Tech, eSports, and Gaming!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Posted by Mike ApocTV - - 35 comments

Welcome to the first review at ApocTV.com! I will be reviewing a lot of products, but primarily focused on computing and specifically for gaming and e-sports. Today, we're going to review an item that is integral to the task of computing.  An item that without, communicating digitally would be impossible. The keyboard!  And not just any keyboard...


This is the Ultimate version, no key inscriptions. Sick!


Regular version, Das calls it the "Professional".


And at another angle.



What is this? This is a 3 pound, all mechanical, Das Keyboard Model S Silent (both Professional and Ultimate shown above) being adapted through PS2 a converter for full n-key rollover. This model uses Cherry MX Brown switches, but you can also get Cherry MX Blue switches (just don't buy a "Silent" edition). What does all this jargon mean? It means my keyboard is the fucking boss and also a proper blunt-hitty object.  Okay, let's break this all down...

Back in the day, (1980) all keyboards were mechanical, and constructed very similarly to this one. This keyboard is an amazing replacement to the legendary IBM Model M which is a much sought after relic of 80's mainstream computing. The Model M is regarded as probably the best keyboard ever made, and they used to be the industry standard! The reason why I don't use one myself is that well... that Model M keyboards are typically 20-30 years old now! I'd rather have the functionality of a Model M with a fresh (and aesthetic) new construction just to my liking. Besides, it's only around $140 dollars new.

"Holy crap! 140 dollars for a keyboard?"

Mmhmm! Yeah girrrl, you know it... Think about this, how often do you drive your car? Use your $200 cell phone? I'm sure it's often, but if you're a nerd-baller like me, it doesn't even compare to the amount of time spent behind a keyboard. The second I came to this realization I knew that I had been ignorantly and unknowingly doing myself a huge disservice by turning a blind eye to my input controllers.

"You keep saying Mechanical, aren't all keyboards Mechanical?"

No, they're not! The difference between my keyboard and my old $80 dollar Microsoft keyboard is that my keys are spring-responsive while my old Microsoft keys relied on a smooshy, lame, rubber dome with basically rubber membranes to push the keys back up.  For the visual learners, let's compare...





This is a rubber dome seen if you pulled off the keys.


Here it is up close and no that's not my hand, lol.
Here we have a mechanical Cherry MX Brown switch. Big difference.

















"Wow, so what's happening inside the switch?"

Below you can see what's happening inside each switch as well as a little comparison between Cherry MX Blue switches and Cherry MX Brown switches.  I'm not showing Cherry MX Blacks because I'm personally not a fan and I think any serious gamer should go with Blue or Brown.  If you aren't a gamer and only use your keyboard to type, the Cherry MX Blue is the best typing experience that exists.

Cherry MX Blue Switch:
Type: Tactile & Clicky Switch
Tactile: Yes, precise
Clicky: Yes
Actuation Force: 50g (60g Peak Force)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom


Cherry MX Brown Switch:
Type: Tactile Switch
Tactile: Yes
Clicky: No
Actuation Force: 45g (55g Peak Force)
Key Travel: 2mm to actuation, 4mm to bottom



"Wow, cool stuff.  So why Das?"

Well, there's a lot of reasons to choose Das, mainly that they are quality constructed and reliable up to 30 million keystrokes using the famous Cherry MX keyswitches with gold plated contacts. With Das, you know you're getting a keyboard that is going to bring your typing/input ability to it's fullest capacity. I also recommend Filco -- they make excellent mechanical keyboards and share the "top dawg" position with Das. With other keyboards, both mech and non-mech, you're going to have to do a little digging to make sure you know what you're really getting in your keyboard. For example, RAZER's Black Widow Mechanical Keyboard. Sorry Razer. While Razer's Black Widow does indeed use mechanical switches, it only has 3-n key rollover at normal key combinations as well as utilizes Black switches which are very heavy and will make your hands hurt after long gaming sessions. I assert that mechanical alone does not release full functionality in a keyboard. N-Key is the yin of Mechanical's yan in making your considerations on a keyboard that functions flawlessly.

"Apoc, back up, what is a N-Key Rollover and what does it do?"

wxs3e4z56cdtrgyhv b7u8i9jk0mn,lof.-;p/'

That is full n-key rollover. That was me taking my left hand and pressing down on all the keys I could reach on the keyboard starting from the base of my palm and ending at the fingertips. All these keys were mashed in the same stroke, so by the time k0mn was pressed, keys wxs3 are still being pressed down as well. What partial n-key rollover looks like when doing the same exercise is this:

wxs3

At the point of "3" a total of 4 keys are being pressed down. At that point, no more keystrokes or input will register until one of the four keys depressed are released. That is to say, that if you have 4-key rollover (Like in this example) doing the button-mash exercise would only yield you maximum 4 characters until registration of input ceases.

"Okay, but why does this matter?"

To nerd ballers it matters quite a bit. I type quite fast, exceeding 100wpm, though I haven't checked in a while. My APM in StarCraft 2 averages at 125-160, which isn't even that high compared to top tier professional players. I never have to second guess if my keys are all registering during large amounts of input. Whether I'm programming or typing an email or smashing StarCraft hotkeys I know that my keyboard is only encouraging speed, never hindering it.

Go mechanical, you will thank me.

"Are you happy with your Das Keyboard?"



Yes, extremely happy.  Best typing experience and gaming experience with a keyboard I've ever experienced.

I will end this review with a hilarious quote from Rich Burton of BusinessWeek regarding his test drive on the Das Keyboard Professional Model S:

“...typing feels like crushing tiny glass crystals with miniature hammers. It's addictive—like popping bubble wrap...”
If you want to buy a Das Keyboard, here's a link to them on Newegg:
You can find them a bit cheaper elsewhere, but I've ordered from Newegg for years and am a fan.



Conclusion:
If you spend a lot of time on a computer gaming or otherwise, a mechanical keyboard is an excellent investment. There are plenty of nice mechanical keyboards out there with full n-key rollover. I personally recommend going with either Das Keyboard or Filco.  But as long as you get a keyboard with full n-key rollover and Cherry MX switches (specifically Blue or Brown), you will be good to go!

35 Responses so far.

  1. ApocTV says:

    If you want to read more about mechanical keyboards and get down to every little detail, check this out:

    http://www.overclock.net/keyboards/491752-mechanical-keyboard-guide.html

  2. pho says:

    great review, ive been looking for a new keyboard. ever since mine keeps getting jammed. i think im going to go for the touch pad it looks sick!

  3. gman says:

    yes i do spend a lot of time gaming, and play a fair bit of sc2 using lots and lots of keyboard keys. this is quite interesting, are ther any specific versions for sc2 gaming?

  4. Great review.

    I have been looking for a new keyboard for a while and I think this might be the one!

  5. cheshire says:

    Awesome keyboard, need a new one myself.

  6. AP0976 says:

    I never knew the difference in keyboards. I learned something today! Also I need a new keyboard and that one looks rather nice

  7. Insider33 says:

    Oh man, this and that silent mouse and I can stealth browse forever.

  8. Nice review, and a sexy keyboard.

  9. CPH says:

    Looks very nice! I want!

  10. theWhale says:

    looks like razer black widow to the design, or is it just me?

  11. Mike says:

    I don't think I'd be able to use a keyboard without the inscriptions. This keyboard seems state-of-the-art!

  12. Gifz says:

    Looks nice but I use laptop so I don't need another keyboard :D

  13. Great blog! Keep the posts coming, i enjoy reading them!

  14. Very informative stuff you got here. I would have never known about this keyboard!

  15. sp3nny says:

    great review, thanks

  16. Anonymous says:

    it looks cool, but its just a keyboard lol!

  17. Wow, at first I was like: What a great review. Then you went into all the mechanical details and such and I was like, "WOW, what a great post!"

  18. Apoct, great review man! I'm looking forward to checking out this site regularly as it develops.

  19. retrak says:

    nice..but how much do they cost?

  20. retrak says:

    scratch that, saw the price, holy god!

  21. Jacob says:

    It would be pretty sweet to have a keyboard with no labels!

  22. Punky says:

    I really want this one, particularly the blank one. I like my G15 but I would definitely love having a Das.

  23. Damn, that was one in-depth review, but I didn't even know about spring switches.

  24. theWhale says:

    Tested it, was a pleasant suprise :)

  25. bruno says:

    Das Keyboard sehr gut

  26. Expensive, but definitely worth it ;) nice review!

  27. Heather says:

    Wow, I wasn't aware of different types of keyboards, but this one looks awesome. great review!

  28. omicron says:

    Nice article. I've been using a HHKB myself for some years and occasionally get yelled at for having a $200 keyboard :)

  29. R.C says:

    Looks sleek. But I'm happy with my G510 right now!

  30. I hate having to pound a keyboard to type. That's why I love my laptop's keyboard with its slim easy to push keys and why I hate my current desktop keyboard.

    Does this keyboard offer the same kind of low resistance keystroke? Big elaborated mechanical switches like that actually look like it's going to be the opposite..

  31. Anonymous says:

    How load is the Silent model?

  32. ApocTV says:

    @Anonymous

    Well, you can't get around the fact it's still a mechanical keyboard. It's louder than your average keyboard, but nowhere near as loud as the regular Das Keyboard (or any keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches). The "Silent" edition just simply means they are using Cherry MX Brown switches instead of Blues... which I personally (and many other competitive gamers) prefer.

    Searched YouTube for ya:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4mm83wQCXE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P47FfMICYz4

  33. Anonymous says:

    This is one of the best reviews on a keyboard that I've ever seen. Great work Apoc, I'll be checking your site often for more!

  34. Magnum says:

    Another gadget which in my honest opinion is quite useless. I have this one, single keyboard I use every day since 2004. As you see, it's been quite a while. So I do believe I hit the keys more than 30 milion times. The keyboard is an ordinary Media Tech multimedia keyboard with a wrist support (very simple one) in the front of the keys and also some Internet/e-mail/music player dedicated keys. It doesn't have as fancy technologies as Das' product and it cost $20 at the time. As you see, it's quite durable. The only thing I'm missing is actually the rubber 'casing' underneath the keys you showed on one of the photos. That probably stops dirt quite nicely.

  35. ApocTV says:

    @Magnum

    Don't knock it until you try it. I've owned ~20 keyboards in the last 10 years, and I promise you none of them have come close to the Das.

    Anyone can buy a cheap keyboard, and sure they'll last a long time. But if you spend the amount of time on the computer that I do (average probably 6-7 hours a day), then a high quality mechanical keyboard is worth every penny.

Leave a Reply