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All About The “Anti-Ghosting” Feature In a Keyboard

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If you are a gaming enthusiast or a person with a fast hand on a keyboard or somebody who loves to read about technology, then you must have come across the term “anti-ghosting keys”. 

No! It is nothing to do with ghosts or the paranormal world. Rather, it is a technology in computer keyboards to recognise the multiple key actions while pressed simultaneously. 

This new-age technology helps immensely in gaming, where multiple key actions are required to perform any specific actions like shooting, fighting, crouch toggle and slow toggle, etc. So, this feature is seen in gaming keyboards while there is no such requirement in the normal typing process. 

Moreover, having an additional feature on the keyboard will definitely give it an edge in pricing over the standard ones to attract the attention of the customer. Let’s quickly dive into understanding what an anti-ghosting feature is and what impact it has towards your computing action. 

What is Anti-Ghosting

Well, technically the term anti-ghosting should be rephrased as rollover functionality. You may have also come across this term in keyboard specifications like the “N-key rollover” or “18-key rollover” feature.

As the ghosting term is quite relatable and understandable(you know! those scary things), it is often preferred to be mentioned. So, before diving into explaining the anti-ghosting feature, let’s understand what ghosting is.

So, ghosting is that paranormal activity on your keyboard, when you press any key and it will not respond (am not kidding!). 

Normal keyboards often consist of a silicon dome or certain layers of the membrane under the surface of the key areas. While we press any key, this membrane gets in contact with the printed circuit board to complete the circuit and the controller process the desired output. What happens generally is, when you press multiple keys simultaneously the circuit gets shorted and it stops recognising the input.

Let’s understand it in a bit clearer way with a simplified diagram image. 

Demonstration of wiring structure in a keyboard
Demonstration of wiring structure in a keyboard

Typically, a certain keystroke is recognised by identifying the intersection point of its respective row and column position. When you press only one key, there will be exactly one column and a specific row which is shorted to complete the circuit to display the desired input. So, this pattern clearly identifies the point of contact to produce the result. 

Now let’s consider a scenario where two keys are pressed simultaneously.

Well, there could be two cases. First, consider if the keys belong same row or column.

Depressed keys in the membrane are in the same row
Depressed keys are in the same row

If the applied keys share the same row or column, they are connected through a single wire and that wire will again be connected with the exact counterpart of the column and row. This pattern is known as co-linear and it allows single clear identification for each key. When two keys on the same line are depressed, the circuit in the given pattern shorts and they can be uniquely determined.

Let’s consider another scenario, where keys belong to different rows and columns depressed simultaneously.

Depressed keys in the membrane keyboard are in different rows and columns
Depressed keys are in different rows and column

In this case, there will be two column wires that will produce a row wire to short and vice versa, while the two wires are not the same. So, based on this distinct row and column the logic can distinguish the input clearly and there will be no problem registering them.

However, the problem arises while pressing three keys having two mutually connected rows and columns. When these keys share both a column and a row in common, there are five different patterns of keys that will no longer be unique. You can refer to the following illustration.

3 keys pressed simultaneously in a keyboard
3 keys pressed simultaneously

The typical keyboard checks if a column is connected to a row. It just sees the presence and absence of the connection, making the above pattern indistinguishable.

Different scenarios of 3-keystrokes simultaneously in a keyboard
Different scenarios of 3-keystrokes simultaneously

In this case, a normal keyboard will not be clear to identify the additional keystrokes and stops responding to avoid reporting wrong. This phenomenon is known as “ghosting”.

For example, while pressing A, and S are pressed simultaneously, W appears as a ghost as the keyboard doesn’t distinguish the three buttons individually. 

To overcome this phenomenon, mechanical keyboards have the keycaps mounted individually on switches. So, that the controller can identify each keystroke uniquely, which is known as anti-ghosting. Standard anti-ghosting keyboards are designed to register simultaneous keys to six QWERTY keys along with the modifiers such as SHIFT, CTRL, and ALT. However, some mechanical keyboards are able to report additional keys beyond this. 

How Helpful is the Anti-Ghosting Feature

Well, anti-ghosting keys help you to apply a combination of multiple keys which is now a day is pretty common in the game to perform any specific action.

Moving forward and to the right, while using the crouch toggle and slow toggle, then jumping. Which requires actions like Three letter keys, a shift modifier, and then space. That intense task can never be achieved with a membrane key.

If you are a fan of multiplayer games and usually play 2-player configuration on a single device, then an anti-ghosting keyboard is gonna help you out doing it with ease.

An anti-ghosting feature will also have an edge over fighting and wrestling video games, where multiple combinations are required for an action move.

An anti-ghosting feature may not be that important from a typing point of view unless you float your fingers around to reach 150 – 200 words per minute or even more. You know, while typing like that insanely fast you may press multiple keys and your regular keyboard may be struck to detect that. You can also check out this post for the best keyboard options for writers

Especially if you are a coder or programmer, you may need the anti-ghosting feature to improve your productivity.

Here are some of the great options to go for experiencing the best anti-ghosting feature.

Anti-Ghosting Keyboards under 2000

KeyboardRatings / 5Buying Link
Redgear Shadow Blade4.5Check Price
Cosmic Byte CB-GK-16 Firefly4.4Check Price
Ant Esports MK12004.2Check Price
Cosmic Byte CB-GK-26 Pandora4.2Check Price
HP K500F 4.3Check Price

Anti-Ghosting Keyboard Under 3000

KeyboardRatings / 5Buying Link
EvoFox Katana 4.3Check Price
HP GK3204.3Check Price
EvoFox Katana Pro4.7Check Price
HP GK600YS4.7Check Price
Redragon Kumara K5524Check Price

So, here is all about the anti-ghosting feature in mechanical keyboards. Hope you learn something new. For more useful content related to keyboards, keep checking updates in our keyboard category. Until then happy clicking and typing.

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