There are tons of keyboard options out there. From rubber dome, chicklet style, to capacitive touch. There is something for everyone and every situation. However, there is only one option for true PC gamers.
Membrane Keyboards Explained
The inside of a membrane keyboardIn the past most keyboards were membrane style. Membrane keyboards place a rubber dome under each keycap which provides resistance and pushes the keys back into place after being pressed.
This is an incredibly cost-effective way to make keyboards. Plastic keycaps and a rubber membrane are very simple to produce. We still see this method in use to this day.
For every day typing these keyboards are fine, but when it comes to gaming, we quickly see the limitations of technology.
The rubber membrane is not designed for maximum performance. Most users aren’t making rapid-fire split-second inputs into their Word document or Excel file.
When performing complex key patterns, like what you may do in a fighting game a typical membrane can slow you down quite a bit. You may notice that the keys are slow to respond or rebound. You may also notice missed keystrokes or inputs not registering if too many keys are pressed at once.
Membrane keys also typically require you to press the key directly in the center. If you hit a keystroke on the edge of the key, it may not register.
All these issues can obviously lead to poor performance when gaming.
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
Mechanical keyboards give a more tactile feelMechanical keyboards scrap the whole membrane style and move to a fully mechanical system, similar to what old typewriters and the original keyboards used.
Instead of a membrane, you will typically see a spring-loaded switch, that sits in a taller molded housing. The
Using a spring and a structure that is more rigid results in a much more defined key stroke. The mushiness and inaccuracy of membrane style keys is no longer present. Mechanical keys typically register a strong regardless of where they are pressed.
Mechanical keys also making a satisfying clicking sound (key type dependent) when they are depressed, giving you an audible confirmation of your stroke.
In addition to the huge key upgrades, keyboards with mechanical switches usually have features designed to enhance the overall gaming experience.
Common Mechanical Keyboard Features
- RGB Backlighting
- Programmable Macro Buttons
- Anti Ghosting
- N-Key Rollover
- Customizable Switch Types
The only real downside to mechanical keyboards is noise. These keyboards are typically significantly louder than their membrane counterparts, but if you want to game at the highest level a mechanical keyboard is a must.