Author Topic: I'm offically joining the keyboard cult.  (Read 975 times)

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Offline tnuhnivad

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I'm offically joining the keyboard cult.
« on: Mon, 31 August 2020, 18:55:41 »
Helloo from Texas,

I'm really just your average computer engineer/science enthusiast. I built my first PC for gaming in 2011 which was budget AMD build. At the time most of the parts were gifts from family. While exchanging some parts at my local FRYs for the build I realized I needed a keyboard. A family member, whom had already supplied most of the parts, realized using the machine would not be possible without it and so begrudgingly purchased another piece of "gaming" hardware. Myself at the time didn't really understand marketing language and price mark-ups, but, I did know a prevailing ideology that set me in the right general direction.

Mechanical keyboards > everything.

In particular, Cherry Switches were the only option as everything else at the time was deemed less superior by the general PC community. So, I got my hands on the best mechanical keyboard option that was on the shelf at the time I was in the store. That keyboard is the CMSTORM Trigger. The model I purchased came with Cherry MX Browns. I have used this keyboard w/o question since that day on multiple different PC builds. I'm using it to type this post up now. It has red led back lighting for the keys and with a few effects. For all intensive purposes it has served me so well over the years having typed essays, resumes, coded, gaming, designing, and whatever PC related task you can think of. I really don't need another keyboard, but, here I am as connoisseur of extremely functional and high end items that enhance my personal quality of life.

For the last several years I've been contemplating a new mechanical keyboard with upgrades and changes which I think to be improvements over my current mech. I really love the "bump" the MX browns but find it to be to soft, and the overall resistance to be slightly to little, and the rebound of the switches/key caps being to loud. The current keyboard overall is quite loud. Upon bottom out has a plastic clank, which, despite the switches being relatively quiet makes the whole board sound cheap and loud. A previous S.O. said it kept her up at night during late night gaming sessions or web browsing. The red LEDs are not color changeable. The board is full sized with a row of extra macro keys on the left side and it takes up a TON of space on my desk. The design is aggressive with branding backlit with LEDs. The software is outdated yet functional, but, would rather have a board that is and will be programmable with open source software. All the aforementioned characteristics lends my CMSTORM Trigger to a gamer aesthetic, which, is something as I've grown older that I have started to dislike and have grown to desire a more streamlined, professional, and somewhat minimal aesthetic. A look that doesn't scream Call of Duty when someone walks into your office.

I'm joining this forum seeking the possibility of getting in on limited production runs of a full size compact, a compact 1800, or a 96% PCB's and frames. As well as just simply staying up to date with product info. I'm currently awaiting an order of Gazzew Boba U4 Silent Tactile switches which I'm looking to use. I desire to build a board that will last me many years into the future with features such as and all metal frame, USB-C, wireless capabilities, back lit RGB keys, hotswappable PCB, and programmable by open source software. If you have any suggestions I'd love to read them so feel free to comment below!

:thumb:


Offline jamster

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Re: I'm offically joining the keyboard cult.
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 31 August 2020, 20:52:34 »
In the meantime, have you o-ringed your existing board? It helps a little with the harsh bottom out and the downstroke clack.

Fullsize/96 boards are largely out of fashion these days, so the 'limited production' route is probably impractical, if by 'limited production' you mean the group buys here. These group buys are also prone to dragging out for very long times- there is a fair bit of involved, not something to jump into if funds are tight or you need a keyboard next week vs next year. Read around a lot about past group buys, both the successful ones and the rockier ones, before you go off in that direction.

Production options that I can think of would be Leopold 980, one of the Keychrons (can't remember the model) or a Cherry 1800. None of these are barebones though, you are going to have to desolder the existing switches out.

Come to think of it, your list of wants is a pretty unusual mix. I'd suggest that a metal frame is purely a matter of aesthetics, not durability. My 1980s boards are plastic and still going strong. ESD seems to be a bit of a risk with some metal designs, so watch out for that. USB plug type doesn't matter for 95% of people who don't change their cables on a daily or weekly basis, especially if your case has strain relief (which practically all mass production boards have).

I'd also suggest getting a bit of experiences with different switches before committing to a 'long term' board. I have something extremely similar to the silent tactiles you mention (I got in samples of about 5-6 types of silenced tactile, went with Outemus). Initially I loved them- the silencing via the bumpers mounted on either side of the slider struck me as ingenious. After using them for about a month, I still appreciate the silence, but also appreciate having alternative boards which don't have such a mushy bottom out. I've already swapped out the numpad cluster to non-silenced switches, there's just something about banging on a numpad where harder feedback is preferable.

Offline tnuhnivad

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Re: I'm offically joining the keyboard cult.
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 31 August 2020, 21:52:34 »
I have not O-Ringed my existing board. I think I'll do that tho just because it'd be pretty easy. In fact I never thought about maybe just desoldering and modifying the board I have. Maybe even getting a custom CAD CNC frame done up, thanks!

I know it seems like unusual options but I was honestly kind of shocked that 60% boards were the most popular. It did not used to be that way for sure. I really just want a compact full key layout and have even contemplated going down to 75% and just ditching the number pad but no less for me.

I have read that the group buys tend to take some time. The whole MKB market honestly very similar to many SFFPC case productions. I certainly can be patient when it comes to waiting for exactly what I want.

Yes material is just a preference and aesthetics play a big part in that certainly. I personally love the cold feel of hefty metal and brass combinations, but, I do want also to exceed the typical durability standards for keyboards.  ;D No one has yet mentioned to me possible ESD on metal cases, I suppose that's always something I should be concerned of. I'll definitely keep that in mind.

I am worried about liking the switches I bought though as you mentioned. That's also the major contributing factor to wanting a hot swappable PCB just to save time. Just in case I do decide to change key switches or even just customizing certain keys. Although, I did quite a bit of product research before landing on the Gazzew Boba U4 Silent Tactile switches. :confused:

I also have almost all USB-C devices now, and want to own and carry less different types of cables! :p I guess when I'm considering building only one device to last many years into the future I would go with attempting to future proof my I/O. Basically this and the aforementioned just features I came up with thinking of an ideal future proof build.


Offline jamster

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Re: I'm offically joining the keyboard cult.
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 31 August 2020, 22:20:29 »
O-rings. Yeah, incredibly cheap and fast improvement right there. There's combinations thicker or thinner, and durometer. Depends on your preferences. But it should only be $5 or so for enough for a board. I think you can get them from Amazon or keyboard enthusiast sites, but you might be better off ordering from McMaster Carr or similar.


Offline jamster

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  • Location: Asia
Re: I'm offically joining the keyboard cult.
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 31 August 2020, 23:42:48 »
On a related note: what's the ultra SFF enthusiast case scene like? I've only looked into the more established products, and ended up buying an NCase which is pretty mainstream.

The group buy market here is totally fragmented and all over the place. Often one-off designs rather than refined iterations of the same product (I think my NCase was version 5).