With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and generally the winter holidays coming up, there’s bound to be a lot of sales and (likely) last minute shopping for gifts. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best mechanical gaming keyboards at various price points that we at GN have reviewed and recommended for both gaming and general use.
These keyboards go from basic budget keyboards to high-end RGB gaming keyboards, all of which are mechanical. Besides, there’s not much in the way of membrane keyboards lately -- the Logitech G213 and Corsair K55 pretty much round those out.
Here’s the shortlist:
With websites like Newegg and Amazon rolling out “Pre-Black Friday Deals,” it is a good time of the year to purchase memory and storage. For this sales round-up, we’re primarily focusing on Flash-based devices -- namely, memory and SSDs. DDR4 prices seem to get lower and lower as Intel’s Skylake and Broadwell-E chipsets mature, and both Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake and AMD’s Zen are known to have DDR4 support. The market will complete its switch-over for the enthusiast segment as these platforms roll-out.
This week's news recap segment features updates from the Super Computing conference 2016, including updates to AMD's GPUOpen and Boltzmann initiatives (ROCm, HIP), an Intel Xeon refresh, and Intel's investment in self-driving cars. Outside of SC16, we also have news pertaining to Lian-Li's (finally) shipping PC-O10 case and Thermalright's AXP-100H Muscle cooler.
The only rumor in this news segment is that of AMD's Summit Ridge naming scheme, which Chip Hell suggested will be branded with numerical 3-5-7 suffixes, similar to Intel's CPU branding. Beyond an allegedly leaked slide, there's no way to validate this rumor -- so take it for what it's worth. It's likely that we'll find out more about Zen at the time of CES, or shortly thereafter. That tends to be when Intel and AMD make some CPU / architecture announcements.
The PC-O10 features a binal design composed of two chambers aimed at isolating heat generating components, comparable in form to other models like the PC-O8 and PC-O9. The PC-O10 exhibits a striking resemblance to the PC-Q37, so much so that the *-O10 appears to be a larger, more rectangular version aimed at accommodating the ATX form factor motherboard. Motherboard support is broad, with Micro-ATX, ATX, and E-ATX all being able to fit in the chassis.
Teamwork is vitally important in current leading games: Dota 2, Overwatch, Rocket League, League of Legends, Battlefield 1’s new squad system -- the industry has been trending toward team-heavy play for a few years now. Voice chat is the only real solution to communication in anything faster paced, and so we normally look toward headsets for an easy plug-and-play solution. Unfortunately, bad microphones plague even the most expensive headsets.
Headsets will often bundle together a mediocre quality mic and headphones and price it above what each would be worth individually. On top of that, for folks already in possession of higher quality standalone headphones, replacing them with a headset with worse sound quality isn’t that appealing. Clip-on and desk (see: Yeti, Snowball) mics are convenient for PC gamers who already have nice headphones (or for some other reason don’t want a headset), and can provide higher quality input. Not always -- but it’s not hard to beat the average headset.
Another unique option other than a clip-on or desktop mic is the Antlion ModMic. Antlion’s ModMic has a magnet on an adjustable mic which sticks to another base (which also has a magnet), and all of this is placed onto the side of the headphones using adhesive. This allows for users to attach a headset style/boom mic to the side of their already-good headphones. Currently, both the ModMic 4.0 Uni-directional and Omni-directional versions (with mute) both are $50 on Antlion’s site and $55 on Amazon. Overall, it achieves its goal well by allowing users to use their own headphones while also having a decent quality adjustable mic. In this review of Antlion’s ModMic 4.0, we’ll look at mic quality, usability, and build/sound quality.
So begin our buyer's guides for the season. The first of our Black Friday & holiday buyer's guides is focusing on the top video cards under $200, highlighting ideal graphics cards for 1080p gaming. We've reviewed each of the GPUs used in these video cards, and are able to use that benchmark data to determine top performers for the dollar.
This generation's releases offer, in order of ascending MSRP, the RX 460 ($100), GTX 1050 ($110), GTX 1050 Ti ($140), RX 470 ($170), RX 480 4GB ($200), and GTX 1060 3GB ($200). A few active sales offer rebates and discounts that drop a few noteworthy cards, like the 4GB RX 480 and 3GB GTX 1060, down to below MSRP. The same is true for at least one RX 470.
As we've drawn a clear price line between each of the major GPUs that presently exists in this segment, we're making it a point to specifically highlight cards that are discounted or higher performance per dollar. This is a quick reference guide for graphics cards under $200; for the full details and all the caveats, always refer back to our reviews.
This episode of Ask GN addresses reader and viewer questions relating to boost technologies for GPUs (DPM states and GPU Boost), "game mode" for monitors, and a couple questions related to CPU benchmarking. We talk loose plans for Zen tests and scalability of the 2500/2600K Sandy Bridge CPUs in the modern era. Even Nehalem got a few mentions.
Monitor "game modes" presented a topic with which we're not intimately familiar, but some research did grant us enough information to hopefully answer the question in a helpful fashion. The rest, like the boosting functionality on GPUs, is stuff that we've discussed on-and-off in review articles for several months -- it's just now laid-out in a quick Ask GN video.
Logitech's latest obsession seems to be weight reduction. The G502 didn't make as much noise about weight as its top-tier predecessors, sequentially the G303 ($42), G900 ($135), and now G403 ($70) (and G Pro). The company has fine-tuned its tooling to allow for manufacturing of ultra-thin plastic shells, making for a lighter weight mouse chassis that can seemingly still withstand the usual wear-and-tear imposed on a mouse. In previous efforts, Logitech has boasted sensor optimization through firmware or other collaborative efforts with its sensor suppliers, has boasted lights, and has moved to implement keyplates with more consistent "clickiness" as governed by spring-tensioned switches.
But again, the latest trends have been to reduce weight and improve wireless functionality -- two efforts that seemingly go hand-in-hand. We talked about these moves heavily in our G900 review, and will leave most of the technical discussion (radiation patterns, wireless strength and reliability, etc.) to that content.
Corsair recently announced two new additions to their peripherals lineup: the HARPOON RGB mouse and the K55 RGB keyboard, priced to appeal to gamers on a budget. This follows competitor Logitech's recent release of the Prodigy series, also targeted at entry-level gamers.
Corsair's Harpoon is purchasable right now, while the K55 will be available starting November 22.
Product launches haven't slowed down this year, it seems. We are about to ramp into one of the busiest seasons of the year for the site, and that means we're in high demand to work on build guides, sales guides, and news posts throughout the fourth quarter.
GamersNexus is seeking writers to assist in meeting our content demand. This is not an employment position, but a paid contract position. Just to reiterate: This is paid writing work.
This means that GamersNexus will ask you to write a piece (or you approach us with an idea), we agree on budget for the piece, and it gets delivered within a defined timeframe. That content is then published under your name as a contract writer, and we move on to the next piece.
We are under high demand through December, but there is potential for continued editorial work into 2017.