Gateron CM vs. KTT Mannan Pipefish

An in-depth look at the Gateron CM and the KTT Mannan Pipefish switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options that stand out are the Gateron CM and the KTT Mannan Pipefish. The Gateron CM switch breaks away from convention with its full nylon housing, offering a unique and deeper sound signature compared to other switches. With an impeccable factory lube job, these switches provide an effortlessly smooth typing experience, making it feel like you're gliding with each keystroke. Furthermore, the lengthened, dual-staged spring of the CM switch ensures a bouncy typing experience. On the other hand, the Mannan Pipefish switch offers an effortless and enjoyable typing experience. It features a smooth linear action, a lengthened spring, and a light 45g actuation and bottom-out force, making it perfect for casual typists seeking a strain-free keyboarding journey. While these general pointers give an overview of the benefits of each switch, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the ideal switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

37g

Bottom-out force

63.5g

Bottom-out force

45g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.90 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Spring

Dual-staged 20mm lengthened gold-plated spring

Spring

22mm spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron CM and the KTT Mannan Pipefish differ when it comes to their top housing. The CM utilizes a nylon top housing, which produces a deeper and fuller sound profile due to the softer nature of nylon. On the other hand, the Mannan Pipefish incorporates a polycarbonate top housing, resulting in a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. The stiffer nature of polycarbonate contributes to a more clear and resonant sound profile. Additionally, the polycarbonate top housing is ideal for users who plan to use RGB lighting, as its translucency allows for enhanced lighting effects.

Despite the difference in top housing materials, the bottom housing of both switches is made of nylon. As a result, both switches elicit a deeper and fuller sound profile. Nylon, being a softer plastic, absorbs more sound compared to harder plastics. This absorption property creates a duller and rounder sound when typing on switches with nylon bottom housing. Therefore, users can expect similar sound characteristics from the Gateron CM and the KTT Mannan Pipefish in terms of their bottom-out sound and feel.

The choice of top and bottom housing materials in a switch provides different impacts on the overall sound profile. Pressing down on a switch will primarily exhibit the qualities of the bottom housing material. The bottom housing influences the bottom-out sound and feel, contributing to the overall typing experience. Conversely, the top housing material has more influence on the sound produced when releasing a key. Therefore, users can expect variations in the sound profile between the Gateron CM and the KTT Mannan Pipefish based on their differing top housing materials, while experiencing similar characteristics when it comes to the bottom-out sound and feel.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch, there are notable differences in the weight of the forces. The Gateron CM linear switch has a heavier actuation force of 55 grams and a bottom out force of 63.5 grams, which falls within the medium-heavy range. On the other hand, the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch has a lighter actuation force of 37 grams and a bottom out force of 45 grams, categorizing it as a light switch.

For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the KTT Mannan Pipefish switch would be a suitable choice. The lower actuation force of 37 grams allows for effortless keystrokes, making it ideal for extended typing or gaming sessions. However, individuals who prefer a more substantial typing experience with a stronger push feel may opt for the Gateron CM switch. Its heavier actuation force of 55 grams requires a bit more effort to trigger a keystroke, providing a satisfying tactile feedback.

Considering the weight of the forces, the Gateron CM linear switch is heavier than the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch. This gives users seeking a more pronounced typing experience a reason to choose the Gateron CM switch. However, for those who value a lighter switch to promote longer typing or gaming sessions, the KTT Mannan Pipefish switch offers a more suitable option. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on individual preferences and typing style.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch, we find that the CM has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the Mannan Pipefish has a travel distance of 4.0 mm. In terms of distance, the Mannan Pipefish is slightly longer. The CM's travel distance of 3.6 mm falls on the shorter end of the spectrum, making it a favorable choice for gamers who prioritize fast response times. On the other hand, the Mannan Pipefish's slightly longer travel distance of 4.0 mm may appeal to individuals who prefer a deeper and more substantial keystroke. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches will depend on personal preference for either a shorter, more responsive travel distance or a longer and more pronounced keystroke.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron CM has an MSRP of $4.80 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the CM for $4.25.

The KTT Mannan Pipefish has an MSRP of $3.53 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Mannan Pipefish for $3.05.

Here at Milktooth, we offer the best prices on switches (on average, 27% lower the competition). In addition, we offer free shipping on orders over $49.00. We also offer free returns and exchanges, so you can shop with guaranteed satisfaction.

That said, while price is an important piece of the puzzle, our opinion is that you should ultimately pick the option that most suits your unique preferences since you’ll be using these switches for years to come. In other words, finding something perfect for you is, in our view, the most important criteria.

Typing experience

In terms of sound, the Gateron CM linear switch is best described as bassy, thocky, and low-pitched. These switches offer a deeper and richer sound profile, with a lower frequency range resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. When pressed and released, they produce a deep, satisfying "thud" or "knock" sound. On the other hand, the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch is described as neutral in terms of sound. It has a moderate sound profile, suitable for most intents and purposes. It's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the choice of keyboard board and keycaps. While the CM switch provides a richer sound experience, the Mannan Pipefish switch offers a more balanced and versatile sound profile.

When it comes to feel, the Gateron CM linear switch provides a buttery, polished, creamy, and frictionless typing experience. These switches offer a smooth and fluid keystroke, with reduced friction and smooth key travel. The seamless and effortless typing sensation of these switches can be attributed to materials used and factory lubing. On the other hand, the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch is described as easy-to-press and polished. It requires minimal force to activate, offering gentle resistance during key presses. This light actuation force makes typing effortless and comfortable, reducing finger fatigue during extended typing sessions. Both switches provide a smooth and refined typing experience, ensuring a sleek and comfortable feel.

In conclusion, the Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The CM switch provides a richer and deeper sound signature, characterized by a bassy, thocky, and low-pitched sound profile. Its feel is described as buttery, polished, creamy, and frictionless, offering a seamless and uniform typing experience. On the other hand, the Mannan Pipefish switch offers a more neutral sound profile, suitable for most users. Its feel is easy-to-press and polished, providing a responsive and low-impact typing experience. Both switches promise a comfortable and precise typing journey, catering to different preferences and needs.

Conclusion

In summary, if you are looking for a keyboard switch with a medium-heavy bottom out force and a deeper, richer sound signature, the Gateron CM linear switch is an excellent choice. With its full nylon housing and impeccable factory lube job, these switches offer an effortlessly smooth typing experience. The CM switches also provide a bouncy typing experience due to their lengthened, dual-staged spring. On the other hand, if you prefer a lighter bottom out force and a comfortable and precise typing experience, the KTT Mannan Pipefish linear switch is the way to go. The Mannan Pipefish switch features a smooth linear action, lengthened spring, and a light 45g actuation and bottom-out force, making it perfect for casual typists seeking a strain-free keyboarding journey. Both switches offer a polished finish, resulting in a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Ultimately, the choice between the CM and Mannan Pipefish switches will depend on your preference for bottom out force, sound profile, and typing feel.

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