Silent Linear Switches Comparison & Silent Alpaca Review

Sound Test: Silent Alpaca vs Zeal Rosélios vs Gateron Silent Ink vs Gateron Silent Black

The Silent Alpaca

The Silent Alpaca switch is manufactured by Durock and was made available in early January 2020. Durock drama aside, let’s see how these switches perform and how they fit in the landscape of silent linear switches.

The switch has a smoky black transparent housing with a light pink stem that is meant to pair with SA Bliss. The spring is gold coated with a 62g bottom out. The switch comes prelubed on the stem arms with a light amount of oil.

The Housing

In comparison to Gateron Silent Inks which share a similar coloured housing, the Alpaca housing is thinner and so the sound is a little higher pitched. The housing suffers from a loose top and bottom connection which results in increased wobble and noise.

The Stem

The stem cruciform is smaller than some switches and keycaps are a bit easier to remove. The keycap isn’t loose but it is noticeable when using a keycap puller to remove the keycaps. The lube is an oil unlike most typical stock lube and it’s also not overdone or messy like a lot of stock lube can be.
A common complaint with silent switches is that the stem sticks to the top housing if they have been resting for a while. I notice this issue with both the Zeal silent switches and Gateron Silent Ink but haven’t noticed this issue with the Silent Alpacas.

The Spring

The spring is fairly typical for a gold-plated spring. I didn’t notice much pinging like is typical with Zeal gold-plated springs.

Putting it all together

Out of the box, the Silent Alpaca is very smooth and in hand they are quiet. Putting the switches into a board, however, results in a very different sound and feel.

I noticed immediately that the switch had a lot of wobble because there’s quite a bit of play between the top and bottom housing. This housing issue results in a switch that is louder than most silent switches and you can even feel the movement when pressing the switch.

Having some TX switch films lying around, I decided to put those between the top and bottom housing to see if this would improve the switch and, wow, does it ever!

Switch films save the day

The Silent Alpaca with switch films is hands down my favourite silent linear beating out Gateron Silent Inks and Zeal Rosélios, both of which are top-tier silent switches. I cannot recommend the Silent Alpacas, however, unless you are going to modify them with switch films. They really do go from one of the worst to one of the best switches with just one modification. Of course, like every switch, redoing the lube will make them even better.

How do these compare to other silent switches available?

This is by no means a comparison to the whole silent switch landscape but the Gateron Silent Inks and Zeal Silent switches are praised in the community for being some of the best silent MX switches available.

Rosélios or any Zeal silent switch for that matter are about on par with Gateron Silent Ink switches. I prefer the Inks because they have a slightly deeper sound than the Zeal switches. Both are tremendously better than stock Gateron Silent switches which are quite scratchy. Performance comes at a price, however, with Zeal switches selling at $1.20/switch, and Silent Inks at $0.80/switch. Gateron Silent switches are available for $0.38/switch. Is it worth paying double the price? To me, yes. It’s a huge improvement in sound and feel that justifies the added expense.

Wrapping up

The Silent Alpaca now brings an even cheaper option with the price at $0.70/switch. With that said, if you don’t plan on using switch films, which are $0.05/film, I’d actually recommend the Gateron Silent switch over the Alpaca switch. But if you’re willing to modify the switches with films you can save money and, in my opinion, end up with one of the best silent linear switches available.

So, from greatest to worst my ranking would look like this:

  1. Switch Filmed Silent Alpacas
  2. Gateron Silent Ink
  3. Zeal Silent Rosélios (and variants)
  4. Gateron Silent Black (and variants)
  5. Stock Silent Alpacas
8 Likes

Awesome review! Makes me consider buying some to try as I really like Zeal Zilents but would like to try a silent linear. Luckily I have some films lying around too.

1 Like

What did you lube inside? I just ordered some of these and am planning on filming them. Might as well add some lube while I have them open

Good review. I hope durock will fix the fit of their switch tops some day. It’s true that you need films in these as well as the non-silent version.

I still say that mx silent stem in gateron (aliaz) housing with 3204 is the smoothest, quietest switch you can get. I don’t even like silent switches and I love my MX Zilents.

And you can usually find both aliaz and silent cherry black switches for cheap.

2 Likes

I used Tribosys 3204 for the housing and stem and TX oil for the spring. 105-106 would be good for spring oil as well.

I tried the cherry silent black stem in the Rosélios housing and it is smooth and quiet but I actually like the Silent Alpacas more.

I also tried the Silent Alpaca stem in the Gateron Ink housing and it was good. I’m not sure if I preferred that or just switch filmed Silent Alpacas.

One interesting thing, and I need to check this further, but I believe the keycap is actually sitting about a millimetre lower on the alpacas than all the rest of the switches I own.

ooo finally a silent switch comparison. I would love to see mx zilents being compared to the rest of these!

Hmm, gotta be honest & say your salesman skills are strong @cijanzen. Me & silent switches have been like oil & water, I just can not find one I find useable on a daily basis. MX Zilents are the closest, but even with them I’d rather be using a regular unsilenced linear. However reading this has piqued my interests in the silent Alpacas since the regular Alpacas have found their way onto my "need to try’ list. I’m gonna have to pick up a few of the silent ones when I get the chance to grab a batch of the regular ones.

1 Like

While I didn’t record them, I’d say MX Zilents are about the same as Silent Inks. So they’re good but not worth the price imo.

As long as you intend to switch film them! Cause seriously they are not good if you don’t.

1 Like

Do you guys have issues with your filmed switches sometimes making noise still? It’s not as bad as rattling tops, but sometimes I can hear the film sound like it’s crinkling while typing. It happens on my creams and on my alpacas both.

They aren’t installed incorrectly, I’ve checked many times. I’m starting to wonder if it would be better and cheaper to just put some lube on the surface where the top meets the bottom. I remember trying it before on my creams and it stopped the rattle without using film.

1 Like

Hmm I don’t think I’ve noticed this issue. I have switch filmed creams and inks.

I’ve had a similar issue where the film was pushed too far back towards the leaves & the front side of the slider was contacting the edge of the film. Just realigning the film fixed it.

I’ve had this weird paper-y sound that was fixed by re-seating the film. I’ve also come across that some switch films are better than others. I always use TX films now because the other one I used just didn’t have the same quality that TX films had.

1 Like

No doubt TX films are the best, although I’ve had that work against them. They’re so thick that some switches wont take them while they will take thinner films or stickers. I always try the TX films first though, if they fit I go with them.