Author Topic: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness  (Read 617 times)

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Offline CastroJack

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Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« on: Wed, 07 April 2021, 20:16:45 »
Hi everyone, literally just got interested into the keeb hobby through some friends so really quite clueless; but I'm trying to make a first build. So far the greatest trouble I have had is choosing a keyboard/case. I think I'd be comfortable with like a 65% so I've been looking at a kbd67 lite but also quite conflicted as to what I should choose. On one hand, I'd love to not spend a whole lot as it seems like the really premium keebs like a fjell or a salvation are really really expensive and I'm not looking to break the bank. At the same time, I wouldn't want to build a kbd67 if I would be looking for a better board soon and having to buy and build another right after. I'm hoping my first board will be my only board at least for a while haha. Would love some advice for what/ how I should choose and would also really love some recommendations of 65% keebs as I find it quite hard to find what boards are actually buyable. Thanks everyone in advance!

Offline jamster

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  • Location: Asia
Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 07 April 2021, 20:51:30 »
Well, welcome to keyboards :)

If it's your first build, then it's quite likely not your last. Starting with something simple and accessible makes more sense than going fancy. And the vast majority of the typing experience is going to come from the switches, not the casing.

Get... well, whatever, for the case. Then spend your time trying different switches. Maybe a couple of different PCBs so you can swap them out (don't try desoldering loads of switches, it totally sucks).

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 07 April 2021, 20:59:59 »
Another one to look at is the Novelkeys NK65 EE.
Beware stock and ship times, the NK65 can be difficult to catch and ship times from China can be horrendous.

What most people misunderstand is that the reason premium boards feel and sound so much better is the person building it put the time and effort into it. Ducky, Cooler Master, etc. doesn't spend 20 minutes (or more) making sure stabs are lubed and friction free just as they don't take the time to open up and lube the switches (most are pre-lubed, just insufficient). If you put that same effort into any off-the-shelf keyboard you'd be amazed what you end up with. On the contrary plugging stock stabs and switches into a $700 board might be better than a Cooler Master but not by much and it's going to be spanked by even a modest mid-range with an hour or two of work put into it.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get something really nice.
Lube is a great equalizer and once you reach mid-range aluminum you get SEVERELY diminishing returns as beyond that you're mostly paying for random features. An LCD or knob doesn't enhance your typing experience, even aluminum is over-hyped. Focus on what's important and go from there.

Also if you don't know what switch to get start with browns, it's a middle of the road switch allowing yo to fine tune from there.
Novelkeys NK65AE w/62g Zilents/39g springs
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62g Zilents/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, pic
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| GMMK TKL
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w/ Kailh Purple Pros/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 Magnetic cable
| PF65 3d printed 65% w/LCD and hot swap
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Box Jades, Interchangeable trim, mini lcd, QMK, underglow, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, O-rings, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, in progress link
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Cherry Blacks, custom 3d printed case
| Logitech Illumininated | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline HungerMechanic

  • Posts: 761
Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 07 April 2021, 22:23:27 »
The KBD67 Lite is actually a good choice. I have a Round 1 KBD67 Lite, and it came pre-assembled with hotswap.

It is really great for tactiles, having a softer polycarbonate plate which is good for both sound and feel. And it makes linears sound good too.

I kind of hate anything below a 70%, so I have issues with the design, but the build-quality is great. Hard to beat as a first keyboard.

If you get the hotswap version, you can use it to find out your switch preference. Just buy stuff during sales, or panhandle for used switches or what people are trying to get rid of on mechmarket. When Novelkeys restocks, you could buy Cherry switches pretty cheap, same for Kailh.

The KBD67 Lite is actually good, not just "good for the price." It beats out some other 65% boards that are like 3 times the price. So you can use it for a long time. The only iffy aspect are the stabilizers, which are kind of scratchy. If you build / rebuild it, you could try using C3 or Zeal stabilizers instead.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 08:06:37 »
Buy a clicky something in the $40 range on Amazon.  Once you play with that a bit, THEN you have a more informed idea of where to go next.

It doesn't make sense to buy something expensive / custom right away, because the odds are slim that that's what you actually want.

On Geekhack, you're talking to people who own 5 to 200+ keyboards. We're sick. These are not the droids you're looking for. 



Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1710
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 10:10:35 »
Great advice here. I'll just echo comments on the ambiguity and subjectivity of "premium" products. I use random cheap (even unmodified) production boards all of the time, and I don't care. You might be totally happy with the cheapest Outemu board on Amazon, and you might not. You need to find what it is that you enjoy and value for yourself. Once you've determined some specific tastes, only then can people suggest what else you may like.

Good luck.

Buy a clicky something in the $40 range on Amazon.  Once you play with that a bit, THEN you have a more informed idea of where to go next.

This is an interesting idea, but you don't have to spend a whole lot more to get a cheap hot swap board and some switches to put into them. Those cheapy boards on Amazon mean either starting over, sticking with only Outemu switches (since some have Outemu sockets), modifying the legs of everything not Outemu to fit, or spend a few hours swearing/learning why manual desoldering pumps suck.

I still say that if overall investment is the key factor, people should start with the most all-encompassing switch tester they can find for the price. After playing with everything on it for a while, then maybe buy something cheap either as a daily driver or a hot swap test bed.

It doesn't make sense to buy something expensive / custom right away, because the odds are slim that that's what you actually want.

On Geekhack, you're talking to people who own 5 to 200+ keyboards. We're sick. These are not the droids you're looking for.  [/size][/color]

Is it bad that I have no idea how many I have?  ;D
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 April 2021, 10:13:29 by Maledicted »

Offline Engedi_

  • Posts: 38
Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 08 April 2021, 11:04:02 »
Yes, these people know what they're talking about. I think one dilemma here might be that you want to get into the hobby expecting to spend as least as possible. Unfortunately, you will need to spend more than you bargained for, just on switches alone. If you don't already know what switches you want (most likely you don't) you will be spending quite a bit on switches alone. First, you need to determine the type of switch you want then filter through all the switches available for that type. It sounds daunting, but my suggestion is to pick one or two switches that are popular for that type. For instance, Gateron Black Inks are popular for linears. Holy Pandas, Boba U4Ts are popular tactiles. Kailh box Jades are a popular clicky. I would say if you're not too picky, these would be a good or even great choice. That's what I did when I chose my first tactile and I'm pretty happy about it. I didn't have to go through all the tactiles out there. My first board was a "entry level" board Melody 96 and tbh, I love it so much. I know it was mentioned but don't be pressured by all the GB's of "premium" boards or to get GMK keycaps. Unless you really want them. You can enjoy this hobby without spending as much as others did. It's important to draw the line between materialism and enjoying the hobby. It is undeniable that joining GBs and buying these boards are part of the hobby, but it doesn't have to be. I suggest you lurk around the community for a while and learn more before you make a decision on anything.

Offline KyotoLord

  • Posts: 1
Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 14 April 2021, 02:19:14 »
Buy a clicky something in the $40 range on Amazon.  Once you play with that a bit, THEN you have a more informed idea of where to go next.

It doesn't make sense to buy something expensive / custom right away, because the odds are slim that that's what you actually want.

On Geekhack, you're talking to people who own 5 to 200+ keyboards. We're sick. These are not the droids you're looking for. 


Show Image


This has to be the most underrated comment I've seen here and I wish I had seen it sooner when I started  :))
My experience, has someone who started this hobby about 3 months ago and lurked Geekhack for months trying to find the same answer is: don't buy something that is hyped here. It's not because the products are bad or anything. Is because you have no idea what you like. I bought the GMMK Pro because it's cheap, hotswap and I don't have to spend a lot of money to try new switches.
And honestly, I think everyone who is knew should do something similar. Get a board to just be a benchtest and find out what you like.
Also, as you should know or will soon know, EVERYTHING COMES TO PREFERENCE  :D

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 14 April 2021, 04:32:17 »
The $40 boards were good advice before hot swap boards hit the $100 mark and for someone who is just dabbling they still make sense for someone not even sure about what size they want.

However if someone is new and really wants to dive in, which based on the first post sounds like they do simply because they did their homework and have a specific size in mind, a low end hot swap is a much better investment. Had they not specifically wanted 65% GMMK would (as usual) been top of my list, they are tough boards to beat.
Novelkeys NK65AE w/62g Zilents/39g springs
More
62g Zilents/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, pic
| Filco MJ2 L.E. Vortex Case, Jailhouse Blues, heavily customized
More
Vortex case squared up/blasted finish removed/custom feet/paint/winkey blockoff plate, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, Type C, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, foam sound dampened, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps (o-ringed), Cherry Jailhouse Blues w/lubed/clipped Cherry light springs, 40g actuation
| GMMK TKL
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w/ Kailh Purple Pros/lubed/Novelkeys 39g springs, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, Netdot Gen10 Magnetic cable
| PF65 3d printed 65% w/LCD and hot swap
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Box Jades, Interchangeable trim, mini lcd, QMK, underglow, HK Gaming Thick PBT caps, O-rings, Netdot Gen10 magnetic cable, in progress link
| Magicforce 68
More
MF68 pcb, Outemu Blues, in progress
| YMDK75 Jail Housed Gateron Blues
More
J-spacers, YMDK Thick PBT, O-rings, SIP sockets
| KBT Race S L.E.
More
Ergo Clears, custom WASD caps
| Das Pro
More
Costar model with browns
| GH60
More
Cherry Blacks, custom 3d printed case
| Logitech Illumininated | IBM Model M (x2)

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Absolute beginner with crippling indecisiveness
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 14 April 2021, 09:28:13 »
They also make $25 starters, I've seen even $18 on sales.