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Gateron CMvs. Durock T1

An in-depth look at the Gateron CM and the Durock T1 switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, the Gateron CM and the Durock T1 are two popular options that offer distinct typing experiences. The Gateron CM is a linear switch that stands out with its unique full nylon housing, providing a richer and deeper sound signature. This switch boasts an impeccably smooth typing journey, thanks to its factory lube job, giving each keystroke a sensation of gliding gracefully. With its lengthened, dual-staged spring, the CM promises a bouncy typing experience. On the other hand, the Durock T1 is a tactile switch that offers exceptional comfort while typing. It features a medium bump when pressing down and produces a sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window. Although both switches offer their own unique qualities, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities to help you decide on the best switch for your specific needs.

By the numbers

CM
T1
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear
BrandDurock
CategoryTactile

$4.80

$4.25 per 10 switches

$5.50

$4.90 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

63.5g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 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

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Dual-staged 20mm lengthened gold-plated spring

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The Gateron CM and the Durock T1 differ in their housing materials, specifically in the top housing. The CM features a nylon top housing, which creates a deeper and fuller sound profile when typing. Due to its relatively softer plastic, nylon absorbs more sound than harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. In contrast, the T1 utilizes a polycarbonate top housing, which produces a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. Polycarbonate is a stiffer plastic, leading to a more clear and resonant sound profile. Additionally, the T1's translucent polycarbonate top housing allows for effective RGB lighting.

While the top housings of the Gateron CM and the Durock T1 differ, their bottom housings are both made of nylon. Nylon, being a classic switch housing material, has similar qualities in both switches. Typing on switches with a nylon bottom housing elicits a deeper and fuller sound profile. The relatively softer plastic of nylon absorbs more sound than harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. Therefore, if you desire a switch with these specific acoustic properties, both the CM and the T1 can provide similar results.

In terms of typing experience, the construction of the switch housings plays a role in the sound and feel. When pressing down on either the CM or the T1, the qualities of the bottom housing become more noticeable. The bottom housing has a significant impact on the "bottom-out" sound and feel when the key is fully pressed. Conversely, the top housing influences the sound when releasing a key. Therefore, the choice of housing material, whether nylon or polycarbonate, can affect the overall typing experience and the distinct audio feedback associated with each switch.

Weight

The Gateron CM linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch have notable differences in their actuation force and bottom out force. The CM linear switch has a lighter actuation force of 55 grams, while the T1 tactile switch's actuation force is unknown. However, both switches share a medium-heavy bottom out force. The CM linear switch requires 63.5 grams of force for bottoming out, while the T1 tactile switch requires 67 grams.

Considering weight, some individuals prefer lighter switches as it allows them to type for extended periods without fatigue. This is particularly useful for keyboards that are used for work or long gaming sessions. However, there are also users who prefer a stronger push feel for a more substantial typing experience. These users should opt for switches with heavier forces.

In terms of actuation force, the Gateron CM linear switch's lighter force may be preferred by those who desire a lighter and more effortless keystroke initiation. While the actuation force of the T1 tactile switch is unknown, it can be speculated that it might fall in the medium-heavy range similar to its bottom out force.

In conclusion, the Gateron CM linear switch has a lighter actuation force compared to the Durock T1 tactile switch. The bottom out force for both switches is medium-heavy. Therefore, individuals seeking a lighter keystroke may lean towards the CM linear switch, while those desiring a more substantial typing experience may opt for the T1 tactile switch.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron CM linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, we can see clear differences. The Gateron CM has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the Durock T1 has a slightly longer travel distance of 4 mm. In terms of traditional travel distances, the Durock T1 falls within the standard range, while the Gateron CM is on the shorter end. This means that if you are looking for a faster response time, the Gateron CM with its shorter travel distance may be more suitable for gamers. However, for those who prefer a deeper and more substantial feel when typing or gaming, the Durock T1 with its longer travel distance might be the better choice. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the desired level of responsiveness.

Sound tests

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 Durock T1 has an MSRP of $5.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the T1 for $4.90.

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.

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Typing experience

In terms of sound, the Gateron CM linear switch is best described as bassy, thocky, and low-pitched. These switches produce a deeper and richer sound profile with a lower frequency range, resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. The sound can be characterized by a deep "thud" or a soft "knock" when the key is pressed and released. On the other hand, the Durock T1 tactile switch is also low-pitched in sound. It provides a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. The sound of both switches is subjective and can also be influenced by other factors such as the type of keyboard and keycaps used.

In terms of feel, the Gateron CM linear switch offers a buttery, polished, creamy, and frictionless typing experience. The switch provides a smooth and fluid keystroke experience, with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Typing on these switches evokes a seamless and effortless sensation, like gliding fingers across the keys with ease. On the other hand, the Durock T1 tactile switch is described as stepped, accented, and polished. It offers a mild tactility with some pre-travel and/or post-travel, providing a moderate amount of tactility that is neither overwhelming nor subtle. Like the CM switch, the T1 also delivers a sleek and smooth typing experience due to the use of polished materials or factory lubing.

To summarize the available information, the Gateron CM linear switch has a deeper and richer sound profile, characterized by a bassy and thocky sound. It offers a buttery, polished, creamy, and frictionless feel, providing a seamless and effortless typing experience. On the other hand, the Durock T1 tactile switch has a low-pitched sound profile and a stepped, accented, and polished feel. It offers a mild tactility and a sleek typing experience. Both switches have their unique qualities that can enhance the typing experience for users. However, it is important to consider personal preferences and other factors such as the choice of keyboard and keycaps to achieve the desired sound and feel.

Try switches before you buy them

We understand that finding the perfect keyboard switches can be a challenging and time-consuming process. This led us to design Milktooth's try at-home program that allows you to sample and test different switches in the comfort of your own home, ensuring you make the right choice for your typing preferences.

You can try 10 switches at home for 5 days, and your switches come pre-installed on switch testers. Of course, you’re more than free to install them into your own board to try as well for the most representative typing experience.

Gone are the days of going through countless forums and reviews to find the ideal switches. Now, you can experience the tactile feedback, actuation points, and sound profiles firsthand, empowering you to make an informed decision without any pressure or time constraints.

We understand the importance of finding the perfect typing experience, and our try at-home program eliminates the risk of making a costly mistake. Experiment with different switch variants, test them in various typing scenarios, and fine-tune your keyboard to match your individual preferences.

The try at-home program costs only $15, which includes shipping both ways. By trying before you buy, you can make the most informed purchasing decision possible. Simply click the "try at home" button on any given switch webpage to get started.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a linear switch with a medium-heavy bottom out force and a smooth typing experience, the Gateron CM is a great choice. With its full nylon housing and impeccable factory lube job, the CM switches offer a deeper and richer sound profile, characterized by a bassy and thocky tone. They also provide a buttery and frictionless feel, allowing for a seamless and effortless typing journey. On the other hand, if you prefer a tactile switch with a medium-heavy bottom out force and a comfortable typing experience, the Durock T1 is the way to go. Its medium bump and low-pitched sound create a pleasant sensation reminiscent of rain falling on a window. The T1 has a polished finish, resulting in smooth key travel and reduced friction. Ultimately, your decision between the two switches will depend on whether you prioritize the linear or tactile feel, as well as the specific sound and typing experience you desire.

Mentioned in this article

CM

CM

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$4.80

$4.25 per 10 switches

Try the CM switches
T1

T1

BrandDurock
CategoryTactile

$5.50

$4.90 per 10 switches

Try the T1 switches