Author Topic: State of Linear Switches 2020  (Read 2328 times)

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Offline method_

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State of Linear Switches 2020
« on: Mon, 05 October 2020, 18:49:10 »
Hi peeps !

I've been away from the community for a while now since I've got my PC plate'ed KBD8X with vintage blacks. Was so satisfied with the smoothness that I stopped looking for gear.

Now I'm building a second board for work and not sure if i'll find another batch of vints easily. Hence my question: what switches should I try to buy to get a similar feel?

Last year people were heavily advising Gateron Ink blacks, but I heard recently they are now a bit scratchy because of tooling?

I'm open to suggestions !

 ;D
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Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 05 October 2020, 22:13:14 »
I mean they're still smoother than most vints you'll come across . . . but they're not as smooth as the originals that came out in 2018 /19
Once lubed I think they're smooth, and the sound is nice.

However I don't think they're good value switches anymore especially given price of JWK switches. (about 55c each)
They have factory lube and very good tooling, I think they're the smoothest MX switches I've tried.


I truly believe Gateron normie switches are the best value. For 15 c a switch, you can get 5-6 of them for the price of 1 ink black and 3-4 of them for the price of 1 jwk.
Once lubed they sound and feel great.  My favorite configuration is MILK top BLACK bottom (also known as Ks3x47).





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Offline Prelim

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 03:25:58 »
The smoothest switches out there are H1 and Tangerines V2  :thumb: Gateron inks comes a step down since you can notice a bit more scratch feel to it. Cherry vintage blacks can be smooth, but not as much as these new switches.

The downsize of these JWK switches and Inks is the policarbonate top housing, which gives them a worst sound profile than nylon tops. They also benefit a lot from switch filming, I would consider it as pre-requisite for their use.
« Last Edit: Tue, 06 October 2020, 03:31:34 by Prelim »
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Offline shadowcelery

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 12:45:50 »
I think the gateron black inks from divinikey don't have the scratchiness problems that the ones coming from novelkey have.

Offline perry4761

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 13:03:21 »
JWK/Durock switches (Tangerines, Alpacas, H1’s, etc.), Inks, and Tealios are the smoothest linears you can get, but for sound profile my preference would have to go to regular Gateron  milky top and black bottom combo. With a spring swap and Invyr UHMWPE stem, they’re just as smooth if not more than the switches above, and they have a deeper sound that I personally prefer over the sound of JWKs (thicker plastic used for the housing) and they’re way easier on the wallet.
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Offline Darthbaggins

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 17:05:47 »
I know my Black Ink v1's are definitely smooth - with proper lubing etc.  Also Been liking the Gateron x Mito Laser's (67g) - lubed they are extremely smooth.  I found my v1's on MechMarket for a good price along w/ my Lasers.   Only experience I have w/ MX -Blacks are in a OCN Ducky DK9008G2 PRO that my wife has hi-jacked from me - do love that board and the switches could benefit from a lubing and such.  I've seen Vint Blacks pop up fairly regularly, but of course pricing and whether or not they have been tweaked is another.

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 17:29:15 »
JWK/Durock switches (Tangerines, Alpacas, H1’s, etc.), Inks, and Tealios are the smoothest linears you can get, but for sound profile my preference would have to go to regular Gateron  milky top and black bottom combo. With a spring swap and Invyr UHMWPE stem, they’re just as smooth if not more than the switches above, and they have a deeper sound that I personally prefer over the sound of JWKs (thicker plastic used for the housing) and they’re way easier on the wallet.

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Yes, Gateron Milk Top Black Bottom is definitely my favorite switch, hands down.
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Offline method_

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 17:43:50 »
Thanks for your answers guys.


Are these the Milky Top Black Bottoms you are referring to?

https://shopee.ph/Gateron-Switch-Milky-Top-Black-bottom-yellow-Switches-for-Mechanical-Keyboard-i.203787783.6037529750
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Online Rob27shred

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 18:18:01 »
JWK/Durock switches (Tangerines, Alpacas, H1’s, etc.), Inks, and Tealios are the smoothest linears you can get, but for sound profile my preference would have to go to regular Gateron  milky top and black bottom combo. With a spring swap and Invyr UHMWPE stem, they’re just as smooth if not more than the switches above, and they have a deeper sound that I personally prefer over the sound of JWKs (thicker plastic used for the housing) and they’re way easier on the wallet.

Can confirm lubed + filmed milky top, black bottom Gaterons with Invyr PE stems are fantastic. Definitely as smooth as JWK/Durock switches with a deeper sound profile.

Offline ubmit

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 06 October 2020, 19:08:10 »
I mean they're still smoother than most vints you'll come across . . . but they're not as smooth as the originals that came out in 2018 /19
Once lubed I think they're smooth, and the sound is nice.

However I don't think they're good value switches anymore especially given price of JWK switches. (about 55c each)
They have factory lube and very good tooling, I think they're the smoothest MX switches I've tried.


I truly believe Gateron normie switches are the best value. For 15 c a switch, you can get 5-6 of them for the price of 1 ink black and 3-4 of them for the price of 1 jwk.
Once lubed they sound and feel great.  My favorite configuration is MILK top BLACK bottom (also known as Ks3x47).

I agree 100%

Offline method_

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 07 October 2020, 03:59:06 »
Actually the first link i posted doesnt deliver abroad...

So are the milky top black bottoms these: https://ilumkb.com/collections/switches/products/gateron-yellow

or these: https://ilumkb.com/collections/switches/products/gateron-milky-black

If you all think that they're got same smoothness as H1 once lubbed and deeper sound profile, I guess those win !
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Offline Darthbaggins

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 07 October 2020, 07:58:59 »
JWK/Durock switches (Tangerines, Alpacas, H1’s, etc.), Inks, and Tealios are the smoothest linears you can get, but for sound profile my preference would have to go to regular Gateron  milky top and black bottom combo. With a spring swap and Invyr UHMWPE stem, they’re just as smooth if not more than the switches above, and they have a deeper sound that I personally prefer over the sound of JWKs (thicker plastic used for the housing) and they’re way easier on the wallet.

My man here speaks the language of Value, only spoken by a few Tree Leaves (including this one)

Yes, Gateron Milk Top Black Bottom is definitely my favorite switch, hands down.
I can vouch for this as well w/ the Gateron Yellows I have that are a Milk top and black bottom - lubed they are butter, might have to find some blacks like this so I can try them and compare to my v1 Inks.  :thumb:

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 07 October 2020, 12:51:36 »
JWK/Durock switches (Tangerines, Alpacas, H1’s, etc.), Inks, and Tealios are the smoothest linears you can get, but for sound profile my preference would have to go to regular Gateron  milky top and black bottom combo. With a spring swap and Invyr UHMWPE stem, they’re just as smooth if not more than the switches above, and they have a deeper sound that I personally prefer over the sound of JWKs (thicker plastic used for the housing) and they’re way easier on the wallet.

My man here speaks the language of Value, only spoken by a few Tree Leaves (including this one)

Yes, Gateron Milk Top Black Bottom is definitely my favorite switch, hands down.
I can vouch for this as well w/ the Gateron Yellows I have that are a Milk top and black bottom - lubed they are butter, might have to find some blacks like this so I can try them and compare to my v1 Inks.  :thumb:

v1 ink is my fav switch. The smoothness difference will be due to what lube you use and how you apply it . Technique matters a lot when you're  trying to get smoothness. Also the amount of lube used also matters.
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Offline Sintpinty

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 08 October 2020, 10:34:48 »
Linear is just hated on besides blacks. Everyone wants tactile and linear isn't ideal anymore it seems.

I like clicky

Offline perry4761

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 08 October 2020, 15:09:12 »
Linear is just hated on besides blacks. Everyone wants tactile and linear isn't ideal anymore it seems.

I like clicky

Where have linears been hated on recently? Outside of Holy Pandas, Zealios and HP clones, I don't see anyone hating on linears. Tealios, Inks, Creams, Gat yellows, all JWK linears, Vint blacks all get hella respect! I would say clickies and silent linears get the most hate, with a few notable exceptions like Alps and click-bars like Box Jades and Box Navies. Maybe I'm wrong, but I haven't noticed this trend at all personally!
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Offline method_

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 08 October 2020, 17:32:08 »
Linear is just hated on besides blacks. Everyone wants tactile and linear isn't ideal anymore it seems.

I like clicky

Cool story
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Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 08 October 2020, 21:07:43 »
Silent linear good. Click definitely gets the most hate.

I don't like clicky, but I got some exceptions.

The reason why I don't like clicky is that the loud sound gets irritating over time.  Non clicky Alps are already loud enough, I can't stand more! Lol
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Offline Darthbaggins

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 14:38:26 »
MX Blue was my first MX style switch so I have a soft spot for the click, I would love to have a board with Jade/Navy's in it for work 'cause I want to drive my team nuts in the warehouse.  I moved to browns so I could still get the feedback minus the noise and have stuck with them for the most part up until March when I swapped one board to buttery linear switches and now wondering why I didn't make the move sooner.  I love the fact there is a ton of variations and customization w/in the linear line-up (and has some of the better looking switches out there).

Offline phinix

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 10 October 2020, 05:52:05 »
I thought that Tealios were the smoothest switches? Even not lubed?
I wonder how those Alpacas are. Somethings I find my Tealios too light, so was wondering if spring swap would help or should I just search for different linear switch?
I also have MX blacks, not even lubed and I like it, however scratchiness is there. I would love to lube them but would need to desolder them first (keyboard is CM QuickFire Rapid).
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Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 10 October 2020, 14:29:36 »
I thought that Tealios were the smoothest switches? Even not lubed?
I wonder how those Alpacas are. Somethings I find my Tealios too light, so was wondering if spring swap would help or should I just search for different linear switch?
I also have MX blacks, not even lubed and I like it, however scratchiness is there. I would love to lube them but would need to desolder them first (keyboard is CM QuickFire Rapid).

Idk, Tealios / JWK linear is so smooth that it's hard to tell what's smoother.
And you will want 70g or more if you want to use higher force springs.
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Offline phinix

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 10 October 2020, 15:51:52 »
I thought that Tealios were the smoothest switches? Even not lubed?
I wonder how those Alpacas are. Somethings I find my Tealios too light, so was wondering if spring swap would help or should I just search for different linear switch?
I also have MX blacks, not even lubed and I like it, however scratchiness is there. I would love to lube them but would need to desolder them first (keyboard is CM QuickFire Rapid).

Idk, Tealios / JWK linear is so smooth that it's hard to tell what's smoother.
And you will want 70g or more if you want to use higher force springs.

Yeah. What are MX blacks? 70g? 80g? Hard to say as Tealios are 67g buttom out, not actuation force - I understand that these will be different?

MX blacks are 60g actuation force, so what is buttom out?
Tealios are 67g buttom out, so actuation would be even less, right?
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Offline hpetrovski

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 12 October 2020, 13:45:27 »
I thought that Tealios were the smoothest switches? Even not lubed?
I wonder how those Alpacas are. Somethings I find my Tealios too light, so was wondering if spring swap would help or should I just search for different linear switch?
I also have MX blacks, not even lubed and I like it, however scratchiness is there. I would love to lube them but would need to desolder them first (keyboard is CM QuickFire Rapid).

Idk, Tealios / JWK linear is so smooth that it's hard to tell what's smoother.
And you will want 70g or more if you want to use higher force springs.

Yeah. What are MX blacks? 70g? 80g? Hard to say as Tealios are 67g buttom out, not actuation force - I understand that these will be different?

MX blacks are 60g actuation force, so what is buttom out?
Tealios are 67g buttom out, so actuation would be even less, right?

Blacks should be around 80g bottom-out, but keep in mind that stock cherry spring tolerance is a joke.(I've heard as bad as  +/- 15g.)

Offline phinix

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 12 October 2020, 16:34:49 »
Yeah, I've ordered some golden SPRIT 78g springs and will swap them in Tealios.
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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #23 on: Thu, 15 October 2020, 06:18:04 »
For those saying Gateron black bottom, milky top (also why the Invyr stem swap?) do they sound better than vint blacks? I am fully on the linear train now after living with a vint black build for a while.

Just trashed three WYSE terminals and about 10% of the switches were any good, all various logo sizes, at best feel like retools at worst much worse.

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 15 October 2020, 09:46:10 »
For those saying Gateron black bottom, milky top (also why the Invyr stem swap?) do they sound better than vint blacks? I am fully on the linear train now after living with a vint black build for a while.

Just trashed three WYSE terminals and about 10% of the switches were any good, all various logo sizes, at best feel like retools at worst much worse.

No, they don't sound like Cherry switch. What you should do is take the tops off of the Cherry switches and put them on the Gateron switches, then you will get nice sound and less wobble.

Milk top black bottom does not sound like Cherry switch. Neither does black top black bottom. I think it has to do with the thickness of the top housing
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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 16 October 2020, 09:03:08 »
For those saying Gateron black bottom, milky top (also why the Invyr stem swap?) do they sound better than vint blacks? I am fully on the linear train now after living with a vint black build for a while.

Just trashed three WYSE terminals and about 10% of the switches were any good, all various logo sizes, at best feel like retools at worst much worse.

No, they don't sound like Cherry switch. What you should do is take the tops off of the Cherry switches and put them on the Gateron switches, then you will get nice sound and less wobble.

Milk top black bottom does not sound like Cherry switch. Neither does black top black bottom. I think it has to do with the thickness of the top housing

I listened to some Youtube videos, my general impression is the miky top/black bottom is thockier and vint black is a more rounded clack. Does that seem accurate?

I used Taeha's video with an E7 build with vint blacks since that is the closest to what my build sounds like.

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 17 October 2020, 11:51:22 »
Cherry black is high pitch but sounds fuller
Gateron sounds lower pitch but is not as full and thick sounding as cherry
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Offline Error213

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 17 October 2020, 21:27:21 »
JWK/Durock switches (Tangerines, Alpacas, H1’s, etc.), Inks, and Tealios are the smoothest linears you can get, but for sound profile my preference would have to go to regular Gateron  milky top and black bottom combo. With a spring swap and Invyr UHMWPE stem, they’re just as smooth if not more than the switches above, and they have a deeper sound that I personally prefer over the sound of JWKs (thicker plastic used for the housing) and they’re way easier on the wallet.
YES Durock switches are amazing and underrated get em here https://divinikey.com/collections/linear-switches/products/durock-linear-switches

Offline treeleaf64

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #28 on: Sat, 17 October 2020, 22:05:56 »
JWK/Durock switches (Tangerines, Alpacas, H1’s, etc.), Inks, and Tealios are the smoothest linears you can get, but for sound profile my preference would have to go to regular Gateron  milky top and black bottom combo. With a spring swap and Invyr UHMWPE stem, they’re just as smooth if not more than the switches above, and they have a deeper sound that I personally prefer over the sound of JWKs (thicker plastic used for the housing) and they’re way easier on the wallet.
YES Durock switches are amazing and underrated get em here https://divinikey.com/collections/linear-switches/products/durock-linear-switches

Durock switch is not good value and should only be purchased if you do not care about sound. They are one of the worst sounding stock switches that I own or have owned.
They require a lot of maintenance to sound good, and it doesn't even impact the smoothness at all.

Enter the Gateron switch. My favorite for price/performance. It's 15 cents a switch on Taobao. You get a smooth stock linear that only improves when you add lube. No film needed.
You can buy 3 of these for every JWK switch. And I think the price difference is totally worth the money.

I think the Good Gateron switches are much better sounding than the JWK once put into a full board. The milk top and black top are some of my favorite switches.
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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 11:15:46 »
Cherry black is high pitch but sounds fuller
Gateron sounds lower pitch but is not as full and thick sounding as cherry

Appreciated thanks, I think I'll see if a hotswap PCB comes up for sale for one of my boards and give them a try. Way too much effort to desolder (potentially lift pads) and resolder new switches, even though from what you've written it sounds like I'd like these switches. My general preference is for the deep sound of Alps and Topre on metal Realforce plates.

Offline phinix

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 18 October 2020, 12:05:08 »
For me, best linear switch needs to be smooth and not too wobbly.
Regular gateron black was good enough, smooth once ubed, but was pretty wobbly.
Then I found Tealios, which was much less wobbly and butter smooth even stock, never lubed them. Only problem was that it needed MX black resistance.
Next week will be swapping springs with golden SPRIT 78g, hopefully make them perfect linear. Will let you know how it feels:)
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Offline Learis

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 19 October 2020, 00:43:42 »
I just got these durock switches from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HS293RB/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I'm super impressed by them. They sound practically the same as my gateron ink yellows, and that's a good thing: a lower rich sound. They're very smooth, even stock. Also, I don't know if it's just these from Amazon or all of them, but they have a little bit of lube on the stem stock. Also when I couldn't hear any ping when testing the switch unlike the gateron ink yellows which are very pingy if you don't lube them. So I'd definitely recommend these.
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Offline phinix

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Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #32 on: Thu, 22 October 2020, 05:36:16 »
For me, best linear switch needs to be smooth and not too wobbly.
Regular gateron black was good enough, smooth once ubed, but was pretty wobbly.
Then I found Tealios, which was much less wobbly and butter smooth even stock, never lubed them. Only problem was that it needed MX black resistance.
Next week will be swapping springs with golden SPRIT 78g, hopefully make them perfect linear. Will let you know how it feels:)

Springs arrived:)

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Offline Crabby

  • Posts: 13
Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 22 October 2020, 05:43:56 »
I honestly think the custom market for linears is kinda in a weird spot because they just can not match the smoothness of the contactless designs getting popular in the mainstream market. My daily driver keyboard atm for normal stuff is my Wooting one and my vint black wyse board just can't even come close to comparing to the feel (not that I hate the wyse board or anything, I still use it for editing).

I mean hell you can buy a brand new hall effect keyboard today, why in the world would I wanna spend more money for less?

Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #34 on: Sat, 24 October 2020, 07:43:05 »
Is this an indication of how lubed milky top Gaterons sound in real life? Or did this dude just luck himself into it  ;D

Also have the issues with keycap stickage been resolved?


Offline treeleaf64

  • Posts: 682
Re: State of Linear Switches 2020
« Reply #35 on: Sat, 24 October 2020, 22:14:42 »
They don't sound like that in real life , but that board is heavily damped and reflects the sound of that.

You can see my video which I think is a more accurate representation

Leader of Gateron gang
May display immature behavior

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