Five Mechanical-Switch Keyboards: Only The Best For Your Hands

Test System And The Five Candidates

Test configuration and selection of the test objects

Our test introduces five mechanical keyboards that are currently on the market. We received a Mionix Zibal 60, but because the manufacturer dragged its feet sending us the layout we wanted, we decided to test the Ione X-Armor instead. This wired sister of the U27 is already a legend among aficionados.

The games used for testing include typical representatives from various genres, from Doom 3, Half Life 2, Crysis 2, WoW, and Need for Speed to Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein, Jack Jazzrabbit, and some other classics, which we test on a separate DOS-based system. WoW represents the test category of suitability for massively multi-player online role-playing games. Word processing capability is tested in Microsoft Word 2007.

Test System

We affix great importance to a native PS/2 interface, because the current high-end keyboards have at least one of these ports. We also used technology and games that exclude delays caused by an overloaded system.

Test System 1 (2011)
CPU and Cooler
Intel Core i7 2600K (Sandy Bridge) @ 4.5 GHz, Prolimatech Genesis, 2 x Vertex Blue                
Mainboard and RAM      Gigabyte Z68X-UD7B3, 8 GB Kingston HyperX 1600 Genesis
Graphics Card
Gainward GeForce GTX 580 Phantom
Hard Drive
Samsung SSD 470-Series, 1 TB WD Caviar Blue
Connection Ports
PS/2 and USB, both tested
Operating System
Windows Ultimate x64

Of course, we ran classic games in their usual environments. For this, we revved up an older test machine.

Test System 2 (1992)
Cyrix 386 DX40                                                                                                                                 
RAM      8 MB RAM
Graphics Card
Tsenglabs ET3000
Hard Drive
IBM, 500 MB
Connection Ports
PS/2 (via original Cherry Adapter PS/2 to DIN )
Operating System         MS-DOS 6.1

Keyboards Tested

Overview of the keyboards tested
SteelSeries 6Gv2

Ione X-Armor U9BL

Ione X-Armor U27 (Gemini)

Zowie Celeritas

Razer BlackWidow