In the keyboard world, there are two main technologies: one called membrane and the other mechanical. While mechanical keyboards were widely used at the beginning of microcomputing, they were gradually replaced by membrane models whose main attraction is their low cost and low noise. However, thanks to technological developments, mechanical keyboards have become a major asset for video gamers.
THE MECHANICAL KEYBOARD
The first mechanical keyboard dates from the 1980s, when it was popularized by IBM. At the time, it was a reference for his typing reminiscent of typewriters and was therefore particularly suitable for typists. On the other hand, rattling noise could be annoying after a day’s work. It has been largely replaced by the membrane version less aggressive for the ears. However, there was still a great advantage to the mechanical model, its responsiveness. Indeed, the use of a switch guarantees a very fast return and therefore very good responsiveness.
HOW IT WORKS ?
Each switch comprises a mechanical system composed of two main elements: a micro contactor associated with a spring. Advantage? Improved typing comfort and greater precision since we know when the key is pressed thanks to the special click emitted by the switch.
ADVANTAGES OF MECHANICS
This system offers a better longevity and more solidity, a mechanical touch can support many more strikes than a model with membranes and if one presses a little strong in the heat of the action, it is not likely to break a touch. The mechanical keyboard key also comes back almost instantly to the initial position and therefore offers a perfect responsiveness to the player who chained fast actions on keys close to each other. As the stroke of the key is long enough and the moment when the contact is effective is clearly marked, the player can trigger the action exactly at the scheduled time. This precision can decide the victory, for example when shooting a sniper. Remains the noise that certainly remains stronger than on a membrane keyboard but that switch manufacturers have largely mitigated with recent technological advances.
With the return to grace of the mechanical keyboard for gaming, switch manufacturers have declined the same system in several versions, marked by their color. The main ones are blue, red, black and brown. The differences are determined mainly by the pressure necessary to push the key and sometimes also by the race necessary to emit the famous “click”. In addition, the sound of the click is more or less pronounced. Reds are generally softer than blacks that require more support force. The blues are in the middle of the previous two in terms of support force but make a more significant noise. Players generally plebiscite it since it’s really a good compromise of speed and responsiveness. The browns offer the same resistance as the reds but with a more audible click.
Finally, the mechanical keyboards, which made their return about ten years ago, have become the exclusive domain of gamers. They are the only ones able to guarantee excellent precision and a very good reactivity, which is very important during competitions. And above all, they will satisfy all types of players, whether professional or passionate, especially as the price has become much more accessible.
THE MEMBRANE KEYBOARD
It consists of multiple layers of polyester on which is printed circuit board (see photo). As for the keys, they can be of different shapes and sizes, just like the material that constitutes them. There are soft, erased and hard keys. The operation is as follows: pressing a key will deform a first membrane that will come into contact with a deformable plastic pad which also serves as a spring (in green on the picture). In turn, the pad contacts the circuit that transmits the information to display the corresponding character.
The design is quite simple, which makes it possible to contain manufacturing costs. This technology also offers two major advantages: the striking is almost silent and the use of a membrane ensures a certain tightness, which is not to displease the addicts of coffee and other dangerous beverages for this type of device of seizure. This makes it the ideal choice for office use. On the other hand, the membrane keyboard has the disadvantage of low speed of return when pressing the key. The entry is, therefore, slower which is not ideal in gaming, especially for action games. In addition, it is difficult to anticipate exactly when the action will run once you start to put your finger on the sidelines, an important aspect for the demanding player.