Mechanical keyboards have become a bit of a staple for PC gaming life. It’s by no means necessary, as a normal keyboard will still provide full functionality, but once you’ve typed on mechanical switch keys it can be difficult to go back. Plus, they’re a lot cheaper than they used to be.
Mechanical switches come in all sorts of variants to suit different tastes. Some are loud and clacky while others go for muted tones and all have a different feeling. By far the most popular switches around right now are made by Cherry, and they secretly went and got even better behind our backs.
According to TechPowerup, the Cherry MX low-profile RGB mechanical switches have seen a sneaky upgrade. The gold cross point contactor has been significantly improved, and now supports a lifetime of 100 million actuations as opposed to only 50 million. The improvements require the metal to include a particularly thick layer of gold on the top, and have a precise welding diode to do the job properly. Cherry claims that most competitors don’t use these processes and skimp on the gold, making their switches more reliable for long term use.
The other big improvement to come from these refinements is a lower bounce time. Mechanical keys feel like they jump right back up to your fingers and that’s part of the joy of using them. Cherry claims that this bounce will now typically take less than a millisecond, allowing for key clicks to be registered and repeated at a faster rate.
If you bought a keyboard featuring these keys in the past six months, it’s likely you’re in luck. These changes to the low-profile switches came in mid last year, so there’s a good chance that most keyboards purchased since then have these extra long lasting, fast bouncing keys. We don’t recall a noticeable price rise either, so it looks like that gold in them there keys is an added bonus.
Of course, Cherry aren’t the only keymakers in town. They do feature prominently among the products in our best mechanical keyboards list, taking out the 2nd and 3rd positions, but the top spot actually went to the Corsair k100 RGB Optical keyboard. This uses Corsair OPX switches, and is a huge keyboard with a tonne of RGB options and comes at a hefty price. Those looking for a more budget friendly option can check out our favourite cheap keyboards, which is lead by the G.SKILL KM360 rocking Cherry MX keys.
PC Gamer Newsletter
Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.
Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here.
No, she’s not kidding.