Back when the first PCs rolled out from Apple and IBM most computers had mechanical keyboards. IBM’s Model M keyboard, which feels like it was built to survive a nuclear blast, has even become popular once again. By touch, you can feel that a key has triggered long before you press the key all the way down. With a simple adapter, you can attach one of these behemoth’s to a modern PC without much trouble. If you prefer a new keyboard, there are many on the market from cheap to expensive and everywhere in-between.
What can you expect from a mechanical keyboard, as opposed to a membrane type? If you’re like your gaming gear to have a quick response, and what gamer doesn’t? Then you might want to add a mechanical keyboard to your arsenal of computer gear. A mechanical keyboard has a very precise and short keypress. The tactile feedback on whether or not your key has indeed been pressed can be useful in gaming where milliseconds count. It also rewards you with a satisfying mechanical “click” not only tactile but audible. Now, to some, that click can be annoying, esp. while you’re frantically pressing macro keys during an intense moment in your game. However, most people find it quite satisfying, even helpful to their game.
Many gamers never return to membrane type keyboards with their somewhat muddy and silent keys. The quality of membrane keyboards can sometimes be lower since that is why they are made… to save money. One advantage of membrane type keyboards is that they are often more water resistant than mechanical keys. Overall, there is something about even the cheaper mechanical keyboards that make them feel better for gaming in most cases.
What makes a mechanical keyboard different?
On a conventional membrane keyboard, beneath the keys are plastic membranes which connect the circuits linking your key and your keyboard electronics before transmitting out the keypress to your PC. These are very economical to produce and therefore the membrane keyboard has become standard for modern PC gear.
On a mechanical keyboard, each key is directly attached to an electronic switch which instantly transmits the signal as soon as it’s pushed to your machine. This differs from the membrane keyboard, in that it usually requires pushing the key all the way down before it making a complete circuit, then transmits the signal. The mechanical switch requires less distance before the switch is engaged and the signal sent resulting in tangible feedback upon keypress.