Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Gaming" Keyboards

I might cause a lot of self-centered "hardcore" gamers to get their panties in a bunch in this post.  Or, given the relatively low view counts I get, it'll just have taken time out of my life to write this post, and, well, yeah.

Because I still want to put together a new computer to replace this 10-year-old computer I'm currently using, I've been looking around at all kinds of things, including monitors and keyboards.  This build will be an expensive one because I have a lot of old tech like PATA drives and a CRT monitor that I'm completely replacing.  But that's not the main point.

When looking around at keyboards, it's inevitable.  The subject of the "gaming" keyboard comes up.  These are characterized by hard angled casing, uselessly flat keys, LEDs out the wazoo, and different color keycaps for WASD like I don't know where to put my damn fingers.

When looking at keyboards in general, though, the debate of "mechanical vs. rubber dome" comes up.  There's evidence one way or the other, but in the end it all boils down to user preference and nothing more.  I'm a proponent of the rubber dome keyboards, simply because they're far quieter than mechanical keyboards.  Even the so-called "non-clicky" or "dampened" mechanical keyboards are super loud.  Noise is a real issue, because frankly I'd like to be able to think while I'm typing, or be able to type with someone else nearby and not annoy the shit out of them.

Proponents of mechanical keyboards tout a supposed "keypress life" advantage over rubber dome keyboards, and while it makes sense, since the rubber can wear out faster (I've seen this happen on the fret buttons on Guitar Hero controllers, which can wear out quickly for people like me who play on Expert and do so regularly), it doesn't necessarily have to.  I've been using a Microsoft keyboard since 2001.  No problems with keypresses not registering or anything.  Maybe if you have a total shit keyboard with a bad rubber mat in it, it'll wear out faster, but if it's even semi-decent, it makes it a non-issue.  Basically, a "looks good on paper but isn't necessary in practice" sort of thing.

The other touted advantage of mechanical keyboards is the ability to press all the keys at the same time and have them all register.  You see, when you buy a total shit keyboard, they cut corners in the design to keep the price down, which results in a cap in the number of keys you can hold simultaneously.  I would rate my keyboard somewhere between "total shit" and "amazing", because I've used "total shit" keyboards before and know what they feel like.  The lack of a cap on simultaneous keypresses is touted as "a good thing for gaming", but I've played a lot of games with this keyboard over the years and have yet to encounter a game where I can't hold the required number of keys to get things done.  So, another "looks good on paper but isn't necessary in practice" sort of thing.

Based on my own experience of using the same rubber dome keyboard for over a decade, I'll stick with rubber dome keyboards, preferably with a sanely-sized Enter key, because I don't need it to be vertical or L-shaped.  If you disagree, fine, but that's just your opinion, man.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate comments because when Blogger originally implemented a spam filter it wouldn't work without comment moderation enabled. So if your comment doesn't show up right away, that would be why.