Gaming Keyboard - Looking for Advice

Lutela

11 Feb 2019, 13:23

Hi All,

After a few months of using my gaming pc - based on the valuable advice gained here - I am looking to upgrade my keyboard.
I was thinking a mechanical one which isn't two heavily gaming based to make it inoperable for normal use.
Build quality is important, reasonably allowing an acceptable price up to £200ish.
I'd also like some macro keys - but I guess with good software for programmable keys for the rest its not a deal breaker.

Anyone got recommendations or advice?
My present thinking is between:
Razer RZ03-01870300-R3W1 Huntsman Elite (Good reviews - no macro keys - good software from reports - not overly aesthetically pleasing to me)
ROCCAT Vulcan 120 (Released end of the month - no macro keys - not sure of programmable keys- very pretty)
Corsair K95 Platinum RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Cherry MX Brown (Generally good reviews but some bad ones - macro keys - software reported awkward - looks nice)

All three are expensive enough that I'd rather have them thought out before buying. Any alternatives would be good - but budget wise the most expensive of these is the limit.

Thanks for reading
https://waveadvice.com/
Last edited by Lutela on 26 Feb 2019, 06:25, edited 1 time in total.

andrewjoy

11 Feb 2019, 15:36

What type of switches do you like ?
Do you want to be able to swap out kecaps with little issue ?

I usually recommend a filco TKL when people are starting out.

https://www.keyboardco.com/keyboard/usa ... yboard.asp

They are well made , its super easy to get keycap sets for the US layout ones. And i think at some point there where drop in replacement controllers for programming them.

Findecanor

11 Feb 2019, 16:34

I would go to a brick-and-mortar store that has a few keyboards on display and test a few switches. If you are lucky, they could also have a switch tester with different key switches to press, so you could get to know how the different types feel.

If you are right-handed and don't usually use a numeric keypad, then I would recommend a tenkeyless form factor so that you could have the mouse closer to the centre, which would be better for your right arm in the long run.

Many keyboard enthusiasts started out with Filco, years ago, but there are many good alternatives these days.
I would get a Leopold or a Ducky. Both have reputation for good build quality. Especially the keycaps, compared to those you listed and to Filco, and there are a few different colour variations.
Ducky has backlit keyboards. No macro keys however. Keyboards from both brands are available from MechanicalKeyboards.com for less than $130 with free shipping, although there are some that are a bit more expensive.

I would recommend to stay away from Razer. You can't trust them.

samuelcable

11 Feb 2019, 16:36

Leopold has top notch build quality imo, as well as a sound dampening foam that comes stock in the case and properly thick keycaps. My top recommendation

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cineraphael

11 Feb 2019, 16:47

- Filco are really good too. They made with heart of Japan if not Taiwan. At least on the website you can chose a Switches.

- Steelseries Apex are really good too, especially the QS1 Switches but they stop producing them. a QX2 series are better than a Cherry MX.

- Matias are also really good as well because it use Alp Style switches.

- Unicomp Model M - This one are the king of the 80 and 90s keyboard but I think they made these for typing and not for gaming but they cost like $99.

- Avoid Topre because of the Price.

andrewjoy

11 Feb 2019, 16:49

Findecanor wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:34

Many keyboard enthusiasts started out with Filco, years ago, but there are many good alternatives these days.
I would get a Leopold or a Ducky.
Anything costar like , with decent build quality is good :)

I prefer filco but if you can find the same quality for less go for it.

This is the list of drop in controllers

wiki/Costar_replacement_controllers

Dunno if any are still available.

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swampangel

11 Feb 2019, 16:59

cineraphael wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:47
- Unicomp Model M - This one are the king of the 80 and 90s keyboard but I think they made these for typing and not for gaming but they cost like $99.
2KRO, they can be _okay_ for gaming but I wouldn't recommend it.

I like the Coolermaster Masterkeys series for a sturdy no-frills Cherry board with a standard layout, but I don't think they're programmable.

samuelcable

11 Feb 2019, 17:02

cineraphael wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:47
- Steelseries Apex are really good too, especially the QS1 Switches but they stop producing them. a QX2 series are better than a Cherry MX.

- Matias are also really good as well because it use Alp Style switches.

- Unicomp Model M - This one are the king of the 80 and 90s keyboard but I think they made these for typing and not for gaming but they cost like $99.
Sometimes I legit can't tell if you're trolling...

User avatar
Tias

11 Feb 2019, 18:27

andrewjoy wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:49
I prefer filco but if you can find the same quality for less go for it.

This is the list of drop in controllers

wiki/Costar_replacement_controllers

Dunno if any are still available.
1upkeyboards had the replacement controller, The Pegasus Hoof, for the Filco Majestouch in stock until just recently. Now it seems to be out of stock unfortunately.

My my first Mx-board was a Filco Majestouch 2 TKL with Mx Brown and it was a very solid board for the price.
swampangel wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:59
2KRO, they can be _okay_ for gaming but I wouldn't recommend it.

I like the Coolermaster Masterkeys series for a sturdy no-frills Cherry board with a standard layout, but I don't think they're programmable.
1upkeyboards still has the replacement controller for the Masterkeys S, The Unloved Bastard, available.

Red_October

11 Feb 2019, 21:32

Model F 122-key. N-key rollover, infinite programmability through Soarer's Converter, high reliability, won't move around too much under vigorous use. About 22 "extra" keys to program without resorting to layering, even!

User avatar
Hypersphere

12 Feb 2019, 00:26

CoolerMaster makes a solid reliable keyboard. I like the Quickfire Stealth with Cherry mx Greens, but these might be too heavy for gaming. I think gamers tend to like light linear switches such as reds, and there are even more sensitive or short-travel linear switches available in some makes of keyboards.

WASD keyboards have "Barebones" versions for sale without keycaps. I like this option, because I usually end up replacing the stock caps anyway, so this saves a few dollars up front.

My own favorites are expensive Topre boards (HHKB and RF87), vintage Alps boards, and IBM Model F, but I do not game (except for chess -- for which I generally do not need speed!).
Last edited by Hypersphere on 23 Mar 2019, 21:47, edited 1 time in total.

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vvp

12 Feb 2019, 08:42

Red_October wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 21:32
Model F 122-key. N-key rollover, infinite programmability through Soarer's Converter
How much latency does Soarer's Converter add?
Last edited by vvp on 13 Feb 2019, 09:56, edited 1 time in total.

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jani80k

12 Feb 2019, 10:40

One Tip from my side. Make sure, you get PBT Keycaps, which are not lasered or printed but either dye subbed or double shot.
Most gaming keyboards have lasered ABS keycaps which start looking greasy right after unboxing the keyboard and touching it for the first time.

Moreover, you should try some keyboards before you buy. I bought my first mechanical keyboard after doing research on the internet and I figured that browns would be great - but I did not like them at all. A solid balanced choice is Cherry MX Red. But as I said try before you buy.

Filco is a great brand, but also Varmillo or Ducky is good. Don't believe the hype - RGB is not what makes a good keyboard. It's the build quality so don't go for Corsair, Razer or any of the other gaming gear brands. Go for a real keyboard brand.

Findecanor

12 Feb 2019, 11:21

Low ambient light in the room that lets you see the keys is much better for your eyes than piercing RGB light from a keyboard.

The keys on most backlit gaming keyboards are ABS only on the inside. The outside is painted and then the legends are burned off with a laser. That painted surface does not have any texture, feels weird, looks greasy and ... with time it will wear off, turning the legends into glowing blobs.
Doubleshot-moulded ABS keys are an exception: and Ducky has keyboards with such keys.
Last edited by Findecanor on 11 Mar 2019, 11:51, edited 1 time in total.

Red_October

23 Feb 2019, 20:07

vvp wrote:
12 Feb 2019, 08:42
Red_October wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 21:32
Model F 122-key. N-key rollover, infinite programmability through Soarer's Converter
How much latency does Soarer's Converter add?
None that I've noticed, been gaming through one for years now. Just switched over to a regular KB, (to play with my new Dasher keycaps) haven't noticed a difference.

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abrahamstechnology

23 Feb 2019, 20:15

I could rebuild you a G81-3100 with any switches you'd like. The case flexes a bit but I am working on mods to prevent this. PCB has close to N-key rollover. It also has a card reader (perfect if you play microtransaction games!)

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kekstee

23 Feb 2019, 21:26

A couple of friends got the Fnatic Rush since it's available in Cherry MX Silent Red ISO-DE.
It's reasonably priced for a backlit gaming keyboard.

If you want to go more Premium, look for Filco Ducky or Leopold boards. They don't scream "gaming" in your face but are very well built keyboards you could even take to the office.
Switch wise I would stronly suggest light switches, either Silent Red, Red (linear) or Brown (a little bit tactile, but I'd prefer linear, for typing as well) Avoid MX Blue at all costs. The Click and their actuation sucks for gaming.

/e Don't get too carried away by backlight. You want to look at your monitor, not the keyboard. Stupidly overpriced and useless.

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Khers

24 Feb 2019, 09:50

I'd just like to add Varmilo to the list of options. A friend of mine reviews keyboards for a Swedish hardware site and according to him, Varmilo is the best of the bunch. They have a fairly new, very smooth from the factory, electro capacitive switch if you're into that kind of thing.

The same friend says Corsair, CM, Razer and the other gaming brands just produce overpriced crap. I guess that's what you get from having a keyboard nerd reviewing keyboards.

jonb2501

06 Mar 2019, 06:00

You really should go to a store and try some. I liked the Corsair Strafe RGB with MX Silents, and the Apex M800 with the QS1 switches. The QS1 are low profile and have non-standard key caps, they keys worked but seemed flimsy to me. Everyone is going to tell you something different, so start with what kind of switch you like and go from there. My ideal keyboard would be a Das Keyboard 4 with Romer-G switches, which is a unicorn.

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vometia
irritant

09 Mar 2019, 16:32

samuelcable wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 17:02
cineraphael wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:47
- Steelseries Apex are really good too, especially the QS1 Switches but they stop producing them. a QX2 series are better than a Cherry MX.

- Matias are also really good as well because it use Alp Style switches.

- Unicomp Model M - This one are the king of the 80 and 90s keyboard but I think they made these for typing and not for gaming but they cost like $99.
Sometimes I legit can't tell if you're trolling...
Huh, I've used Model Ms for gaming for the longest time. Admittedly I'm not exactly a "twitch-gamer" and mostly tend to noodle about in action RPGs pretending they're a sort of exploratory adventure game and running away from anything that looks like it's bad news.

I think I've laboured the point with the Matias: nice keyboard, shame about the QA and the after-sales.

Also still not really totally digging the new forum look but having had the same inflicted on me as an admin elsewhere I know how it is. "Things were better in the olden days", etc.

User avatar
SneakyRobb

10 Mar 2019, 01:54

vometia wrote:
09 Mar 2019, 16:32
samuelcable wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 17:02
cineraphael wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:47
- Steelseries Apex are really good too, especially the QS1 Switches but they stop producing them. a QX2 series are better than a Cherry MX.

- Matias are also really good as well because it use Alp Style switches.

- Unicomp Model M - This one are the king of the 80 and 90s keyboard but I think they made these for typing and not for gaming but they cost like $99.
Sometimes I legit can't tell if you're trolling...
Huh, I've used Model Ms for gaming for the longest time. Admittedly I'm not exactly a "twitch-gamer" and mostly tend to noodle about in action RPGs pretending they're a sort of exploratory adventure game and running away from anything that looks like it's bad news.

I think I've laboured the point with the Matias: nice keyboard, shame about the QA and the after-sales.

Also still not really totally digging the new forum look but having had the same inflicted on me as an admin elsewhere I know how it is. "Things were better in the olden days", etc.
What is wrong with Matias QA?

Aside from some minor lube issues?

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vometia
irritant

10 Mar 2019, 19:17

SneakyRobb wrote:
10 Mar 2019, 01:54
What is wrong with Matias QA?

Aside from some minor lube issues?
They're quite well known for key-bounce and/or non-registration issues that are not necessarily easy to resolve: might be the key construction, might be the firmware, might be bad soldering. Might just be the phases of the moon or witchcraft. Nobody knows, but my understanding is that no single solution has been guaranteed to work. Though a more pressing matter is that there shouldn't need to be a solution on such a reportedly frequent basis: I love(d) my Matias keyboard until it started doing the now infamous thing in short order. I would've sent it back if KeyboardCo hadn't started arsing me about but given the risk of simply ending up with a bill to have it returned to me I now have a rather expensive paperweight.

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mattlach

11 Mar 2019, 00:40

swampangel wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 16:59
2KRO, they can be _okay_ for gaming but I wouldn't recommend it.

I like the Coolermaster Masterkeys series for a sturdy no-frills Cherry board with a standard layout, but I don't think they're programmable.

Up until I got a Ducky earlier this year, I had been playing games on 2KRO Model M's for 20 years, occasionally competetively, without ever having an issue.

I agree that NKRO or 6KRO is likely better in order to err on the side of safety, but I think the dangers of 2KRO in games have been highly overstated.

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mattlach

11 Mar 2019, 00:44

Nowadays gaming is not a priority fo rme in my keyboards, but for beginners to Mechanical keyboards who are into the whole "gaming RGB" thing, I have heard that people really like the Topre Realforce RGB. Nice smooth switches that are good for both typing and games, and you can even adjust how deep the actuation point is, which is pretty cool.

As opposed to other Topre keyboards it also has Cherry MX style keycaps, so it makes th epossibilities near endless when it comes to which keycaps you can use.

They are a bit on the pricy side though at $209

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vvp

11 Mar 2019, 09:48

mattlach wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 00:40
I agree that NKRO or 6KRO is likely better in order to err on the side of safety, but I think the dangers of 2KRO in games have been highly overstated.
How about a diagonal move up (W) rigth (D) and jump (Space) at the same time. There you have 3 non-modifier keys pressed at once. 2KRO is a problem for games often enough.

I agree that 6KRO is almost always enough. One hand is typically used for mouse and the other hand has only 5 fingers. That means for those games 5KRO must be enough. There are some games where both hands are used for keyboard and 6KRO may be insufficient in such a case. But I highly doubt it. Game designers must take 6KRO limit into account when designing the keyboard interface since almost all USB keyboards are 6KRO.

I guess that the only case where 6KRO is not enough is for games where two players use the same keybaord. These are rare. Probably only some older arcade stuff.

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Chyros

11 Mar 2019, 11:35

vvp wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 09:48
mattlach wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 00:40
I agree that NKRO or 6KRO is likely better in order to err on the side of safety, but I think the dangers of 2KRO in games have been highly overstated.
How about a diagonal move up (W) rigth (D) and jump (Space) at the same time. There you have 3 non-modifier keys pressed at once. 2KRO is a problem for games often enough.

I agree that 6KRO is almost always enough. One hand is typically used for mouse and the other hand has only 5 fingers. That means for those games 5KRO must be enough. There are some games where both hands are used for keyboard and 6KRO may be insufficient in such a case. But I highly doubt it. Game designers must take 6KRO limit into account when designing the keyboard interface since almost all USB keyboards are 6KRO.

I guess that the only case where 6KRO is not enough is for games where two players use the same keybaord. These are rare. Probably only some older arcade stuff.
I used to play DOS games with two players on one keyboard. Stuff like Marshmallow Duel and Gearheads. The former especially was liable to blocking. If only I knew at the time I needed an NKRO keyboard! xD

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swampangel

11 Mar 2019, 12:43

mattlach wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 00:40
Up until I got a Ducky earlier this year, I had been playing games on 2KRO Model M's for 20 years, occasionally competetively, without ever having an issue.

I agree that NKRO or 6KRO is likely better in order to err on the side of safety, but I think the dangers of 2KRO in games have been highly overstated.
I did lots of gaming with a Model M too (not competitively) but I hauled mine out for another go this fall and encountered some problems. I'll have to do it again, and figure out if it's a particular key combo, or if it goes away if I use PS2 rather than a usb adapter.

samuelcable

11 Mar 2019, 14:33

I dont know how so many people game on model Ms, the 2kro made me have limited amount of strafing in certain ways in multiple games I've played. The heaviness doesn't help either but that's subjective

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mattlach

11 Mar 2019, 23:38

vvp wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 09:48
How about a diagonal move up (W) rigth (D) and jump (Space) at the same time. There you have 3 non-modifier keys pressed at once. 2KRO is a problem for games often enough.
I've never experienced that one, but that is because I use unusual keybindings by modern standards.

They originated with the first mouse and keyboard FPS game I played back in the early 90's, Doom, and kind of evolved from there.

I utilize the arrow keys for navigation:
Forward: Up Arrow
Backwards: Down Arrow
Strafe Left: Left Arrow
Strafe Right: Right Arrow

Then I use a series of keys around them for various other bindings:
Crouch: Right Ctrl
Use: Enter
Reload: Del
Drop: End
Aim: PgDn
Grenade: NumpadIns
etc.

Depending on the game there are plenty of keys around there I can add to various binds.

I fire with mouse1, and jump with mouse2 and always always always invert my Y axis :p

I remember thinking WASD controls were so weird when they first arrived on the scene and wondered why anyone would ever use them. It throws me off that the S is not straight behind the W on most keyboards, and I don't like the fact that I have no dead space to rest my fingers on over there, as compared to around the arrow keys.

Using this setup, I can't remember ever having a situation where a keypress didn't register in 25+ years of playing games, some of them competitively.

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vometia
irritant

12 Mar 2019, 10:32

samuelcable wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 14:33
I dont know how so many people game on model Ms, the 2kro made me have limited amount of strafing in certain ways in multiple games I've played. The heaviness doesn't help either but that's subjective
In my case I don't play shooters: my lack of skill at that sort of thing becomes a problem before 2KRO does! And it's just fine for RPGs provided they aren't too actiony, just a bit noisy, especially in the middle of the night...

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