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PhilipPalermo

Suggestions for a mechanical keyboard?

So I may or may not have ordered parts to build my next desktop PC (spoiler: I did). I usually just import my old KB/mouse setup, but I'm looking into switching things up. Anyone have suggestions for a mechanical-style keyboard that's not terribly expensive... say $100 or cheaper?

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29 replies
thrillhau5

For less than $100, I would only recommend two keyboards: The CM Storm Quickfire Rapid or the Rosewill RK 9000. Both are solid keyboards and made by Costar. Costar is a manufacturer in Taiwan that probably has the best reputation for making mechanical keyboards. Costar is also the manufacturer for Filco and the Quickfire Rapid and RK 9000 are pretty much rebranded Filcos. If you don't need the 10-key then I would go with the Quickfire Rapid because the extra desk space is awesome. If you absolutely need the 10-key then I would go with the RK 9000. Other CM Storm keyboards are under 100, but only the Rapid is made by Costar if I remember correctly. The CM Storm Quickfire Rapid also has tons of community support since it's so widely available and cheap. There are tons of case and keycap replacements and modifications. So, if you're looking for keyboard, then these two are definitely your best option in my opinion for the price. If you decided that price didn't matter then you would have much more options available to you.

As for which switches to use. If you're mostly writing then I would go with MX blues because they're very satisfying to type on. On the other hand, if you're mostly gaming then I would go with MX reds since they require less force to activate so people tend to prefer them for games. If you want a mix of both then the MX browns are for you. In the end, it's all preference and there could be a switch you like for everything. I would recommend getting a switch tester. If you decide to get the CM Storm Quickfire Rapid, CM Storm has a switch tester with six switches with keycaps for 15 dollars. The sampler comes with blue, brown, red, green,clear, and black switches. The reason I suggest the CM Storm tester over other ones is because it comes with 15 dollar off coupon on CM Storm keyboards. However, if you're not getting a CM Storm keyboard then it doesn't really matter where you get the tester one. I know WASD keyboard has one and I think MAX keyboard has one as well.
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groovechicken

Wow, good info. Thanks for posting all that. I am copying this into a text file so I don't lose track of it. :)
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logikk

I bought a refurbished DAS Ultimate Model S (the one with the silent switches) off of ebay last year for $108 and I love it. It was louder than I expected due to the keys bottoming out and making a plastic on plastic clack (some would say that's my fault for typing poorly), but I did the O-ring mod and now I absolutely love the way it sounds and feels. I use it every day in the office for coding, email, and whatnot and it has held up perfectly.
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thefreak1

Agree completely - I use Das Ultimate Model S keyboards for both home and work and they're excellent to type on. I paid about $120 ea for them brand new off Amazon about a year ago, it may be a little over budget but they are well worth the money. The only thing I can fault with them is the mirror finish around the edges fingerprints very easily, and is a little prone to mild scratching, besides this they're a very well built keyboard.
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conradmuan

< $100 mechanical keyboards are hard to come by but it seems that Thermaltake have been trying to push out keyboards for around 80. I haven't had a chance to use any of them though. Lately, I've been using DAS keyboards (just got my third one, cherry blue keys) and I love them www.engadget.com­/products­/metadot­/das­-keyboard­/mod...
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groovechicken

I am using a Razer at work with Cherry Blue keyswitches and I like it. It's not as good as the Apple Extended II I have at the house (which I am letting my wife use, and I don't think she realizes how big an act of love that is), but it is better than standard keyboards by miles. It is LOUD, though. I am planning to buy a Unicomp with built-in trackpoint at some point (see my want list) but all I have in discretionary funds right now is Best Buy RZ credits and they don't sell Unicomp. :(

I bought a Logitech G710+ for the Financial Director here at work and it is NICE. I would choose that over the Razer if you can afford the difference.
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frankspin

I was thinking buying a Metadot but I don't need the numerical keypad attached, so I'm also considering the Matias mini www.engadget.com­/products­/matias­/mini­-quiet­-pro/.

The CODE keyboard is also intriguing to me as it uses clear switches www.engadget.com­/2013­/08­/30­/code­-keyboard/

Edit: Hopefully I get this in before you see it but I would also take into consideration what you will be doing with the keyboard. I noticed during research that different key types are better suited for different activities. Blue and Clear tend to be typist favorites whereas gamers gravitate towards brown or red.
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TgD

I have the blue key switches. They are great for typing, but are kind of loud. Not a deal breaker for my apartment, but totally would be in an office
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PhilipPalermo

Yeah, I'm curious about the noise levels. I'm quite fond of the feel of mechanical keyboards, but I don't need something that broadcasts to everyone in the house: "I'm Typing!"
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conradmuan

If you like the tactile feel of a mechanical keyboard but dislike the sound, I suggest keyboards with Cherry Brown Switches. I use one in the office so that I don't annoy people with my typing

I also find that you don't have to exert as much force when keypressing on Cherry Browns
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frankspin

Then def. check out the Matis models. They have audio clips so you can hear the difference in the keyboards.
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dave

Holy crap. These CODE keyboards look so amazing!
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DanLesser

CM Storm make quality keyboards. I have the Quick Fire TK with blue switches, which I love because it's compact, but you still get both a (combined) numpad and arrow-key layout, and because the backlight is blue. Their other keyboards are good too.

In terms of switches, people generally prefer reds for gaming, blues for typing, and browns as a middle ground. Personally, I love my blue switches for gaming though.

I would absolutely recommend against getting a Razer product. Almost all of my friends who bought Razer keyboards regretted it within a year.
I hope I've helped. Check this out for more information: www.reddit.com­/r­/MechanicalKeyboards­/wiki­/buying­_g...
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codefu

Am I the only one that still uses a pair of IBM Model-M's from the 80's?
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guises

No. And this is the only real choice if he wants something cheap. I got my last (still functioning perfectly) Model M off of Ebay almost ten years ago now, for something like $10.
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itsnotmeitsyou

I do enjoy my model M. I nabbed one at a surplus for $0.50 and its been a great kb. It does however lack a Windows key, which I have grown to rely on as a Win Sysadmin. I keep it connected to my linux boxes though.
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groovechicken

I would if someone would give me one. :/
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itsnotmeitsyou

I have a Model M with bucking springs, a Corsair with MX Reds, A Ducky with MX Browns and I just got a Tt with MX Greens

Model M requires the most actuation pressure, but also has that amazing click. The MX Greens are the heaviest clickiest MX switches you can find, and they are getting pretty close to the Model M. The browns are really nice switches, the "tactile" bump is rather subtle, but its nice and quiet as well. The Reds on the Corsair are quick and snappy. I feel like if I sneezed too hard they'd register some characters.

I think for middle of the road, balance between heavy and light actuation pressures, and noise, I would recommend the Blues for typing. I do get a *bit* of finger fatigue on the greens. The Blues are simply wonderful. The Browns are also a delight, and I dont fudge as many keys as I do on my reds, but I am a sloppy typist.
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jgrnt1

Unicomp still makes IBM's Model M keyboards...with Windows keys, if you want them:

pckeyboard.com/

I've had a Classic 104 for several years. I think I paid $99., but they're only $79 now.
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itsnotmeitsyou

check your link

also, i couldnt see any specified #kro on those unicomps. My model M has like 2kro at best. Has that changed at all? 6kro? nkro?
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jgrnt1

Several websites say they're 2kro, just like every other model M. If you've had issues gaming with 2kro keyboards, the Unicomps might not be best for you. I've never had any issues with mine, though, and it works as well as the day I got it, despite being eight years old.
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dospital

K70 Silver is my fav....Corsair has by far the best selection of mechanical keyboards in my opinion.
Solid sweet feel on every key.
www.corsair.com­/us­/gaming­-peripherals­/gaming­-keybo...

Save your pennies for a few months and buy this bad boy:
www.corsair.com­/us­/mx­-rgb­?utm­_source­=Corsair­&u...
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roninghost

My go to is the Ducky Zero DK2108 with Cherry Red switches. It can be found for right around $100. www.duckychannel.com.tw­/en­/ZERO­_DK2108L.html
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Firedcylinder

My favorite is the Corsair k70. It's a bit over the budget but I think it's definitely worth it.
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Snipeye

I actually restored (and effectively converted to USB, though it can be accomplished with a ~$40 "Griffin iMate Adapter") an original 1983 Apple Extended Keyboard I. It's served me remarkably well, and I enjoy it thoroughly. It does tend to be a bit on the large side, though, so if you don't have much desk real estate you may need to consider something more modern.
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Kuhnaydeein

I've got the Razer Blackwidow (Mac version: $60-80) and it's got the cherry mx blues which are great for typing and for gaming… I mostly do the typing (took this keyboard into work on a daily basis for over a year while doing tech support for Apple and taking admittedly profuse notes) and the audible and tactile feedback are to die for!
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donweel

Get an IBM model M and a ps2 to usb connecter and you will have a keyboard for life. Plus if anyone breaks into your house you can knock them out with it.
en.wikipedia.org­/wiki­/Model­_M­_keyboard
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valkyrie743

Depends on what u want. For typing blues are amazing if you don't like noise and want a quiet typing experence Then get brown switches. If you don't want any click feel just want a smooth press get reds.

If you are interested I have a corsair k70 MX cherry red keyboard for sale its only 2 weeks old got it but I prefer blue switches so I'm selling it. 100 shipped.

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Norumu

Hey there. I'm Kevin (aka @Norumu) with Cooler Master USA.

We have a few mechanical keyboards in the price range your looking for, most popularly our Quickfire Rapid tenkleyless keyboard. Here's a quick rundown of our mechanical keyboard offerings. Also note that all of our keyboards have additional special Function combinations for things like volume and media control, key rollover and polling rate changeover, and LED control where relevant. Full specs for everything available at www.cmstorm.com/ :
  • Quickfire Rapid - Small form factor, no numpad, no LEDs
  • Quickfire Stealth - Like the Rapid above, but with side-printed keycaps instead of the letters on the top of the keys
  • Quickfire TK - Small form factor, combines the numpad with the "editing" keys (page up, del, arrow keys, etc), has LEDs based on switch type (Blue switch = Blue LED, Brown = White LED, Red = Red), Functional media controls
  • Quickfire XT - A full size, non-LED mechanical keyboard. All the standard full-size keys
  • Quickfire Ultimate - Full size LED mechanical keyboard, uses the same lighting scheme outlined with the TK
  • Trigger Z - Featured full size LED mechanical keyboard similar to the Ultimate, but also has Macro buttons that can be programmed with special functions and macros. It also has the ability to store and switch between profiles, very useful for gaming purposes without having to remap keys on the fly
  • Mech - Part of our Aluminum product series, it's very similar to the Trigger Z, but with even more power, a slick aluminum shell that can be removed and painted, carrying handle, USB and audio inputs, and all of the macro functions outlined in the Trigger Z
If you're under about mechanical switches themselves, we have a neat writeup on our CM University on the various Cherry MX switches we use in our product lines to help you learn about them and find out what's good for you: cmuniversity.net­/switches.php­?lang­=en

We also have this awesome mechanical switch tester board on our CM Store at www.cmstore­-usa.com­/mechanical­-key­-switch­-demo­-boa... that lets you feel the various switch types and you get a credit for the cost of the switch board towards a mechanical keyboard bought from our CM Store :)

If you need any help on anything, hit me up via Twitter @Norumu or talk to one of our lovely support folks at www.coolermaster­-usa.com­/contact.php
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