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MMOWare - Mechanical Keyboard Cherry Switch Guide

Posted Fri, Dec 06, 2013 by Xerin

Welcome to MMOware where we discuss hardware as it pertains to MMOs.  Each week around Thursday we’ll be bringing you the latest and greatest in MMO gaming hardware.

I previously discussed the difference between mechanical and rubber dome (standard) keyboards, but I didn’t really go into detail about the different cherry switches. Cherry switches determine two things, the tactile bump, the actuation point, and the audible noise. Mechanical keyboards are known for their loud easy to strike keys that work even without pressing all the way down, but not all switches are like that. For instance, Cherry MX-Black switches are silent and do not have a bump when you press down.

Daskeyboard

Best Cherry Switch for Gaming

The best Cherry Switch for gaming is Black. There is no bump, no clicky sound, the switch activates with 60g of pressure and the key only has to travel 2mm to actuate and 4mm until it hits the bottom, meaning that your keys strike right as soon as you press them. The keys have weight to them (the 60g is a lot) so it takes a bit to press down.

The problem is they suck to type on. For real, if you get black switches you need to be ready to use the keyboard mostly for gaming and not for typing. Which is fine for people who only need to type to people in the game, but if you do a lot of chatting or minute by minute tweets, blacks will fatigue your hands.

The Switches

MX-Black

Black, as described above, doesn’t have a clicky sound and doesn’t have a bump. It activates as soon as you press down just a little bit. It’s perfect for gaming because it’s really responsive, but terrible for typing. They’re hard to press down, which is perfect for gaming because you won’t misclick as much, but they can make you tired very quickly while typing since your fingers have to use a lot of pressure.

If you’re serious about a gaming only keyboard, this is the switch for you.

MX-Brown

These are the hybrid gaming / typing switches. Same actuation as blacks, except they have a bump (no clicky) and only require 45g of pressure go actuate.  So it’s lighter and has a bump making it easier to type on (the bump lets you know the switch is working and that you can let go at that point). So if you type a lot and game a lot, these are still good.

MX-Blue

Hilariously, these are the ones that I use (LOL) but they’re terrible at gaming. I do a lot of typing and my hands are very used to the keys. They work a bit differently. They have the clicky sound and the bump but are just like butter to type on. The problem: can’t double tap that well. I know, it sucks, but I’m so good at letting go when the switch activates that I can double tap on them just fine. Basically the release point is above the actuation point, which means that you have to let up on them a bit to press down some more.

They’re also clicky which is awesome.

MX-Reds

I say avoid ‘em. They’re MX-Browns that require more force to hit down on. They suck for typing and they suck for gaming in my opinion. However, some people do like them. I don’t know why.

Niche – Clear, Green, Spring, Etc.

No point in any of these for this article because they don’t relate that well to gaming. They’re for people who know what mechanical keyboards are and want specific customization. You’ll have to hunt for keyboards that use the specific

That’s this week’s MMOWare. See you next week!

 

Red and Brown have the same 45g of pressure go actuate.
The difference is that the brown have light tactile bump when activating and the red has none.

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