Gaming Keyboards vs. Keyboards: What’s the Difference?


A mechanical gaming keyboard with RGB backlighting.

Ever puzzled why some folks spend a whole bunch of {dollars} on a gaming keyboard? Are they any completely different from abnormal keyboards? Let’s talk about the variations between the 2 to see which may be higher for you.

What Is a Gaming Keyboard?

A gaming keyboard is a sturdy, high-performance keyboard that’s well-designed for gaming. Geared up with satisfying RGB lights behind the keys, these keyboards are normally mechanical, which implies they’re the simplest to kind with. You barely have to use any stress for keys to register, permitting you to kind quicker and with out fatigue.

Additionally they have additional keys, referred to as macro keys, which you’ll program to carry out sure actions in video games or use as shortcuts. As an example, you may program a macro key to forged a capability in-game or launch generally used functions. Gaming keyboards additionally supply N-key rollover, which is a function that registers all of the keys you press concurrently.

Undecided what all of this implies for you? Let’s take a more in-depth look.


Gaming keyboards are nearly at all times costlier than common keyboards. Respectable ones can begin at $50 and transcend $200. That is primarily as a result of gaming keyboards are designed for avid gamers and typists who depend on high-quality elements and options. We’ll shortly talk about what makes these keyboards higher than your common keyboard.

Nonetheless, should you’re searching for a less expensive choice for normal pc use, any common keyboard costing round $20-30 will work simply superb. In fact, you’ll get way more worth with gaming keyboards, however that’s provided that you’re searching for extra performance and an optimum typing expertise.

Branded gaming keyboards sometimes include software program, akin to iCUE, to customise the gadget to your liking. This contains the whole lot from remapping keys, adjusting the RGB lighting, recording macros, creating profiles, and extra. Whereas your normal keyboard solely permits you to kind.

Typing Expertise

One of many first belongings you’ll discover when gaming keyboards is that they’re nearly at all times mechanical. Most searching for a superb typing expertise, particularly avid gamers, go for mechanical keyboards as a result of they really feel nice to kind on.

The keys are gentle and sometimes have shorter journey distances to register, which makes typing really feel easy. This implies your keys will register in your PC with out having to press them down all the best way. And with quick response occasions, you’re in a position to kind rapidly with out straining your fingers.

Relying on the type of switches, every keypress will make a satisfying “click on” sound, which helps you to know that the important thing’s been registered. The click could be fairly noisy for some folks, however there are methods to make them quieter. There are membrane gaming keyboards, however they received’t really feel as good to make use of in comparison with mechanical fashions.

Most common keyboards use membrane keys that don’t have any bodily switches. As an alternative, they depend on rubber membranes to register every keypress. The keys will usually really feel heavy and stiffer, which requires you to press down more durable to kind. Remember that that is solely in comparison with mechanical keyboards. Relying in your preferences, you may need no issues utilizing membrane keyboards.

Nonetheless, membrane keyboards don’t present immediate suggestions, so that you’ll should press all the best way all the way down to register the keystroke. This may trigger some fatigue in your fingers after some time because you’re continually making use of extra stress when typing.

Membrane keyboards even have slower response occasions in comparison with mechanical keyboards, however the distinction will barely be noticeable, particularly should you’re not gaming. One predominant good thing about membrane keyboards is that they’re a lot quieter than mechanical ones, so you may kind away with out disturbing others.

RELATED: If You Have not Tried a Mechanical Keyboard But, You are Lacking Out

N-Key Rollover (NKRO)

Each gaming and common keyboards have a function referred to as N-key rollover (NKRO). This function is what permits a keyboard to register a number of keystrokes on the identical time. For instance, should you’re enjoying a recreation and must press a number of keys concurrently, NKRO ensures that each one the keystrokes will probably be registered by your PC.

With gaming keyboards, they at all times supply NKRO as a result of all of your keys operate independently from one another. Meaning you can press down as many as you need they usually’ll all register in your PC.

With common keyboards, you may run into an issue referred to as “ghosting.” That is the place some keystrokes don’t register since you’re urgent too many keys on the identical time. The typical keyboard solely permits you to press as much as six keys directly.

You received’t discover this to be problematic should you’re not doing something that requires you to press a bunch of keys concurrently. Nonetheless, should you’re a gamer, you’ll undoubtedly need to go for a gaming keyboard with NKRO.

RELATED: All These Complicated Mechanical Keyboard Phrases, Defined

Macro Keys

Macro keys are further keys in your keyboard that may be programmed to carry out varied duties. These could be easy duties akin to opening a particular program, inputting textual content, or muting your speaker quantity. You may as well create advanced macros that file a sequence of keys which are then performed again with a single keystroke, along with your keyboard’s software program.

Macro keys are extra generally discovered on gaming keyboards since they are often very helpful for avid gamers. For instance, should you’re enjoying a recreation that requires you to press the identical sequence of keys to forged a capability, you may create a macro to automate the method (be sure your recreation doesn’t take into account this dishonest).

These further keys are handy since you don’t should override your regular key bindings. It’s a straightforward approach to give your self further shortcuts to video games or use across the pc.

Abnormal keyboards normally don’t include any macro keys, however you may at all times get your self an exterior gadget akin to a streamer deck. There are free alternate options akin to AutoHotKey, however you’ll should be taught the fundamental scripting language to program your individual macros. For probably the most half, you seemingly received’t get a lot worth out of macros until you’re a gamer or need shortcuts to your productiveness or work.

RELATED: 6 Reprogrammable Macro Pads for Macros and Shortcuts


For those who’re uninterested in going by keyboards that break down simply or don’t final lengthy, you’ll need to get a gaming keyboard. Gaming keyboards are constructed to face up to heavy use and can final for much longer than common fashions.

We advocate sticking to well-known manufacturers akin to Razer, HyperX, Logitech, and Durgod as they typically have the strongest builds that may final for a few years. It’ll be higher than discovering a poorly constructed keyboard from a no-name model that begins to malfunction or break down in lower than a 12 months. Keycaps begin to fall off, keys turn into unresponsive, and the construct high quality simply feels weak and fragile.

Gaming keyboards aren’t manufactured from the identical low-cost plastic materials you’d discover on a $10 keyboard. They’re sturdy however are normally heavier due to that. The heavy-duty construct mixed with excessive performance makes for a terrific long-term funding.

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