Gateron Ink Box Black vs. Durock T1

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options to consider are the Gateron Ink Box Black, a linear switch, and the Durock T1, a tactile switch. The Ink Box Blacks are renowned for their incredibly smooth and creamy feel, creating a satisfying typing experience. With a sound signature reminiscent of a spray paint can being shaken, these switches fall into the category of being clacky and high-pitched, offering a unique auditory experience. On the other hand, the T1 switches offer a different typing sensation with a medium bump when pressed down, providing a comfortable and responsive feedback. The sound they produce brings to mind rain falling on a window, which adds a soothing touch. Categorized as stepped and low-pitched, these switches offer a neutral and accented feel. Both switches boast a polished finish, but the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the switch that suits your typing style and preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

70g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Stainless steel

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Box Black and the Durock T1 differ significantly in terms of sound profile. The Gateron Ink Box Black features a proprietary INK blend top housing that produces a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound, described as "clacky." In contrast, the T1 utilizes a polycarbonate top housing which creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. This suggests that the Ink Box Black will offer a slightly deeper and more satisfying sound compared to the T1.

Moving on to the bottom housings, the Gateron Ink Box Black retains its proprietary INK blend, which provides a similar high-pitched sound profile. On the other hand, the T1 utilizes a nylon bottom housing that elicits a deeper and fuller sound. The nylon bottom housing absorbs more sound due to its relative softness, creating a duller and rounder sound. Therefore, if you prioritize a deeper and fuller sound, the T1 with its nylon bottom housing will be the better choice.

In terms of overall feel, the bottom housing of a switch primarily affects the bottom-out sound and feel when pressed down, while the top housing influences the sound when releasing a key. Consequently, the Ink Box Black's INK blend in both the top and bottom housings will yield similar results, resulting in a consistently clacky sound profile throughout typing. Similarly, the T1's combination of polycarbonate top and nylon bottom housing will provide a reliable and balanced typing experience.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, we can observe some similarities and differences. In terms of weight, the Ink Box Black is slightly lighter with an actuation force of 60 grams and a bottom out force of 70 grams, categorizing it as medium-heavy. On the other hand, the T1 switch's actuation force is unknown, but it has a bottom out force of 67 grams, also falling under the medium-heavy range.

For those who prefer a lighter switch to type on for extended periods, the Ink Box Black might be more suitable as it requires less force to trigger a keystroke. This can be beneficial for individuals using a keyboard for work or engaging in long gaming sessions. However, if a more substantial and stronger push feel is desired, the T1 switch could be a preferable choice.

While the actuation force of the T1 switch is not specified, its bottom out force is slightly lighter than the Ink Box Black. This suggests that the T1 switch might offer a similar typing experience in terms of force required for bottoming out, despite the potential difference in initial actuation force.

Overall, the selection between these switches depends on personal preference regarding typing experience and desired force feedback.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the Durock T1 tactile switch has a travel distance of 4 mm. In terms of travel distance, the T1 is the longer option, while the Ink Box Black is the shorter option. The 4.0 mm travel distance of the T1 falls into the more traditional range, whereas the 3.6 mm travel distance of the Ink Box Black is slightly shorter. Shorter travel distances are often favored by gamers who prioritize faster response times. On the other hand, those who prefer a more substantial keypress experience may find the longer travel distance of the T1 more satisfying. Both switches offer distinct characteristics and it ultimately depends on individual preference and the specific use-case.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Box Black has an MSRP of $8.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ink Box Black for $7.65.

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.

Typing experience

The Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch is best known for its incredibly smooth and creamy feel. It provides a silky typing experience, enhancing the overall smoothness of the keypress and minimizing resistance when pressing and releasing keys. This switch can be described as polished, thanks to its smooth and refined finish, resulting in a sleek typing experience. On the other hand, the Durock T1 tactile switch offers a stepped feel, meaning it feels like it has two stages during the keystroke. It provides a comfortable typing experience with a medium bump when pressing down. Similar to the Ink Box Black, the T1 switch also has a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel.

In terms of sound, the Gateron Ink Box Black switch produces a clacky and high-pitched sound when pressed. The sound can be described as sharp, snappy, crisp, bright, and percussive. The T1 switch, on the other hand, has a low-pitched sound profile, featuring a more bass-heavy and mellow tone. It offers a neutral sound, without being too rich or bassy. However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

In conclusion, the Gateron Ink Box Black and Durock T1 switches have different subjective qualities in terms of both sound and feel. The Ink Box Black offers a smooth and creamy feel, with a polished finish and a clacky, high-pitched sound. On the other hand, the T1 switch provides a comfortable typing experience with a stepped feel and a polished finish, accompanied by a low-pitched, neutral sound. While they may have different qualities, both switches offer a pleasant typing experience and can be suitable choices based on individual preferences.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and typing style. If you prioritize a smooth and creamy typing experience, with a clacky and high-pitched sound profile, then the Ink Box Black would be a great choice for you. On the other hand, if you value comfort and enjoy a switch with a medium bump and a sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window, the T1 would be more suitable.

In terms of sound, the Ink Box Black offers a crisp and bright clacky sound, while the T1 provides a more bass-heavy and mellow low-pitched sound. If you prefer a sharper and percussive sound, the Ink Box Black is the way to go, but if you appreciate a more neutral sound profile, the T1 is the better option.

When it comes to feel, the Ink Box Black offers a silky and polished typing experience due to its smoothness and refined finish. On the other hand, the T1 provides a stepped and accented feel, with a medium amount of tactile feedback. Both switches feature a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel.

Ultimately, whether you choose the Gateron Ink Box Black or the Durock T1, you can expect a high-quality mechanical keyboard switch that suits your preferences and enhances your typing experience. Consider the sound, feel, and bottom out force of each switch to make an informed decision. Happy typing!

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