Game Geeks Guide To Getting Great Gaming Keyboards!

Posted: Feb 14 2011, 3:11pm CST | by , in Shopping | Gaming Gear


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Last week I talked about what you need to look for when shopping for a gaming mouse for your PC. Today I am going to help you figure out what keyboard would be most appropriate for your needs if you are a PC gamer to go along with that mouse. There are a bunch of keyboards on the market made specifically for gaming and on the surface aside from a fancy design, they might look the same.

They are not the same though. The cheap keyboard that comes with your computer or that you can pick up at your local Wal-Mart for $15 simply won't cut it for hard core PC gaming with shooters or RTS games. The biggest issue with cheap keyboards not meant for gaming is ghosting. Ghosting happens when you press one key for a long period and then let off. The keyboard is still activating the key though and your character on the game will continue doing whatever action was being performed.

This is particularly bad in a shooter where you use the WASD keys for movement. I have had more than one cheap keyboard get me killed after walking around pressing the "W" key for forward for a bit and then letting off only to find my character still moving forward. That is the best example of ghosting. All dedicated gaming keyboards will have anti-ghosting technology built-in to prevent this. The main difference is that some keyboards will use ghosting tech on all keys and others will only offer it on the WASD keys that are normally pressed for long periods.

Other cool features that dedicated gaming keyboards have are little things that you might not think of. Things like extra programmable buttons that you can bind to controls in your game and the ability to record macros. Macros are a big deal for RTS players and allow you to bind multiple keys that are needed for a complex spell or attack to one button. I have used these in FPS games to do things like select a specific weapon and crouch or lie down with one button press. That is the perfect thing for snipers.

Most gaming keyboards today also have backlit keys. That is a big deal if you play in a dark room and need to see what buttons you are pressing. All of the gaming keyboards I have used also has a Windows key deactivation button. There is nothing worse than getting into an intense fight, hitting the Windows key by mistake, and closing the game screen. Other features will vary with the gaming keyboard with notable offerings including LCDs to show game stats and some having removable number pad.

Logitech makes some of my favorite gaming keyboards and the ones I have used the most. The Logitech G11 is one of the cheaper gaming keyboards from the company. It lacks the LCD of some of the more expensive Logitech offerings, but has the backlights, extra buttons and macro capability that you expect to find. You can buy the G11 gaming keyboard for $74.99 on Amazon right now and it is a great choice.

If you want all of the bells and whistles that Logitech has to offer the gaming keyboard for you is the G510. This keyboard has a really cool LCD that can show you all sorts of stats about your computer and about your game if the game supports it. The keyboard has gobs of extra keys for programming and has backlighting too. The only thing that is bad about the G510 is that the keyboard is large and might not fit into all keyboard trays. You can buy the Logitech Gaming Keyboard G510 for $99.99 right now.

If you are on a tight budget, but you want the Logitech name, the least expensive gaming keyboard the company offers is the G110. The G110 has fewer programmable buttons than the other two Logitech keyboards, but it maintains the important features with 12 programmable buttons, anti-ghosting tech, and the Windows key disable.

One of the most interesting gaming keyboards on the market comes from Microsoft and is called the Sidewinder X6. The thing that is so interesting about this keyboard is that it has a number pad that can be removed and placed on either the right or left side. The cool thing about this is that by moving the number pad a gamer can have access to the keys on the number pad for programming to game functions with the left hand so the right hand can remain on the mouse. It has macro recording ability, backlighting and lots more. You can buy the Microsoft Sidewinder X6 for $58.97 right now.

If you opted for the Razer mouse for your computer or just like Razer gear in general, the Arctosa gaming keyboard is one of my favorites. The thing I like about the Arctosa is that it’s one of the thinner keyboards on the market. A thinner keyboard is more comfortable to type on for many users. The Arctosa is surprisingly cheap; in fact, it is one of the cheapest gaming keyboards out there. The tradeoff is that the keyboard only has anti-ghosting under the WASD keys and lacks backlighting. You can buy the Razer Arctosa gaming keyboard at Amazon for under $50.

If you like the Razer Arctosa style, but you want backlighting the Lycosa is the keyboard for you. It's about $20 more than the Arctosa and adds in backlighting, a non-slip rubber finish on the keys, and anti-ghosting tech all around. You can buy the Razer Lycosa for about $65 on Amazon.

There are all sorts of other gaming keyboards on the market today that I haven't covered here. If you buy something not on this list just be sure it has anti-ghosting and backlighting, those are the two more important features for most gamers. Macros are nice, but I rarely use them and most of other gamers I know don’t use them much either. Any of the gaming keyboards on this list will serve you well for years to come.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
Tech and Car expert Shane McGlaun (Google) reports about what's new in these two sectors. His extensive experience in testing cars, computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
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