Review: Red vs Brown Cherry MX Switches, Red vs Blue O-Rings


About 6 months ago, I bought my first mechanical keyboard, the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid with Cherry MX Red switches. As I wrote in my review, the keyboard worked great for gaming.

A short while later, I read an article that strongly recommended Brown switches for gaming. I wondered whether I’d made the wrong decision in choosing Red over Brown, given that I hadn’t tried either prior to purchasing the keyboard.

Given that I care about my gaming performance, I decided to conduct hands-on testing of Red and Brown Cherry MX switches to better understand the experience of using them and determine which worked better for me. I also wanted to test the switches with and without Red and Blue O-rings.

Therefore, I tested the following products:

The Keyboards

I went to a local store to pickup a CM Storm keyboard with Brown switches. They didn’t carry the older QuickFire Rapid model. They did stock the newer QuickFire Stealth model, which is largely the same keyboard with minor cosmetic differences, so I purchased a Stealth keyboard with Brown switches.

As you can see from the following picture, the structural design of the two keyboards is very similar.

CM Storm keyboards

QuickFire Rapid with Red switches (top), QuickFire Stealth with Brown switches (bottom)

Comparing the Switches

The following animated visuals (created by lethalsquirrel on geekhack, aka dacasman on YouTube) describe how the switches operate:

Cherry MX Red Switch AnimationCherry MX Brown Switch Animation

Some gamers rave about the tactile bumps in the Brown switches. Theoretically, tactile bumps sound like a great idea, since they provide feedback when a key is pressed.

However, I believe there’s a fundamental design flaw in the Cherry MX switches: there is too much total travel distance in the switch relative to the actuation point, which is where the keystroke is registered. The switch registers the keystroke partway into the keypress, and the remaining keypress travel is functionally pointless since nothing happens aside from bottoming out. According to Cherry Corp., their MX switches register a keystroke at 2mm, then bottom out after another 2mm, but it feels like the switch registers earlier than the halfway point in the keypress.

Cherry MX Brown Actuation Bump

Actuation point shown for a Cherry MX switch. Note that the tactile bump is placed before the actuation point. This image is of the Stealth keyboard with Brown switches, but AFAIK the actuation point is the same across switch colors.

There is a critical implication here, because the tactile bump for a Brown switch is placed before the actuation point, which means the bump happens even before you’ve pressed the key halfway. Moreover, it takes a low amount of force to push past the tactile bump and the bump is very subtle. I spent several days trying to lighten and shorten my keypressing to adjust to the tactile bump of Brown switches, but even after practicing, I consistently pressed keys well past the tactile bump.

If the tactile bump were more noticeable and if the actuation point and the tactile bump were further into the keypress, I think Brown switches would work much better.

One complaint I’ve read about Red switches is that they activate too easily, given that they have no bump and low actuation force, and this leads to false keystrokes. After testing both Brown switches and Red switches extensively, by playing the same games and typing the same copy over and over, for me this was not an issue.

My conclusion: the tactile bump in the Brown switches didn’t provide meaningful value, due to its early placement in the keypress and how subtle the bump is.

I prefer Red switches over Brown as they provide a much more fluid feel.

Comparing the O-Rings

WASD Keyboards was kind enough to send me two sets of O-rings to test with.

WASD Keyboards O-Rings

In a nutshell, the Blue O-rings are thicker than the Red ones (0.4mm vs 0.2mm).

O-rings offer several practical benefits:

  1. They reduce noise significantly
  2. They provide cushion when you bottom-out
  3. They reduce travel distance (more on this below)

It was trivial installing the O-rings. Each O-ring has a natural tendency to roll one way or the other, so you want to keep that in mind when rolling an O-ring onto a key.

O-Ring Installation

The following photo gives you an idea of the relative travel distance of switches with Red and Blue O-rings:

Side-by-side: Red O-ring, Blue O-ring, No O-ring

Keys fully depressed, with and without O-rings. That is, the image shows keys pressed until they bottom out.

If you look at the right-most panel, you can see that the travel distance with a Blue O-ring is slightly shorter than a Red O-ring, which is what we’d expect given that Red O-rings reduce travel by 0.2mm and Blue O-rings reduce travel by 0.4mm.

So which O-ring color is better?

Some gamers say that the Blue O-rings ruin the feel of the keypress, especially for Brown switches. I disagree. As I mentioned earlier, the actuation point for Cherry MX switches is halfway into the keypress – regardless of switch color – so you have lots of meaningless travel until the key bottoms out. By installing an O-ring, you reduce that wasteful travel distance. In the case of Brown switches, the tactile bump occurs before the actuation point and therefore well ahead of bottoming out even with Blue O-rings.

My conclusion: Cherry MX switches work meaningfully better with O-rings, and Blue O-rings provide more cushion and reduce more wasteful travel as compared to Red O-rings.

Final Thoughts

I kept the keyboard with Red switches (CM Storm QuickFire Rapid keyboard) and Blue O-rings (manufactured by WASD Keyboards). Almost half a year has passed, and this setup has worked extremely well for gaming and typing. My fingers don’t get fatigued, the noise level is acceptable, and the keys feel very responsive.

It was definitely worthwhile to do the hands-on testing, because if I had simply listened to what others had written, I’d have made the wrong selection of colors for both the Cherry MX switches and the O-rings.

From the reviews and forums I’ve read, the CM Storm QuickFire keyboard is the best-value mechanical Cherry MX keyboard on the market, especially with a price point of under $100 USD. I highly recommend it based on my experience.

If you’ve tested different switch colors and different O-ring colors, I’d love to hear your take on them.

UPDATE (2015/01/04): based on this thread in the MechanicalKeyboards sub-Reddit, it looks like I’m not alone in the opinion that Brown switches are overrated.

Posted in Product Review

Two-Thirds of the Top-Rated Players in WildStar 2v2 Arena are Inactive


I’ve been wondering how accurately the WildStar PVP Leaderboards reflect the current meta and player activity, so I compared the 2v2 Arena Leaderboards from September 25th and October 10th.

You can find my analysis in the following spreadsheet document:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1EwC3bmWEUWjK78hBZET5svynTnNrpGwkPDY9SIWgVIw/edit?usp=sharing

There is a summary tab with calculations and two tabs for the Leaderboards. I sorted the Leaderboards by name – you can easily move between the tabs to see the changes for each player.

Here are my conclusions:

  1. The highest number of active classes who gained rating or joined the top 250 on October 10th were Warriors (16) and Medics (13), followed by Espers (9), Spellslingers (8), Stalkers (5), and Engineers (3)
  2. A whopping 65% of the 250 top-rated players in 2v2 are inactive. Meaning they have either stopped playing WildStar or they are still playing but not participating in 2v2 anymore

Point #1 should be no surprise to anyone, given the recent changes to PVP stats to decrease damage and increase healing. Warrior/Medic was always a good comp, but with the current meta they faceroll most other comps. The Medic is durable, can kite effectively, and can heal even when out of Focus (i.e. they are un-OOMable), and the Warrior has high passive mitigation, strong burst, and is difficult to sustainably peel/CC. The longer TTK has made life harder for Stalkers, although in my experience the top-end Stalkers in a dual DPS comp are still very dangerous, if they spec to strip shields and coordinate their burst. I’ve never been able to understand why Engineers aren’t played more in 2v2 – in particular heal-soak Engi/Medic is a strong comp.

What is alarming about point #2 is that even with cross-server queues for BG and Arena, the PVP queue times outside of prime time are very high – as Lewis B discussed in his recent article The WildStar Ghost Town – and during prime time PBGs still take 5+ minutes to pop. As a comparison, with World of Tanks (WoT), the queue pops for Random Battles in under a minute any time day or night.

I love WildStar’s action combat system – it’s the most skill-based and engaging of any MMORPG that I’ve played. That said, the dwindling population has a direct impact on me: I have to worry about queue times and the likelihood that the queues will get longer.

On top of that, I’m very burned out by the RNG runes system, where the rune colors are randomized. In most games, when you get a purple drop in PVE or PVP, you rejoice. In WildStar, you hold your breath and pray for decent runes. To date I’ve purchased approximately 55 pieces of 1800 PVP gear, and it’s been a very frustrating and unrewarding experience. Players have said “wait until you can re-roll runes in Drop 3″ but that doesn’t solve my problem now, and I face other 1800-geared players who got their PVP gear prior to the RNG system being introduced for PVP gear. After my 4th purchase of an 1800 weapon resulted in another non-upgrade from the 1800 weapon I’m using, I finally gave up and unsubbed from WildStar last weekend.

This is a tough time for WildStar. The community is hoping/praying that Drop 3 will turn the game around. Since WAR and AoC in 2008, I have yet to see a game that hemorrhaged subs in the first 3 months make a meaningful recovery. Some folks point to SWTOR, which transitioned to F2P, but that game has not only an epic combat feel but one of the most valuable IPs of any genre.

Over the past week I’ve been playing ArcheAge (AA) and shaking off rust in WoT. I doubt I will stick with AA as the leveling process is bland and there are no BGs to enjoy, practice, test specs, and gain leveling experience. I really appreciate AA’s flexible build system, and on paper I found a class that suits me well: Abolisher, which combines Battlerage/Defense/Auramancy for a durable MDPS build that has CC and can counter CC. That said, my Abolisher is only level 15 and the road to 50 is many hours of tedium. Folks have told me AA’s endgame sandbox PVP is worth it, but I’ve never played a game that I disliked while leveling and loved at endgame. If the game can’t pull me in during the leveling process, the shoe doesn’t fit.

WoT has thankfully reminded what a (mostly) skill-based game with a very active population looks like, and I’m continuing to try to play at a Super Unicum (2900+ WN8 rating) level without gold ammo. It’s a fun goal :)

Posted in ArcheAge, Esper, Game Design, PVP, Warrior, WildStar, World of Tanks

WildStar PVP Video: Esper “Melee Mage” in PVP Drop 2


In this video, I provide an update to my “Melee Mage” Esper PVP build for the PVP Drop 2 patch. I’m glad to report that the build is performing well :)

I discuss the patch changes, adjustments to my build, Esper lifesteal mechanics, and last but not least the *fantastic* news from MuffinMan about proposed changes to the PVP gear system:

Gear Gaps:

The gear gaps are being closed. The intent is to make it so skilled players in blues will still be competitive with players in Tier 2 sets (1800’s). We will be making following changes:

  • The PvP blue set will be boosted to the current Tier 1 set
  • The Tier 2 set will remain the same
  • The Tier 1 set will be boosted to bridge the gap between blues and Tier 2.
  • This change is targeted to be pushed out in the next few weeks.

Making Tier 2 Gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds:

I would also like to make Tier 2 pvp gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds. This is another change that will require approval and again, I will provide updates when I am able.

Carbine’s proposed changes are almost identical to what I recommended in my recent blog post about the endgame PVP system.

I am so psyched that they are going with a solution that makes PVP more skill-based, and still supports gear progression for those who want it.

MuffinMan also said that healing will get increased:

Healing in PvP:

Adjustments are being made internally to increase the effectiveness of healing in PvP. This change will need a balance pass and testing so I can’t provide an ETA at this time.

While I agree with Carbine that healing was too strong pre-Drop 2 – combat sometimes boiled down to no one dying until healers went OOM – it was overnerfed in Drop 2, so it make sense that healing will be re-adjusted.

Posted in Esper, Game Design, PVP, Video, WildStar

WildStar: Great Combat System, Horrible Endgame PVP Sytem


Editor’s note (2014/08/06): MuffinMan just announced that they are making changes that are almost identical to what I had suggested as Option C below. Way to go Carbine!

Like many #WildStar players, I am a huge fan of the game’s combat system but believe the 50 PVP system is horribly flawed.

Here are the major issues with WildStar’s PVP system:

  1. The gear scales too much between blue unrated, 1500 rated, and 1800 rated gear. The stat differentials from blue->1500 and from 1500->1800 are quite significant, to the point where a 1800-geared player will vastly outperform a comparably-skilled blue-geared player. That is, 1800 gear is a faceroll advantage
  2. The matchmaking (MM) system pairs blue-geared players up against 1500- and 1800-geared players
  3. You tend to lose more rating from a loss than what you gain from a win. There are plenty of people who have noticed this. I average about 14-15 rating per win, about 22-23 rating per loss. To maintain a break-even rating, I have to win ~60% of my matches. To raise your rating at a meaningful rate, you need to win the majority of your matches. Given that the overall win/loss ratio for the population has to be 50/50 (it’s actually worse, I’ll talk about this in a moment), this means that a lot of players will be losing rating the more they participate in rated PVP. The ELO rating change calculations seem borked

About the 1st and 2nd points above, I sum up the gear differentials this way:

  • blue gear = elementary school kid
  • blue gear + full runes = middle schooler
  • 1500 gear = high schooler
  • 1500 gear + full runes = college student
  • 1800 gear = adult
  • 1800 gear + full runes = King Leonidas of Sparta. You know, this guy:

This is Sparta!

About the 3rd point above, the win/loss ratio has to less than .500 on a global scale. Why? Some players on the losing side in an RBG bail during the match, and this creates a vicious cycle where the losing side is short-handed, and then unfortunate players get sucked into the match, not knowing that it’s already ongoing. Therefore, the win rewards 10 players on the winning side, but more than 10 players may be credited with a loss, especially in a faceroll loss where the bailout rate is high. This week, I dropped I lost 45 points from 2 losses where I joined mid-match and our side was getting stomped. This is the reason I stay in losing matches until they finish (unless I have to log for RL reasons) – I don’t want to hurt the rating of another player of my faction who got sucked into the match in-progress by my selfishly leaving.

I can anticipate what the response will be from some players: just get 1800 gear, it’s not that hard.

The issue with obtaining 1800 gear or even 1500 gear at this point in the game:

  • Class imbalance is still poor. Warriors and DPS Slingers are the meta, even with some of the recent Warrior nerfs. If you aren’t either of those classes or playing with carries on those classes, the PVP experience is rather painful
  • It’s harder now to get to 1500 and 1800 than it was previously. Players who reached 1500 (RBG or Arena) or 1800 (Arena) within the first few weeks post-launch did not have to face a high density of 1800-geared players. That is no longer the case. Actually, the July 3rd patch widened the MM in terms of rating spread:
    • (PvP) Improved matching for Rated Battlegrounds and Rated Arenas by increasing the amount of rating points per search interval and by increasing the max spread of rating used. This means roughly, that players should see an overall decrease in queue times when attempting to match players/teams of disparate ratings.

If you are in a guild or friends with people who are 1800, especially Warriors and DPS Spellslingers, you can benefit from them carrying you. On the flip side, if your friends and guildees aren’t 1800 or even 1500-geared, you are actually penalized for grouping with them because as a premade you will likely face a premade from the other side, and if they have geared players your team is going to struggle.

I experienced this after hitting 50 in early July and then working my way to 1500 RBG rating with my “Melee Mage” Esper. I soloed my way up to 1471 rating within 3 days of reaching 50.

Taugrim Reaches 1471 RBG Solo-Queuing

I had the (incorrect) impression at the time that getting to 1500 wouldn’t be that difficult, but looking back I think I had an unusual win streak to get to 1471. Over the next 6 days my rating yo-yo’d until I finally reached 1500.

On my journey to 1500, in <Pharos> we had only 1 active 1500-geared player, a superb tank Stalker named Sinovia (now on Pergo). The more guildees I grouped with, the higher our loss %, because most of them were in blue gear, and our premade was getting matched against geared premades. This is the first time I’ve ever played PVP where grouping with baseline-PVP-geared guildees in battlegrounds is discouraged by how the game mechanics work :(

I can also anticipate that some folks will say: the upcoming progressive rating requirements for gear will help the PVP situation!

Actually, my projection is that it won’t meaningfully help players who are blue-geared, unless they are already at 1250+ rating before the patch. Here’s why:

  • The % of players with purple gear (1500 or 1800) who rune their gear is going to be higher than the % of players with blue gear who rune their gear. The mentality of some players (not me) is “I’m not going to run my blue gear because I’ll replace it soon.” This is probably true for people getting carried by 1800s. But for the rest of the player base, not runing blue gear is going to put them at a significant stats disadvantage relative to purple players, and keep in mind, you need to win a majority of matches to steadily increase your rating
  • There are plenty of (competent) players well under 1200 rating now, because of everything described above. Take a player at 1000 rating. Getting to 1250 would require winning ~18 matches straight, or having a 70%+ win rate over a longer stretch of matches. So while it’s nice that the fruit is lower, without being carried, it’s still too high for many players at sub-1200 ratings to reach up and grab

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about my situation. I’m not one to give up easily, and despite the unfriendly game mechanics, I’ve worked my way up to ~1700 RBG rating soloing or grouping with 1-2 guildees:

Taugrim's "Melee Mage" Esper at 1700 RBG

That said, I’ve been talking to folks inside and outside my guild, and there are plenty of competent players would can’t get to 1500 because of the factors described above.

Thanks to the PVP sytem, I’ll continue to end up in situations like the following screenie from this morning, where my 2-man group ends up facing a 7+ person premade with 1800 gear. My guildee Sinovia happened to start watching Blunt’s stream when the score was 3-3. Sure, we made them work for it, but they had a faceroll advantage due to gear differentials:

Joy of Facing Heavy 1800 Premades

The kicker of the above screenshot was the loss dinged my rating by 20 points. Minus 20 points for a loss against that premade with that gear? That’s just silly! Sinovia said in their next queue pop they commented that “Taugrim’s not here” so at least I’m getting respect from my opponents. LOL.

By the way, I know things would be easier for me (and my guildees) if I just relented and rolled a Warrior or DPS Spellslinger. But games should never be about having to play the FOTM to be viable.

Granted, the upcoming patch changes should help DPS Stalker and DPS Esper in PVP. But the real culprits – gear differentials, crappy MM, crappy ELO calculations – will still be there.

My 2 cents on how to fix this: as always I advocate a skill-based PVP environment, so skill is the primary determining factor in PVP outcomes, not gear. It’s the healthiest for the game and provides the best experience for the players. The problem right now with WildStar PVP looks like this:

gear > class > skill

This is bass ackward, especially for a game that positions itself as being highly skill-based.

In my opinion, Carbine didn’t learn from WoW’s journey with PVP. WoW PVP became much more skill-based in Cataclysm, when rating requirements were completely dropped from T1 gear, so that players could acquire the same gear as anyone else, and since gear differentials were low to none, skill was the primary determinant in PVP outcomes. Blizzard later even dropped the stats upgrade in the T2 weapons, so T2 gear is a strictly cosmetic reward. Ratings in WoW are a reflection of performance – not what upgraded gear you can acquire – and that’s exactly how it should be.

If you’re truly skilled and playing a functional spec, you shouldn’t need better gear. Better players (on FOTM classes) + better gear = faceroll.

I hope Carbine sorts this out. I really do. I completely passed on a lot of games after GW2 – FFXIV, Neverwinter, ESO – because I knew those games wouldn’t appeal to me for a meaningful timeframe. I adore WildStar, but as a diehard PVP fan I’m finding the endgame PVP to be a big turnoff to me, my guildees, and the community. WildStar PVP was a blast from 6-49, not so much at 50.

As Tom Cruise said in Days of Thunder: I want to lose to a better driver, not a better car. That’s how it should be.

—————————————

UPDATE 1

There are multiple ways this could be addressed.

OPTION A: LESSEN THE GEAR DIFFERENTIALS BETWEEN THE TIERS

E.g. if the current 1800 gear was actually more like the 1500 gear in terms of stats, and the current 1500 somewhere between blues and what it is now, gear would not be that much of a factor in driving PVP outcomes, and skill would shine moreso than now.

OPTION B: LEAVE THE SYSTEM AS-IS, BUT ADD 1800 GEAR TO RBGs

As described.

Wouldn’t solve the gear differentials issue, but would at least provide another option to players.

OPTION C: LESSEN THE GEAR DIFFERENTIALS, ADD 1800 GEAR TO RBGs

Option A and Option B could be combined to lessening gear differentials and adding 1800 gear to RBGs.

Option C is my recommended option, because it lessens the impact of gear and allows skill to shine, and it still provides gear progression for those who really care about that (i.e. people other than me).

OPTION D: FOLLOW THE WOW MODEL: HIGHER-RATED GEAR IS STRICTLY COSMETIC

This is letting everyone be able to acquire gear with the same stats, regardless of rating.

The longest-tenured progression MMORPG, WoW, has had strictly cosmetic gear at higher ratings for several years in PVP.

http://i.wow.joystiq.com/2013/06/05/elite-pvp-gear-requires-rating-again-in-patch-5-4/

There are plenty of people who wouldn’t be OK with this, since they need progression to enjoy PVP, and/or they want to faceroll undergeared opponents.

—————————————

UPDATE 2

So I didn’t realize there is another huge incentive to some 1800 players who are playing carry classes (esp DPS Slinger and Warrior) to continue to defend the system as-is: they make a 50 plat to boost a player to 1800 in 2v2.

This not only rewards the carrier with huge income – it screws up the economy, and it creates a pay-to-win environment.

I didn’t realize how much of a thing this was, but I heard about it when grouped with players from Pergo for RBGs last night. Some players have accumulated over 1000 plat (yes, 1k plat) from boosting on Pergo.

:/

—————————————

UPDATE 3 (2014/08/06):

Halle-freaking-lujah!

MuffinMan posted this last night:

Gear Gaps:

The gear gaps are being closed. The intent is to make it so skilled players in blues will still be competitive with players in Tier 2 sets (1800’s). We will be making following changes:

  • The PvP blue set will be boosted to the current Tier 1 set
  • The Tier 2 set will remain the same
  • The Tier 1 set will be boosted to bridge the gap between blues and Tier 2.
  • This change is targeted to be pushed out in the next few weeks.

Making Tier 2 Gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds:

I would also like to make Tier 2 pvp gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds. This is another change that will require approval and again, I will provide updates when I am able.

WAY TO GO CARBINE (with the voiceover)

I think he means that the 1500 gear is getting buffed to somewhere between where it is now and the current 1800 gear, and that the blue gear is getting buffed to the current 1500 gear.

The solution MuffinMan proposed is almost identical to what I described above as Option C, which was the option I recommended.

I am so psyched that they are going with a solution that makes PVP more skill-based, and still supports gear progression for those who want it.

 

Posted in Game Design, PVP, WildStar

Review: CM Storm QuickFire Rapid Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard


Recently my wife’s been on a quest to reduce our EMF exposure. I’ve been using the built-in keyboard of my Sager gaming laptop, and she suggested that I switch to a keyboard accessory.

Therefore, I picked up a non-mechanical keyboard, the Logitech K740, from a nearby Staples. The main issue with the K740 is that it’s full-width and has a tenkey numpad I never use. From an ergonomic standpoint, the keyboard width forced the mouse to be placed too far off my center line, and this was not comfortable. So I decided that a tenkeyless (compact) keyboard would be the way to go.

Top (@unindel) recommended that I take a look at mechanical keyboards, which provide a more customizable and richer tactile experience relative to rubber dome keyboards. I found a good option in the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid – Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Cherry MX Red Switches, which was favorably reviewed on various shopping sites (e.g. Amazon.com, Newegg.com) and forums, and it had a reasonable price point just under $100 USD.

The keyboard came sturdily packaged:

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid - Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Boxed

As I had hoped, the compact keyboard allowed for comfortable alignment and distance between my left hand on the keyboard and my right hand on the mouse, which is my default setup when gaming. From an ergonomic standpoint, I want my hands to be about shoulder width apart.

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid - Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with CHERRY MX Red Switches

There are several design characteristics that influenced my decision to pick up a CM Storm keyboard:

  1. Each key is concave, so your finger naturally falls into the middle of the key when depressing
  2. There is a meaningful gap and crevice between each key and surrounding keys, which helps with correct finger placement
  3. Each key has good travel distance, which prevents misfires from brush contact

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid - Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Concave Keys

I’ve only been using the QuickFire keyboard for a few days, but I already love it! The only downside to the keyboard is that it’s somewhat noisy, and in the heat of PVP, my wife can hear me clicking madly away in the next room. LOL.

UPDATE (2014/07/21)

Aside from brand, the main thing one has to decide with a mechanical keyboard is which Cherry MX mechanical switches to go with. There are 4 switch options, denoted by color, and per the manufacturer each option is tuned differently:

  • Blue: for typists, tactile actuation bump, actuation click sound, 60cN actuation force
  • Brown: for typists, tactile actuation bump, no actuation click sound, 55cN actuation force
  • Red: for gamers, no tactile actuation bump, no actuation click sound, 45cN actuation force
  • Black: for gamers, no tactile actuation bump, no actuation click sound, 60cN actuation force

I found an article and poll which recommends Cherry MX Brown instead of the Red I’m using. I’m tempted to order the Rapidfire keyboard with Brown switches to see which works best for me.

I got several dozen responses on Twitter about this topic. Here’s a link to the conversation:

Another thing to consider for your Cherry MX switches is whether to install O-Rings to prevent bottoming out the keys (which means less noise) and to reduce the travel distance. From reading various forums, 0.2mm O-Rings seem preferred over 0.4mm O-Rings, as the latter decrease the travel of the keys too much.

What keyboard are you using, and if you have Cherry MX switches, which color(s) have you used and what’s your take on them? What do you think of O-Rings?

UPDATE (2015/01/03)

I did extensive hands-on testing on Red versus Brown Cherry MX switches and Red versus Blue O-rings. You can read about that here.

Posted in Product Review
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