Choosing a Switch: Why Cherry MX Whites

  • Here is how I decided to go with the Cherry MX White Switch

  • Brand
    • Go with best predictability
    • Cherry
  • Model
    • Play with 8 switch types on tester for a couple weeks
      • Red, Black, Brown, Clear, Grey, Blue, White, Green
        • Only noted the actuation force after testing for two or three weeks
    • All felt fine
      • Linears felt great surprisingly
      • Tactile bump makes sense
        • Different the laptop because you begin the travel and then encounter another obstacle, keep pressing and then the key activates. They are two different bits of action: the energy to get the switch moving because of the weight and then the energy? to get it over the bump
      • Click noise interesting to add another dimension of feedback
        • Maybe also headache
    • Find that all keyboard make noise no matter what so choosing something that feels right
  • Research
    • Switches on my laptop
      • Are not silent, but not clicky either
      • Go with something close to that
      • It takes 12 US 25 cent coins to activate the ALT key
        • Easiest one to test, a quarter can sit on it without obstacles
        • 11 will not press the key no matter how I nudge it
        • Tested 3 times
      • One of them weighs 5.670 grams
      • Key press weight: 68.03999999999999
  • Cherry Candidates Data
    • Legend
      • Color: Color
      • Switch: Cherry Switch Type
        • L, Linear
        • T, Tactile
        • TC, Tactile & Clicky
      • Act: Switch activation in grams
      • Δ: Difference between desired actuation force of 68 grams and actual
        • Positive number means larger than desired force
        • Negative number means smaller than desired force
    • CE: Close enough?
      • Want the actuation force as close as possible
      • If competing, take smaller, don’t want extra strain
    • SO: Sounds OK?
      • On my laptop keyboard, I hit the keys so hard that I stop when I hear them. Never noticed this before the past few weeks testing switches. Great to know. I want sound.
  • Analysis

    Color Switch Act Δ CE SO
    White TC 65 -3 T T
    Clear T 55 -13 T T
    Black L 60 -8 T F
    Red L 45 -23 F NA
    Brown T 45 -23 F NA
    Grey T 80 12 F NA
    Blue TC 50 -18 F NA
    Green TC 80 12 F NA
  • Decision: White
    • Comes down to the Clear and White
    • White’s delta is closer, but that isn’t what sold me
    • I press the key until I hear that it is activated
    • With the Clear, I keep pressing until it bottoms out and I hear it, in addition to feeling it
      • The feel is the same as on my laptop
    • What I hope to gain from the tactile and clicky feedback is not having to pound on keys to know that they have been pressed
      • If the Clear has been closer, that would have been another great thing to try. Maybe I will in the future anyway.
  • Thoughts
    • Switch tester was helpful
      • And very different than a full keyboard!
    • Fun to learn about different options
    • Fun to learn what I think that I want
    • Look forward to trying it out