In the fascinating realm of gaming keyboards, there’s a conversation that never grows old – the age-old debate between the north facing and south facing switches. Today, we’re diving headfirst into this topic! We’ll be exploring both types, weighing their pros and cons, and we might even discover which one is your perfect match. So if you’re a keyboard enthusiast like us, buckle up for an interesting journey!
Understanding North-Facing Switches
North-facing switches feature their LED on the top part of the PCB (that’s short for Printed Circuit Board, in case you were wondering). This positioning offers brilliant lighting that can truly elevate your experience in dim settings or those late-night gaming sessions. However, like all good things, they do come with a sprinkle of challenges.
One common gripe among users is a “scratchy” feeling or sound that can occur depending on the keycaps used. Particularly when used with Cherry keycap profile, there’s an interference which hits the keycap leading to this sensation. If you’d like more insights on different kinds of keyboard switches, do check out this comprehensive guide.
Decoding South-Facing Switches
Switching gears to south-facing switches, these have their LED situated on the bottom part of the PCB. This makes them compatible with pretty much every keycap type – a feature that’s earned them many fans. But every rose has its thorn!
In this case, it’s that RGB won’t shine through the keycap as brilliantly as in north-facing switches. Instead, it lights up the space between keycaps – a visual that not everyone is fond of. For those intrigued by how different switch types work differently, here’s an interesting comparison between scissor and mechanical switches.
Tackling Hot-Swappable Keyboards
For those wondering about hot-swappable keyboards and how they fit into this discussion – fret not! The terminology isn’t as confusing as it seems. In fact, hot-swappable keyboards follow the same principles as standard north or south facing switch terminology that non-hotswappable keyboards use.
Impact of Switch Orientation on Keycap Compatibility
An important aspect to consider when choosing between north and south-facing switches is keycap compatibility. While south-facing switches are generally compatible with most keycaps, things can get a bit tricky with north-facing ones.
North-facing switches tend to cause interference when used with Cherry profile keycaps. This means your keycaps might not sit perfectly on the switch, leading to an inconsistent feel and sound across the keyboard. If you’re a fan of Cherry profile keycaps, this is definitely something to keep in mind!
RGB Lighting Differences
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a significant difference in how RGB lighting works depending on the switch orientation.
With north-facing switches, the LED light shines directly through the keycap – giving it a beautiful glow that can add an aesthetic appeal to your gaming setup. South-facing switches, however, have their LEDs at the bottom, which results in less direct illumination.
Instead, the light tends to fill up the space between keycaps – creating more of an underglow effect. This could be less appealing if you’re someone who wants their keys brightly lit up.
Typing Experience and Feel
The typing experience also varies depending on where your LED is positioned. North-facing switches can sometimes produce a “scratchy” feeling or sound due to interference with certain keycaps.
On the other hand, south-facing switches provide a smoother typing experience for most users because they don’t interfere with any keycap type. If you spend long hours gaming or typing, this could play a crucial role in your choice of switch orientation.
Trends and Preferences among Gamers
Trends in switch orientation have evolved over time as well. North facing keyboards were once popular for their compact design and excellent lighting features. However, many gamers now prefer south facing switches for their diverse keycap compatibility and smooth typing experience – even if it means sacrificing some shine from their RGB lights.
Now let’s move onto some frequently asked questions about north and south facing switches.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I change my keyboard’s switch orientation?
Unfortunately, no – you cannot change your keyboard’s switch orientation as their pins only fit one direction.
Do all keyboards come with either north or south facing switches?
While most mechanical keyboards do fall into these categories, remember that other types of keyboards exist as well such as scissor-switch or membrane keyboards which follow different designs altogether.
Are there differences in durability between north and south facing switches?
There isn’t any noticeable difference in durability between these two orientations. However, some users find that north facing keyboards wear out faster due to potential interference issues causing increased friction on certain keycaps.
I love RGB lighting but also want maximum compatibility with my Cherry profile keycaps – what should I do?
In this case, you’ll need to weigh your preferences. If vibrant lighting is non-negotiable for you then go for north-facing but be prepared for potential interferences with certain keycaps. If smooth typing experience and compatibility are more important then go for south-facing.
The Verdict: Is North Better than South?
he conclusion isn’t as straightforward as you might wish. In the end, it’s all about your unique tastes and the kind of switches or keycaps that resonate with you. After all, choosing a keyboard is a personal journey, one where your preferences reign supreme. You might adore the tactile feedback of mechanical switches or gravitate towards the smooth action of membrane keycaps – neither is right nor wrong, just different strokes for different folks! Remember to trust your instincts and choose what feels best under your fingertips
South-Facing switches/PCB/LEDs provide maximum switch compatibility and a smoother typing experience overall. Thus if comfort and adaptability are high on your priority list – south just might be your direction!
On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes their keys illuminated at night and enjoy a vibrant display of lights during your gaming sessions – north-facing could be right up your alley! To make an informed decision about which switch suits your style best, here’s another informative piece comparing Glorious Panda vs Holy Panda.