key Rollover is simply how many keys you can press at the same time (the N is like a variable saying the number of keys that can be pressed together).

Full N-Key Rollover keyboards usually abbreviated NKRO (well you might seen this on music keyboards where full N-Key Rollover is crucial).

Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 N-Key Rollover

My keyboard (Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000) has N-Key Rollover of up to 6 keys (4-6 Keys to be precise).

It’s not even a gaming keyboard and can press up to 6 keys together.

YouTube Techquickie On N-Key Rollover And Anti-Ghosting

Well we all appreciate a “diggable” Youtube video, especially when Tech and gaming are involved.

Sponsor Ads after 3:15

Well Linus might have said about cheap keyboards having 3 key rollover max but mine has 4-6.

Also he said about a case where you press 2 keys and your computer registers 3 (Rare case).

Note: that website link that Linus mentions for ghosting test doesn’t work for me. I just googled for another and found one (Careful with the Modifier Keys!).

Membrane Keyboard

If you are likely to get a cheap keyboard, it will be a membrane keyboard. Not that there aren’t expensive keyboards with membrane.

Pros

Membrane keyboards are quiter than mechanical, making them ideal if you don’t want to “wake your neighboors” or “join the FBI!”.

With Membrane keyboards you can switch from one key to another easier than with a mechanical keyboard.

Membrane Keyboards are more affordable.

Cons

Membrane Keyboards require more force(called Actuation Force) for the key to be registered and that can slow you down in fast paced games.

If you are a writer, this extra force can tire you faster.

Membrane Keyboards are less durable than mechanical (the membrane can wear off).

Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It? Need A Break I’m Dehydrated!

Well I don’t know about you but I like Japanese Anime and KPop songs. I will post some here, check them out! And tell me what you watch in the comments (Please add some comment about this article as well!).

Japanese Intro Song!

https://youtu.be/–4fxlQS_mg
Subs Included!

KPop Song!

Subs Included!

Mechanical Keyboard

Mechanical Keyboards use switches for each key. That makes them more customizable than Membrane.

Pros

Mechanical Keyboards require less force to press each key(Actuation Force).

The keys on the Mechanical Keyboard need to travel less distance to be registered on the computer (Actuation Distance).

Mechanical Keyboards are more durable than Membrane.

Mechanical Keyboards use switches that are replaceable.

Cons

Mechanical Keyboards are more expensive than Membrane.

Mechanical Keyboards make more noise than Membrane. Well if you like automatic guns you might like them! (if you type a lot).

Mechanical Keyboards are more vulnerable than Membrane. Food and liquids can harm them easier than Membrane Keyboards.

Mechanical Keyboards have lots of different types of switches, which can make it difficult to choose when buying one.

Linear, Tactile And Clicky Switches

Linear switches are switches that must be pushed all the way down to generate a keystroke.

Tactile switches don’t need to be pushed all the way down and generate a “bump” on press.

Clicky switches don’t need to be pushed all the way down either and generate a “click” sound on press.

Cherry MX Switches

You might have heard about Cherry MX Switches. Tech companies that make mechanical keyboards use these switches on them. Let’s see some of them:

Cherry MX Blue

Operation Style: Clicky.

Operating Force: 50g.

Actuation Point: 2.2mm.

Total Travel Distance: 4mm.

LifeSpan(Keystrokes): Up to 50 million.

Cherry MX Brown

Operation Style: Tactile.

Operating Force: 45g.

Actuation Point: 2mm.

Total Travel Distance: 4mm.

Lifespan(Keystrokes): Up to 50 million.

Cherry MX Red

Operation Style: Linear.

Operating Force: 45g.

Actuation Point: 2mm.

Total Travel Distance: 4mm.

Lifespan(Keystrokes): Up to 50 million. [1]

Other Types Of Switches

There are 2 other types of switches except for Cherry MX. Those would be Omron Switches and Rover G Switches.

Omron Switches

D2F And D2FC

D2F And D2FC indicate origin. D2F is Japanese and D2FC is Chinese.

Note: Chinese switches may not be compatible with Japanese switches and vice versa.

D2F And D2F -01 (With or Without Dash = Spring Material)

This number indicates the Spring Material. When it has the -01 it means Gold Alloy Spring, and without the -01 it means Silver Alloy Spring.

Spring Rates (-F)

The -F indicates the actuation force.

D2FC = 150g Actuation Force.

D2FC -F = 75g Actuation Force.

Well 75g Actuation Force is easier to push. This is useful when you need to press the key many times like in an FPS Game. [2]

There are more indicators, so if you want to learn more details, check out the reference link above.

But let’s see some quotes from Reddit about Omron Switches (Best Omron Switch Post).

Best Omron Switch From Reddit

“You could consider D2FC-F-K (50M) or the made in Japan D2F-F-3-7, both are fairly light switches with decent longevity. “

https://www.reddit.com/user/yang_/

“I recently switched the Huano on my DM1 FPS with Omron D2FC-F-K(50m) [2pcs for 4€ on eBay].
I prefer them much more, they are lighter and faster. Lifespan 50 million clicks .. I do not know if it’s really true or not. “

https://www.reddit.com/user/rickylionheart95/

Logitech Romer G Switches

Romer G Switches are Logitech’s answer to gaming switches. Let’s take a look at them.

Romer-G Tactile

Feedback Type: Discernable Bump.

Actuation Distance: 1.5mm.

Total Travel: 3.2mm.

Average Force: 45gf.

Tactile Force: 50gf.

Lifespan: 70 Million Keystrokes.

Useful for: Competitive and FPS Gaming.

Romer-G Linear

Feedback Type: Smooth.

Actuation Distance: 1.5mm.

Total Travel: 3.2mm.

Average Force: 45gf.

Tactile Force: n/a.

Lifespan: 70 Million Keystrokes.

Useful for: MMO and Action Games.

GX Blue

Feedback Type: Audible Click.

Actuation Distance: 1.9mm.

Total Travel: 4.0mm.

Average Force: 50gf.

Tactile Force: 60gf.

Lifespan: 70 Million Keystrokes.

Useful for: People that like to hear the sound of writing to a classic typewriter!.

More Romer-G Switches

Check out Logitech’s website[3] for Romer-G Switches where you can hear the sound for each of the switches mentioned above.

A Visit To The Romer-G Factory Video

Cherry Switches TechQuickie Video

Membrane VS Mechanical Keyboards Video

Rubber-Dome Keyboards: The Diplomat!

Rubber Dome Keyboards are a hybrid that use membrane with mechanical switches.

This “union” is mostly done for budget reasons, to have a cheap keyboard that feels like a mechanical.

That doesn’t mean that all Rubber Dome Keyboards are cheap. Check out some Razer Keyboards(for example Razer Ornata Chroma) and you can see for yourself. It’s just with this setup you can produce cheaper keyboards as well (cheaper than pure mechanical).

For example there is cheap wine and expensive wine. Both are wine but there is a different quality. That’s how it goes for membrane as well.

Razer Ornata Chroma Mecha-Membrane Switch Sound

Backlightning

It’s time for backlightning! Well you might think backlight is just an excess in a gaming keyboard (or whatever gaming peripheral) but that’s just not the case.

If you play long hours in your PC or Laptop, backlightning and other aesthetic features makes your gaming experience better.

If you are on a low budget, you certainly can’t care less about backlightning. I agree with you.

Even though cheap gaming keyboards these days have backlightning.

Humans have eyes that always want to be satisfied. The same applies to gamers.

Extra Programmable Keys

Some gaming keyboards provide extra keys that can be used for additional functionality.

These are mostly used for MMO games where there are many skills to press and many commands to issue.

What Is A Gaming Keyboard – Conclusion

Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It - Gaming Keyboard 2

I hope this article has answered all or most of your questions about what is a gaming keyboard. If you have more questions or maybe recommendations feel free to comment.

For most of the time a gaming keyboard won’t be required for your gaming, especially if you are casually gaming.

Even with casual gaming, it’s possible at some time that you want to buy a better gaming equipment. Being a casual gamer doesn’t mean anything. I’m now playing 2 hours LoL per day. That can be considered casual gaming. Especially when I’m stuck in Silver Elo for 1 year now.

Maybe I will sign up to ProGuides so I can get advice on how to improve!

But I need a new mouse and mousepad because these I have are too old and do not perform well. (The pad is not smooth, the mouse loses clicks and needs more DPI).

As all things in life progress, you might sometime get bored of your regular keyboard and want something else.

For those people who don’t play competitive games, they might want more immersion and better overall gaming experience so at some time they will want to upgrade to better equipment (keyboard included).

So to sum up, a gamer is a gamer. He or she wants or will want better gear sooner or later. It’s like saying that a person who likes movies don’t wanna see upcoming ones, especially if they have good reviews. That’s absurd!.

So Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It?

If you really have money problems, it’s not worth it. If you are not, you can buy one cheap Mechanical Keyboard. No need to buy an 80+dollar keyboard. Unless you are obsessed with buying one or wanna have a “famous” keyboard for once.

A Mechanical Keyboard won’t make you a better gamer. It will just bring out the good gamer that you already are.

Of course if you have money to spend you must make your choice wisely because there are many types of Mechanical Keyboards.

It’s mostly about the switches. As you read in the Switches section, a different type of switches makes a different type of Mechanical Keyboard.

If you buy one, you can tell me about it in the comments!

My Top X Keyboard Lists

If you want, you can check my Top X Lists for Keyboards (with Affiliate Links). Cheers.

My Keyboard Reviews

If you are looking for a cheap and well known mechanical keyboard, check out my Redragon K552 Red Keyboard Review.

References

[1]: https://www.hyperxgaming.com/us/keyboards/switches

[2]: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=81743.0

[3]: https://www.logitechg.com/en-roeu/innovation/mechanical-switches.html


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14 thoughts on “Is A Mechanical Keyboard Worth It?”

  1. Hi George!

    Well, honestly, I have never played games with my PC or Laptop, and thus never used Gaming-Keyboard. As I can see there pros and cons about it. But, what I know is that f I wrote a longe post my fingers get tired and sometimes I felt some pian.  To prevent “more damage” I use sometimes speech text apps to make it easier. 

    However, I have learned some more about the various types of keyboards!

    Thabnks for sharing,
    Igor

    1. No problem. If you think anything is missing or something could make this article even better, you can comment or PM me.

  2. This is a very nice post. I’m an addict gamer. I do play for as long as my body could hold and recently, I just bought a medicine to improve concentration and to last longer when playing games. One thing I detest is bad or slow responsiveness of my gaming actions to my inputs. Thats the reason I spend a lot to get the best gadgets. I can’t even imagine making use of a keyboard without anti-ghosting. I can angrily break it😀. Very nice highlights concerning the features of a gaming keyboard, its nothing but the truth.

    1. I would love to hear what game are you playing that makes you want to play as much as to even take medicine!. When i was playing MMOs i played all day and night now i play League but still need a lot of work (still in Silver IV).

      I certainly need to buy an anti-ghosting keyboard and a better mouse too. Many kills lost due to anti-ghosting and bad quality mouse. Cheers

  3. Hi,

    First of all i want to thank you for sharing this article with us.In your article you described about gaming keyboard .Never heard about this before .But it sounds great to me . My father is a game freak .I will share this article with him and i am sure that it will be helpful for him to know about it . And you described everything about it smoothly . People can  get relevant information about what is a gaming keyboard.

    Thank you again for sharing this article with us.It was great article.

    1. No problem man. It is essential for gamers to know whatever necessary to improve their gameplay. It’s like martial arts. If you have any questions or something more to add, feel free to do so.

  4. Dear George,

    Thanks a lot for the informative and helpful article.

    Being a content writer I thought of taking some break in between to relax. So recently I got into the gaming world and started to spend some time on gaming. One of my friend advised me to go for gaming keyboard for better user experience and I came across your helpful post.

    I am amazed at the benefits of Mechanical keyboard and thanks for the helpful insights. The pros and cons you shared about Mechanical keyboard is very helpful in making my purchase decision. As I mentioned I am a content writer I write a lot on a daily basis, I type nearly 7K words per day and purchasing a Mechanical keyboard is just like killing two birds with one stone (Typing & Gaming).

    Mechanical keyboard is on my list!

    Much Success!

    Paul

    1. Yes! I will get a mechanical keyboard for myself too. Well i don’t think i type 7K words per day but it will certainly make my gaming experience better (Maybe i rank up a bit!).

  5. I was not aware that a gaming keyboard had extra features, I just thought it was a regular keyboard.  Now it make sense how easily people can play online with a computer rather than using a controller.  I’m not sure how you would hold down both shift keys and type…I guess I need more practice.

    I tried a couple times to play fortnite with my Daughter, she was on Xbox and I attempted to on the computer but now I realize why it was so hard and I eventually gave up.  Looks like I need to invest in a gaming keyboard to do this successfully, thanks for your great article.

    1. Yes you might need the gaming keyboard for its anti-ghosting features. If you press too many buttons they might not register without anti-ghosting. 

      Also a gaming mouse would be great combo

  6. Hi George, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. Honestly, I am a true gamer and I can’t imagine the day without playing some sort of game. I have never had a gaming keyboard and now I regret it. From what I have read here I should definitely get one and enhance my gaming experience. Do you have any suggestion for me regarding gaming keyboards?

    1. Yes, i have some lists that i made from Amazon. They are relatively cheap gaming keyboards.

      https://livegamingequipment.co

      If you want a known brand gaming keyboard, you should buy a Logitech. At least my next buy will be Logitech. Had better experience with them.

  7. This is a great explanation of some of the aspects we need in a gaming keyboard, it’s all making sense to this newbie. One question though. Would you mind explaining please what you mean when you said “more buttons and more complex software to enable macros and switching between macros in a fast manner”. What exactly are macros?

    1. Macros are a group of commands tied together to one button. So when you press one button that has a macro on it, it doesn’t do one thing, it does all the things you programmed it to do (through software).

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