If you are searching the market to buy a keyboard and are reading and gaining information about the different types (be it a membrane keyboard or a mechanical keyboard), you would have come across terms like anti-ghosting, and N-key rollover, etc. So, you might be wondering what is keyboard ghosting anyway, and why should you care about a keyboard that is being marketed as anti-ghosting?
In this article, I am going to explain to you everything you should know about keyboard ghosting, why it occurs, and how to deal with it. So read till the end to find out what is keyboard ghosting, and what the best anti-ghosting keyboards you can get your hands on right now.
What is Keyboard Ghosting?
Keyboard ghosting occurs when a user presses a key and fails to register. In some keyboards, if the user presses multiple keys simultaneously, a few of the keys do not work and do not reflect on the computer screen. Despite the user pressing the key; they did not appear on the screen, which means that they have disappeared, they are said to have ghosted. Thus, the term Keyboard Ghosting.
More often than not, keyboard ghosting is a problem you are likely to face when gaming. Playing a game often requires you to press multiple keys at the same time to perform actions or combos, for example. running while shooting, switching guns while strafe shooting.
What Causes Keyboard Ghosting?
Now we understand what ‘ghosting’ is, the question that arises is why this ghosting happens. To understand this, we see briefly how keyboards work, I’ll just explain the basics here. Which will enable us to understand why the problem of ghosting occurs.
Keyboards generally have a grid of column as well as row wires passing under the keys. The wires are unconnected by default, however, whenever you press a key, the circuit is connected. The software is able to figure out which key was pressed based on the connection made.
Keyboards have the ability to figure out two-key combinations as well as even a few multiple key combinations without any ghosting.
Pressing Multiple Keys in an Indistinguishable Circuit
In a lot of cases, even with multiple keys being pressed at the same time, keyboards still are able to uniquely identify the key presses. However, there are certain key combinations that can cause keyboards to get confused. So, to prevent itself from reporting incorrect key presses, the keyboard stops registering all key presses. This results in what is known as keyboard ghosting.
What does Keyboard Ghosting do to your keyboard?
Ghosting is the problem where few keys do not work when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously. The keystrokes that do not appear on the computer or seem to have just vanished are said to have been “ghosted”.
How to fix keyboard ghosting on your Keyboard?
As Keyboard Ghosting is caused by the keyboard’s design, there is practically nothing you can do about it. You can fix the issue by buying a decent keyboard or you could just simply buy an anti-ghosting keyboard. Another option you can try is to remap your keys (inconvenient, however, it is one of the solutions, if you have mappable keys).
However, there are three different steps manufacturers can take to fix the ghosting issues.
- Keyboard makers have the ability to rearrange the wires in the keyboard so that key combinations which are often used together do not exhibit the ghosting issue.
- They can use extra wires to prevent ambiguity while hitting key combinations.
- A diode can be used on every key to register them individually (for example, Mechanical Keyboards).
Best Keyboards without Keyboard Ghosting?
- Razer Huntsman Elite – This keyboard allows up to 10 key rollover, this means that you have the ability to press 10 keys as well as give 10 input commands at the same time without experiencing any ghosting.
- Corsair K100 – The K100 supports N-key rollover. Which means that the keyboard allows any number of keys to be pressed, so, you don’t have to be worried about key ghosting.
- SteelSeries Apex 3 – The SteelSeries Apex 3 keyboard is equipped with full gaming-grade anti-ghosting, it comes with an N-key rollover. You can press as many keys as you want on the keyboard without experiencing any sort of ghosting.
- Redragon K552 – The K552 keyboard allows N-key rollover, each of the keys can be pressed without any concern or conflict. There will be no ghosting in the Redragon K552 keyboard, as all 87 keys are conflict-free N-key rollover.
Beware All Anti-Ghosting Keyboards are Not Created Equal
There can be a lot of instances where you will see keyboard manufacturers label their keyboards as ‘anti-ghosting,’ however, they are only telling part of the story. In umpteen cases, the anti-ghosting keyboards only fix the ghosting issue for key combinations that are frequently used together. This means the problem of ghosting remains for other (generally not as common) key combinations. That is fine until you end up hitting the key combinations that are still suffering from ghosting issues, and figure out that the keyboard no longer works.
Why do people hate Keyboard Ghosting?
People who generally tend to press many keys together, for example, Gamers or Programmers press multiple keys at once and want them to be registered at once. So, when ghosting occurs on keyboards, leads to some of the keys not registering, and causes inconvenience to the user.
Simply put people hate keyboard ghosting as it hinders whatever function the user was trying to perform. Which in turn ruins the user experience. I being a gamer, use a Gaming keyboard, and being honest, ghosting is not tolerable at any level, because in competitive games like Valorant, hitting multiple keys at the same time is a must.
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