Does the Keyboard on Your Gaming PC Really Matter?

September 1, 2020

When it comes to PC gaming, there are plenty of articles out there about how to improve your rig, and what upgrades you should consider. But one of the things less talked about when you’re looking for information on what should be part of your computer build is the accessories like your keyboard and mouse. While these might not be make-or-break items like your CPU or graphics card, having the wrong accessories can certainly impact gaming. The good news is that upgrading your keyboard isn’t a super expensive thing to do.

Standard Keyboards vs Gaming Keyboards

So what is the difference between the standard keyboards you get with a basic office PC and a special gaming keyboard? All keyboards are basically set up the same, using a switch and mechanical spring to send a signal to the computer when you press it down. In that process, there are two things that might slow down the time it takes your computer to register the keystroke:

  • Finger travel time – how quickly you can reach the critical keys during a gaming session
  • Resistance on the keys – low resistance allows you to push the key entirely to register the keystroke, while higher resistance takes more time and effort

Gaming keyboards are designed with lower resistance so you can quickly register each critical keystroke as you play various games. In addition, some gaming keyboards will register keystrokes after a shorter depression, when it’s depressed 1.2mm instead of the full 2mm it takes for the standard key. This is great for speedy reactions, but it requires more accuracy. If you brush your fingers over one key while trying to reach a different one, you could get some “false positives.” 

Gaming keyboards also come with macro capabilities (the ability to customize an entire row of keys to perform specific tasks in your games) which can significantly speed up gameplay.

Keyboard Layout & Ergonomics

Another factor to consider is the layout of the keyboard, and how that will impact your ability to play certain games.

The standard set of keys (alphabet, 10-key, function keys, etc.) will provide all the functionality you need to play basically any game. There are other keyboards on the market today that have extra buttons, joysticks, and more. You can test these out to see if they work for you, but they certainly aren’t necessary.

What you should pay attention to are the ergonomics and whether you can easily reach all the buttons you need during your game, without straining or creating issues for your fingers and hands. The ergonomic keyboards used in offices are something you should avoid for gaming. These are designed for more comfortable typing, but could actually increase your finger travel time to certain keys.

Upgrade Your Gaming Keyboard with Your Next PC Build

There are also some other fun things you can do with keyboards, like get backlighting and external control pads. Those can make your experience even more fun, and improve your ability to play like the pros. Check out all the options for upgrading to the best gaming keyboards when you build a custom gaming PC with Xidax.

  1. […] switches refer to the mechanism that sits right underneath each of the keys on a standard computer keyboard. Every time one of these keys is pressed, the switch is the item that actually registers this […]

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