A Coolermaster Quickfire TK with MX Browns was my first, back in early 2013 i think. I remember doing research on geekhack to get aftermarket keycaps for it, and that board stayed with me for a while. It’s still here, on my wall, looking majestic and ancient, with a chipped keycap. After moving to more tactile switches however i finally realised how damn mushy those MX Browns were.
Ducky Shine 3 TKL with cherry reds, back in 2014 (I think).
Coming from Logitech UltraX I loved my Ducky used it for a few years.
And after that… well, here we are…
But years before that and my first true love was Cherry G80-1000 HAD (cherry black switches).
My first board was a Steelseries 6g2v that had blacks that I disliked.
The second board that I consider the gateway drug was a Ganss GS87 with mx clears. The board is a Filco clone, so it can be used in alu cases made for Filco MJ’s. From there I started with modding, trying keycap sets and profiles and that was it. Was a big fan of novelties so the board ended up like this Ganss TKL GS87 + Red YMDK Alu case
I think my first actual mechanical keyboard was a Corsair K90 with mx reds which I purchased back in 2011. Used it daily for almost 5 years until curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to try out a cheapo EC board from massdrop, the Royal Kludge RC930.
This was the true gateway drug. Going from stock mx reds to a topre-clone was an eye opener. That change from a fairly unremarkable feeling board to something that actually offered tactility, which was a new experience for me, cemented an idea in my head: tactile > linear.
I think from that point on, everything I purchased has essentially either come with tactiles, or was built with tactiles up until this year when I discovered the joy (or pain) of lubing switches and just how a good a well lubed linear can feel.
It’s funny, I worked at best buy around that time and I remember seeing those gamer keyboards in the PC gaming section and thinking ‘hey that’s cool, it’s a modern take on old keyboards’. But I always thought they were too gaudy to put on a desk so I kept my Logitech whatever.
It’s a good thing too because I had no money back then so the addiction would have put me on the street.
I ordered mine from Amazon not realizing how garish it would be in person. I still have it I think in the bottom of a bin in the closet.
Since I grew up in the 80’ & 90’s I can probably get away with saying Model F/Ms & old Apple boards with ALPS SKCC to SKCM/L switches were my true first experience & gateway into mechs. Although I’d be being a little disingenuous in saying that, as mechs were just the norm back then & I thought nothing of it when the PC world moved from mechs to rubber dome boards. It wasn’t until early 2014 I finally got back into PC gaming & around late 2014 I built myself a decent gaming PC, that I really started thinking about keyboards as something more than just a way to interact with a PC. I figured I spent all this money making my PC the best it can be, why wouldn’t I want the best KB & mouse I can get for it. So I started looking.
The mouse wasn’t hard for me as I was cool with any half decent mouse that worked properly & had some extra buttons for gaming. Keyboards on the other hand were a sticking point for me. After hearing how Razer, Corsair, insert gaming peripheral company here were the best KBs for gaming I started looking at them & honestly was super underwhelmed by what was on offer. To me they were all very cheaply made, ultra garish with all the RGB, & way overpriced for what you get. Sometime in Feb. 2015 I finally settled on a Rosewill Apollo (RK-9100xRBR) with Cherry browns. Rosewill products never let me down, the price was much better than other “gaming KBs” on offer, & it didn’t look like a spaceship so I went with it.
Once I got it I did notice it was much nicer typing experience than anything I had used since I was in school & really fell in love with that board. Then I heard whispers of better keycaps, mods to improve MKBs, etc & wound up coming across r/mk. Needless to say I feel headfirst down the rabbit hole. A couple KBP V60s, a MK Disco, & a Pok3r later it was time to build my own. From there to here has been a fun filled whirlwind of trying new things, meeting new people, & collecting metal chunks + plastic bits LOL! Definitely the hobby that has stuck closest to me since then. So yeah I guess that Rosewill Apollo was much more of a “gateway drug” than I ever expected!
To mechanical keyboards?
Razer Black Widow TKL that I won from Razer along with a backpack and mouse in a Twitter retweet contest (yes, people win those).
KBDFans Tofu 60% with Gateron Yellow switches.
The original Ducky Shine with Cherry MX Red switches. It had Red LEDs which matched my HAF X computer case at the time.
I had a CODE keyboard with cherry clears. But what really got me deep in the hobby was the Preonic kit i bought as a whim from Drop and soldered together (poorly). It’s been nothing but customs since.
Does it count if you never left the prebuilt life?
Durgod first, got a K310 (full size). Then came the rash of Leopolds; the 980M is a lovely work board. I went Topre shortly thereafter
OG IBM Thinkpad scissors. That keyboard despite it being on a laptop is still the gold standard for me.
I mean, Topre is a prebuilt sure, its a good prebuilt. I don’t think one needs to be into customs to be into keyboards, take Chyrosran22 for example, I’ve never seen his hands touch any GB board, but its un-debatable he’s a core member of this hobby, if more keyboard manufacturers today produced interesting/quality keyboards, more of us would be using them.
In 2012 was the first time I built a computer and I had my eyes set on the SS-6g2v from the start.
After spending a lot of time on the computer hardware forums I always knew of the custum scene but never really cared for it.
After a bunch of pre-builds passing by over the years it was now the fall of - 19 when the IC for GMK Phosphorous came up in a thread on my forum that really caught my attention.
I then started to read about all these different switches and found out about hotswap and quickly ordered a GMMK TKL and it’s been going downhill ever since.
Sadly the kit that made me fall in love with the hobby also broke my heart when the Norde-kit was canceled.
Well I take exception to those who claim this hobby is only about customs. It’s about good boards. That can be a gb prebuilt, a custom, a vintage board or a really good prebuilt like an HHKB, an FC980M or a steel series apex pro. That said, there is distinctly a vintage side and a custom side to this hobby (I straddle both) and neither side should ever look down their noses at the other.
Not trying to call you out at all Doof cause I don’t think you’re doing that I think it’s just important to say cause I’ve seen others do it before.
In truth, Chyros is at the very heart of this hobby and if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be in it.
CM Quickfire Pro with MX Browns for me. Five years or so later it was a Leopold 750r in 2017, quickly followed by my first custom, a Kbd75.
It’s about good boards. … neither side should ever look down their noses at the other.
Definitely true, people seek out vintage boards and customs different reasons, I think you may be one of the few people I’ve seen strattle the line between the two, although I don’t spend much time on Geekhack or Deskthority.
I had some Corsair board but I didn’t want to like mod it or anything, I wouldn’t say I got into keyboards until I got my novatouch (way back when that was something you could just buy off the shelf)