Knucker Plunger Keyboard, really Thermaltake?

Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2013 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: input, gaming keyboard, thermaltake, knucker plunger

The unfortunately named Thermaltake Knucker Plunger Keyboard gets its name from the Plunger switches that were used for the keys on this board.  They are not quite mechanical switches but do offer more feedback, both tactile and audible, when a key is depressed so that you get a feel similar to a mechanical switch but without the accompanying price tag.  With LED backlighting and easily removable keys it does offer the same benefits as high end gaming keyboards but at $40 it will not cost you as much as other models.  Benchmark Reviews tried out the newest member of the Tt eSPORTS lineup finding it more than acceptable for the price point.

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"In today's throw away culture it seems that nothing is sacred anymore, spending ~$100 on a keyboard seems like nothing to some folks with seamlessly disposable income, but not all of us have that luxury. To this end Thermaltake's Tt eSPORTS division have created the Knucker Plunger Gaming Keyboard (model: KB-KNK008). The Knucker Gaming Keyboard was designed and priced to sit part way between a regular rubber dome keyboard and a mechanical switch keyboard. The end result is what Thermaltake call 'Plunger switch technology', a semi-mechanical rubber dome setup that gives tactile feel of mechanical switches at a much lower cost. Here at Benchmark Reviews we aim to give you the information you want without all the hype, so you can make an educated decision for yourself. Read on to find out if the Knucker Keyboard is all that it promises to be."

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Tech Talk

May 16, 2013 | 04:11 AM - Posted by psuedonymous (not verified)

With LED backlighting

It doesn't have any backlighting according to TT's spec page.

July 25, 2013 | 11:38 PM - Posted by VanguardLH (not verified)

Replacing the left-side "Windows" key means lots of users will not have the same manuever to use the Winkey combos (e.g., Win+E = Windows Explorer, Win+L = lock Windows). Tt replaced the left Winkey with an Fn key needed for using the S1-S4 repeat rate keys (only used in PS/2 mode) and with F12 to turn off a lighted fluff logo on a NON-removable wrist rest (too narrow for adults, okay for kids). Users will have to reprogram their fingers to find the Winkey on the right-side of the lower row of the keyboard (so they'll be hunt-peck typing their old trusty Winkey combos).

Because they moved the Winkey to the right side of the lower row of keys, the right-Shift key got shortened. This makes that key MUCH HARDER to reach. You WILL end up having to move your right hand from the home position for it to reach the short right-Shift key (unless you are a mutant with an abnormally formed right hand where the pinkie can flex outward at a large angle).

Negatives

  • S1-S4 repeat rate keys only usable in PS/2 mode.
  • Winkey moved from left side to right side.
  • Short right-Shift key.
  • Logo lights up but no other keys are backlit.
  • Has clicky sound of cherry brown switches but feel of Cherry blacks.
  • Tapping on edge of keycap has more resistance than in center (due to hard plasic plunger rubbing against hole in key case).
  • Keycaps are labelled using stickers (nothing special about their claimed "silk screen" labelling). They will wear off. Fancy and misleading wording for how all $3-$20 membrane keyboards are also labelled.
  • Bright red LED when on for NumLock, ScrollLock, and CapsLock is distracting. Either need to use less intensity or make it adjustable.
  • No multimedia buttons, especially volume (up/down/mute). Will need a utility for that, like Nirsoft's Volumouse.

Positives

  • Cheaper than mechanical keyboards but obviously you're not getting one of those. This is still a membrane keyboard using plastic plungers to align pressure on the bubbles.
  • For those that like the clicky feedback of Cherry MX Brown switches but want the feel of Cherry MX Blacks.
  • Less flex than cheaper membrane keyboards (probably due to molded recesses underneath that act like ribbing).
  • Rubber feet on edges of feet to keep keyboard from moving (some have rubber on feet but only usable when the feet are folded up but just bare plastic when the feet are folded down to elevate the backside of the keyboard).
  • Blue coloring to keycap labels is not as bright in full light (less distracting) but seem more visible under low-light conditions
  • Contains internal protocol logic (why the USB-PS/2 adapter is included) so keyboard can be used in either USB or PS/2 port. USB-only keyboards don't have this internal logic so the adapter will not magically convert them to a PS/2 device.
  • Selectable key repeat rate (S1-S4) but only when PS/2 is used.
  • Scannng is slower for USB (18.7-32.75 ms) versus PS/2 (2.83-10.88 ms). For gaming or very fast typists (80+ WPS), PS/2 is much more responsive which means less missed keystrokes. I can get up to 109 WPS and will notice missed keystrokes all the time with USB keyboards. Also notice that multiple concurrent keypress roll-over for USB is only 12 keys versus 16 for PS/2. For many gaming keyboards, NKRO is only available when using PS/2. Many new computers don't include PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard -- a mistake to save a few pennies for a better albeit older hardware interface. If you make sure to get a computer with PS/2 ports then definitely use them with a PS/2-capable keyboard. You can connect only 1 device to a PS/2 port so there is battling for bandwidth as with multiple devices connected to the same USB controller. PS/2 is interrupt driven. USB is poll driven so there is a lag until the next poll if the current one was just before a keypress.
July 26, 2013 | 12:06 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Point 1: NKRO is actually the sum of two problems -- the bus, and the key matrix. USB is not too bad... especially now that we get USB controllers which can register as multiple keyboards. An NKRO key matrix on standard USB can reliably detect any 6 keypresses... multi-keyboard usb hacks can register almost twice as many keys as you have fingers.

Point 2: Very-much disagree with the USB vs PS/2 accuracy/precision statement. In my testing USB is just as precise as its PS/2 counterpart. In fact, the Rosewill RK-9000 (the original, rebranded Filco Majestouch, model; not their refresh) was the only board to receive a perfect score and did so in USB mode.

http://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-Tech/Rosewill-Second-Generation-Mechanical-Keyboard-Review-RK-9000-RK-9000BR-RK-90-4

Note that my test simulates around 200-600 words per minute (5 keys pressed in as low as a tenth of a second via a straight-edge).

It was not the USB or PS/2 connection that messed you up... it was just a crappy keyboard.

Actually, that is true in both points.

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