The new Cherry MX Speed Silver may become its most popular gaming switch

The Cherry family is getting a little bigger this year. The maker of the de facto mechanical switches has added a new model, Speed Silver, to live alongside the Reds, Blues, Browns, and all the rest. Mechanical keyboard diehards may remember that the Silver first appeared more than a year ago, in early 2016, but it still hasn't yet shown up in widespread use.

That should be changing soon. On the Computex show floor I spotted the Silver in a Ducky keyboard set for release this fall, and I'm sure it's not alone. Once we start seeing this switch in more keyboards, it may become the go-to for gaming. 

The complete guide to mechanical switches

Looking to see the difference of how Cherry's new MX Speed Silver stacks up against its own offerings and other switches? Check out our in-depth breakdown of all the best mechanical switches.

So what's the deal with the Silver switch? It's a lot like the Red, a popular gaming switch, with a linear actuation (that means no bump) and the same force required to register a keypress. Both switches take 45 cN of force, much less than a Black or Blue switch (60 cN). The big difference between the Silver and the Red is the distance the key travels before it triggers a press. The actuation point for Red is 2 mm, with a total travel distance of 4 mm. For Silver, the actuation point is only 1.2 mm, and the total travel distance is 3.4 mm. 

This makes for a much faster keypress. It actuates at a little over half the distance of a Red switch, and bottoms out sooner, too. Hence the name Speed.

I tried out the Silver switch in one of Ducky's keyboards, and it was immediately noticeable how much shallower the key felt than a Red switch. It still feels like a mechanical key, of course, not like a far shallower laptop keyboard, but the difference is pretty striking. According to a Ducky rep I talked to, Silver is aimed at gaming, and that makes sense: Cherry's description calls out "extremely short reaction times." 

And if you pay attention to the most popular component companies, like Razer and Logitech, you'll note that they've developed their own switches in recent years, and some of them specifically tout quicker actuation. Razer's Yellow switch, for example, is a near-identical 45 cN force key with a 1.2 mm actuation point and 3.5 mm travel distance. It's a no-brainer for Cherry to want its own gaming-focused switch. Corsair had a timed exclusive on the Cherry Speed with the Rapidfire, but now everyone's going to have a shot at it. Expect to see a lot of the Cherry Silver show up in the next year or so.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).