It is important that a keyboard is very responsive and it should not take a lot of fingertip pressure to use.
Mechanical keyboards are technically superior, both for typing and playing games especially where you are holding keys for a long time, or using rapid combinations for movement / selections.
Membrane (sometimes called 'mesh') keyboards have two insulator sheets that sit underneath all the keys, with contacts directly under each key. When the key is pressed it pushes that section of the sheets together to make the electrical connection.
The key is raised again either by a rubber dome that is pressed out of the top sheet, or by one that is part of the key stem.
With fewer parts and less metal they are cheap and easy to manufacture, but can wear out very quickly, and tend to have a very spongy and unreliable/inconsistent feel to them do to the rubber wearing out
Mechanical keyboards have a switch under each key, with a spring, some make a clicking noise as the spring pings out and the middle of it hits the sides of the switch housing.
Different switches give a different feel, and Cherry MX switches are rated >50 million key presses. They tend to be built like tanks and unless you regularly spill sticky/suggary based liquids into them they will easily last 15-20 years if not in fact your lifetime They are well worth the extra cost once you find the right one for you.
Key Roll OverThis is often refereed to as 'Anti Ghosting' which can refer to Key Roll Over, or membrane wiring/usb optimization. All are aimed at preventing the signal from keys being lost because you have pressed more than one key at the same time.
n Keys can be pressed at once, mathematical n, as in any number.
6 Key Roll Over
Any six keys can be pressed at once and still all register + modifiers (ctrl, shift, altl)
PS/2 vs USBI tried a Lycosa for a year for it's quietness and back-lighting. Finally I've decided it wasn't a matter of getting used to the pressure change and low profile keys, I just had to admit it was more effort and cause more cramping issues because of the positional and pressure strain. I had an old Cherry G80-3000 but wanted NKRO and a wrist wrest so bought a Steelseries 7G and I'm very happy with it so far. With a lot more money I would have bought a Deck Legend (amazing wear-free all plastic no paint keys) maybe even with cherry clear switches except sadly they are USB, and the 7G's wrist rest is still superior.
- USB uses CPU time to constantly poll the keyboard for information, so a 1000hz usb keyboard interface will respond technically faster than a standard usb keyboard, but high CPU load could interfere.
- PS/2 acts on interrupts, pressing a key fires an interrupt which calls the CPU to pay attention now and respond as and when it happens, there is no CPU load when keys are not being pressed.
- The USB keyboard spec/driver limits USB only keyboards to 6KRO, the one known exception currently is the Microsoft SideWinder X4 (mesh) which claims 26 keys at once via USB.
- NKRO keyoboards are all PS/2, and will be reduced to 6KRO at best if plugged in with a USB adapter.
Now I *highly* recommend mechanical and NOT low profile simply for the player health benefits.
The high profile keys are easier to distinguish/find, and press for your fingers.
With the higher keys your fingers can naturally gently rest on them without having to be in a claw like position to avoid hitting the surrounding keys, when applying pressure in a claw position you are more prone to cramping.
Less pressure + more choice on finger position = less camp / rsi / better finger / hand health.
The mechanical action, responsiveness and recoil of switches is considerably less strain on your fingers than you will find on mesh keyboards, most mechanical keyboard switches are manufactured by Cherry with their MX range :
- Cherry Blue
Loud! very clicky, but lovely for touch typing.
Tactile - slight upward pressure at actuation enhances feedback feel
- Razer black widow - 6KRO, usb only
- Cherry Black
Linear (equates to a softer feel than the 'tactile' switches)
- Steelseries 7G, PS2 (or usb adapter) NKRO, amazing wrist rest excellent for health.
- Optional on Deck Legend - 6KRO, USB only
- Cherry Brown
Slightly louder than black, much quieter than blue. probably better for a lot of typing than blacks but excellent for gaming too
- Filco Majestouch
- Cherry Red
Very similar to Blacks, a weaker spring gives needs even less exertion force to press
- Cherry Clear
different actuation point
- Optional on Deck Legend - 6KRO, USB only
For more information on the feel of switch types to aid your selection please see :
Cherry switches and boards- GeekHack
Mechanical Keyboard Guide - Manyak (no relation) - overclock.net
This all adds up to considerably less finger strain and cramps over long typing/gaming sessions.
These keyboards are more expensive than even a lot of souped up/light up/ reconfigurable mesh keyboards, but they truly really are worth it for your physical health alone, even above their gaming superiority and they can literally last a life time if cared for.
If you play for hours, or play regularly at all you must warm up your hands beforehand, many people completely overlook this as they never have to think about it generally in life, but before any repetitive finger/wrist action like martial arts, juggling, card tricks, pen spinning it's really important to get blood pumping through your cartilage to minimize build up of injury through repetitive action.
My other hobby is Goju Ryu Karate, and many of the exercises on this page are used during warm-ups:
Warmup exercises from handhealthresources
- At the very least shake your hands from the wrist a bit, circle your arms from the elbows a few times, pump your hands (fully open - fist, repeat) a few times, and finally place your fingers/palms together and push your fingers back and forth a few times.
Warming up is in part literally that, getting warmer from your actions rather than external sources, it pumps your blood round your system, through your cartilage protecting your joints and making your muscle more pliable.
- Don't avoid a few warmup exercises because 'I've been playing ages and feel fine', they're intended to make sure that you never suddenly find you really don't feel fine and have to go through months of work to MAYBE recover.
- If possible avoid 'claw grip' of your mouse / consider slightly larger mice.
- Consider even lower sensitivity thus you play by mostly arm instead of wrist, this is how by far the majority of pro duellers play, as it is more accurate. This also promotes the more relaxed 'palm grip' more.
- If you take up low sens/arm play, or already play that way - warm up your arms, especially when start you WILL get arm strains if playing for long periods, and they'll be worse if cold.
- Watch how long you play for, and play for less next time if any problems happen.
- If you don't do this you can end up with tennis elbow / carpal tunnel/ RSI etc. Such tiny movements even without pulling weight are still very risky over time
- Do read the KEYBOARDS section above to avoid RSI with your keyboard hand.
İYakumo unr 2003-2013