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The Keyboard Thread

Discussion in 'Offtopic Discussions' started by rygD, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Those switches sound good, due to the...lack of...sound. Yeah, unintentional. Anyway, if they work out at your office I will probably have those as my backup option should I need a quieter option at some point. I try not to bottom out, so those would help me with that.

    I still find the layout intriguing, just not sure it would meet some of my preferences since it looks like it lacks a num pad layer (not a major issue since I spent years without one, but it saves me time now that I am used to it).
     
  2. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    It -can- have a numpad layer. Remember, it has 3 'empty' programmable layers. I figure I'll put a numpad behind 789uiojklm as 7894561230 on the first programmable layer. Probably a pretty common use. I haven't had time yet to fiddle with the program layers much.
     
  3. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    My netbook has it's numpad keys there, but its probably fair to say I don't ever remember using them apart from testing whether the legends on the keys are true.

    If it's the votex core we're talking about, pgup/down being behind a function key would be awkward for me, as I often use shift+pgup/down to scroll terminal windows. It's bad enough on this netbook keyboard, because pgup/down are behind Fn, but on that keyboard FN+shift are diagonally adjacent, so I can hit those with two primary fingers of my left hand easily enough with practice. The increased span between the three keys on there probably forces you to bridge your right hand to fn+O/P where the pgup/down keys are hidden, which would certainly take some learning.
     
  4. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Above I'm talking about the Vortex Race 3 (75%). It has dedicated PgUp & PgDn on the top layer.

    The much smaller Vortex Core (40%) is a much much more compromised layout.
     
  5. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    They wouldn't be lined up, though. Perhaps it wouldn't be a problem (don't know until I try the individual keyboard), so then it comes down to being the keys labeled until I memorize where they are and get used to the keyboard as a whole. Honestly, I would probably end up like you with the Core in regards to that aspect, even if I set it up myself. Still looks like an interesting keyboard, and it offers a lot to help me switch over to a smaller one like I once wanted to do, back before I switched to regularly using the num pad (which I kinda feel is a crutch now, but it is so much quicker, so...). It is cheaper than the stuff on the new Model F site, so I will keep it in mind.

    The feel of the clear switches is what I need to try for myself, since that or brown is probably what I would go for, just in case I need to be quiet at some future point. I don't mind putting the o rings on to quiet it down even more at some point if they don't change the feel. I will give up my clickiness, but not the feel. Let me know how it works out in your office. I will check out reviews on the switches, and maybe order a tester. Not as good as a whole keyboard, but not as expensive if it doesn't work out for me.

    I am probably going to look around at other keyboards and see which switch options are available with ones that appeal to me.

    Oh, also I would like to know how the Race 3 works for you for gaming. That would probably be a use case for any new keyboard I get. I play a bit of everything, and a few of the older FPSs are common.
     
  6. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    So I took the Vortex Race 3 MX Clear into work on Monday and tried it in the quiet office environment. I also brought in my Vortex Core MX Brown with double O rings on it. After typing on them back and forth, the double dampened Core MX Brown was considerably quieter and less tiresome. I was bottoming out on the clears - and that takes effort.

    I'm typing this on the Vortex Race 3 MX Clear now - after I pulled every single key and put double O rings on the stems. Now it is as quiet as my Core MX Brown AND the key throw is shortened up so I'm bottoming out 1.5mm higher on the washers instead of smacking keys into metal.

    I like it - it's quiet. It's going into the office to replace my Thinkpad Ultranav USB. The thing that is taking the most to get used to on it? Copy and paste. I've always been a Ctrl+Insert then Shift+Insert guy and this keyboard has Insert hidden on the Fn layer. To complicate it further, Fn+RightShift is set to change programming layers. So, paste is either Ctrl+V or LeftShift+Fn+Delete making it either a left hand or two hand operation. I'll live.

    But, with the double washers on the Cherry MX clears - it is quiet and pretty fast. If I had the choice to do it again, though, I would have stuck with Cherry MX Brown. Of course the Vortex Race 3 MX Brown is sold out and backordered everywhere that lists it and is not even listed on Amazon. I'm going to need to buy a 2nd one of these for home - and would just as soon get it in Brown switches. Now that I have them dampened and the throw shortened, the Clears aren't bad, just not as nice or fast or as quiet (because I'm doing less effort) as the MX Browns.

    When I was putting the O rings on the stems, I swapped out the Esc, Ctrl, Alt & Enter keys for the Red & Blue versions included with the Race 3. The Green shift & Yellow arrow keys are still in the bag - that was too much circus for an office keyboard.

    My Vortex Core MX Brown is, frankly, faster to type words on - but is an unholy nightmare to type anything other than letters - and about 2/5 of the symbols aren't printed on it. I would pay for updated/corrected keycaps for the Core that have ALL of the symbols printed right on them for ALL layers of the keyboard - including the 'secret' keys that turn keys on the bottom right of the space into super secret arrow keys. Proper markings on the keys would make the Core my go-to for a travel keyboard. As is, it's too much to try to memorize for part time use and too inefficient for full time use.

    Gaming - yes, I buried the lead. If gaming is your primary purpose, the Race 3 will do that quite well. With a full top layer of number & function keys, all of the buttons for gaming are quick to access. I'm getting to where I can 'no-look' reach the F1-F12 by going to the 1-0 key (touchtype memory) and then just go up and right of the number to hit the F1-F12 version. Unless you're using Insert (grumble) for anything in your game, this could be the most efficient gaming keyboard you're likely to encounter. It keeps the mouse closer because it doesn't take as much desk space too - less arm strain. That said, if you're gaming (only) then go for the MX Red switches. If you're typing and gaming, go for the MX Brown switches. If you're a heavy handed typist or like a more solid key feedback feel, then get the MX Clears.

    If it feels like I'm steering people away from the MX Clears - I am. I'll be fine using this for work or gaming. But - I'd rather have one with MX Browns. Call it buyers remorse, but the keyboard simply isn't in stock anywhere with Browns and I wanted to try a keyboard with Clears. An expensive test. So, I'd like to buy a 2nd one - with MX Browns - which is unobtanium at the moment. If I wait long enough maybe they'll finally release the RGB backlight version of the Race 3 (the pre-production review units were backlit).

    Almost forgot - because this keyboard sits up so high (mechanical switches) and has an edge like a cliff, I also got a 3/4" tall Grifiti 12" wide wrist pad that fits it more or less perfectly. If you like to rest your wrists on the desk while you type, this is a must have with either of these keyboards.

    Cheers,

    Grench
     
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  7. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    The clears are also linear aren't they? Do you find any benefit for the browns comes from their tactility rather than just their lower activation weight?

    I have a Filco Majestouch with MX browns, and I had to single ring it to make it sound less tinny when typing. It's a good keyboard, just being ten-key-ful slightly too large for using with my SBC in the place it currently is. I'm thinking of buying a cheap knockoff mechanical keyboard for use with that that's tenkeyless, but all the cheap ones seem to be clones of MX blue switches, and rather garish with their multicoloured backlight. Then I can move the Filco back to the build server, and retire the horrid low travel membrane monstrosity that's currently hooked up to its ps/2 port (I guess it came out just as they were moving to chiclet keyboards everywhere, so it's got chiclet travel, but all the keys have skirts). Maybe it wouldn't be so horrid if I actually sat down to use it, but those machines are all in a kind of run in and type something situation, and typing in a password blind on it is horrible especially if it has repeated characters in it - I just can't tell from my muscle memory of anything else how many times I typed a letter.
     
  8. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Clears and Browns are both 'silent' tactile bump keys. The clears simply have a stiffer weighting to them - more effort to press. Otherwise they're more or less identical in feel and purpose.

    Now that I have a keyboard with MX Brown and one with MX Clear, I can safely attest to the fact that the MX Brown switches are the way to go - but only marginally so. The clears are very good as well - once I double O ring dampened them to keep me from the VERY long travel distance to bottom out. Depends a lot on typing style. Some people can register the tactile release and never bottom out on a keyboard. I find the extra travel distance makes me type harder. So I shortened the travel distance with the two O rings and now it is a very good keyboard - but I'd rather have the MX Brown keys.

    So, if I like bottoming out while typing why don't I just get MX Red? I tried those out once on another board and didn't like them. The keys have to fully descend in order to register - which makes them a very long throw and no hope to shorten them up. By using Brown or Clear with a pair of dampers, the new bottom-out (where the keystroke ends in my manual typewriter trained mind) is about half of a mm under the tactile release (where the stroke is registered electrically).

    But yeah - Clears are just a higher pressure push version of the Browns - both are tactile & 'quiet'. Quiet meaning that they don't have an active clicker in the mechanism. They both make noise when they bottom out AND when the key is released they tick when the key reaches the top. The O rings muffle both and result in a very tolerable keyboard for an office environment.
     
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  9. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    I'm not sure how the o-rings muffle noise from the key topping out, unless the double rings act as a baffle and reduce the reflection of the sound off the inside of the keycap, which then heads towards the backplane and back out between the keys to your ears. But I've never been bothered by the topping out noise, only the obverse.

    I have ringed the switches on my cherry brown keyboard and also my old Dell keyboard with ALPS style switches. Only singe rings, but they do reduce the noise well for me, and I don't think I'd like the ALPS switches if the throw was any shorter. I didn't ring the larger keys (spacebar, tab, backspace etc.) because on my Cherry MX keyboard I found they were still about as noisy because presumably when I press those keys they don't sound much quieter, which suggests much of the sound is actually caused by the evacuation of a large volume of air from underneath the key. Or perhaps the edges of the big wobbly key hitting the backplane itself, I may need to investigate.

    Edit: I can feel the bump and avoid bottoming out, although once I've learned it it's purely muscle memory from then on. And I can't type at full speed without bottoming out, so I usually end up hammering whatever message I intend to type out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  10. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    O rings dampen sound by directly muffin vibration of the keycap. Keeps them from ringing like a bell. Evacuation of air has nothing to do with noise unless you're crossing the speed of sound.
     
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  11. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Yeah, although I wouldn't put it past me to cross the speed of sound when I'm typing. The problems I do have that slow me down mainly stem from mistyping.

    I just had a play with it again, and I suspect the main sound is actually coming from the little metal bars they use to stabilise the ends of big keys and bring them down together - at least the backspace key repeatedly produces that little 'metal' tinkle. Other big keys just give a thud of various pitches (wider keys generally give a more bass-like thud). I'm not that suire it's the kind of noise I need to be too bothered about - even non-mech keyboards produce the same sounds if they have the same stabilisation mechanism (and most do in my experience).
     
  12. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    [​IMG]

    I also don't bottom out much once I get used to the keyboard. It sounds like brown is the way to go for me (occasional gaming), however I would still prefer to try them both out, preferably side by side, before buying. I really appreciate the review. Sounds like an awesome keyboard. Probably a top pick for me, especially if I need to be quieter than buckling springs permit.
     
  13. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Apparently my phone's spellwrecker thinks Muffle = Muffin. Not the worst autodestruction it has done.
     
  14. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    You should see the kind of shit mine makes up when I don't verify what it the together before sending or posting our whatever. I have taken my time sweeping with this post and only corrected one word (left the rest to demonstrate, and it is doing skeptically good...well it was). Half the time when I try to make a post here that is longer than a few sentences and do a quick shim to check stuff I forget the wood or phrase I wanted to use that got needed up.

    I could rally go for a blubber muffin right now.

    That should say hungry.

    And those should both say blueberry.
     
  15. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    This is why I only use devices with full keyboards that don't autocorrect - I make enough mistakes as is, I don't really need an AI to help me out ;) Admittedly, my phone doesn't have a proper mechanical keyboard, but I still consider it better than a crappy on-screen keyboard, as I do my Pandora's non-mech keyboard (although that sometimes suffers from false positive presses - hopefully the pyra will be more positive in action).
     
  16. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    The keyboards on my other smartphones are starting to not reliably accept my typing (some key press not registering, other times I get multiples of the same letter). My Pandora is terrible for most of my browsing needs. I could use a computer and my good keyboard, but I don't always want to sit at a desk. For now it is swiping. Non-desk browsing, chatting, and email will be great once I get my Pyra.
     
  17. ible

    ible Advanced Guard Tower

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    i'm keeping an eye on this one, though if i order one now it won't ship til May:

    https://ultimatehackingkeyboard.com/

    i like how the layers are customizable via open-source firmware, and that the layout is standard. it makes sense to have spacebar (or buttons nearby) to be modifiers, so that fingers don't have to leave the home row, especially pinkies. i can already sense the speed increases. although, i already type faster than i can code... but i think i can still think faster than i write i suppose.

    i'd want to map mod+hjkl to <_^> arrow keys, vim style, and so on...
     
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  18. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Nice, but I really would like a backlight on my next keyboard. I do almost all of my coding sshed into my server from a laptop, so I just use whatever's on the laptop I'm using. But I need a keyboard plugged in to my server for occasional local admin, and I also need a USB keyboard plugged into my SBC which is designed to be on more or less 24/7 (while my coding server is only on when I'm coding, or doing backups or something). I've currently got a crappy old membrane PS/2 keyboard hanging off my coding server, but if I could get a backlit USB keyboard on my SBC, I could move the good (MX brown) keyboard on to my coding server.
     
  19. comradekingu

    comradekingu Glowing ember

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    These people really understand keyboard theory. A more lucrative case and backlighting are possible upgrades for a ideal vision of a keyboard, as is ergonomy on the Z axis.

    What I think would be the most valuable addition is a cable allowing for individual placement of the trackball, catering to people with bigger hands.
    It ties in with how it works in the first place in dividing the hands.

    If you never want to leave the home row, you can also avoiding re-aligning the the index finger for anything other than typing.

    Stretrching the fingers over the left side means the thumb naturally aligns across, so as not to be smushed inwards.
    Mousing while pressing B is the issue
     
  20. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    As a largely self-taught coder/hacker, my fingers don't live on the home row on any keyboard anyway. I glance down about once a line to make sure I'm still aligned with the keyboard, although it'll become clear soon enough if I'm off.

    It does mean I only really use my pinkies for shift and enter, and my ring finger is far less used that it should be if I were typing 'properly'. And losing the visual cues does really pull me up if I ever can't see the keyboard, for when I'm quickly rebooting a machine without turning the lights on for example. I do then have to find the F and J marks and work things out from there, but it's really one letter at a time in that case.
     
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  21. ible

    ible Advanced Guard Tower

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    i don't understand the need for a backlight. on a proper keyboard i never look down -- i just use the nubs on F and J to get oriented.
     
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