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  • #31
    Oh people, thanks for the links to the mechanical keyboards. After 10 h of work today this thread really saved my evening!
    I was only aware of daskeyboard and pckeyboard (the IBM-Model M) but I am happy that there is so much more. WASD looks cool since they allow you to make your own keycap prints by sending them an SVG file.
    Now it needs just more classic layout (larger spacebar, no windows keys, they are in my way even with cute penguins on it) and I am totally happy. Just listening to a youtube video about the Cherry and Alps switches made me happy.
    I grew up with Escom (relabeled, but very good brands behind it, I still use them daily, it came with my first 486) and IBM-Model M keyboards and it is good to see that quality still prevails.

    Comment


    • #32
      I have Keyboard 107, codename Chocolate from Revoltec. Its one of the best keyboards I ever owned.
      Wireless, perfect latency, perfect sound, perfect pressure depth, perfect pressure power, awesome looks, awesome durability, awesome weight.
      Already opened it once, its solidly built and easy to disassemble.

      A kind of keyboard that is a pleasure to work with.

      Had several mehanical Cherrys - they are good. But none is close to Chocolate.

      Only two issues/features with it are an absent Insert key due to design decisions and its fear of liquid of any kind.

      It has no number block though, only emulated. Neverless perhaps you may want to look at it. Besides, its very cheap.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by bridgman View Post
        No worries. Worst case I was going to end up with two KBs using red switches and one using blue -- definitely want to try using the two switches side-by-side.

        In the end I decided to leave the order as-is, although I guess I may still live to regret it. I don't like the looks of the Razer BW TE as much as the other two -- the Corsair has a very slick art-deco look, the CM Rapid is clean & simple, but the BW seems a bit gaudy by comparison. That said, the Razer is well regarded except by the folks who damage the exposed USB connector coming out the back and I guess a few blinking LEDs will add some colour to the place.
        OK, I now have three compact keyboards. While I expected the Razer to look a bit bling-y and the CM to look more elegant, in fact I like the looks of the Razer more than the CM. The keycap printing on the CM is bright white while the printing on the Razer is more subdued... normally that wouldn't matter but since the F1-F12 keys are also used as multimedia keys and have black-on-white-rectangle icons on the keys for multimedia functions the CM actually ends up looking a bit more gaudy than the Razer. Go figure.

        In a truly bizarre example of non-intuitive UI design, you turn the function keys on both keyboards into multimedia keys by pressing the "FN" (for function) key, ie the Function key makes the F1-F12 keys *stop* being function keys. I guess this is kind of an industry norm, but it still seems really weird.

        All three keyboards are about the same width, but the Razer is a bit deeper than the CM Storm, and the Corsair is a bit deeper than the Razer. The Razer gets its extra depth by simply having a bit more case all around the keys, while the Corsair has an extra row of small audio buttons above the function keys which add a bit more depth. In my case I only need one really narrow (front to back) keyboard so the CM is in that position.

        I'm typing this on the Razer, which has Blue keyswitches as does the CM Storm. The Corsair K65 has Reds. My initial thought on Red vs Blue keys after setting up the new keyboards was that I liked the red switches better (which kinda sucked because I now had "two blues and a red") because the blues felt like they had more "mushy resistance" than the reds, but after typing on the Razer for a bit I'm starting to prefer the blue keyswitches already. There probably is some noise difference -- you can type quietly on reds or cheapo keyswitches if you make an effort, but since I type "fast and loud" already I don't think the blue switches are going to make much difference.

        I thought I was going to give big bonus points to the CM Storm's options for cable routing (either side or straight out the back), but I realized after installing the keyboard that when you route to the side it really comes OUT THE SIDE (not out the back near the side) and so it (predictably) interferes with the mouse. This is the kind of design decision that makes me start yelling and looking for someone to shake until their teeth rattle (which, yes, puts me in violation of Ontario labour laws again). What I will say is that even without the ability to use the side routing channels the CM Storm design definitely protects the micro USB connector on the detachable cable better than the Razer's "plug it in the back" design.

        So... red nice, blue nicer. That's what everyone said, but I did have my doubts in the first few minutes. The important point is that I tried out a bunch of different keyboards in the store before buying the Corsair K65 and definitely preferred the red keyswitches. When I got the K65 home I still liked the red switches as much as I had in the store.

        The blue keyswitches, by comparison, felt crappy in the store and felt just as bad at home until I had typed on them for 5-10 minutes. Then I really liked them. Be warned.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by brosis View Post
          I have Keyboard 107, codename Chocolate from Revoltec. Its one of the best keyboards I ever owned.
          Wireless, perfect latency, perfect sound, perfect pressure depth, perfect pressure power, awesome looks, awesome durability, awesome weight.
          Already opened it once, its solidly built and easy to disassemble.
          I had not heard of Revoltec, but looks like they make some really nice products. The "lightboard" might even make me rethink my position about putting lights in keyboards

          The picture of the Chocolate keyboard makes me think the key travel would be really short -- but sounds like that's not a problem.

          One more comment on the compact keyboards I just picked up -- just realized that the caps lock key lights up when it's pressed (a bright light in the key itself, not a tiny light in the opposite corner of the keyboard), which IMO is a really great feature. Slight preference for the Razer again, since the "caps lk" letters light up rather than just a light in the front of the key, but both are better than having the light over where you don't look.

          Comment


          • #35
            OK, now I'm typing on the CM Storm. Keys seem stiffer than on the Razer when I started typing this post, but after typing for less than a minute they seemed to loosen up. Wonder if that's what happened on the Razer as well ? Key spacing seems identical to the Razer, so at the moment I'm thinking that they're both good choices... and I was already happy with the Corsair K65.

            I still don't like the idea of having to push the "FN" key to make the function keys stop being function keys though. Seems like that would make a lot more sense if the "functions" were overloaded onto something other than the F1-F12 keys.
            Last edited by bridgman; 02-24-2014, 08:08 PM.

            Comment


            • #36
              Aaaaaand back to the Corsair K65. Still ike the keys but it does seem like it might be a bit easier to miss a key or actuate by accident. I seem to be able to type *faster* with the red keyswitches but make more mistakes too, so not sure how those would balance out.

              Fortunately I have to type a big pile of documents tonight so maybe by tomorrow I'll have a "personal consensus"

              I bumped the Caps Lock by mistake, and noticed that under Linux the caps lock light doesn't come on. With the CM Storm the caps lock light worked under LInux but scroll lock did not (then again it's been so long since I used scroll lock that I don't even remember what it does).

              There is a switch on the back with different options (thought it was mostly polling speed though) and there are a bunch of function key combinations which might help, but I don't have time to play with them right now. I guess the next step is to crawl back under the desk and start swapping keyboards between systems to see what changes.

              Comment


              • #37
                Unicomp

                I'll add an endorsement for the Unicomp keyboards. Been using them for years, never had a problem. 104 key Ultra Classic USB is probably the one you want.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by brosis View Post
                  I have Keyboard 107, codename Chocolate from Revoltec. Its one of the best keyboards I ever owned.
                  Wireless, perfect latency, perfect sound, perfect pressure depth, perfect pressure power, awesome looks, awesome durability, awesome weight.
                  Already opened it once, its solidly built and easy to disassemble.

                  A kind of keyboard that is a pleasure to work with.

                  Had several mehanical Cherrys - they are good. But none is close to Chocolate.

                  Only two issues/features with it are an absent Insert key due to design decisions and its fear of liquid of any kind.

                  It has no number block though, only emulated. Neverless perhaps you may want to look at it. Besides, its very cheap.
                  This sounds very intriguing, but I am having a hard time finding info about it. Do you know of a good write-up on this or other models by Revoltec?

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                    OK, I now have three compact keyboards. While I expected the Razer to look a bit bling-y and the CM to look more elegant, in fact I like the looks of the Razer more than the CM. The keycap printing on the CM is bright white while the printing on the Razer is more subdued... normally that wouldn't matter but since the F1-F12 keys are also used as multimedia keys and have black-on-white-rectangle icons on the keys for multimedia functions the CM actually ends up looking a bit more gaudy than the Razer. Go figure.

                    In a truly bizarre example of non-intuitive UI design, you turn the function keys on both keyboards into multimedia keys by pressing the "FN" (for function) key, ie the Function key makes the F1-F12 keys *stop* being function keys. I guess this is kind of an industry norm, but it still seems really weird.
                    Yeah, it is more or less the norm in that sense. I agree that it is counter-intuitive, especially for people with no prior experience with how these "Fn" or "FN" keys are used on modern equipment, but personally I've gotten so used to it that I would probably be more surprised if it was the other way around.


                    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                    All three keyboards are about the same width, but the Razer is a bit deeper than the CM Storm, and the Corsair is a bit deeper than the Razer. The Razer gets its extra depth by simply having a bit more case all around the keys, while the Corsair has an extra row of small audio buttons above the function keys which add a bit more depth. In my case I only need one really narrow (front to back) keyboard so the CM is in that position.

                    I'm typing this on the Razer, which has Blue keyswitches as does the CM Storm. The Corsair K65 has Reds. My initial thought on Red vs Blue keys after setting up the new keyboards was that I liked the red switches better (which kinda sucked because I now had "two blues and a red") because the blues felt like they had more "mushy resistance" than the reds, but after typing on the Razer for a bit I'm starting to prefer the blue keyswitches already. There probably is some noise difference -- you can type quietly on reds or cheapo keyswitches if you make an effort, but since I type "fast and loud" already I don't think the blue switches are going to make much difference.
                    I am surprised that you are preferring the Blue switches already. I would have thought that if you were going to change your preference, it would have been after at least several weeks of use. If you don't mind taking the time, I (and probably others who have been reading this thread) would truly appreciate more of your impressions on how the switches compare as you gain more experience with the Blues.


                    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                    I thought I was going to give big bonus points to the CM Storm's options for cable routing (either side or straight out the back), but I realized after installing the keyboard that when you route to the side it really comes OUT THE SIDE (not out the back near the side) and so it (predictably) interferes with the mouse. This is the kind of design decision that makes me start yelling and looking for someone to shake until their teeth rattle (which, yes, puts me in violation of Ontario labour laws again). What I will say is that even without the ability to use the side routing channels the CM Storm design definitely protects the micro USB connector on the detachable cable better than the Razer's "plug it in the back" design.

                    So... red nice, blue nicer. That's what everyone said, but I did have my doubts in the first few minutes. The important point is that I tried out a bunch of different keyboards in the store before buying the Corsair K65 and definitely preferred the red keyswitches. When I got the K65 home I still liked the red switches as much as I had in the store.

                    The blue keyswitches, by comparison, felt crappy in the store and felt just as bad at home until I had typed on them for 5-10 minutes. Then I really liked them. Be warned.
                    A big sincere thanks. This post and your other posts in this thread have been very informative for me.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by rbmorse View Post
                      I'll add an endorsement for the Unicomp keyboards. Been using them for years, never had a problem. 104 key Ultra Classic USB is probably the one you want.
                      Thank you for the endorsement. The criticisms that I've read regarding Unicomp Model M successors (as I understand it, that's what the Ultra Classics are) were about cheaper materials and reduced durability. However, since you and several others in this thread have indicated strong satisfaction with Unicomp, I have now reconsidered my snap decision to rule out Unicomp. I'm going to include these models in my shortlist.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Serge View Post
                        I would have thought that if you were going to change your preference, it would have been after at least several weeks of use.
                        That's what I was expecting too, but it didn't work out that way. I liked the red keyswitches a lot more than what I had been using before, but I already like the blue keyswitches a lot more than the reds. I'm not typing quite as fast with them as with the reds, but my error rate is much lower so on balance I definitely get more work done with the blue switches.

                        I'll update this thread if anything changes, but at the moment I think this is a done deal. I'm going to be swapping systems around so that the systems where I do the most typing have the keyboards with blue switches, and will probably pick up a similar KB for the office.

                        Other notes :

                        The Corsair K65 also has a detachable USB cable, and nicely protects it by routing it through a small channel then out the back.

                        Moving the switch on the back of the K65 to the "8" position (it came set to 1, with choices of 1/2/4/8) makes the caps lock light work, but then the scroll lock light flashes constantly. Need to try the Razer KB on Linux (I plugged it into the Windows box yesterday) to check the caps lock / scroll lock lights there.

                        I still prefer the looks of the K65 over the Razer and CM Storm, but at the moment I would take even an ugly keyboard with blue switches over a nice looking keyboard with red switches, even though the red switches are a huge improvement over run-of-the-mill keyboards.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          OK, final update. I swapped the Razer and Corsair keyboards, putting the Razer on my primary Linux box (Trinity) and the Corsair was on my old Win 7 admin box (the one that Q will never forgive me for, with an AMD CPU and NVidia IGP).

                          After booting up the Windows box the caps lock and scroll lock lights now work on the Corsair with the switch in the stock "1" position. Windows installed a PNP driver for "USB input device" and told me to reboot, but behavior seemed the same before and after the driver update.

                          The Razer (on a Ubuntu 13.10 system) now behaves similarly to the CM Storm on the test box (also Ubuntu 13.10 but KV instead of TN)-- caps lock light works fine, scroll lock light does not work. No problem.

                          I'm still a bit surprised how fast my fingers want to type on the Corsair (red switches) but error rate is definitely much higher as well. It's very weird.
                          Last edited by bridgman; 02-25-2014, 01:58 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                            I had not heard of Revoltec, but looks like they make some really nice products. The "lightboard" might even make me rethink my position about putting lights in keyboards

                            The picture of the Chocolate keyboard makes me think the key travel would be really short -- but sounds like that's not a problem.

                            One more comment on the compact keyboards I just picked up -- just realized that the caps lock key lights up when it's pressed (a bright light in the key itself, not a tiny light in the opposite corner of the keyboard), which IMO is a really great feature. Slight preference for the Razer again, since the "caps lk" letters light up rather than just a light in the front of the key, but both are better than having the light over where you don't look.
                            Revoltec is actually a small company, just this model is really spot-hitting.
                            I have a mouse from them, and unlike K107, it has an older longer dongle, that was never perfect and seems to start dying out completely when it comes to range now.
                            The K107 on the other side is unaffected, new small dongle, about 10 meters range, dongle direction/placement plays no role.

                            The key travel is about 0.5 cm, however the relatively high resistance and notebook-style key fixation (four monting points under each key) result in pretty mechanical feel.
                            One also can't type silently on that keyboard. Found technology definition for it - its a ultra light(300 gr incl batteries) RP wireless laptop-sized chicklet keyboard with scissor technology(large scissor joint version).

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Mechanical gaming keyboard minefield on Linux

                              I recently got a Gigabyte Osmium mechanical keyboard with Cherry Brown switches. It's a really nice keyboard to type on, has white LED backlit keys with integrated scrollwheel dimmer, an audio volume scrollwheel, and a decent sized wrist/palm rest. It also has a USB3, headphone and microphone passthrough ports, plus an integrated USB2 port.

                              Anyway, it has issues on Linux right now (up until Ubuntu 14.04 at least). The main issues are that the backslash key does not repeat when held down, but if it is held down, it will repeat spuriously as other keys are pressed. There is a kernel hack that fixes that behaviour at least (see my (lem79) post at https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=151852 from February 25, 2014 for the kernel patch), but it's a pain to have to patch/compile kernels all the time (I only bothered doing it once, and have held off kernel upgrades since). There are a few Corsair Vengeance keyboards that also exhibit the backslash key issue (I'm thinking they use the same controller chip).

                              Another issue with this keyboard is the same as what bridgman was saying.. the caps/scroll/numlock lights on the keyboard don't change state, but the actual state does indeed change. i.e. pressing caps lock will result in uppercase letters, but the caps lock status light wont light up.

                              Lastly, pressing any of the G1-G5 keys, and the big Aivia button (which cycles through the macros bound to G1-G5) will cause the keyboard to become unresponsive (perhaps the kernel gets stuck in a loop or something). This gets fixed by unplugging and replugging the keyboard.

                              I noticed someone in this thread talk about plugging one of these (mechanical gaming) keyboards into a Windows laptop, then trying the integrated keyboard's caps lock. I tried this myself on my AMD E-350 based HP DM1 netbook under Windows 8. The caps lock on the integrated keyboard would cause the caps lock light to change on the Gigabyte keyboard. This didn't happen in Ubuntu 13.10 (stock kernel with that single patch mentioned above). However, the state did indeed change as expected; the Gigabyte keyboard began producing uppercase input. Pressing the caps lock on the Gigabyte keyboard failed to change the caps lock LED state on the netbook keyboard though. So, the netbook keyboard's caps lock light was on, but both keyboards were producing lowercase input.

                              Linux just doesn't seem to handle these keyboards well at all, and I dare say it's bugs in the Linux kernel. As far as I've tested, this Gigabyte keyboard works fine within BIOS, Windows 7, Windows 8, and also under FreeBSD 10. I'd love to submit a bug report to the kernel, but I'm not sure how to go about that, and what information I should provide (e.g. USB dumps).

                              For the record, Gigabyte were unhelpful in connecting me with their upstream chipset provider (to get spec sheets or something that might assist in understanding why the Linux kernel doesn't deal with these keyboards very well). Also for the record, lsusb for the Gigabyte Osmium (devices that show up when it's connected):

                              Code:
                              Bus 001 Device 007: ID 05e3:0610 Genesys Logic, Inc. 4-port hub
                              Bus 001 Device 008: ID 0665:6000 Cypress Semiconductor 
                              Bus 001 Device 009: ID 1044:7a03 Chu Yuen Enterprise Co., Ltd
                              Suppose I'll put the patch here for posterity too: (by Beijmn from the Corsair forums, http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?p=698944 ; The line numbers are slightly different for Ubuntu 13.10's kernel)
                              Code:
                              --- drivers/hid/hid-core.c 2014-01-19 16:27:37.674829730 -0500
                              +++ hid-core_patched.c 2014-01-19 16:24:39.992006709 -0500
                              @@ -1130,6 +1130,14 @@
                              {
                              struct hid_driver *hdrv = hid->driver;
                              int ret;
                              + static bool skip = false;
                              +
                              + if (skip) {
                              + skip = false;
                              + return;
                              + }
                              + if (usage->code == KEY_BACKSLASH && value == 1)
                              + skip = true;
                              
                              if (!list_empty(&hid->debug_list))
                              hid_dump_input(hid, usage, value);

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                I have a Filco Majestouch without numerical keys. But a alternative with numerical keys exist. It has a cable.
                                My keyboard has brown switches. The color is matt black. It has no unnecessary functionality. It is stable and heavy. I really like the keyboard.
                                I has full rollover or whatever they call it. As I understands it that means you can press whatever keys in the same time.

                                Comment

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