Author Topic: KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps  (Read 2882 times)

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Offline Tseg

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KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps
« on: Thu, 16 November 2023, 17:23:52 »
I apologize this will be a bit of an unconventional review of this KBD8X MKIII as it has not actually arrived yet and I'm only weeks into working with mechanical keyboards.   But I have "collected" and reviewed many other things for decades as an avid hobbiest. I have also spent hours and hours over the past few weeks watching and reading keyboard reviews.

I thought I would start this review because of the website purchase experience.  The KBDfans site shows 30 different colors of this keyboard.  Five colors and 500 units already produced, but silver already sold out, and it appears maybe just a handful or less of the other 4 colors remain.  The pre-order units will ship 1Q24.  The website caught me off guard as (only after I made the purchase) I realized there were some pre-packaged offers... but depending how one's search led them to the website it is not so obvious.   My confusion led me to order a set of keycaps, only to realize after I hit <submit> my package already had a different set of key caps included.

I sent an email asking to cancel and credit one set of keycaps.  I promptly got an email back saying the company email was inactive and I needed to “chat” with customer service.  I went to "chat" yesterday afternoon and had a bot response that chat was only operational during business hours... 8-5 Beijing time (+8 hrs).  I set my alarm to get up early this morning to chat... HOWEVER, by 8pm last night I got a response they saw my “chat” submission, cancelled the extra caps, and KBD had issued me a credit.  While that whole transaction was not ideal, I am pleased at how my issue was resolved timely.   By this morning I was notified through Shop that the DHL shipping tracking number was already generated.   I'm hopeful I'll have the keyboard by Thanksgiving.

The website allowed me to pick color, ANSI or ISO layout with foam kit, type of switch, type of PCB board plate, type of bottom weight, mounting mechanism and key caps (but if you are on the page with the bundled caps, watch out).  I could also pay extra to have the switches pre-lubed.  Since I am getting Oil King switches I did not go for that option.  What I ultimately ordered:
  • Black anodized keyboard
  • Silver bottom weight plate that is CNC machined
  • Gateron Oil King switches
  • Polycarbonate plate
  • Top mounted
  • PBTfans Dolch key caps

I'm under the impression I will receive this bundle completely assembled.. but maybe I'll be surprised?

Depending which website thread you go through you see the "MKIII" for as low as $89, but there are kits up to $191... but all this is deceiving, because every extra costs extra... then shipping was over $40 and taxes nearly $30.  All told, my total cost is over $400.  But, as a hobbyist who has spent un-Godly sums on watches, cameras, knives, fountain pens, etc... A) getting to the end-game quickly is cost-effective and B) $400+ for a very nice build is cheap-cheap compared to other hobbies. 

One benefit of my buying a bundle is they already had pictures of it.  I'm looking forward to reporting more on my experience once this is finally received.  FYI, I will ultimately be comparing this to my recently purchased Steelcase Apex 7 full size RGB gaming keyboard (I don't game... long story why I have this, but I do like it) with blue clickity switches, and I added Steelcase PRISM PBT pudding key caps.  My first observation in this hobby is I greatly prefer the dry crisp feel of a PBT key cap vs. the smooth greasy feel of an ABT key cap, at least the stock ones on the Apex 7.











« Last Edit: Fri, 17 November 2023, 03:45:41 by Tseg »

Offline Tseg

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Re: KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 20 November 2023, 21:36:30 »
First Impressions

Ordered last Wednesday and now it arrived Monday afternoon from China.  It is fully assembled... apparently fully lubed even though I did not select that option.  As mentioned in my post above I am new to mechanical keyboards with less than a month experience with the Steelcase Apex 7 with blue switches.   I AM BLOWN AWAY BY THIS KEYBOARD.   

It is 5.8lb  (2.6kg) per my home scale.  I could increase .4lb if I went for the copper weight for another $75 (above the $60 steel weight cost + shipping).  KBD sent me all the extra parts that did not go into the original assembly.  Even though top mounted, I believe they sent me the silicone gaskets if I want to convert how it is mounted.  I assume all the foam inserts are inserted... but I love the feel and sound so I am not touching.  This keyboard feels like it will work for years and years. Money well spent.   

Out of the box... beautiful packaging and all the extras included.


Steel CNC’d weight is beautiful.


First impressions (note: I am a newbie to mechanical keyboards)

The RGB on/off indicator is actually bright red... and looks beautiful.


More review to come after I use it a while.
« Last Edit: Wed, 29 November 2023, 21:37:22 by Tseg »

Offline Tseg

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Re: KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 29 November 2023, 21:04:47 »


I've now had this keyboard for over a week.   I'm really getting used to the thockky Gateron Oil King switches.  This board is so solid at nearly 6 lbs.   The Dolch keycap theme really works with the black anodization, which is flawless.  I highly recommend the MKIII.  I really can't think of a downside.  It has simple elegance.  The power light is discreet and elegant and the corners are slightly rounded.  These ever slight design elements create a refined difference in a pretty standard, but highly effective, keyboard format.   

For better or worse, I now have fallen into the rabbit hole and have ordered 2 more keyboards over the Black Friday weekend... By the end of the year I should be receiving a Milky White Neo65 with Drop+Invyr Holy Panda tactile switches and MT3 9009 keycaps.  By 2Q24 I should be receiving my Neson 810E (1800 FKL) - dark grey and black... I still have to decide what switches and keycaps to go with that one. (Edit: switches now on order: GAZZEW Boba Black U4 RGB Silent Switch Tactile 62g 5 Pins)
« Last Edit: Thu, 30 November 2023, 07:10:28 by Tseg »

Offline HungerMechanic

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Re: KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 10 December 2023, 22:54:34 »
I wanted to thank you for writing this, as the KBD8X MKIII hasn't been getting nearly enough attention. [The KBD8X MKII was helpful to many during the pandemic measures, as it was one of the few TKLs being released by the hundreds. Even then, it wasn't that easy to get.]

I will look this over when I have time. I don't currently need such a heavy keyboard, which is difficult to move around. But the MKII was excellent for tactiles, and the MKIII is likely to be similar in a proper configuration.

Offline Tseg

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Re: KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 11 December 2023, 08:54:35 »
I wanted to thank you for writing this, as the KBD8X MKIII hasn't been getting nearly enough attention. [The KBD8X MKII was helpful to many during the pandemic measures, as it was one of the few TKLs being released by the hundreds. Even then, it wasn't that easy to get.]

I will look this over when I have time. I don't currently need such a heavy keyboard, which is difficult to move around. But the MKII was excellent for tactiles, and the MKIII is likely to be similar in a proper configuration.

As I was new to mechanical boards I ordered the Gateron Oil King switches, which are linear, for this board.  I have now received and lubed and filmed some DROP+Invrys Holy Panda tactiles for my incoming Neo65.   But today I will be receiving a quantity of the DS White Jade tactiles and try them in this X8 board.  I'll likely lube them with some 3203 before installing.  I'll post how the feel and sound of the board changes.

Offline diyachronic

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Re: KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 11 December 2023, 13:10:32 »
Lovely to see that the KBD8X still delivers. Thanks for the write-up!

The mark 2 was one of my favorites for the price, and this looks like an improvement across the board.

Offline Tseg

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Re: KBD8X MKIII - Gateron Oil King switches and PBTfans Dolch Key Caps
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 11 January 2024, 11:42:15 »
Longer term follow-up.  I have now had this board for several months and have 3 additional boards to compare it to.  I've rotated several different keycaps and switches... ultimately returning to the Dolch keycaps but now have kept the tactile DS White Jade switches in this board (but Oil King linear in the space bar).  I have all the foams in and the board makes a great poppy sound.  At ~6lb. it also stands out as very heavy board next to my others.  I think it really holds its own versus other value boards and likely a few higher end boards.  Once my higher end Neson 810E (1800) shows up it is hard to say how this board will fit in and be used sitting next to a 65% and 40% (and 100%).   I'm sure I'll rotate it in longer term for diversity.  Right now my 40% seems to get much attention in the honeymoon phase + my trying to master layers.  Interestingly, I moved the Oil King switches to the Vicious40, despite my being inefficient with them in wpm and accuracy vs. tactiles.  I'm now just waiting for Keycult to pick me in the upcoming raffle.