When it comes to building a gaming rig, most of us pick a decent mATX motherboard, upgrade our CPU and graphics card, and call it a day. This is a partly good but largely bad approach. Partly good in the sense that graphics card, and CPU are probably the two most important components in your entire gaming computer. But it’s largely bad in the sense that you can’t really ignore other hardware peripherals when it comes to upgrading. You need a good mouse plus keyboard, decent CPU cooler, and a good thermal paste too. Without covering all of your bases, you’re destined for something bad.
But you don’t need to fret over it because, in this post, we’ll discuss how you can pick you a good-quality gaming keyboard for yourself. So, without further ado, let’s start.
The first thing you need to check here is the build quality. PC gamers aren’t well-known for managing their accessories well. That’s why you need a keyboard that can endure some serious pounding from your hands.
In order to make them sturdy, some manufacturers put the metal back-plate in their premium keyboards. In other not-so-expensive keyboards, plastic material ABS is used. Although not a good alternative for metal, ABS plastic can prove tough and is oil-resistant too.
Membrane vs Mechanical Keyboards
When (and if) you do a bit of research on gaming keyboards, you’ll realize that there are many cheap keyboards labeled as ‘membrane’ keyboard while some expensive keyboards labeled as ‘’mechanical’.
So, what’s the difference between these two types of keyboards?
In simple terms, a membrane keyboard has two plastic membranes under your keys. On the other hand, mechanical keyboards come with a separate key-switch under each of its keys. This is the reason why mechanical keyboards feel good when you use ’em, and consequently, they’re more expensive.
In our opinion, you should choose a mechanical keyboard for gaming.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that mechanical keyboards come with different types of switches, such as Cherry Blue, Cherry Black, and Cherry Greens, etc. Each of these switches has its own characteristics but our favorite is the Cherry MX Blue because they provide good tactile feedback.
Some keyboard-manufacturers give you complete customization through software that comes with their keyboards. It means you can remap each and every key on these keyboards. You can also save a sequence of keystrokes and assign them to a particular key. This sequence is called a macro.
These macros can certainly give you a competitive edge while gaming. Some keyboards come with a set of extra keys so that these keys can be used to assign macros in the future.
Apart from this, you can save different gaming profiles and each of these profiles would have a unique preset for each game.
Although normal backlighting is present in almost every gaming keyboard nowadays, there are some little differences.
Some keyboards offer single-color RGB backlighting with some brightness adjustment, and nothing else. On the other hand, some keyboards come with full per-key backlighting that lets you customize backlighting for each of its keys. They also offer some cool RGB effects such as color-shifting, wave patterns, etc.
Wired vs Wireless Keyboards
Wired keyboards connect with your PC through a USB port. Although they come with rather long USB cables, there’s certainly a limit about how freely you can move.
Despite that, most gamers prefer wired keyboards over their wireless counterparts (the one which connects without any cord). Here are some of the possible reasons why is it so.
- In wireless keyboards, you often have to worry about batteries, or power charging.
- Wireless keyboards are generally more expensive than wired keyboards.
- Since wireless keyboards don’t connect through a wire, their input lag is a bit higher than wired keyboards.
- Wireless keyboards are prone for interference for other devices that use 2.4 GHz frequency band, such as microwaves, baby monitors, and single-band wifi routers etc.
Some Other Features
Ghosting is a phenomenon where, when you press a lot of keys simultaneously, one or more keystrokes fail to register. This can result in some serious consequences in a competitive environment.
This is why you should have a keyboard with anti-ghosting capabilities. Some manufacturers go over the top and make keyboards that can handle 15-20 keystrokes at a time.
This is just ridiculous in my opinion. Nobody with 2 hands gonna use that many buttons simultaneously. That being said, the gaming keyboard you’re going to buy, should support at least 5 simultaneous keystrokes.
The polling rate is the measurement of a gaming keyboard responsiveness. It’s the rate of time taken by a keyboard to register your keystrokes as input to your PC in one second.
It’s measured in Hz, so 125 Hz polling rate that a keyboard is capable of registering 125 keystrokes in a single second. But for gaming purposes, you should get a keyboard with 500 and 1000 Hz polling rate.
This is a guest contribution by Jacob Smith, a computer geek and writer @ GadgetsEnthusiast.com. He likes to read about European history during free time.