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Mechanical Keyboard Switches: Gaming vs Typing

8 November 2016

Mechanical Keyboard Switches: Gaming vs Typing

The type of keyboard switch is a fundamental factor in deciding which mechanical keyboard suits you the best for work and play purposes. Not only gamers, typists who are required to type for hours at a time in the office also need the right mechanical keyboard to use. Choosing the right switch can improve your typing speed and accuracy.

In this article, we will discuss different types of keyboard switches from Cherry MX to see which mechanical keyboards suit your individual needs.

Cherry MX 

Introduced in the early 1980s by Cherry Corporation, Cherry MX have become the world's most popular mechanical switches for keyboards today. The switches are colour-coded, meaning each coloured switch has different characteristics and key feel. So, if you hear someone say "Cherry MX Blue" or "Cherry MX Black", it does not refer just to aesthetics but the key switches' characteristics.

Regardless of the colour, most of the keyboard switches can be categorised into three (3) main types:

  • Linear switch: smooth and linear feeling from top to bottom when pressed.
  • Tactile switch: a bump in the middle of key travel when pressed.
  • Clicky switch: a bump in the middle of key travel accompanied by a "click" sound when pressed.

For those typing very fast, tactile and clicky switches are the ones for you to minimise typos and avoid confusion as to whether you had pressed that key or not. The bump feeling or clicky sound will give you feedback every single time you press down and hit the actuation point (where the press is registered on the computer).

On the other hand, linear switches in fast-paced gaming, like first-person shooters, are more suitable because there is no bump or click allowing easy double-tapping of keys. 

Popular Cherry MX key switches

Switch Colour Characteristics Key Feel Sound Level Actuation Force Recommendation*

Red

Cherry MX red

Linear  Light Quiet 45g (45cN) Gaming 

Black

Cherry MX black

Linear Heavy  Quiet 60g (60cN) Gaming 

Blue

Cherry MX blue

Tactile

Clicky sound

Light Loud 50g (50cN) Gaming and Typing 

Green

Cherry MX green

Tactile

Clicky sound

Heavy  Loud 80g (80cN) Gaming and Typing 

Brown

Cherry MX brown

Tactile

No clicky sound

Medium  Quiet 45g (45cN) Gaming and Typing

Clear 

Cherry MX clear

Tactile

No clicky sound

Medium  Quiet 65g (65cN) Gaming and Typing

Source: Deskthority Wiki 

Among those colours, Cherry MX red, brown and blue are the most common switches to represent its categories. It is mostly because their key feel is generally lighter and thus require less effort (i.e. the actuation force in  grams (g) or centi-Newtons (cN)). 

*There is no definite keyboard switch that is just for gaming and/or typing purposes. It is really about personal preference. For example, you can absolutely use Cherry MX Red for typing or Cherry MX Green for gaming, there is no strict rule on that. What we suggest above is based on the switch features and the common usage in the market.

Check out this video from Miller ModPCs to listen to the sound of each keyboard switches

 

Recommendation

Corsair K65 LUX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX RGB Red

Corsair K65 LUX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX RGB Red

Corsair K70 LUX Red LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Blue

Corsair K70 LUX Red LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Blue

Corsair K70 LUX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX RGB Brown

Corsair K70 LUX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX RGB Brown

 

Tags: keyboard, Corsair, keyboard switch, gaming

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