My main keyboard since 2012 has been the Ducky Shine 2 with Green LEDs and Cherry MX Blues. During the holidays I ordered some switch testers from Amazon to play around with and my favorite switch was the Kailh Box Navy. This is a very loud tactile switch with a very heavy spring; it took some getting used to compared to my old Cherry MX Blues. It’s definitely not a switch for everyone and some may find it too tiring due to the amount of force required to activate each switch.
Since I had recently completed my Black x Blue 3950x, I wanted a new keyboard to try and match the same color scheme. I ended up buying the Glorious GMMK Full Size as it seems to be the cheapest option with all of the features I wanted: RGB backlighting, hotswappable switches, full size and can be purchased without keycaps or switches. I ordered Kailh Box Navy switches separately from Novelkeys and a Tai-Hao black/blue PBT backlit keycap set from MechanicalKeyboards.
The Tai-Hao keycap set I bought has a rough matte texture that feels nice (to me) and is the only set I could find that was PBT, backlit and came in two colors (black/blue). Unfortunately the blue on this keycap set doesn’t match the blue on my Noctua Chromax fans but still looks pretty good. The only negative thing about this keycap set is the quality control; some of the keys are slightly off and some are very obviously crooked like the DEL and FN keycaps. I tried changing the switches under them but it appears to be a defect in the keycap alignment rather than the switch stem.
I’ve read mixed things about Glorious’s customer service but personally can only report a positive experience. I ordered my GMMK a few days before their end of year sale; I contacted support and they refunded me the difference (10%). The first GMMK I received was damaged in shipping (warped case); they sent me a replacement unit free of charge and didn’t even ask me to ship the old one back.
Overall I would say the GMMK is a good starter keyboard; experienced users will see the GMMK as a glorified switch tester. It doesn’t have the same build quality or heft to it as my Ducky Shine 2 or Vortex Pok3r RGB; bottoming out on some of the keys sounds a bit hollow on the GMMK as well. My next keyboard will probably be the Drop Shift or I will just build a custom YMDK96 from scratch. If you are shopping for your first mechanical keyboard, I recommend buying a switch tester to get an idea of what switch you like then getting the GMMK in the size you prefer.
If you are still using a Logitech G900 or G903 mouse, I highly recommend replacing the switches with either the Omron D2F-01 or D2F-01-F. The D2F-01 has a higher actuation force which provides a more tactile and satisfying click than the original switch; personally this is what I’m using. The D2F-01-F has the same actuation force as the original if that’s what you prefer. The reason you’d want either of these switches is because both are Japanese Omron switches which are considered higher quality and more reliable than the original Chinese Omron switch (D2FC-F-7N). It seems the Logitech G903 and their newer mice are notorious for double-click issues; just Google it or take a look at the /r/LogitechG and /r/MouseReview subreddits. These YouTube videos go into great detail to explain why newer mice fail so often and cover different switch types: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5BhECVlKJA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhhRTUrz0R8.
The Logitech G900/G903 isn’t too difficult to take apart but there are quite a few screws to keep track of and they are not all the same length. Be sure to have a spare set of replacement mouse feet since they must be removed in order to open the mouse. Here’s a list of YouTube videos that detail tearing down the Logitech G900/G903:
I also took some photos while taking apart my G900; hopefully all of this info will help you upgrade your mouse with new and better switches.
I found an upgraded battery for my Logitech G900 mouse and it has been working well for the past 2 months. The new battery has a capacity of 1000 mAh vs the original’s 750 mAh; it does seem to last longer on a single charge even though the Logitech Gaming Software still reports the same amount of running time (in my case, 25 hours with my lighting settings). The software is probably hard-coded for the original 750 mAh battery; I’ve noticed when the mouse is down to 20%, the software will continue to report there is 20% remaining for a few more hours before it continues to drop.
Opening the G900 is fairly straight forward; there is one T5 Torx screw by the micro-usb port and six 00 Phillips screws under some of the feet. I highly recommend purchasing a set of replacement feet rather than trying to reuse the ones you pull off. Be very careful when opening the G900 after removing the screws; there is a delicate ribbon cable connecting the two halves of the mouse as you can see below. You’ll want to disconnect the ribbon cable from the bottom half so you don’t accidentally rip it when you work on disconnecting and removing the battery. The battery is secured with double-sided tape so it will take some time to pry it out gently. The replacement battery has much longer leads but with some care it will all fit back inside.
I’ve been working on a new emulator build using Windows, Launchbox, and Retroarch. For my controllers I’ve always used Qanba Q4RAF sticks for arcade games and Xbox 360 controllers for consoles. I decided it was time to upgrade the controllers to something newer so I decided to pick up the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro and SN30 Pro Controllers. They’re basically replicas of the old SNES controller in both the Super Nintendo (SN30 Pro) and Super Famicom (SF30 Pro) colors. You can find plenty of in-depth reviews of these controllers on YouTube or Google; overall I’m quite pleased with these controllers for emulation usage.
Some things I noticed:
- Everyone says to update the firmware out of the box; my SF30 Pro was already v1.25 (newest at the time of this post) but my SN30 Pro was v1.22.
- The D-Pad on my SN30 Pro feels more worn and isn’t as stiff as my SF30 Pro’s D-Pad.
- They pair quite easily with Windows 10 over Bluetooth; you can also use them wired (flat style USB-C cable is included)
- You can pair both the SF30 Pro and SN30 Pro to your Windows PC for multiplayer games; they show up in Windows as “8Bitdo SF30 Pro” and “8Bitdo SN30 Pro” respectively. Not sure what happens if you have 2x SF30 Pros or 2x SN30 Pros since they share the same device name.
- Works great with RetroArch; shows up as “Bluetooth XINPUT compatible input device”. If you have the SF30 Pro and SN30 Pro paired, then they will appear as “Bluetooth XINPUT compatible input device (#1)” and “Bluetooth XINPUT compatible input device (#2)”.
For a long time I was using my Logitech C920 as a microphone for voice chat during gaming sessions with my friends. While the mic quality is decent, it unfortunately picks up a lot of background sounds and even sounds from another room. After watching a lot of Twitch streamers with microphones attached on stands/arms, I decided to try one for myself. Why not a Gaming headset? Because I’m using Beyerdynamic DT-990 600 ohm version on an Matrix M-Stage amplifier; switching between a pair of headphones for gaming/voice chat and another for everything else is just too cumbersome, not to mention the difference in sound quality.
My research led me to choose between two microphones: Blue Microphones Yeti and Audio-Technica AT2020 USB. Ultimately I decided to go with the AT2020 USB since its smaller and lighter than the Yeti; less distraction in the peripheral vision and also I could get away with using a lower quality mic arm like the Neewer Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand.
For approximately $15 USD, I can’t really complain about the quality of the stand. It holds the AT2020’s weight perfectly without any sag and is secured tightly to my desk via clamp. To attach the AT2020 to the Neewer stand I used Audio-Technica’s AT8458 Shock Mount and On-stage Screw Adapter. The Neewer comes with a plastic screw adapter which I found was too loose to hold the AT2020 in place; I used a piece of electrical tape wrapped around the screw threads to create a tighter fit until I found the On-stage adapter. The shock mount grips the AT2020 firmly and leaves enough space to use a curved pop filter like the Auray OMPF-33.
This setup is probably overkill for the occasional voice chat over Skype or Mumble but the sound quality is significantly greater than the C920’s microphone and picks up less background noises; you can find many videos on YouTube with example recordings of the AT2020.
Recently my G700 started experiencing the double-click issue; unfortunately it is out of warranty. Searching around on the internet I found a guide on how to fix it here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Repair-mouse-with-double-click-problem/
The mouse in the guide is a different model but the actual switch unit is the same (Omron D2FC-F-7N). In the process of fixing my G700, I managed to damage one of the mouse feet at the bottom. I bought my replacement feet for the G700 from Cooler Guys. These mouse feet are made by Corepad; they glide much smoother than the original feet and come in sets of 2.