A computer keyboard designed for gamers. Although there are several controllers with dials and levers for games, the W, A, S and D letter keys on the standard QWERTY keyboard are also widely used. On gaming keyboards, which are mostly mechanical, the key switches require less depression and result in faster action for games. There may also be extra keys that are user configurable for macros (commonly used key sequences). See video game controller
, gaming mouse
, gaming PC
, mechanical keyboard
, WASD keys
The Faster the Switch the Better
The major criterion is the speed of the key switch. Known as the "actuation distance," it is how far the key has to be depressed to make contact with the electronic circuit. The shorter the distance, the faster the key responds. A standard mechanical switch has a 2 millimeter actuation point, while some keyboards are as little as 0.4mm.
In addition to the depression distance, the processing time is a consideration. The "keystroke signal processing" (KSP) is the time it takes to turn a depressed key switch into a USB signal, and the "USB polling rate" is how fast that request is monitored for transfer to the motherboard.
Alienware Gaming Keyboard
Gaming keyboards look like regular keyboards, except that they are extremely fast.
Configurable Actuation Distance
Using magnetic fields, SteelSeries' Apex Pro keyboard measures the distance a key is depressed and can be manually adjusted to satisfy gaming and ordinary typing sessions. Individual keys can also be configured independently. (Image courtesy of SteelSeries, www.steelseries.com)