Mechanical Switch Keyboards

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Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:49 am

I have narrowed it down to three. Party because I want something that's a little more "stylish." I have used a Model M before and loved it but it's in use with the parents needs and I don't want to mess up their routine. Besides, I need a knew keyboard.

The three I've come down to are.

The Das ~125
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate ~125
Unicomp "black" model ~70

I do have one thing to say. I really really don't like the "grey" keys on the unicomp board. I think it's a terrible eyesore considering the rest of my gear is black.

I do NOT want the SteelSeries model so please don't suggest it. Any other reccomendations of either buckling spring or mech. switch modern keyboards are welcome though.

Experiences and recommendations welcome. Please help me choose!!!
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:51 am

Did you search the forums? There are several clicky keyboard threads.

I'm still well-pleased with my Avant Prime from CVT, based on the old Northgate Omnikey design. It has a lighter action than my IBM Model Ms, but it still has excellent tactile feedback.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:56 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Did you search the forums? There are several clicky keyboard threads.

I'm still well-pleased with my Avant Prime from CVT, based on the old Northgate Omnikey design. It has a lighter action than my IBM Model Ms, but it still has excellent tactile feedback.

If it wasn't for the slightly modified layout (with the extra-large Enter key) I'd be willing to give that a try. Problem is, if I don't make sure that my home and work keyboards have exactly the same layout, it messes me up.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:00 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Did you search the forums? There are several clicky keyboard threads.

I'm still well-pleased with my Avant Prime from CVT, based on the old Northgate Omnikey design. It has a lighter action than my IBM Model Ms, but it still has excellent tactile feedback.


About what do those run now-a-days mate?
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:05 am

The brand may turn some off, but they use Cherry MX Blue switches: Rosewill RK-9000.

There are also the Filco's.

And you can still get Model M's on eBay, but the lack of Windows keys may not be a good thing nowadays.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:19 am

Flying Fox wrote:And you can still get Model M's on eBay, but the lack of Windows keys may not be a good thing nowadays.

That alone will ensure a Model M on my desk for as long as I can make it work.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:34 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:And you can still get Model M's on eBay, but the lack of Windows keys may not be a good thing nowadays.

That alone will ensure a Model M on my desk for as long as I can make it work.

Over the years, I've actually come to know and love the Windows key. It can even be used as a hot key modifier in Linux, which is very useful (if somewhat ironic). I suppose I should get a little penguin sticker to cover up the Windows logo! :lol:

Regardless, Unicomp will still sell you a buckling spring 'board without the Windows key if you insist on going "old school". :wink:
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:26 am

I've got a black-and-gray USB Unicomp here at work and I'm pleased with it. The Win-keys are useful because this computer tri-boots MacOS, Win7, and Ubuntu, and they can all make use.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:44 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:And you can still get Model M's on eBay, but the lack of Windows keys may not be a good thing nowadays.

That alone will ensure a Model M on my desk for as long as I can make it work.

Check the Windows 7 bumper list article for the new key combos in Win7. It is finally getting pretty useful.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:26 pm

Flying Fox wrote:The brand may turn some off, but they use Cherry MX Blue switches: Rosewill RK-9000.

There are also the Filco's.

And you can still get Model M's on eBay, but the lack of Windows keys may not be a good thing nowadays.


I recently got a Model M ('93 1391401) for work, love the damn thing, it's fingergasmic! I don't miss the windows key much, I only used it for the Win+E file explorer window. I think Unicomp also sells traditional white with windows key.

It may surprise you to know that the Rosewill RK-9000 is made by the same OEM as Filcos (Costar). The keycaps also interchangeable, so you can have that sexy red esc key.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:07 pm

drsauced wrote:I recently got a Model M ('93 1391401) for work, love the damn thing, it's fingergasmic!

December '91 here. In turning it over to check the date, I realized that it's time again to take it apart and excavate the several years of Cheez-It residue from under the keys.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:47 pm

Yeah, you know that is one nice thing about having cheap keyboards, I don't have to be too cautious about eating and drinking around it. I haven't eaten in front of this one yet. I wonder how long it's going to take for the honeymoon to wear off :)
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:34 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
drsauced wrote:I recently got a Model M ('93 1391401) for work, love the damn thing, it's fingergasmic!

December '91 here. In turning it over to check the date, I realized that it's time again to take it apart and excavate the several years of Cheez-It residue from under the keys.


February '88 here. It's only a few days younger than one of my cousins. :D
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:38 pm

Alright guys, if we could... Does anyone have experience with the three i suggested? I really like backlit keyboards. I have no REAL reason for it, just a like. So if the three, if you have any experience with them or not, which one?

Yeah, i know there are other threads similar but I wanted some help choosing between these three particular models.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:54 pm

I got to use the Razer Black Widow Ultimate a few weeks back. I'll be buying one here shortly. My only complaints are that the USB/Audio Jacks are on the right hand side of the keyboard (interfering in the limited mouse space I have on my desk), and the keyboard has a glossy finish. It's finger print magnet, much the like 360 slim I have sitting next to it. If you get one, get a microfiber cloth to wipe it off every once in a while. Otherwise the finger prints will drive you nuts.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:00 pm

OK... back to the original topic. I've got one of the Unicomp blacks at work. I agree the black-on-grey keys are fugly (why in the world didn't they do white on black instead?!??), but I don't buy a keyboard for its looks. The action on the keys is noticeably stiffer than the (older) Unicomp I use at home, but still better than 99% of the other keyboards out there. Based on what I've read, I've really been wanting to try a Das; but don't know anyone else who has one and can't quite justify the cost. I know nothing about the Razer.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:22 am

i am curious why you have no interest - or don't like - the Steelseries 6/7. Not to pick an argument but because I'm considering buying a new board myself.
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Razer Blackwidow Ultimate

Postposted on Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:11 am

Is back in stock at Bestbuy.com! I have one on the way.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:43 pm

destroy.all.monsters wrote:i am curious why you have no interest - or don't like - the Steelseries 6/7. Not to pick an argument but because I'm considering buying a new board myself.


Some of the reviews I read, sorry I can't recall which, said the build quality of the 7G wasn't quite up to that of the Das. The Das is the one I really want, but I wanted to hear from someone that uses one day-in/day-out. Also, please don't cringe gerbils, it doesn't have a windows key. I use the windows key for quite a few shortcuts now and would like to have one on my board.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:16 pm

Voting for the Rosewill RK-9000's :D .
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:27 am

just brew it! wrote:OK... back to the original topic. I've got one of the Unicomp blacks at work. I agree the black-on-grey keys are fugly (why in the world didn't they do white on black instead?!??), but I don't buy a keyboard for its looks.

I just happened across an explanation of why they used this color scheme for the keys. Keys on Unicomp keyboards are printed using a "dye sublimation" process, where a special dye is applied to the key and the dye is absorbed into the plastic. This results in very durable markings that don't wear off, but the technique only works if the printing is darker than the plastic.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:26 am

destroy.all.monsters wrote:i am curious why you have no interest - or don't like - the Steelseries 6/7. Not to pick an argument but because I'm considering buying a new board myself.


I'm guessing it's the weird layout of the keyboard what with the oddly sized backspace and extra large enter key. I prefer my keyboards to have a long backspace and an equally long enter key.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:35 am

Is that Rosewill keyboard the "loud clicky" type like the Model Ms or "quiet clicky" like old Cherry-switch keyboards?
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:18 pm

morphine wrote:Is that Rosewill keyboard the "loud clicky" type like the Model Ms or "quiet clicky" like old Cherry-switch keyboards?

It supposedly uses Cherry Blue switches.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:23 pm

Right, and how noisy are those? :)
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:29 pm

morphine wrote:Right, and how noisy are those? :)

I can't say first-hand since I don't own one, but I believe I've read that they are somewhat quieter than buckling spring.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:37 pm

Ok, now for the big question: I'm well aware that there's nothing like a buckling spring, but is there a keyboard or general key type that has a "nice" feel to it but isn't noisy as hell?

I suppose I'm also a keyboard buff, but I don't go the buckling spring route because of noise (apartment).
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:55 pm

Cherry Brown switches are supposedly tactile but non-clicky. Not sure what keyboards use them.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:09 pm

Thanks for the tip, I'll keep an eye out.
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Re: Mechanical Switch Keyboards

Postposted on Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:12 pm

To hear the various sounds from the different mechanical spring/switch keyboards, there is an article on HotHardware.
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