Best RTS and FPS Mechanical Keyboards for PC Gaming 2016
Having used a mechanical keyboard for the last five years I can tell you that once you make the switch, you'll never go back. While it may not win games for you, its tactile feedback and responsiveness seems to give me an advantage while playing FPS and RTS style games.
Why Choose a Mechanical Keyboard?
There are three main reasons why I always go with a mechanical keyboard. First, mechanical switches outlast the cheap rubber-dome ones that you typically find on common keyboards. In addition, they register more quickly and have a tactile feedback that can help you get rid of typos and ultimately be more accurate with your keys. Lastly, some mechanical keyboards register more quickly because they don't require you to completely bottom out before they register.
What Type of Mechanical Switch is Best?
Red vs Black vs Blue vs Brown
When I'm playing FPS or RTS genre games I try to get every advantage I can get. Depending on the games you play or your personal style you may find that one switch gives you better results than another. Ultimately you may need to test various types of switches in order to know what's right for you. That being said here's some of the advantages and disadvantages to each.
Cherry Red MX Switch:
This color of switch is probably the most popular among FPS gamers, though blue and brown are also widely used. The cherry red MX switch requires the least amount of force to push down and has less tactile feedback than the other switches. Because it's so easy to push down it's also simple to double click.
Cherry MX Black Switch:
This is basically the heavier version of the red switch. Like the red, the black doesn't have an actuation point you can feel, but your keystroke registers when you're pressing about halfway down (2mm out of 4mm).
Cherry MX Blue Switch:
If you're looking for a clicky switch, then this is the one you should get. Compared to the red and the brown, it's a little bit heavier to push down. Because the actuation point is higher than the release point it's a bit difficult to do a lot of double clicking. Overall, it's still pretty common in mechanical keyboards mostly because it's used in Razer's BlackWidow Ultimate. If you're going to use your keyboard at work and work near someone else, then this switch type may be one to avoid.
Cherry MX Brown
The Cherry Brown switch is meant to be a hybrid of other mechanical switches. Essentially it takes more to press it down than a red and less than a blue or black. For tactile feedback it sounds similar to a black switch, and overall has more feedback than a red and less than a blue.
5 Good FPS Mechanical PC Gaming Keyboards 2016
There are a lot of really good options in the mechanical keyboard space that I won't be mentioning here. If you'd like to highlight one that you like in particular, then be sure to let everyone know by leaving a comment. That being said the seven following keyboards are not only my favorite, but also the favorites of many in the gaming community.
Corsair Vengeance K95 and K70 Mechanical Keyboard
When Corsair originally released the K90 and K65 a few years ago they weren't exactly what gamers were expecting. Good and inexpensive, yes, but overall they weren't 100% mechanical.
Corsair's Improvements Over Previous Models:
With the K95 and K70 Corsair corrected this problem and truly made what I consider a near-perfect mechanical keyboard. The white, red, or blue LED backlighting isn't overbearing, and optional features like USB pass through to achieve 20-key rollover really make this keyboard stand out. In addition, you have the option to light only the keys that you'd like.
K95 vs K70 Mechanical Keyboard:
The K95 is for those of you who want lots of programmable G keys. It costs around $20 more and is built extremely well. I recently had the chance to use one and noticed that the G keys were a little far off for me. I ordered the K70 instead which doesn't have the G keys. If you don't need programmable keys, then it might be advisable to do the same. Both use red mechanical switches.
The RGB version of the K70 allows for 16.8M multicolor animation, but costs $40 to $50 more than the basic model which is available in blue or red LED backlighting.
Mechanical Keyboard YouTube Review
BlackWidow Ultimate Mechanical PC Gaming Keyboard
If you're looking for a blue switch, then this is probably the gaming keyboard to get. The BlackWidow is, overall, probably the most popular keyboard on the market today. That being said it's important that you understand the pros and cons of a blue switch before you get it (see above).
I like the additional features that Razer has added with the BlackWidow. These include USB pass-through for better registering of keys, five G keys, a one-year parts and labor warranty, and a pretty sleek green backlight.
For additional customization in backlighting also consider Razer's Chroma version of the BlackWidow.
Ducky Shine 1 and 2 Mechanical Keyboard
If you've never heard of the company name before, then you might chuckle. That being said Ducky is no joke. Their keyboards are some of the favorites among gamers because of their build quality and accuracy.
Order whatever color or switch you want:
With the Ducky Shine 2 you can order it in red, yellow, blue, green, white, and yes, even pink. The backlighting can be adjusted between fully lit and 60%. Also, it allows you to have up to two personalized profiles. In addition, you can order it in any color of MX switch you'd like.
Das Keyboard Professional and Quiet
This German keyboard is super popular among professionals and typists and also an extremely viable option for gamers. This keyboard is available in professional and quiet versions in blue, brown, or red.
It comes with a PS/2 adapter for full n-key rollover, or if you don't need it you can use six-key rollover while using USB 2.0.
SteelSeries 6GV2 - A good Budget Mechanical Keyboard Option
If you're wanting something inexpensive that works well, then I strongly recommend you take a look at the 6GV2. It's built like a tank and is available in black and cherry red switches. Like the DAS you can use a PS/2 converter with it for full NKRO.
CM Storm QuickFire - No Number Pad
Another mechanical keyboard I didn't mention was the CM Storm Quickfire Rapid. It's available in every switch type and is desirable because it has the numpad removed from the base of the keyboard. This can make your keyboard a little easier to manage overall.
What's your favorite mechanical keyboard?
You can help me and our readers out by voting for your favorite below:
These are a few you should definitely consider, but ultimately what feels best is up to you. Be sure to vote in the poll below which has a few other mechanical keyboards of note. Also, don't forget to look at my profile for additional gaming-related posts and see my YouTube channel for up-to-date video reviews.
© 2013 Brandon Hart