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New keyboard

This is a discussion on New keyboard within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Had to get a new keyboard today. I could not stand my MS keyboard anymore b/c it would ignore keypresses, ...

  1. #1
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    New keyboard

    Had to get a new keyboard today. I could not stand my MS keyboard anymore b/c it would ignore keypresses, wasn't as quiet as when I first bought it, function keys were way to small, and it appeared that some keystrokes were sticking or repeating especially the shift key.

    I bought a wireless Logitech K800 illuminated keyboard and so far it is pretty nice. I liked my MS keyboard at first but that did not last long b/c of the missed keystrokes and/or repeated keystrokes.

    Anyone else own this Logitech keyboard? The backlighting on the keyboard is pretty cool and will be very helpful when the wife goes to bed and I still want to game or code.

    Mario F. did you get a new keyboard yet? I think you had the same keyboard as I did and you told me eventually the MS keyboard would fail me and it sure did.

    On a side note it is so hard to get a good keyboard for programming nowadays. The new multimedia keyboards insist on making the function keys so small that you can barely find them which makes stepping through code very annoying. Another issue is that various manuf. keep altering the layout of the insert, home, end, del, pgup, and pgdn portion of the keyboard. I try to buy a keyboard that has the generic horizontal layout which is the same layout as my keyboard at work. For a bit I had a keyboard at home that had the vertical layout and I kept hitting the wrong keys at work and at home which was quite frustrating.

  2. #2
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VirtualAce View Post
    Mario F. did you get a new keyboard yet? I think you had the same keyboard as I did and you told me eventually the MS keyboard would fail me and it sure did.
    It was not so much that it would fail (hadn't noticed that at the time), but that the sound of the keys would become louder with time. Despite the general feel, size and key disposition which I very much appreciated (except for the function keys), this sound degradation was very disappointing. This was a keyboard that I could have liked.

    I haven't switched yet. Well, I mean, I have but not for a replacement keyboard. I just bought a $15 keyboard after I decided I had enough with the noise and keystroke issues. Just didn't have the time to start looking for something more serious.

    On a side note it is so hard to get a good keyboard for programming nowadays.
    Absolutely! I'm in fact quite displeased with the current situation. And then there's this hype thing about mechanical keyboards (some of the people doing the hype where not even born when IBM launched it's M model for pete's sake!) that is basically shifting manufacturers into producing high quality mechanical models and leaving the rest of us who want quiet keyboards with low quality models. It's quite annoying seeing mechanical keyboards being built around high production values, sturdy and wear resistant, while none of this effort is being made around membrane-based keyboards. Makes me go red eyed.

    That said, I'm contemplating moving into gaming keyboards since that's where I may get better quality keyboards (due to gamers being usually a vocal group about the quality of their equipment). But there's very little here in the way of membrane-based keyboards. I'm instead contemplating the Steelkeys 7G. It's a mechanical keyboard, but I'm being assured it is more silent than any other. There was a much more complete review somewhere. Can't seem to find it.

    Will also take a look at yours when I start this investigation, thanks.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Hehe. The only keyboard I found that had the normal layout of the old-school keyboards and nothing weird on it...was a gaming keyboard. The only thing it had that I did not like was a blue light in it that definitely would not work for me. My mobo has a blue light in it and nearly wakes my wife up already so I think buying a keyboard with another bright blue light would not improve my marital bliss. What I could not understand is that the only keyboard I found that was exactly what I wanted, save the blue light, was a gaming keyboard. Seriously?

    I think a lot of people, gamers and nerds alike, are being duped or simply do not understand keyboards. I actually found one post about my current K800 keyboard that said it lagged in games and then every post under it assumed this was correct and said it was poor for games. Really? As a programmer I am very interested to know how a keyboard 'lags' in games? I pretty much thought that when DIK_W or VK_W comes into my message loop I would then proceed to process said key. Lag? I think the only thing that was lagging was the poster's understanding of how computers work and/or his computer due to out-dated hardware.

    Keyboard lag due to keyboard hardware. Interesting proposition but not possible unless the keyboard has some sort of built in delay....which...it doesn't.

  4. #4
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    They speak of gold plated connections that reduce latency by a couple 10ths milliseconds, and other similar mechanical optimizations. It's actually quite entertaining. When I want to feel better about myself I tend to visit gaming forums.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  5. #5
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    Actually guys... there are differences in keyboards. Although, not due to curly cords or gold plated connectors.

    Every keyboard has a built in micro-controller that scans traces on a flexible membrane underneath the keys. On some keyboards this process is faster than on others both due to the speed of the uC and capacitor effects due to the crisscrossing of conductors on the membranes. Also the more keys there are the longer each scan cycle takes.

    There are some very expensive looking boards out there that I can out type on my worst days... because the internal scanning is slow and it actually misses the keydown-keyup event and/or fails to report it to the host PC. There are others that have less than the recommended 64 key buffer which can result in buffer overflows inside the keyboard itself, causing dropped characters on slower software.

    So, yes, there are differences and some keyboards just can't keep up.
    Oddly the best ones seem to be the $10.00 Logitech boards... I've never had one of them drop a character on me yet.
    Last edited by CommonTater; 05-29-2011 at 12:50 PM.

  6. #6
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater
    There are some very expensive looking boards out there that I can out type on my worst days... because the internal scanning is slow and it actually misses the keydown-keyup event and/or fails to report it to the host PC.
    If you use a keyboard with N-key rollover, then you wouldn't be able to "out type" it like that, but I have not used a membrane keyboard with such a feature. Personally, I have never "out typed" the 2 key rollover keyboards that I have used, unless I purposely set out to do so.
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  7. #7
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    O_o

    Anyway, you two better stay away from the "Microsoft Arc", a "Saitek Cyborg Keyboard", and "SolidTek 3100U".

    These are keyboards I've had since the thread by Mario F..

    The "SolidTek 3100U" is a jackhammer, which I think is saying enough. (I was told that mine had been a refurbished unit despite ordering a new one, but who really knows.)

    The "Saitek Cyborg" I had has a great layout and not too loud, but the thing just didn't last long before becoming the keys lost their feel. It was indeed intended to live as a gamers keyboard.

    The "Microsoft Arc" is a fine little cordless. It has had good battery life, but if you aren't used to working on smaller laptop keyboards the layout will drive you crazy. I had to remap some keys just to make is useable.

    Soma
    Last edited by phantomotap; 05-29-2011 at 01:22 PM.

  8. #8
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    Actually guys... there are differences in keyboards.
    We wouldn't think otherwise. But we aren't discussing on-the-threshold designs here. We are discussing keyboards, that being already responsive to any touch typist, are still deemed slow by gamers who think taking out a few milliseconds of latency actually does them any good, forgetting that the bootleneck in the whole process is their own reflexes which are (in most human beings) around the 200ms between visual input and physically start moving the hand/finger. Let's not even count the time it takes for the actual hand or finger to then move towards the key and press it.

    It's the same deal with the already old "my game looks better and is more responsive when running at 100fps than at 60 fps" and when asked, he says his monitor has a 60 Hz refresh rate.

    EDIT: Anyways, the important thing here is that there doesn't seem to exist any good keyboard out there for programmers and other typists. That's what people like Bubba, Phantomotap and I are experiencing. The keyboard is the single piece of equipment on my computer that I replace the most. Judging from their posts, them too. Letters fade away, keys become unresponsive or even stuck, and sound degrades with time. It seems that there was a shift in recent years towards mechanical keyboards. Now, I love the feeling of a mechanical keyboard. But it's unthinkable for me to use one. I cannot force people to endure the clack-clack, neither I can stand it anymore. Those days are gone. However these are the keyboards where all production values are being put these days. It's insane. I've been looking for sturdy, good construction and reliable keyboards for years now. Nothing lasts more than... 9 months, I'd say... on my hands. I want a bloody good membrane keyboard for pete's sake. It's sad this is asking for too much.

    But anyways. This Steelkeys 7G has come highly recommended. It's a very sturdy keyboard, with a back specifically design to sit on my lap if I want to, with solid keys and spring mechanism, said to last for years and with the exact key setup I like (would miss the media keys, but nothing I can't live without). The only problem is sound. I need to somehow find it around here so I can test it. It's said to be a low-noise mechanical keyboard... but I need to see that for myself.

    BTW, I finally found the review I was looking for: http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/i...eelseries_7g/1
    Last edited by Mario F.; 05-29-2011 at 01:50 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    We wouldn't think otherwise. But we aren't discussing on-the-threshold designs here. We are discussing keyboards, that being already responsive to any touch typist, are still deemed slow by gamers who think taking out a few milliseconds of latency actually does them any good,
    It's the "audiophile" mentality...

    I watched in quiet amusement the other day as a guy spent over an hour of a salesman's time discussing the relative advantages of various USB cables with his $3500 DAC unit... Yep, not only did buddy get messed over for $3500 for a USB sound device, he literally asked the salesmaker to mess him over for a USB cable... In the end he special ordered a $110.00 "audiophile quality" DAC cord and went home to wait for his better sound to arrive... I've even seen these guys debating the merrits of Belkin vs Hammond *power cords*... and yes you can actually buy a shielded power cord for your $25000 McIntosh amplifier...

    Gamers, Hot Rodders, Cyclists, Audiophiles, Videophiles ... every group has it's core of extremists who basically have exactly enough knowledge --and money-- to be amazingly stupid about it... Why should this keyboard business surprise anyone?
    Last edited by CommonTater; 05-29-2011 at 01:52 PM.
    gardhr likes this.

  10. #10
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    I bought a wireless Logitech K800 illuminated keyboard and so far it is pretty nice.
    I've had time to look at this now. The keys look exactly like the keys on my old Logitech and the reviews seemingly indicate a similar feel. Do the keys bounce back almost so readily as to be alarmingly quick? If they are, the same key design as my old model that is, they will probably wear out fast. Mine lost the snappy response under my fingers after only two months. (Almost exactly like the keys in my IBM x40 come to think of it.) I hope they've fixed it. It was a great keyboard while the keys were fresh.

    [Edit]
    Though, to be honest, I have a tendency to "touch type" with the finesse of an enraged elephant. It would surprise me in the least if the keys lasted a lot longer even if they are of the same design.
    [/Edit]

    I'm instead contemplating the Steelkeys 7G.
    I've been looking at this one too since you posted about it. It looks nice, but I've seen a lot of people talking about the loudness of the keys "if you aren't careful". I don't know what that means exactly, but I don't like the sound of it.

    *shrug*

    Anyway, let us know if you ever get one.

    Why should this keyboard business surprise anyone?
    It doesn't. That's why your post seems so out of place.

    Soma
    Last edited by phantomotap; 05-29-2011 at 02:22 PM.

  11. #11
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomotap View Post
    I've been looking at this one too since you posted about it. It looks nice, but I've seen a lot of people talking about the loudness of the keys "if you aren't careful". I don't know what that means exactly, but I don't like the sound of it.
    I believe it's to do with the key mechanism. The idea being that typing too hard on the keys (I have this shortcoming, but I believe I can overcome it), it will unnecessarily force the key all the way down and connect it with the base at which point comes the *clack* noise. The keyboard is designed to be typed gentler and so it's supposed to be almost inaudible in those conditions. This is achieved by adding drag as the key is moved down, by making the keys taller and by having a very responsive (as in quick) spring-back mechanism.

    Anyway, let us know if you ever get one.
    It should be sooner than later. Unless something changes dramatically, that's probably my buy in a couple of weeks. I'll let you guys know then.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #12
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F.
    I believe it's to do with the key mechanism. The idea being that typing too hard on the keys (I have this shortcoming, but I believe I can overcome it), it will unnecessarily force the key all the way down and connect it with the base at which point comes the *clack* noise. The keyboard is designed to be typed gentler and so it's supposed to be almost inaudible in those conditions. This is achieved by adding drag as the key is moved down, by making the keys taller and by having a very responsive (as in quick) spring-back mechanism.
    I hope that you are indeed able to overcome this shortcoming: I frequently bottom out on my own mechanical keyboard at work. That keyboard uses Cherry MX Brown keys, which are supposedly similiar to Cherry MX Black keys as on the SteelSeries 7G in terms of noise, and a colleague has complained to me about it previously. Incidentally, some keyboard enthusiasts claim that the Cherry MX Black keys are not as suitable for normal typing, being better for gaming; you probably should test for yourself if you have the chance.
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  13. #13
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Ugh! I'll probably have to go out on a limb with it. I know no one with it. My entire decision has been review-based. Yours in fact the closest I got to actually talking with someone about it, laserlight.

    If I'm lucky I may manage to convince my supplier to be a sport and give me a 24 or 48 hour return policy on this one.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    That's what people like Bubba...
    I don't remember seeing him in this thread.

    Anyways I hope my new keyboard works out. So far it does not miss any keystrokes nor have any noise issues. The Microsoft one missed several and the stupid shift key seemed to stick always causing me to type two capital letters in succession at the start of every sentence. The spacebar was also a bit strange and I swear there were times where it simply did not register. The spacebar is a tricky key b/c of its size. Sometimes the spacebar will fail on some keyboards if you do not press down on it in the middle of the bar. Truth be told I normally touch it just left of center which causes a lot of keyboards to simply miss the key down. The keyboard feels a bit spongy but it is a good type of spongy. The keys are extremely responsive and they almost sound like a small laptop keyboard. I had to get used to the rounded keys and the tab key is a bit smaller than I would like but other than that it seems to be working out well. I've heard the battery life is terrible but it does not require batteries. Instead it comes with a charger cord that you can plug into your usb port and into the keyboard to charge the internal batteries. I wonder if I can simply leaved this plugged in as the coordless feature is not all that important to me. The backlighting on the keys is fantastic and so far I would recommend the keyboard to anyone. The FN keys are smaller than normal but still much larger than the typical super small function keys we are seeing on Microsoft and Logitech keyboards. Just because most people do not use those keys does not mean they should make them so small as to be unusable. This particular model of keyboard does not have a light for the num lock or scroll lock (who uses that key?) but it does for caps lock. The num lock thing does not bother me b/c rarely, if ever, do I look at the light when I type on the numeric pad and it types out as a non-numeric value or arrow key. My first instinct is to hit num lock and move on - I probably never look at the light.

    If you want to know how far keyboards have come in the past twenty or so years go watch Iron Eagle or War Games. The keyboards they use in those movies are so loud that even the old audio systems back in that day can pick up the sound of the springs in the keys. Very loud keyboards but man those things would take a beating and would never miss a keystroke. Most are faded out to a nasty yellowish color by now but those were some of the best, but loudest, keyboards around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I believe it's to do with the key mechanism. The idea being that typing too hard on the keys (I have this shortcoming, but I believe I can overcome it), it will unnecessarily force the key all the way down and connect it with the base at which point comes the *clack* noise. The keyboard is designed to be typed gentler and so it's supposed to be almost inaudible in those conditions. This is achieved by adding drag as the key is moved down, by making the keys taller and by having a very responsive (as in quick) spring-back mechanism.
    On a properly designed keyboard --calculator, cash register, etc.-- with a moving key design the keytop should hit the frame of the keyboard very slightly before bottoming the switch underneath (whether membrane or contact based). Typing too hard, aside from being noisey really should not hurt the switches.

    (Please note: I said "properly designed"... and many are not.)

    Now for the other debate, finger switches (mechanical, using two spring fingers standing up inside the switch housing that are held apart when the keytop is up) vs membrane switches (graphite switch pads deposited on celluloid operated by pressure from a rubber pad under the keytops) ... quite frankly, I prefer the membrane boards because the rubber bumber takes a lot of the "bottom shock" out of typing on them. After a day with mechanical switches, my knuckles actually hurt. Plus the Logitech board I'm using right now has a very nice "press and collapse" feel to the buttons, even after 2 years of day in and day out pounding.

    YMMV of course.

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