Author Topic: mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)  (Read 7878 times)

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Offline jed1

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 22:09:20 »
hello everyone, my name is chris adam.  i am a starcraft player battling rsi. i am making major adjustment to my lifestyle but i wanted to get peoples opinions on keyboards in terms of hand/finger fatigue. i know from my own experience that i started getting symptoms 2-3 months after i began to use the steelseries 6gv2 keyboard. that wasn't the problem per say but it could have been a contributor. i guess my question is, do you think mechanical keyboards put less strain on the muscles(whether it be finger/extensor/flexor etc..) or less strain when compared to standard keyboards? also, what is the best keyboard for me to use in terms of gaming? i would like a smaller size keyboard(smaller desk) with keys that help relieve strain on my muscles. i heard cherry brown are best and a keyboard low to the ground is good because ur wrist doesnt bend. i was told this website is best for feedback.

thank you for your replys. i appreciate the feedback


Offline jed1

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 22:22:57 »
id prefer to use a normal keyboard. one for gaming. possibly smaller in overall size and with light pressing or whatever is best for less fatigue.

Offline Henry Allen Venture

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 22:30:59 »
It depends on a lot of things. For me I know that I find either MX Red or MX Brown switches easiest to use for long periods of time. I use a wrist-wrest where I can to elevate my wrists and stop them from bending (I find using a high keyboard with a good key action and a wrist wrest MUCH better than using a low-profile keyboard). Even the stiffer/heavier mechanical keys (buckling spring, MX Clear - haven't tried MX Black) seem in my experience to be considerably less effort than typing on the average rubber membrane keyboard.

It sounds to me like you want to investigate ergonomic keyboard layouts. There are a bunch of guys around here that are pretty-well experts in that field. Personally, I'm not a fan of ergonomic shaped (i.e. curved, split etc.) keyboards, because I often find them too difficult to use, and I don't have problems with ordinary keyboards. I can definitely see how RSI sufferers etc. could benefit heaps from a well chosen ergonomic keyboard.

In terms of keyswitch, I'd suggest you be looking at comfortable boards with either MX Red or MX Brown switches, however there are also variable-weight Topre keyboards to consider. I can't comment on those myself, though.

It might pay for you to browse the ergonomic keyboards subforum.
Good luck.
« Last Edit: Mon, 27 February 2012, 22:33:46 by Henry Allen Venture »
Current collection:
Filco Majestouch 104-Key, w/ MX Browns
IBM Model M 52G9700
Leopold FC200R, "white" w/ MX Clears
Ducky DK9008S \'Shining\', white backlit w/ MX Blues
Cherry G80-3494(LCYUS-2), w/ MX Reds for Portal Mod

Not mine, but I\'ve got access to:
Filco Majestouch Linear R Limited Edition, w/ MX Reds
Filco Majestouch 2 \'Ninja\' Tenkeyless, w/ MX Blues
Leopold FC500R, w/ MX Browns

Offline spikeh

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 22:38:02 »
If you've not been to a trained medical professional, I recommend you do that first.

RSI isn't something that you just develop suddenly - the R does stand for repetitive after all.

It makes physical sense that lighter actuating switches are easier on the muscles of the hands and forearm. Though note that RSI afflicts both the musculoskeletal and nervous systems so it is not all about the hand muscles and without knowing your particular injuries, lighter switches may not actually help at all.

Whilst I'm not a physiologist, I can provide anecdotal evidence that light mechanical switches (for me, MX Browns) help my mild and irregular RSI pains in addition to good posture, wrist pads (or preferably hover your hands as you type) and taking regular breaks. If you do begin physio treatment, keep up with the rehab as well. A change in keyboard is not a "magic bullet", even the ergonomic ones; there is no avoiding a change in lifestyle.

A low keyboard shouldn't matter too much if you make it conscious to hover your hands, but you may prefer keys with lower profiles i.e. Cherry keycaps.

I cannot emphasise how important good typing posture is. And how it's completely free compared to expensive keyboards.
Filco Majestouch 105 | IBM Model M SSK | Filco Majestouch 2 87

Offline laffindude

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 22:41:47 »
+1 @ fix your posture. Remember to exercise and stretch.

Offline Roguemaster8

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 22:42:36 »
I personally would love a Maltron. I guess it would take a bit to adjust to for a Starcraft player, but anything is achievable.

Try the browns or reds as they are the lightest switches available. The reds would probably be easier to adjust to since they are basically just lighter blacks.
If you want to try out browns, I would check out EliteKeyboards for a tenkeyless Leopold. For reds, I would go with a Quickfire Rapid from the CM Store.

Hope this helps.
CM Storm Quickfire | Dell Quietkey | Unicomp Ultra Classic | KBC Poker

Offline jed1

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 23:01:11 »
thank you everyone for the help! do any of these leopold keyboards come with on the fly macro recording? so i can change the function of particular keys

Offline Henry Allen Venture

  • Posts: 227
mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 23:31:04 »
Nope. If you want that (without using software, such as Autohotkey) you haven't got much choice apart from the new Corsair mechanical keyboards and the Razer BlackWidow.
Current collection:
Filco Majestouch 104-Key, w/ MX Browns
IBM Model M 52G9700
Leopold FC200R, "white" w/ MX Clears
Ducky DK9008S \'Shining\', white backlit w/ MX Blues
Cherry G80-3494(LCYUS-2), w/ MX Reds for Portal Mod

Not mine, but I\'ve got access to:
Filco Majestouch Linear R Limited Edition, w/ MX Reds
Filco Majestouch 2 \'Ninja\' Tenkeyless, w/ MX Blues
Leopold FC500R, w/ MX Browns

Offline jed1

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 27 February 2012, 23:36:30 »
damn. im not sure if third party sofwatre is allowed in lan sc2 tournaments. i doubt it.

Offline MKB

  • Posts: 61
mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 01:43:19 »
Keep the keyboard flat and low is how I do it.  I love the 87 key format.  However when my wrists flair up I need buckling springs.  However I can get away with other switches when they are doind well.  Membrane will cause instant pain.  I find the clears to be better than reds for my wrists.  I get in trouble when I bottom out.  Wrist pads are evil.  Vitamin B6 can help but has no lasting effect (You have to take it every day.)  You may need to give up video games  (at least for awhile...)
________________________________
Current:

Leopold Tenkeyless (Cherry Clears)
Leopold Tenkeyless (Cherry Reds)
Filco Tenkeyless Zero (White Fukkas)
Unicomp SpaceSaver 104 (Buckling Spring)

Past:

IBM Model F (Buckling Spring)
IBM Model M (Buckling Spring)
Northgate (White Alps)
Fujitsu (peerless)
HHKB Pro 2 (Topre)
Deck Legend (Cherry Blacks)
Deck 82 (Cherry Blacks)
Unicomp Customizer 104 (Buckling Spring)

Offline stingrae

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 03:32:43 »
1. Regulate your practice with your physical condition. If it hurts stop for a bit...

2. Have good posture and spam less (Tenkeyless may help, and they save desk space/are easier to carry).

3. Switch to a brown switch or a red switch, brown gives nice soft tactile feedback which I think works well for sc2.

4. Change your play to not need anything other than battle.net bindings.

5. Get a wrist rest or fold a small towel.

6. Take breaks

7. Stretch your wrists (search youtube for aikido wrist stretches)
Cm Storm Quickfire Rapid - Noppoo Choc MiniFilco Ninja Tenkeyless (Soon...)

Offline Fantus_Longhorn

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 05:05:19 »
Quote from: jed1;528950
damn. im not sure if third party sofwatre is allowed in lan sc2 tournaments. i doubt it.

Macro software isn't. Remapping is.

As others have said, seeing a medical professional is vital. My wife is dealing with Carpal-Tunnel at the moment which can follow on from RSI and you DO NOT WANT!
Tenkeyless set-ups are very popular due to them bringing both hands closer together and more in-line with your shoulders. The other major factor is how you position your wrists whilst typing/moving your mouse. They should be elevated and not on a wrist-rest whilst you're using them. They should be used when resting, as the name should suggest, this is a habit which can be very difficult to change though.

Personally, I would say go for a more tactile switch (Brown/Blue). These will give you feedback on when the key is activated so that you don't bottom the key out with over-exertion. MX Blues are very popular in the SC scene as they provide accurate feedback for APM with no second-guessing yourself.

The most important thing is contacting a medical professional though, do that before listening to anything anyone says on the internet (except that last sentence)!

Offline jed1

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 09:47:39 »
thank you everyone! i think i will go for a tenkeyless brown switch keyboard. ive been to maybe 8 doctors and im on my way to see a nuerologist next week. im doing the best i can to change my lifestyle! i appreciate everyones help in finding me a good keyboard

Offline sordna

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 10:25:28 »
If you have RSI, give up on the video games. Find another/healthier hobby, it's really not worth damaging your hands, especially if you will depend of them to make a living.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Parallaxis

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 11:01:23 »
Quote from: jed1;528950
damn. im not sure if third party sofwatre is allowed in lan sc2 tournaments. i doubt it.
Can I ask why you need to reconfigure keys on the fly for sc2?  Are you changing your keybinds mid-game or something?

You can change the bind of basically any function in SC2, and you can have your settings saved to b.net, so even if you travel to a tournament your settings should be available IIRC

Offline yttrium

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 11:09:18 »
@Parallaxis, isn't there even a way to change what macro set is used with another keybind in-game? Could swear there was.

@OP, I definitely will endorse brown switches for StarCraft. I use them myself and while they're not as light as some rubbers, they are far from fatiguing. I love them.
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Offline jed1

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:04:38 »
@ parallaxis- i want to be able to change the function of the shift key to the spacebar. that way i can bind units to hotkeys through the spacebar instead of using my pinky to hit shift. its alot more comfortable.


@yttrium- do you have any recomendations for a brown switch keyboard? im looking for a low to the ground(low profile) one as well. preferably smaller in overall size(i have a small desk)

Online hoggy

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:13:47 »
Quote from: sordna;529392
If you have RSI, give up on the video games. Find another/healthier hobby, it's really not worth damaging your hands, especially if you will depend of them to make a living.

Listen to this guy.  You could end up with chronic pain, possibly for a few years.  The best time to turn things around is now.

Lots of really good advice in this thread.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline sordna

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:19:29 »
It really struck me when a friend admitted to me that all his years of playing video games were building an exceptional skill that was nevertheless completely useless in real life. He doesn't play anymore, and luckily got out before any hand damage.
I would say, if it doesn't hurt you and you enjoy it, do it. But if it starts giving you RSI (believe me, it's serious issue that can affect many aspects of your life forever) then drop it, it's not worth it... there's far more productive and healthier hobbies out there.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Parallaxis

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:22:37 »
Quote from: jed1;529615
@ parallaxis- i want to be able to change the function of the shift key to the spacebar. that way i can bind units to hotkeys through the spacebar instead of using my pinky to hit shift. its alot more comfortable.
Yeah, I'm not sure you can do that without rempapping the keys in Windows or using other software, which they probably won't let you do at a tournament

What about something like a Noppoo Choc Mini that has a function to swap ctrl and capslock?  it's still your pinky, but it's less of a reach.

Offline yttrium

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mechanical keyboard vs regular keyboard.(hand fatigue)
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:36:41 »
@jed1
That's possible. Open up the Hotkeys menu, go to the Global tab, expand "Control Groups", and scroll to the bottom - there are ten entries for "Add to control group", change them from shift+# to space+#, as such:
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 42089[/ATTACH]

As per the keyboard, the only mechanical experience I have is my Ducky 9008 with browns. It's pretty much the opposite of what you're looking for - it isn't tenkeyless, and it's pretty hefty.

I'm thinking you should check out the Classifieds section for MX brown keyboards, and, based on photos, decide which one fits the need (and budget).
« Last Edit: Tue, 28 February 2012, 14:38:49 by yttrium »
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]