Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Durock T1

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Durock T1. The Ink Yellow is a linear switch that offers a shorter travel, providing a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It is known for its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, making it a great choice for those who enjoy a tactile feedback while typing. On the other hand, the Durock T1 is a tactile switch that offers a super comfortable typing experience. It features a medium bump when pressed down, and the sound it produces reminds users of rain falling on a window. Both switches have their own unique characteristics that make them appealing, but let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the switch that suits you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

3.50 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

Gold-plated

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Durock T1 switches have distinct differences in terms of sound profile and aesthetic appeal. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top housing, which is characterized by a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. This creates a satisfying, clacky sound that is not overly sharp. In contrast, the T1 switch utilizes a polycarbonate top housing, resulting in a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. The stiffer nature of polycarbonate contributes to a more clear and resonant sound profile, making it ideal for use with RGB lighting due to its translucency. While both switches offer unique sound profiles, the Ink Yellow's top housing provides a slightly softer and more rounded tonality compared to the T1's polycarbonate.

When it comes to the bottom housing, the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Durock T1 deviate even further. The Ink Yellow utilizes its proprietary INK blend bottom housing, which mirrors the characteristics of its top housing. This creates a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound, known for its clacky nature. Conversely, the T1 incorporates a nylon bottom housing, a classic switch housing material. Typing on switches with nylon housing elicits a deeper and fuller sound profile. The relatively softer nature of nylon absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound compared to harder plastics. The choice between these two bottom housing materials ultimately boils down to individual preference, with the Ink Yellow offering a sharper sound and the T1 providing a more resonant and absorbent sound.

In terms of overall performance, the difference in top and bottom housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Durock T1 play a significant role in the sound and feel of the switches. When pressing down on either switch, the qualities of the bottom housing become evident, influencing the bottom-out sound and feel. The Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend bottom housing contributes to its pointed and high-pitched sound, while the T1's nylon bottom housing elicits a deeper and fuller tone. On the other hand, the top housing has a more substantial impact on the sound when releasing a key. The Ink Yellow's INK blend top housing offers a clacky and higher-pitched sound, while the T1's polycarbonate top housing delivers a sharper and crisper sound. Despite their differences, both switches provide satisfying feedback and performance, allowing users to tailor their typing experience according to their sound and tactile preferences.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, there are a few notable differences. The Gateron Ink Yellow has an actuation force of 60 grams and a bottom out force of 67 grams, making it a medium-heavy switch. On the other hand, the actuation force of the Durock T1 is unavailable, while its bottom out force is also 67 grams, placing it in the medium-heavy category as well. Despite the unknown actuation force of the T1, it can be inferred that the two switches offer similar results in terms of bottoming out force.

Considering the weight of the switches, individuals may have different preferences. Some users prefer a lighter actuation force, like that of the Gateron Ink Yellow, as it allows for longer typing periods without fatigue. This characteristic is particularly ideal for those who use their keyboards extensively during work or marathon gaming sessions. Conversely, others may opt for a switch with a heavier actuation force to obtain a more substantial typing experience. These users might find the T1 to be a suitable choice due to its potential to offer a stronger push feel. However, since the actuation force of the T1 is unknown, it is difficult to make a direct comparison in this regard. Overall, both switches provide a medium-heavy bottom out force, but the Gateron Ink Yellow is known to have a lighter actuation force, making it the lighter option between the two.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Durock T1 tactile switch, it is evident that the Ink Yellow has a shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm while the T1 has a longer travel distance of 4 mm. Generally, a travel distance of 4.0 mm is considered the most traditional, while 3.0 mm is seen as the most shallow. However, with the increasing popularity of shorter travel distances, gamers, in particular, lean towards switches with shorter travel distances for faster response times. Therefore, if responsiveness is your priority, the Ink Yellow would be the ideal choice. On the other hand, some individuals may find shorter travel distances to be too abrupt, preferring a more substantial depth in their typing experience. In such cases, the Durock T1 with its longer travel distance would be more suitable. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference and the desired typing experience.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Yellow has an MSRP of $7.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ink Yellow for $7.35.

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 Yellow linear switch is best known for its shorter travel, providing a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. When it comes to sound, the Ink Yellow switch is described as having a neutral profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. It also produces a clacky sound, which is sharp, snappy, and described as crisp, bright, and percussive.

On the other hand, the Durock T1 tactile switch is known for being super comfortable to type on. It features a medium bump when pressing down and produces a low-pitched sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window. The T1 switch also has a neutral profile with a moderate actuation force requirement.

In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow switch offers a mild typing experience that is approachable to most users. It falls within a safe middle ground, providing a gentle typing experience without any pronounced characteristics. The switch is also described as polished, offering a smooth and refined finish that results in reduced friction and smooth key travel.

Similarly, the T1 switch has a polished feel, providing a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. It is also described as a stepped switch, which means it has two stages of tactile feedback. This makes it feel more mild compared to hypersensitive switches, allowing users to feel some pre-travel and/or post-travel. The T1 switch is also referred to as accented, offering a medium amount of tactility without being overwhelming or subtle.

Overall, the Ink Yellow and T1 switches have some similarities and differences in their sound and feel. Both have a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. However, the Ink Yellow has a clacky sound, while the T1 has a low-pitched sound. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow provides a mild and polished experience, while the T1 offers a stepped, accented, and polished feel. Depending on the user's preferences, they can achieve similar results with either switch, but with slight variations in sound and feel.

Conclusion

To summarize, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is a medium-heavy switch known for its smoothness and clackiness. It offers a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop keyboard and a standard mechanical keyboard. With a moderate actuation force requirement and a crisp, bright, and percussive sound, this switch is suitable for most intents and purposes. It provides a mild and polished feel with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, the Durock T1 tactile switch is also a medium-heavy switch with a comfortable typing experience. It features a medium bump when pressing down and produces a low-pitched sound reminiscent of rain falling on a window. This switch offers a stepped and accented feel, providing a prominent amount of tactility without being overwhelming or subtle. Similar to the Ink Yellow, it also has a polished finish for reduced friction and smooth key travel.

When considering which switch to choose, you should go for the Gateron Ink Yellow if you prefer a linear switch with a shorter travel and a clacky sound. It is ideal for those who want a typing experience between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. On the other hand, if you enjoy a tactile typing experience with a medium bump and a low-pitched sound, the Durock T1 is the way to go. It offers a stepped and accented feel, providing a comfortable typing experience. Ultimately, the choice between these switches depends on your personal preferences for typing experience, sound, and feel.

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