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  1. Agree
    Gundar got a reaction from Jelee229 in ROG RIG REBOOT   
    Before you finishing typing let me say that there is a better chance that you'll find a $100 bill on your front door then winning rog reboot and you're better off saving up for a new pc or upgrade you're old one.  
  2. Like
    Gundar got a reaction from Goodman2265 in ROG RIG REBOOT   
    Before you finishing typing let me say that there is a better chance that you'll find a $100 bill on your front door then winning rog reboot and you're better off saving up for a new pc or upgrade you're old one.  
  3. Agree
    Gundar got a reaction from Fasauceome in ROG RIG REBOOT   
    Before you finishing typing let me say that there is a better chance that you'll find a $100 bill on your front door then winning rog reboot and you're better off saving up for a new pc or upgrade you're old one.  
  4. Informative
    Gundar reacted to GoodBytes in Don't have permissions to save in ProgramFiles\Python38   
    That is not a valid solution. You have successfully just screwed up your system security. Congratulations!
    Basic security of any OS. Including Linux distributions, MacOS/OSX, Android and iOS. Programs should not write where they are, and user files should not be mixed inside.
    Now, you have open the doors wide open to allow malware to inject code in your programs executable or modify them. It will made you trust a software that has been compromised without you knowing. Depending how far you went in C:\ you also broke your OS security. UAC is now useless as you just opened a massive door, loosing that last line of defense.  Also, if you have multiple users, permissions set are now meaningless and all users can view your personal files in there. 
    Restriction are set for a reason. Instead of asking what is the best practice for doing things, you asked how to by-pass things without understanding why things are done in such a way.
    Now how will you fix all this? Do you happen to know the original permissions of each folders and sub folders? Bravo, is all I get to say. I am so disappointed.
  5. Informative
    Gundar reacted to Enderman in Audio   
  6. Agree
    Gundar got a reaction from TofuHaroto in Will 3000MHz RAM work without XMP activated?   
    How do you know that it's the motherboards problem? Judge the product not the brand as every brand has their fair share of shitty products. 
  7. Agree
    Gundar got a reaction from Mateyyy in Will 3000MHz RAM work without XMP activated?   
    How do you know that it's the motherboards problem? Judge the product not the brand as every brand has their fair share of shitty products. 
  8. Agree
    Gundar reacted to BobVonBob in is it woth to upgrade my soundblaster ae-5 to ae-9??   
    At that price point I'd suggest getting an external DAC and amp, there's no reason to choose a sound card over an external solution unless the software features are that important to you. The AE-9 in particular doesn't even have the benefit of saving desk space because of the external box.
  9. Informative
    Gundar reacted to aisle9 in Ebay is full of damm scammers   
    First off, ignore EVERYTHING @fpo said. They don't know what they're talking about and are going to get you banned.
    aisle9's Rules of eBaying:
    If you sell on eBay, you accept returns. Period. Especially if you don't want to. If the buyer says "Item Not as Described" for their return reason, you are taking it. Condition of the item, working state, your own stance on returns, none of it matters. You are taking that item back. All asking for pictures or video will do is piss your buyer off, and the more pissed off your buyer is, the more likely it is their return package contains a brick. By the way, eBay will take the return and give it to the buyer anyway, because, their words not mine: There's no proof that the buyer put the brick in the package and mailed it You should build losses into your business plan eBay is a building and the building isn't responsible if someone comes in and shoplifts from your store inside of it If your buyer says it doesn't work, just tell them to open a return and issue them the label. If you don't, they'll open a return as Item Not as Described anyway, and if you don't issue them a label, eBay gladly will. eBay will also gladly hit your account with a defect and a higher final value fee for ignoring that return. Oh, and the buyer will get their money back anyway. Fight it on the back end, not the front. Even when fighting it on the back end, you'll lose by default. eBay hates sellers and wants us all to die in a fire so new ones that will accept any offer--literally any offer--come on board to replace those of us who won't bend over and take $50 for an item listed for $375. Reasons to block a potential buyer: Lowball offer (don't use auto-decline for this reason) Sob story Asking way too many questions (I allow one round via message, then one follow up to my replies) Asking the wrong questions (suggestive of a plan to return later) Non-payment (after the non-payment process has completed--open that claim ASAFP) Leaving too many negative or neutral feedback comments Revising feedback--suggests that they wanted a partial refund and got it from that seller Any kind of request that you change your shipping options for them, use their UPS account, change the address it's shipped to, anything like that. Block them yesterday. Situations in which it is ok to fight a refund up front: Buyer comes out  of the blue with a message that states the problem with their item--usually BS--and a hint that they'd take a partial refund instead. Or, alternatively, a very specific amount that they want with no explanation as to how they came to that number. This type of person is called a "partial fisher". If I get one, I just reply to them that I'm sorry to hear they're not happy with their item, and they're welcome to return it for a full refund. This works because partial fishers don't actually want to return it, they just want a post-sale discount. If you tell them to return it, they'll typically just go away. ANYTHING INVOLVING A FREIGHT FORWARDER. Not enough people understand this concept. Use of a freight forwarder invalidates buyer protection. Google the address the buyer wants you to ship the item to. If it's a freight forwarder, you're golden. If the product arrives damaged, it's the buyer's problem. If the product never makes it to the buyer but tracking shows that it did make it to the forwarder, that's their problem. Just keep track of which orders are going to freight forwarders, and if anyone ever complains, contact eBay over the phone with that info immediately to have the case closed in your favor. If, by some off chance, the return is approved, you are only responsible for shipping from the freight forwarder to you. Issue the label from the freight forwarder to you. The buyer will pitch a fit. Too bad for them. If they don't get it to the freight forwarder, get the forwarder to repack it and ship it back to you (most won't bother), and do all of this before the refund window closes, they're SOL. Anything high-dollar involving fraud, like sending out a $2,500 MacBook (why?!) and getting a 3-ring binder back, should be fought hard on the back end. In that case, go directly to your local police and file a report for theft. They will do nothing about it, but if you get a copy of that report and call eBay with it in your hands, eBay will probably give you your money back as a "one-time courtesy". This type of case should only be fought on the back end. Any other questions, let me know. I've laid way off of eBay in the last year, but I flipped items, both electronic and not, on there for years.
  10. Like
    Gundar reacted to cedge206 in Black & Gold custom loop (impulse)   
    Build log two. 

    Build coming along nicely but slowly. Waiting on cpu and cablemod cables to arrive. Also waiting on ampere release but might run current gpu but dont want to waste tubing.... will see release date. 
    bottom rad still to install. Then do bends and such. Keeping eye out for acetal z490 monoblock too. 

  11. Informative
    Gundar reacted to Eschew in Any physical difference between the two pcb's?   
    Hey there. Did a bit of digging around, the short answer is I doubt the PCBs are interchangeable, and I don't think the XD87 HS PCB will fit in most keyboard cases available on the market.
    Comparing the XD87 HS PCB versus the Phantom PCB, the first thing that stood out to me was the case mounting holes are in different positions. I did find some cases that do fit the XD87 HS, but I think they've been specifically tailored to accommodate the XD87 layout/mounting holes:
    XD87 Stainless Steel Bent Case with Acrylic Diffuser from KPrepublic. XD87 Stainless steel Bent Enclosed Case from KPrepublic.  
    Discussions about XD87 HS/XD87 PCB compatibility with cases, from Reddit:
    Source: Reddit Post 1.
    Source: Reddit Post 2. Answered by KPrepublic.
  12. Like
    Gundar got a reaction from sub68 in Who is you FAV in whole LMG(except LINUS himself)?   
    Anthony is my favorite but since I am a russian fellow I can't just not mention my fellow comrade Ivan and his accent.
  13. Agree
    Gundar reacted to rice guru in In need of competitive gaming headphones that I'll be streaming with   
    I would allocate more money I to the headphone amp cause the e10k is not really something I and many others would consider good. If you are ina quiter area . An easy to drive headphone easily powered by a scarlett within your budget are the Sennheiser HD 58x from massdrop with the new user coupon or a beyerdynamic tygr if you want to stretch your budget. Both are great open backs awesome for footsteps. 
  14. Like
    Gundar reacted to SeraphicWings in My Macbook Air 2020 verdict - After one week of initial usage   
    Hello everyone, this is my first review, and before raising your pitchfork and trashing me about my laptop choice, at least hear me out on this review
    In 2007, Steve Jobs and Apple shocked the world of laptop with the MacBook Air, a device that looked impossibly thin at the time, that Steve put it in an envelope. The thinness and portability of the Air sweeped the floor many Windows machine back then. That was the beginning of a era where portability laptops reached a new height. 
    Fast foward to 2020, Windows laptop has gotten much better in terms of design, performance and portability, with well-known models like the Dell XPS 13 9300 with its industry-leading design. So how does the OG name in Ultrabook - Macbook Air fares against its opponent? Here’s my quick review after one week using the Macbook Air 2020 - base configuration with an i3, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, this configuration costs $999 - $100 cheaper than the 2018 and 2019 model.
    Design-wise, Apple has adopted the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” way: the overall design hasn’t changed since its biggest refresh in 2018, we still have the very thin, full 6000 series aluminium chassis that feels sturdy and premium on the hand. However, they are not as light nor as thin as the competition now (both the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and LG Gram are example of machines that are lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air), in fact, the 2020 Air is a hair thicker than the 2019 due to the change in keyboard mechanism, which we will talk about later, but still the Macbook Air is light, only 1.29kg. Flex is almost non-existant in both the keyboard are and the panel due to the very stiff chassis and the edges are more rounded than the Macbook Pro. The Apple logo on the lid is, as usual since 2016, mirror finished which is beautiful but can be prone to scratches. Overall, the Macbook Air is a very premium and good-looking device, which is its biggest strength over the competitions.

    Port situation includes 2 Thunderbolt 3s and a headphone jack. This is still irritating for people who still want legacy ports (like me for my 4TB hard drive), but it can be fixed with a dongle. The one complain I am going raise is the position of the ports: Apple should have put the port on each side of the machine, this will make cable management much better. For those who are working and home and need a headphone / microphone solution but can’t stand the latency of wireless device, the combo jack is there. 

    The keyboard makes a big leap over the 2019 model, they are now scissor switches which Apple called “Magic Keyboard”. While the butterfly switches are faster to type for short bursts, any longer work like coding or writing a thesis on that is a pain in the ass and makes you feel like clicking on the board itself because the travel is almost non-existent, not to mention the infamous reliability issues over time when using it. All of those are now fixed with the new keyboard, the 1mm travel will not satisfy ThinkPad users, but to those moving from butterfly, it’s definitely game changing, also changes like the T-inverted arrow keys, matte-finished Touch ID are welcome changes. The Force Touch TrackPad, needless to say, remains the best on the market due to the huge size, smooth glass surface, Haptic Engine which creates the feel of clicking-down, great palm rejection and “almost” perfect acceleration.

    The screen is still 13 inch, 2560 x 1600 IPS display like the 2018 and 2019, with True Tone supported, ~95% sRGB color space and around 400 nits of brightness, so nothing in particular has changed. The speaker sounds exceptional amongst thin & light machines, with very loud sound for its size, pronounced bass and treble and crystal clear vocal - dare I say nothing in the thin & light category matches the Macbook Air in the speaker department here. One change compare to the 2019 model is the addition of the Studio-quality mic that Apple advertises on the 16 inch Macbook Pro, and the quality is great. The webcam is still 720p, which is subpar. Other features like AirDrop and AirPlay makes it very convenient for me as I transfer photos and stuff between my iPhone and the Air, as well as mirroring to my LG TV when needed, this comes as a privillge of an Apple ecosystem, which is to be expected by now.
    Now, onto watch LTT forum cares most, performance. Ironically, there’s nothing to write home about the performance on the Macbook Air, the model I’m using rocks an Intel Core i3 1000G1, which is based on 10nm Ice Lake, with a laughing stock of 2 cores 4 threads and a base clock of 1.1GHz that “can” turbo to 3.4GHz, I say “can” because this machine will probably never reach its max turbo speed, due to the 9W power limit, and a joke of thermal solution, which everybody should have known by now. I don’t need to install a sensor to know that the machine will shot up to 100 degree Celsius on any heavy CPU-demanding tasks and thermal throttles to oblivion. Because of this, competitions which use 4 cores 8 thread Intel CPU and better thermal solution will eat the Macbook Air for breakfast, you can config the Air to a 4 cores 8 thread i5 or i7, but power limitation and the thermal solution will held it back so much that it’s not even worth getting it so the i3 actually makes a lot more sense here unlike certain YouTubers trashing it, the fan is very quiet, but also gets very loud too (even when I’m updating the machine). Now, does this mean the Macbook Air is trash? No. Typing areas only feel a bit warm when the machine gets hot and MacOS is still very optimized even for low-powered machine like this, provided you use apps that are properly optimized cough Chrome cough, so everyday task on this machine is still smooth and snappy, but expect hiccups when you open too much tabs on your browser because of 8GB RAM (upgrade to 16 if you open lots of browser tabs). That said, it’s still a 20% improvement on both single and multi-core from the 2019 model, and the new Iris Plus onboard GPU is very welcome, as it helps with better graphic acceleration on light use of Lightroom, Premiere or Final Cut Pro. Overall, the performance is fine, if your work doesn’t require constant torturing the CPU with heavy tasks. SSD speed on the 256GB model is of average, with around 1200MB/s of read and 900MB/s of write speed, personally I'm not satisfied with this speed, Apple should have included better SSD, as prices of good NVMe SSDs are getting cheaper.
    The Macbook Air is equipped with a 49.9Wh battery, which translates to about 8 to 8.5 hours of mix usage including web browsing, watching YouTube, listening to music. The battery is recharged through a 30W brick, though you can use higher wattage charger too, both my 45W Xiaomi and Samsung USB Type-C charger reports 45W, which helps reducing charge time. You can also use battery banks with Power Delivery to charge the Macbook Air, which is a huge plus to me.
    Long story short, the Macbook Air is a very good machine for the majority of people out there who just want a machine for everyday use. One might argue that the iPad Pro is better for those tasks, but the flexibility of x86 apps from MacOS still outweighs iPadOS. But in reality, it’s very hard to recommend the Macbook Air, because the competition has lots of option that offers better CPU and upgradability. That said, if you are like me, who loves MacOS on a portable machine, already have a PC rig and just want a stylish, light machine for light tasks, a Macbook Air 2020 is a decent compliment piece of tech for the everyday life.


  15. Informative
    Gundar got a reaction from zeusthemoose in Massive YouTube Bitcoin Hack - Currently Happening   
    This has been happening for quite a while now. Somewhere in January-February this year a bunch of smaller channels got hacked through through a fake sponsor email and had litecoin streams going on them 24/7. A few channels I watched had this happen to them and because it wasn't fixed for over a month I thought the channels just became a litecoin ad so I unsubscribed. I check back in mid February and Brothgar's second channel uploaded a video about how he got hacked and at the time the channel was still hacked after almost 2 months. Eventually everything got sorted out but in the end all the smaller youtubers viewers were gone and they were making less than half of what they used to.
  16. Informative
    Gundar got a reaction from Pascal... in Massive YouTube Bitcoin Hack - Currently Happening   
    This has been happening for quite a while now. Somewhere in January-February this year a bunch of smaller channels got hacked through through a fake sponsor email and had litecoin streams going on them 24/7. A few channels I watched had this happen to them and because it wasn't fixed for over a month I thought the channels just became a litecoin ad so I unsubscribed. I check back in mid February and Brothgar's second channel uploaded a video about how he got hacked and at the time the channel was still hacked after almost 2 months. Eventually everything got sorted out but in the end all the smaller youtubers viewers were gone and they were making less than half of what they used to.
  17. Informative
    Gundar reacted to geo3 in Customish keyboard   
    This is a dumb distinction that stuck for some reason. "PCB mount"  just means the switch has 5 pins on the bottom. "Plate mount" means it has 3.  Some PCBs have 5 holes and some have 3. The 5 hole PCBs can take either 5 or 3 pin switches. The 3 hole PCBs can only take 3 pin switches.  
    5 pin switches can be converted to 3 pin by clipping the extras off. Specifically the 2 smaller plastic ones. 
    All of these can be used with a plate. The plate doesn't care how many pins a switch has. 
    Both the plate and the extra 2 pins add stability.  3 pin switches without a plate are less stable. 
  18. Like
    Gundar reacted to Eschew in Customish keyboard   
    Hm... How'd you feel about the XD87 HS? It's TKL, hot-swappable, and compatible with PCB-mounted switches. Doesn't come with RGB out-of-the-box, but you can solder that in if you'd like. For the keyboard kit (PCB, stabilizers, mounting plate, and case), you'll want to look at Kit 3 (Black Case) or Kit 4 (White Case). Note that the case is plastic, and the keyboard seems to use a sandwich mounting style, versus the GMMK's aluminum faceplate plus plastic bottom, and its integrated plate (I think?) mounting style (Reference: Custom Keyboard Mounting Styles).
    If you're willing to go Compact 60%, the GK61 Keyboard Kit (GK61 is wired, GK61x is wireless) and DZ60RGB Keyboard Kit are also options. Both are hot-swappable, have RGB, and are compatible with PCB-mounted switches.
    Others might have better suggestions, though; I'm admittedly sorta new to the custom keeb scene. My knowledge about PCB options on the market is especially lacking. 😅
  19. Like
    Gundar got a reaction from Eschew in Customish keyboard   
    With the corn detasseling season ending I have 2200 dollars to spend after all my paychecks come in. Because my target for the computer is 1080p 144fps I have quite a bit to spend on peripherals so I've decided to build a customish keyboard. The theme for the keyboard is black and gold isnspired from non other than the ltt water bottle.
    Case and pcb: https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=5084
    Switches: https://zealpc.net/products/zealio
    Keycaps: https://kono.store/products/gmk-spirit-keycap-set
    Any feedback on stuff I should change or do is welcome.
  20. Like
    Gundar got a reaction from Pascal... in Who is you FAV in whole LMG(except LINUS himself)?   
    Anthony is my favorite but since I am a russian fellow I can't just not mention my fellow comrade Ivan and his accent.
  21. Like
    Gundar got a reaction from Eschew in Hey Im new ! :3   
    Hi there I would suggest checking out 
  22. Funny
    Gundar reacted to wall03 in Post Linus Memes Here! << -Original thread has returned   
    Intel with their "new" processors with 14nm for 4 years in a row without much differentiation.
    corporate be like

    the CEO after looking for money to splurge on new uniforms for every Intel employee for no reason at all and finds no money

    zuckerburg watching every misstep of Intel via FaceBook Data Tracker (tm) and secretly rooting for them

    and finally, auto correct be like

    the last one I can confirm is true I made it while making this post and there was a red line under it.
    no photoshop
  23. Like
    Gundar got a reaction from electric.bondage in 1st time building EXPEN$IVE PC, NEED HELP X0   
    Can and will you wait for Ampere and ryzen 4000?
    Edit: Also 4k 24-27 is dumb as at a normal viewing distance you won't notice the difference between 4k 27 and 1440p 27 and the latter is much cheaper @electric.bondage
  24. Like
    Gundar got a reaction from Saksham in 1st time building EXPEN$IVE PC, NEED HELP X0   
    Can and will you wait for Ampere and ryzen 4000?
    Edit: Also 4k 24-27 is dumb as at a normal viewing distance you won't notice the difference between 4k 27 and 1440p 27 and the latter is much cheaper @electric.bondage
  25. Like
    Gundar reacted to Eschew in An Introduction to Custom Mechanical Keyboards   
    An Introduction to Custom Mechanical Keyboards
    [0.0] Table of Contents (Navigation: CTRL-F)
    [1.0] Introduction -- Purpose
             [1.1] Frequently Asked/Anticipated Questions
             [1.2] Proof-Reading, Fact-Checking, and Contributions
    [2.0] Keyboard Sizes, Profiles, and Layouts
             [2.1] Sizes
             [2.2] Profiles
             [2.3] Mechanical/Physical Layouts
             [2.4] Functional Layouts
    [3.0] Pre-Built Mechanical Keyboards
    [4.0] Custom Mechanical Keyboards
             [4.1] Parts
             [4.2] Tools
             [4.3] Assembly
             [4.4] Firmware and Software
             [4.5] Maintenance and Cleaning
    [5.0] Switches
             [5.1] Clicky, Tactile, and Linear
             [5.2] Parts
             [5.3] Tools
             [5.4] Flavors
             [5.5] Preferences and Opinion Pieces
    [6.0] Online Vendors and Marketplaces
    [7.0] All Finished!
             [7.1] Special Thanks!
             [7.2] Related Reading & Other Material
             [7.3] Auto-Rejected Suggestions
             [7.4] Bibliography
             [7.5] Revision History - Last Updated: 07/29/2020
    [1.0] Introduction -- Purpose
    To consolidate the basics of building custom mechanical keyboards into one place on the forums, and to explain the topic in layman’s terms. The emphasis here is on custom mechanical keyboards, although some sections may also be applicable to other keyboards.
    What does this thread cover?
    Section 1.0 serves an introductory role and aims to provide a bird’s eye view of the covered topics.
    Section 2.0 provides some background info applicable to keyboards in general.
    Section 3.0 presents some justifications for both pre-built and custom mechanical keyboards.
    Section 4.0 covers the basics needed to build, set up, and care for a custom mechanical keyboard.
    Section 5.0 covers the basics related to choosing and customizing mechanical keyboard switches.
    Section 6.0 lists some legitimate sites to purchase custom keyboards and keyboard parts from.
    Section 7.0 contains some closing notes and the standard logistical things that go into a primer/guide.
    [1.1] Frequently Asked/Anticipated Questions
    What custom keyboard build or parts would you recommend for me?
    Difficult to say. The name of the game is custom, and every person’s tastes and preferences are different. If you’d like some personalized advice, I’d suggest starting a new thread in the Peripherals sub-forum and detailing out your expectations for your imagined build.
    As a friendly notice, I will read but will not respond to these sorts of comments in this thread. This is a primer, not a recommendations thread, and the goal here is to equip readers new to custom mechanical keyboards with the knowledge to make their own informed purchasing decisions. I have tried to remain neutral towards product recommendations where possible, while providing relevant advice.
    What are your preferences for custom mechanical keyboards?
    The ANSI layout and TKL keyboard size feels the most natural for my typing habits. I frequently rely on the navigation and special/editing keys, and can’t live without the full set of alphanumeric and modifier keys. The numpad, however, isn’t essential to me. If I absolutely needed it, I’d probably get a standalone tenkey and would prefer to have it to the left of the board.
    Linears are my go-to switches. I love the smooth keystrokes and muted clacks, and the heavier the actuation, the better. For keycaps, I’m very partial towards PBT blanks -- Minimalism™. Also, I prefer textured, matte surfaces. Um, my fingers tend to leave a lot of oils and smudges on smoother surfaces...
    [1.2] Proof-Reading, Fact-Checking, and Contributions
    I’m humbly requesting aid from mechanical keyboard enthusiasts for help with proof-reading, fact-checking, and contributing to this thread. While I’ve posted a gross amount of research here, I am admittedly very new to the custom keeb scene and do not have any long-time experience or formal education in hobby electronics. All I have is my enthusiasm and Google secondary sources. 😅
    Proof-Readers: Please let me know which section(s) you've checked. 👍 Fact-Checkers: I’d really appreciate it if you could attach clear-cut evidence or a link to sources. Please and thank you! 😁 Contributors: I'm looking for guides or reviews you've written that are relevant to custom mechanical keyboards or mechanical switches. 🥰 If I've reacted to your reply, that means I've read it and approved of your suggestion. Depending on what you've suggested, making additions or changes to the thread might take between 30 min - 24 hours. You might receive a notification when I tag you in the thread. 😶 If I reject your suggestion, I'll do my best to explain my reasons rationally and politely.  
    All proof-readers, fact-checkers, and any contributors will be tagged and acknowledged in the Special Thanks (Section 7.1)!
    [2.0] Keyboard Sizes and Layouts
    Here follows a visual introduction to keyboard sizes, profiles, and layouts, along with some key generalizations (teehee).
    [2.1] Sizes
    Keyboard size is based on the length of the keyboard compared to a full-sized one. The most common sizes are full-sized (100%), tenkeyless/TKL (80%), and compact (60%). The number and types of keys available for each size varies between keyboards, with generalizations being less applicable once you dip into the compact zone.
    Full-Sized (100%)

    104 Keys (ANSI), 105 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Yes Special/Edit Keys: Yes Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: Yes  

    104-81 Keys (ANSI), 105-82 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Most System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Perhaps Special/Edit Keys: Perhaps Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: Yes  
    Tenkeyless/TKL (87%, 85%, or 80%)

    87 Keys (ANSI), 88 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Yes Special/Edit Keys: Yes Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (75%)

    82/83/84 Keys (ANSI), 84/85 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: Yes Special/Edit Keys: Yes Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (65%)

    65-70 Keys (ANSI), 65-70 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Special/Edit Keys: Some Navigation Keys: Yes Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (60%)

    61 Keys (ANSI), 62 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes Modifier Keys: Yes System Keys: Yes Function Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Special/Edit Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Navigation Keys: No Numeric Keypad: No  
    Compact (40%)

    40-50 Keys (ANSI), 40-50 Keys (ISO) Alphanumeric Keys: Yes (No Number Row, Some Typographical Symbols) Modifier Keys: Some System Keys: Perhaps Function Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Special/Edit Keys: No (Accessible w/FN Key) Navigation Keys: No Numeric Keypad: No  
    [2.2] Profiles
    Keyboard profile is the vertical shape of the keyboard, as in, the heights of each row of keys relative to one another. Note the angle of the backplane, as well as the heights and shape (sculpted/angular or uniform/flat) of each key row.

    Curved: Backplane is curved, keycaps are sculpted and at the same height. Contoured/Sculpted: Backplane is angled, keycaps are sculpted and at different heights. Staircase: Backplane is angled, keycaps are slightly sculpted and at the same height. Flat: Backplane is level, keycaps are level and at the same height.  
    [2.3] Mechanical/Physical Layouts
    Mechanical layout is the physical arrangement of keys on the keyboard, and is different from functional layout (Section [2.3]). The most common layouts are ANSI, ISO, and JIS (JIS won’t be covered here). Variants and other layouts do exist besides the ones listed below.
    Note: U refers to an arbitrary unit of measurement. For instance, if 1U is the length of a standard key, 2U will be roughly double that length.
    ANSI (American National Standards Institute)

    2U Backspace Key 1.5U Tab Key 1.75U Caps Lock Key 2.25U Enter/Return Key 2.25U Left Shift Key, 2.75U Right Shift Key 1.25U Alt Keys Backtick/Tilde Key: Below Esc Key, Beside 1 Key Hashtag Key: Between 2 and 4 Key At Symbol Key: Between 1 and 3 Keys Backslash/Pipe Key: Above Enter/Return Key  
    ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

    2U Backspace Key 1.5U Tab Key European Enter/Return Key 1.25U Left Shift Key, 2.75U Right Shift Key 1.25U Left Alt Key, 1.25U Right Alt Gr Key Backtick/Negation Key: Below Esc Key, Beside 1 Key Pound Symbol Key: Between 2 and 4 Key Hashtag/Tilde Key: Between Apostrophe/At Symbol and Enter/Return Keys Backslash/Pipe Key: Between Left Shift and Z Keys  

    Matrix “Stagger”: Non-Staggered Keys All 1U Keys (Except Spacebar)  

    Columnar Stagger (Picture) or Symmetric Stagger (Not Pictured)  
    [2.4] Functional Layouts
    Functional layout is the firmware-mapped arrangement of keys on the keyboard, and is different from mechanical/physical layout (Section 2.3). The most widely used layout is QWERTY, but others also exist and may be more popular in certain countries.





    [3.0] Pre-Built Mechanical Keyboards
    Hesitant about dishing out the time, money, and energy for a custom? Not to worry, pre-builts are always an alternative. Sure, pre-builts can get a lot of flak from the custom keeb community, but hey, different keystrokes for different folks. At the end of the day, if your keyboard satisfies you, then I'd say your opinion is valid.
    As always, exceptions, niche cases, and workarounds exist.
    Generally speaking, what do pre-built mechanical keyboards offer that custom ones don’t?
    Plug n’ Play: No additional tools and no assembly time needed to get your board up and running. Built-In Multimedia Controls: Convenient. Also, neat party tricks. USB Passthrough: When you have too many dongles and not enough ports. RGB Ecosystems: Sync your battlestation’s lights! Assuming that you’ve bought your keyboard, mouse, headset, and other peripherals from the same brand. Customer Support/Warranties: If your keyboard has a problem, make that problem someone else’s problem. YMMV when it comes to actual helpfulness, however.  
    Generally speaking, what do custom mechanical keyboards offer that pre-built ones don’t?
    Customization Options: The sky is the limit! Actually, store availability and your wallet are. But! If you have some D.T. tools and the know-how, the possibilities broaden even further. Customizability ranges all the way from hardware to firmware: aesthetics (case, keycaps, lighting effects), acoustics (click and clack), feeling (actuation, tactility, lubrication), re-programmability (layers, macros), etc. Quality Parts: Say no to scratchy knockoff switches, and forget about keycap wear and sticky keys. Invest some time and money into your parts, and you can build a daily driver that’ll last you for years. Easier Parts Repair: Picking your own parts means you’ll know exactly what’s going on in your build. Usually. If a keycap’s broken, the case gets horribly scratched, or the cable frays, you’ll be able to source individual parts or compatible alternatives from online vendors quite easily. Not so for pre-builts, since brands often don’t sell individual proprietary parts. Easier Parts Replacement: Are you fickle of heart and bored of your board? Thinking of switching things up? Or did some keycaps capture your interest? The hardest thing you’ll have to do is shop for physically compatible parts. Want to do the same with a pre-built? You’re pretty much married to that case. And good luck trying to find keycaps that’ll fit that non-standard stem and/or bottom row.  
    ...You can probably tell where my bias lies. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Additional Resources
    Keycap Layout and Size Chart: A visual guide to standard and non-standard OEM keyboard layouts. Useful reference for choosing keycaps that will be compatible with the listed pre-built keyboards.  
    [4.0] Custom Mechanical Keyboards
    Got your mind set on building a custom mechanical keyboard? Sweet! Then you’ll want to know about its parts, the tools needed for the build, and the assembly process. After the build, you might want to check out any firmware or software you’ll need, and well as maintenance and cleaning tips and tricks.
    [4.1] Parts
    A good place to start before building anything is to know what parts make up your build, and to find out whether said parts are compatible with: one, your needs, and two, other parts.
    Printed Circuit Board/PCB
    Simply put, a printed circuit board is a non-conductive board with circuitry (traces, most often made of copper) and components that are etched or soldered onto it. The components determine what basic and additional features the PCB will offer. Some PCBs also have designs or useful legends silkscreened on to them.

    Standard PCB: A PCB equipped with a microcontroller, a diode for every switch, and a mini-USB or USB-C connector. RGB PCB: A PCB also equipped with LEDs by every switch socket and an LED driver chip to light up the scene. Some RGB PCBs also support neat sound-controlled/coordinated RGB. Hot-Swappable PCB: A PCB also equipped with hotswap sockets that allows switches to be installed and removed from the board without any soldering or desoldering.  
    A case offers some basic physical shock- and water-resistance for the board’s delicate internals, and also adds some flair to your build. Every case should come with mounting holes that align with the keyboard’s PCB.

    Acrylic: Solid material that’s easy to maintain. Semi-transparent variants can pair up with RGB PCBs for interesting lighting effects unattainable with wood or metal cases. Wood: Solid material with a very distinct aesthetic thanks to its wood grain. Durability and color retention as time passes might vary depending on the type of wood and finishing used. Anodized Aluminum: Solid, weighty, and durable. Often coated with a protective matte layer.  
    Mounting Plate
    A mounting plate is a flat sheet of material -- commonly stainless steel or aluminum, but also plastics and carbon fiber -- that rests above the PCB and holds a keyboard’s switches in place. Different materials offer varying levels of flexing and affect the keyboard’s clack, or the sound produced when the switch bottoms out. The general rule of thumb is denser mediums create higher-pitched sounds.
    Note: Mounting plates are often not essential for a keyboard with PCB-mounted switches, but can improve the switches’ stability and avoid misaligned switches (for the OCD-sensitive, like yours truly).

    Stainless Steel: Very stiff and dense material. Produces higher-pitched clacks. Aluminum: Fairly stiff and dense material. Produces higher-pitched clacks. Carbon Fiber: Lightweight material. Produces higher-pitched clacks. Acrylic: Stiff material. Produces lower-pitched clacks. Polycarbonate: Stiff material. Produces lower-pitched clacks. ABS: Softer material. Produces more muted clacks. Plateless: No material. Produces slightly quieter, fainter clacks than plated counterparts.  
    The mechanical switch is a contained unit responsible for the feel and clicks (or lack of clicks) of the keyboard. In terms of compatibility, switches can be divided into PCB-mounted switches and plate-mounted switches.

    Plate-Mounted Switches: Switches secured in place by a mounting plate, has only three pins. Usually offers more stability than PCB-mounted switches. PCB-Mounted Switches: Switches secured in place by the PCB, has at least five pins. Two of these pins are plastic-molded prongs, and for some switches, can be snipped off to irreversibly convert a PCB-mounted switch to a plate-mounted switch.  
    Note that keyboard parts compatible with one switch may not be compatible with other switches. For example, an MX-compatible PCB has a specific pin layout for MX-style switches, and will not accommodate Alps switches (exceptions exist, of course).
    The world of switches is deep and vast, and deserves its own segment (Section 5.0).
    A wire stabilizer, outfitted on larger (2U+) keycaps, is a stiff wire designed to keep the entire keycap steady and level during a keypress. Often, the wire fits between two pegs that are connected to the keycap, but in Cherry MX “leveling mechanisms” (i.e. stabilizers™) the wire rests between two mini-switch-thingies that either clip into or are screwed directly into the PCB.

    Keycaps are the covers that fit over a switch’s stem and that make physical contact with your fingers with during a keypress. Different keycap selections can completely overhaul a keyboard’s aesthetics, thanks to the myriad of keycap materials, shapes, and designs that are available.
    Note: Keycap mounts are not universally compatible with all types of switch stems. The most common mount is the MX-style mount (cross-shaped), but other types exist as well.

    ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): Plastic with a smooth texture and slightly glossy look. Surface layer often rubs away with prolonged use, resulting in ‘ABS shine.’ Also, gradually discolors when exposed to sunlight/UV light -- discoloration is most noticeable on white keycaps. PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate): Hard and durable plastic with a somewhat rough, grainy surface texture and a matte finish. Surface layer is more resistant to ‘shine,’ and does not discolor with light exposure. POM (Polyoxymethylene/Acetal): Hard, durable, and dense plastic with a semi-opaque, smooth finish. Surface layer is more resistant to ‘shine.’ PC (Polycarbonate): Durable plastic with a smooth, transparent surface. Surface layer is more resistant to 'shine,' and does not discolor with light exposure. Resin: Viscous substance solidified into a rigid, plastic-like material with a smooth, glossy finish. Usually molded around unique, hand-sculpted miniatures to preserve the piece’s delicate details while maintaining keycap functionality -- think, museum display cases. SLA/Stereolithography Resin: Rigid plastic-like material with a smooth finish. Often used in 3D printing to create unique, highly-detailed, limited-run designs. Metal: Hard, durable, and very dense material with a smooth texture and shiny, reflective finish. Probably a smudge magnet, based on pure speculation. Rubber: Soft, dense material with an opaque, textured (usually cross-hatched) surface. Appears to be a rubber sleeve fitted around a plastic shell?  
    Keycaps also come in a variety of profile shapes, and whether a keyboard is high-profile or low-profile depends partly on the height of its keycaps; the other deciding factor is switch type. Sculpted keycaps have a slight angle built into the keycap, while uniform keycaps are flat.

    Standard/OEM Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a level surface. Cherry Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a level surface and a slightly lower profile and shorter height compared to OEM profile keycaps. DCS Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a level surface, quite similar to Cherry profile keycaps. SA Profile: High-profile, sculpted keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap. KAT Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap, has a slightly lower profile and shorter height compared to SA profile keycaps. MT3 Profile: High-profile, sculpted keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap, slightly different than SA profile keycaps. MG Profile: High-profile, sculpted keycaps with a very visible concave indent. MDA Profile: Sculpted keycaps with a gently curved surface. DSA Profile: Uniform keycaps with a slightly spherical indent in the middle of the keycap. XDA Profile: Uniform keycaps with a larger surface area compared to DSA profile keycaps.  
    Legends refer to the inscriptions or designs on a surface. The type of printing used for keycap legends affects its visual quality and durability. Most legends are printed on the surface of the keycap, but side-printed options are available as well. Some blank keycaps eschew legends entirely (hehe, Eschew).

    Pad Printed: Keycaps with legends inked directly onto its surface. Decent visual quality, but the ink wears away easily from frequent contact. Laser Etched: Keycaps with legends marked onto the surface with a laser. Decent visual quality with straight lines, but not with solid fill areas (e.g. arrowheads, Windows symbol). Laser etching may also fade away on keycaps susceptible to ‘shine.’ Laser Printed: Keycaps with legends marked onto the surface with a laser and ink filled in the lasered grooves. Decent visual quality, but the ink can stain easily and the laser etching may fade away on keycaps susceptible to ‘shine.’ Laser Engraved: Transparent keycaps that are coated in an opaque paint, with legends lasered off from the opaque surface coat to create transparent characters. Often used for backlit keycaps. Decent visual quality, but the surface coat may wear away from frequent contact, revealing the transparent keycap beneath. Dye Sublimation: Keycaps with legends permanently stained in the material, just beneath the surface. Decent visual quality for dark dyes on lighter surfaces, but ineffective for lighter-colored lettering on darker surfaces. Quite long-lasting, and resistant to ‘shine.’ Double-Shot: Keycaps with legends molded from one piece of plastic, while the rest of the keycap is molded in another piece. Contrasting colors offer decent visuals, and because the legends are made of molded plastic rather than removeable ink, ‘shine’ isn’t an issue. Side-Printed: Keycaps with legends printed on one of its vertical sides, with the legends facing the user. Blank: Keycaps without any printed legends.  
    Keys may be illuminated in single or multiple colors if the keyboard’s PCB supports LED/RGB functionality. Some keycaps take advantage of LED/RGB lighting with backlit legends, LED windows, or translucency.

    Backlit/Shine-Through: Keycaps with transparent legends that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Windowed: Keycaps with a small, transparent section that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Pudding: Keycaps with an opaque top surface and semi-opaque walls that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Resembles the two layers of a flan pudding, hence the name. Jelly: POM keycaps with a semi-opaque surface that can be illuminated by the LEDs underneath. Has a very soft and muted color when illuminated. Translucent: PC keycaps that are clear and sometimes tinted, revealing both the switch and the LEDs underneath.  
    Sound Dampeners
    Sound dampeners are optional additions and fit around either the switch’s or keycap’s stem to soften the clack of the keyboard. Clacks are different from clicks; the former refers to the dull, muted sound produced when the switch bottoms out, whereas the latter refers to the sharp, high-pitched sound produced by a clicky switch.

    O-Rings: Rubber rings that fit tightly around the keycap’s stem, reducing both the keystroke’s clack and travel distance. Mostly recommended for rounded keycap stems; mileages may vary with other switch stems. Diameter: Diameter is tied to stem compatibility. Recommended diameters are 5mm for MX-style keycaps and 7mm for Topre-style keycaps. Thickness: Thickness is tied to keystroke travel distance, with thicker rings greatly reducing travel distance. Thicknesses can range from 0.2mm up to 2.5mm. Hardness: Hardness, rated along a Shore A durometer scale, is tied to keystroke mushiness and clack softening. Lower hardness (30A - 40A) are softer in both feeling and sound, while higher hardness (70A - 80A) are firmer and less effective for sound-dampening. Soft-Landing Pads: Rubbery material with a circular cut-out that fits loosely around the switch’s stem, reducing the keystroke’s clack and cushioning the bottom out. Silencing Clips: Plastic casings that clip over the top of the switch, reducing the keystroke’s clack and cushioning the bottom out. Compatibility is mostly limited to MX-style switches and thinner keycaps.  
    Other ways to dampen keyboard noises and vibrations exist, including but not limited to: gasket-mounted plates, sound-absorbing foam, soft rubber feet, etc.
    Most, if not all, wired custom mechanical keyboards use the USB 2.0 standard and HID subprotocol. USB 3.0 is quite rare on keyboards, and the max signaling rate increase from 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps usually has a very negligible observable impact.
    Wireless customs also exist, but are far less common compared to wired ones.

    Plain Cabling: Cables that use plastic cable jackets. Comes in straight and coiled variants, and the only difference seems to be aesthetics. Paracorded Cabling: Cables with a layer of lightweight nylon wrapped over its cable jacket, often in a braided pattern, that lends it additional durability. Double-Sleeved Cabling: Cables with another layer of sleeving wrapped around its nylon cord and cable jacket, often in a braided pattern, that lends it additional durability and rigidity.  

    USB Type-A Connector: One-way connectors. USB Type-C Connector: Reversible connectors. Micro-USB Connector: One-way connectors. Mini-USB Connector: One-way connectors. Aviator Connector: Connectors fitted part-way on a cable for convenient attachment and detachment, and as a fashion statement. Wireless: Relies on Bluetooth/USB receivers, often operates at 2.4 GHz frequencies.  
    [4.2] Tools
    If the right parts are chosen, the entire assembly process can be toolless. Disassembly, however, will always require a few tools - assuming you’d like to keep your parts free of dings and scratches.
    Main tools are prioritized below, followed by alternatives and optional items in indented bullet-points.
    Soldering Iron: A 40W - 60W soldering iron with a stand is recommended for occasional or one-off soldering work. Irons with lower wattages may create bad solder joints. Digital Soldering Station: A soldering station equipped with a soldering iron, a stand, a temperature control, and a tip cleaner/wet sponge. Recommended for frequent soldering work, but a fair bit more expensive than your standard soldering iron. Soldering Gun: A gun loaded with a soldering iron and solder, operates at high wattages, outputs a lot of heat, and has no temperature control. Not recommended for circuitry and mechanical keyboard building. Desoldering Pump/Solder Sucker: Solder suckers come in plunger (spring-loaded piston) and bulb (rubber bulb, Teflon tip) variants, and they both work by vacuum-suctioning up heated solder. Desoldering Braid/Wick: Fine copper wire woven into a flat braid, removes heated solder via capillary action. Desoldering Gun: A gun loaded with an electric vacuum pump. Costs a pretty penny and a little overkill for mechanical keyboard building, but saves you some stress and headaches. Solder: A metal alloy that with low melting point that is melted to form joints between two metal connections. For mechanical keyboards, a solder diameter of 0.8mm (0.031”) is generally recommended. 63/37 Sn-Pb (Tin-Lead): Melts at 183°C (361°F). Roisin-core solder may produce toxic, irritating fumes. 60/40 Sn-Pb (Tin-Lead): Melts at 188°C (370°F). Roisin-core solder may produce toxic, irritating fumes. Lead-Free Solder: Compared to leaded solder, is more expensive, has a higher melting point, flows slower, and may also produce toxic, irritating fumes. Soldering Fume Extractor: Draws solder fumes away from the user with fans. Not necessary if you keep your work area well-ventilated. Very overkill for a one-off build, but probably useful for frequent soldering work. Screwdriver: A #1 Phillips screwdriver (i.e. your standard screwdriver) should be compatible with most custom cases, which often use M2 screws to secure the PCB to the chassis. Keycap Pullers: Keycap pullers lock their loops/prongs around a keycap and remove them with a pull. They most commonly come in wire puller and plastic ring variants. Wire pullers are highly recommended over plastic pullers, as the latter is more prone to leaving unsightly marks on keycaps in the removal process. DIY Paper Clip Keycap Pullers: A low-cost, ghetto, but perfectly functional solution. Possibly better than plastic ring pullers. Switch Puller: Switch pullers work similarly to keycap pullers, by locking their tips around a switch’s bottom housing and removing the desoldered switch with a pull. They come in tongs-like or ring-like variants, and are usually all-metal or have metal tips.  
    [4.3] Assembly
    The fun part! A clean, clutter-free, and organized workspace is recommended. Here’s the How-To.
    Note: Testing parts are completely optional, but are useful for troubleshooting or sanity checks.
    1. PCB and Stabilizers
    Align the stabilizer prongs with the holes in the PCB. Orientation is important. One of the stabilizer’s prongs should be smaller than the other, and the same pattern should be apparent on the PCB. Testing LED/RGB: The PCB’s LEDs can be tested simply by plugging it into a powered USB port and watching the board automatically illuminate. Testing PCB Keys: With a pair of tweezers and Keyboard Checker, each key can be tested by touching the tweezers to the two pads (ring-like holes) that each switch’s pins align into.  
    2A. Standard PCBs - Mounting Plate, Switches, Solder, and Case
    Pre-heat the soldering iron up to 350°C - 370°C (662°F - 698°F). Clean and iron the tip, if necessary. Align the four switches that fit into the four corners of the keyboard on the mounting plate, and fit the loose, unsoldered plate-plus-switches assembly on the PCB. If aligned properly, each switch’s pins should fit into their corresponding holes on the PCB. Testing Keycap Alignment: Before the switches are soldered in, fit a few keycaps on the switches, preferably on some switches in a row, to check that the switches are fitted properly and that the keycaps will be aligned neatly. Solder each switch to the PCB by pressing the soldering iron tip to the PCB pad, making contact with the switch’s pin, and drawing the solder towards the heated tip. A good solder joint will have a concave, cone-like shape. Once the four corner switches have been soldered in, repeat the soldering process with the rest of the keyboard’s switches. Testing Keys: Each key can be tested with Keyboard Checker by pressing down on each switch. Fit the soldered PCB-plus-switches assembly into the case, aligning the mounting plate and PCB’s mounting holes with those on the case. Screw the soldered assembly to the case with some M2 screws (usually 4 or 5 screws) and a #1 Phillips screwdriver. If the case is a two-piece construction (top and bottom), attach or screw the top frame over the bottom base.  
    2B. Hot-Swappable PCBs - Case, Mounting Plate, and Switches
    Fit the PCB and mounting plate into the case, aligning the PCB and mounting plate’s mounting holes with those on the case. Screw the PCB-plus-plate assembly to the case with some M2 screws (usually 4 or 5 screws) and a #1 Phillips screwdriver. If the case is a two-piece construction (top and bottom), attach or screw the top frame over the bottom base. Align each switch’s pins with their corresponding holes on the PCB, and press down firmly. It should install with a dull click. Double-check that the switch is level against the plate. Repeat the process with the rest of the keyboard’s switches. Testing Keys: Each key can be tested with Keyboard Checker by pressing down on each switch.  
    4. Keycaps and Sound Dampeners
    Fit any sound dampeners over their respective keycap or switch stems. Fit each keycap over its corresponding switch’s stem and press down firmly. Testing Keyboard: Each key can be tested on Keyboard Checker. Typing Test: Test your WPM with your newly assembled keyboard on Typing.com.  
    [4.4] Firmware and Software
    Firmware coordinates inputs and directives between the physical keyboard and applications or software installed on the computer. Whether a keyboard supports custom firmware, and which custom firmware is compatible with the keyboard, will depend on what microcontroller is installed on the PCB. Some custom firmware support different lighting effects, multiple layers, re-programmable keys, and additional features.
    Software, on the other hand, is handled entirely by the computer and can offer other features that firmware lacks.
    Note: The lists below are not all-inclusive.
    Animus Family Firmware: GitHub EasyAVR: GeekHack Thread, Deskthority Wiki Page, GitHub Kiibohd Controller: GitHub QMK: Website, GitHub TMK: GeekHack Thread, GitHub VIA: Website, GitHub  
    AutoHotkey: Website  
    [4.5] Maintenance and Cleaning
    Owning anything means a certain responsibility is attached to said ownership, and a mechanical keyboard is no different. Keep your custom keeb in tip-top condition with some regular maintenance and cleaning.
    Note: Running your custom mechanical keyboard through a dishwasher is generally not recommended. Domestic water isn’t pure H2O and contains other salts and impurities. Plastic materials will likely be fine, but metallic components (copper traces, stabilizer wires, switch springs, etc.) exposed to water and impurities will almost certainly corrode.
    General Maintenance
    Compressed Air: Used to blow the dust, crumbs, and other tiny nasties from all the teeny-weeny spaces in your keyboard. Mini/Computer Vacuum: Used to remove dust, crumbs, and other tiny nasties from all the teeny-weeny spaces in your keyboard. Damp Microfiber Cloth/Disinfectant Wipe: Used to wipe down the keyboard’s exterior. Dry Cloth: Used to dry the keyboard from a wet wipe. Paper towels are an alternative, but note that cheapo towels tend to leave fluffy particles behind.  
    Cleaning Keycaps
    Warm Soapy Water: Soak keycaps in a bowl of warm, soapy water for 45-60 min, then rinse and dry them off. Denture cleanser tablets will work as well. Alcohol (Isopropyl, Acetone, Etc.): Not recommended. Some ABS and PBT plastics, as well as legends, can discolor or will degrade from concentrated alcohol. Household Cleaners: Only recommended if heavily diluted. Both ABS and PBT plastics, as well as legends, will discolor or degrade from concentrated cleaners.  
    [5.0] Switches
    If the PCB makes up the brain of your mechanical keyboard, its switches make up its soul. It’s that feeling you get when you start typing on your keeb, and everything just... clicks. Or clacks. Or bumps.
    What follows is a rundown of clicky, tactile, and linear switches, as well as a mechanical switch’s parts, related tools, and flavors. An introduction to optical switches has also been included.
    Note: This primer/guide will not cover modding switches.
    Optical Switches
    Optical switches, similar to mechanical switches in exterior but functionally different from them, utilize light to register keystrokes.
    Horizontal Light (e.g. Gateron KS-15, LIGHT STRIKE): Within the switch is a horizontal beam of light. At rest, the beam’s path is blocked. When the switch is pressed, the beam’s path is clear, the light reaches a sensor, and a keystroke is registered. Vertical Light (e.g. Aimpad, Flaretech): Within the switch is a vertical beam of light. At rest, the beam travels its full distance (100%). When the switch is pressed, the beam’s path shortens, a sensor reads the change in position (e.g. 75%), and a keystroke is registered. Because different values may be read by the sensor (i.e. 0-100% vs. ON/OFF), users are given more “analog” control over input (e.g. a character’s walking speed). For a visual demonstration of the two optical switches in action, please watch this wonderful video by Techquickie:
    An industry standard for optical switches doesn’t seem to exist as of yet. This means that, in terms of compatibility, a PCB that is compatible with one set of optical switches may not be compatible with optical switches from another manufacturer, and are almost certainly not compatible with mechanical switches. Most optical switches adopt MX-style stems, however, and should be compatible with MX-style keycaps.
    [5.1] Clicky, Tactile, and Linear
    Mechanical switches can be sorted into three categories: clicky, tactile, and linear. The categorizations are based on the auditory and tactile feedback the user experiences when the switch is pressed.
    Clicky: Switches with an audible click, and no tactile bump. Tactile: Switches with a tactile bump, comes in both clicky and non-clicky variants. Linear: Switches with neither an audible click nor a tactile bump.  
    [5.2] Parts
    Mechanical switches are generally composed of the same parts, give or take a few pieces. That’s not to say that all switches are the same -- switch manufacturers often add tweaks to the base template to create their own unique switch flavors. Note that the generalizations below are based on Cherry MX mechanical switches.

    The housing is made up of an upper housing and a bottom housing. Together, they form the plastic cuboid enclosure that keeps the switch’s parts contained. While it serves a protective purpose, offering some basic physical shock-, water- and dust-resistance for its internals, it also works in tandem with the switch’s spring to provide a consistent and comfortable typing experience.
    Standard Housing: Switches with opaque, often black, housings. SMD-LED Compatible/RGB Housing: Switches with transparent housings that can be illuminated from underneath by LEDs.  
    The leaf consists of two metal contacts that sit in the bottom housing. At rest, the contacts do not touch one another. When the key is pressed, the contacts touch, an electrical circuit is completed, and a keystroke is registered.
    The stem determines the tactility, stability, and smoothness of the switch. For custom keyboards, the most common and widely compatible stem is the MX-style cross-shaped stem, but similar variants and not-so-similar others also exist.
    Stability/Wobbliness: A characteristic usually affected by gaps between the stem and housing, or the stem and keycap. The more airtight the gap is, the more stable the typing experience will be. Smoothness/Scratchiness: A characteristic largely affected by the friction between the stem and leaf. Smoother stem materials and lubricants can mitigate switch scratchiness.  

    Tactile: Switches with a small bump or indent on the wing of the stem. When the switch is pressed, the stem slides against the leaf, and the uneven surface of the stem’s wing running against the leaf creates the tactile typing sensation. Linear: Switches with a straight wing stem. When the switch is pressed, the stem glides evenly against the leaf for a smooth, non-tactile typing sensation. Clicky: Switches with a sharp typing sensation and an audible click. Stem shapes vary, as the characteristic click sound may produced by different mechanisms. Click Jacket/Sliding Collar (Pictured Above): A separate plastic piece that is connected to and fits around the bottom of the stem. In its default position, the wings of the click jacket rest against the leaf. When the switch is pressed, the stem pushes down on the click jacket and it shoots straight down to produce a sharp typing sensation and an audible click. Clickbar (Not Pictured): A metal, spring-like piece with an elongated horizontal bar that sits just under the stem's leg. When the switch is pressed, the stem's leg pushes down on the clickbar and it springs back up against the switch's housing to produce an audible click.  
    The spring is a metal coil that sits under the stem, and is related to a switch’s actuation force -- the force needed to press down on a switch and to register a keystroke. As a hard and fast rule, heavier springs have higher actuation points. The exact actuation force required for each weight is a little more difficult to determine, as each manufacturer seems to follow their own standards.
    Lubricants aim to reduce the friction between the switch’s stem and leaf/spring to create a smoother-than-default typing experience. They are completely optional, although many enthusiasts will swear by them and some switches may come pre-lubed from the factory.

    Note: Using random household liquids and cooking oils as switch lubricants is not recommended. They may gum up switches, leave sticky or rancid residue behind, attract dust and other particles, or produce other unpleasant results.
    Thin Lube: Lubricants with lower viscosity. Recommended for switches. Thick Lube: Lubricants with higher viscosity. Recommended for stabilizers.  
    Naming Conventions
    Digits, Grades: Lubricants labelled with lower digits are less viscous. For example, Tribosys 3203 will be less viscous (i.e. thinner) than Tribosys 3204. 10x: Lubricants that are oils. An example is Krytox GPL 104. 20x: Lubricants that are greases. Examples are Krytox GPL 205 and Tribosys 3204. g0: Grade 0 lubricants with a smooth consistency. Recommended for switches and stabilizers.  
    Switch Lubrication Guides
    The process is precise; lubricants should only be applied to areas of the switch that would most benefit from lubrication. Also, results may vary. Lubricants will adhere to some switches better than others.
    How I Lube MX-Style Mechanical Keyboard Switches by @sowon Switch Lubing Guide by @geo3  
    Switch Films
    Switch films, also optional additions, aim to reduce switch wobble. They sit inside the switch, sandwiched between the switch's upper and bottom housings. The end result is a more consistent typing and acoustic experience, as well as a duller clack.

    [5.3] Tools
    Main tools are prioritized below, followed by alternatives and optional items in indented bullet-points.
    Switch Opener: A small device outfitted with protrusions that are designed to lift the upper housing from the bottom housing of a switch, opening the switch up. Simply align the switch into the opener and press down. Tweezers/Flathead Screwdriver: Both tools may be used to open switches by pushing up from under the upper housing’s clips, but this method is less convenient than a switch opener and carries the risk of damaging the switch’s housing if used recklessly. Tweezers: A pair of tweezers are highly recommended for handling tiny switch parts, especially if you plan to lubricate your switches. Also, it minimizes the amount of finger oils and grime you leave on them. Small Brush (For Lubing): Any small paintbrush with bristles small enough to slide into a switch’s nooks and crannies will do. Not necessary if you don’t plan on lubricating your switch.  
    [5.4] Flavors
    Every person’s tastes are a little bit different, and mechanical switches come in a variety of flavors. Some switches sharing the same stem type even have cross-compatible parts, for those who like a little from column A and a little from column B.

    The switch specifications below (contained in spoiler tags) have been described as advertised by the manufacturer, but the user’s actual experience might vary. Also, while an effort has been made to include switches that are commonly available, the list is not all-inclusive.
    Type: Classification as clicky, tactile, or linear. Mounting: Compatibility as PCB-mounted or plate-mounted, or whether both options are available. Actuation (cN): Force required to register a keystroke. Pre-Travel (mm): Distance required to register a keystroke. Total Travel (mm): Distance required to bottom out the switch. NDA: No Data Available. (?): Educated Guesses.  
    Alps Stems

    Switches with a cuboid stem. Some switches may be difficult to acquire outside of Group Buys (Section 6.0).
    MX Stems

    Switches with a cross-shaped stem. Some variants enclose the stem in a bracketed or boxed structure.
    Topre Stems

    Switches with a cylindrical-shaped stem. Not available for sale as individual switches.
    [5.5] Preferences and Opinion Pieces
    With hundreds and thousands of options available on the market, choosing the right switch can be a daunting task for first-timers. How do you know which one is the one for you?
    Here I echo the old adage: “You’ll never know unless you try.”
    Head out to your local brick-and-mortar store, and test the waters out with some pre-built keyboards. That small exercise will usually help narrow down the choices between clickys, tactiles, and linears. Chances are, however, that you’ve seen a switch online that’s caught your eye, and said switch can’t be found in your local area. In that case, stoke that interest by finding out more about it. Look for reviews from others that have shared their opinions on said switch, so you know what to expect. Listen to some sound tests, and perhaps try out some switch testers to find out whether you like how it sounds and feels.
    Don’t forget, the purchase isn’t the be-all and end-all of things. If your choice doesn’t live up to your expectations, there’s nothing stopping you from trying again with another set of switches.
    Opinion Pieces
    Sorted by alphabetical order. Preferably LTT forum content and curated by yours truly, but I’ll entertain suggestions recommending outside sources if requested by reputable members. (Shoo, bots and shills.)
    Cherry MX Black Review by @sowon Cherry MX Blue Review by @sowon Cherry MX Brown Review by @sowon Gateron Blacks vs Kailh BOX Black vs Cherry MX Black Review by @LukeSavenije Gateron INK Black Review by @sowon Gateron Red Review by @sowon Gateron Yellow Review by @sowon Input Club Hako Violet Review by @sowon Kailh BOX Jade Review by @sowon KBDfans X MITO Laser Switch Review by @sowon NovelKeys Cream Review by @sowon YOK Purple Trash Panda Review by @sowon ZealPC Sakurios Review by @sowon ZealPC Tealio V2 Review by @sowon ZealPC Zealio V2 Review by @sowon ZealPC Zilent V2 Review by @sowon  
    [6.0] Online Vendors and Marketplaces
    Custom mechanical keyboards are a fairly niche market, which means most parts are purchased via select routes -- in this case, online. Listed below are where most source their custom keeb parts from.
    Only vendors and marketplaces for custom keyboards and keyboard parts will be covered, with a bias for stores accessible from the U.S. Some stores offer international shipping, and for those, I’d strongly advise reading through their shipping policies before placing an international order -- the customer is usually responsible for any import duties and fees. For pre-builts, I’d suggest looking at Amazon, Newegg, or Microcenter.
    Group Buys
    What is a Group Buy (GB)? Simply put, a niche within a niche. In some cases, a product -- often keycaps, switches, or keyboards -- will be greenlit for production or distribution only if a number of buyers show interest and a minimum cash goal is reached. Think, Kickstarters. Group Buys may be organized by an organization like Drop, or by individual community members like on GeekHack.
    Note: Group Buys are not guarantees. Be aware that there is a risk associated with placing a deposit on a product not yet confirmed for production or distribution.
    1UPKeyboards: New York, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping & Returns Policy) CandyKeys: Germany-Based Store (Help/FAQ Page, Shipping Policy) capsunlocked: U.K.-Based Store (Policies Info) Clueboard: U.S.-Based Store (Shipping And Returns) Daily Clack: Australia-Based Store (Shipping & Handling Policy) Flashquark: New York, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Info) Glorious PC Gaming Race: Texas, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Policy) Does not ship to this list of countries. KBDfans: China-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) KeBo Store: California, U.S.-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) Keebio: North Carolina, U.S.-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) Kono Store: Utah, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping FAQs, Store Policies) Does not ship to Brazil, Russia, the Caribbean, or the Netherlands. KPrepublic: China-Based Store (Shipping FAQs) Discounts & Promotion Coupons LFKeyboards: Virginia, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping & Returns) Matias: Canada-Based Store (Warranty Info) MAX Keyboards: California, U.S.-Based Store (Store Policies, International Policies) Mechanical Keyboards: Tennessee, U.S.-Based Store (Store Policies and Service FAQs) Coupons & Discounts Mechboards: U.K.-Based Store (FAQs and Shipping Info) MecKey Alpha: Hong Kong-Based Store (FAQs and Shipping Info) mykeyboard.eu: Belgium-Based Store (Shipping Info) NovelKeys: West Virginia, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping FAQs) Optic Boards: U.K.-Based Store Originative: California, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping, Returns, and FAQ) Pimp My Keyboard: Washington, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Info) Prime Keyboards: Texas, U.S.-Based Store (Discord, Contact) Project Keyboard: Illinois, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Policy) Sentraq: U.S.-Based Store (Shipping and Returns) SpaceCat Design: Pennsylvania, U.S.-Based Store (FAQs and Shipping Info) Switchmod Keyboards: Minnesota, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping FAQs) switchTop: Texas, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Info) TechKeys: U.S.-Based Store (FAQs and Shipping Info) The Keyboard Company: U.K.-Based Store (FAQs and Shopping Info) UK-Keycaps: U.K.-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) ZealPC: Canada-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info)  
    Artisan Vendors
    Vendors offering custom work or limited-run and expensive products, often through Group Buys.
    Clackeys: California, U.S.-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) Clark Kable: Germany-Based Store (FAQ, Shipping Info) Coz Caps: Australia-Based Store (Contact Page) Dixie Mech: Alabama, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping FAQs) Drop: California, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Policies) Not all products eligible for international shipping. ErgoDox EZ: Taiwan-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) Escape Keyboard: Australia-Based Store (Shipping Policy, Refund Policy) Hot Keys Project: Hong Kong-Based Store (Shipping Info) JUJU Cables: Australia-Based Store (Contact Page) keebwerk: Germany-Based Store (Shipping Info) Keyboard Wear: U.S.-Based Store Keyclack: U.S.-Based Store (Contact Page) Keycult: U.S.-Based Store (Refund Policy, Discord) KeyPop: U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Policy) MechSupply: U.K.-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) Mekanisk: Norway-Based Store (Support Page) Mekanisk Norge: Norway-Based Store Norbauer & Co.: California-Based Store OLKB: U.S.-Based Store PEXON PCs: U.K.-Based Store (Shipping Info) Profet Keyboards: U.S.-Based Store (Contact Page) RAMA WORKS: Australia-Based Store (Contact Page) TheKey.Company: Michigan, U.S.-Based Store (FAQs and Shipping Info) UNIQEY: Germany-Based Store (FAQs and Shipping Info) varmilo: Hong Kong-Based Store (Shipping Info) WASD Keyboards: California, U.S.-Based Store (Shipping Policies, FAQs, and International Orders) Zap Cables: Wisconsin, U.S.-Based Store (FAQs & Shipping Info) zFrontier: China-Based Store (Shipping Policy)  
    Purchase at your own discretion.
    Aliexpress Banggood eBay Etsy GeekHack r/mechmarket  
    [7.0] All Finished!
    Thanks a bunch for your interest! I’ve tried to keep the primer/guide concise (read: to-the-point) and bias-free where possible, but if I’ve missed something, if you spot a spelling/grammatical error, or if you have any suggestions, please leave a reply. I’ll keep the thread up-to-date when I find new info, for as long as I’m available. Hopefully someone, somewhere, will find this thread useful?
    If you’ve managed to build your own custom mechanical keyboard with the help of this primer/guide, congratulations! Treat your lil’ or biggun keeb well, and it’ll serve you just as well. 😁👍
    Join the Mechanical Keyboard Club and show off your keebs! #KeebWeebClub
    [7.1] Special Thanks!
    @geo3 for their excellent Switch Lubing Guide and suggestions for vendors and firmware! @sowon for their excellent Switch Lubing Guide and beautifully-written Switch Reviews! @LukeSavenije for their brilliant Gateron vs Kailh vs Cherry Blacks Switch Review! @Dissitesuxba11s for providing a list of vendors and an OEM layout reference! @bowrilla for bringing the QWERTZ keyboard layout to my attention! @seon123 for pointing out misinformation under the 1800-Compact and Stem - Clicky entries, and for suggestions for film switches and vendors!  
    [7.2] Related Reading & Other Material
    Priority given to written material, followed by videos; sorted in alphabetical order. Preferably LTT forum content, but I’ll entertain suggestions recommending outside sources if requested by reputable members. (Shoo, bots and shills.)
    [7.3] Auto-Rejected Suggestions
    Suggestions that I will not cover. However, if someone else has made a well-written and informative guide on these topics, I’d be more than happy to consider adding it to the thread.
    [7.4] Bibliography
    [7.5] Revision History - Last Updated: 07/29/2020