For those who are looking at linear mechanical switches, there are two very popular options. The Cherry MX Red and Speed Silver but how do they compare and what is the difference?
Both the Cherry MX Reds and Speed Silvers are linear switches with no tactile bump and offer and smooth and consistent keystroke. The MX Speed Silvers activate faster and have a shorter travel distance making them a better option for gaming.
Now that we have gone over the major differences between the two, let’s dig deeper into the details so you can find out which is the best option for you.
Cherry MX Red vs Speed Silver
|Red||Linear||Smooth and consistent with no bump.|
|Speed Silver||Linear||Fast, smooth, and consistent with no bump.|
Let’s look at each aspect of the switches and compare them based on feel, sound, application, and more. We’ll assign a winner to each category.
Feel: Personal Preference
Since both have the same actuation type (linear), same springs, and the same housing material, the feel is very similar.
Both switches are linear with a super smooth feel and no tactile bump. Linears are great for gaming but for many is their preferred switch also for typing.
The springs in both switches are quite light so you don’t have press very hard to register a keystroke.
Both are great options for those who type lightly and tire their fingers out easily.
The only difference in feel is the amount of travel.
The MX Speed Silver switches have 0.6mm less travel than Cherry’s MX Reds. Some people may like the extra travel distance that is provided with the MX Reds.
Extra travel distance can add to the satisfaction of the typist. If you don’t like bottoming out the MX Reds will be better for not bottoming out compared to the MX Speed Silvers as you have more depth to work with.
On the flip side, some people may like the feel of bottoming out and may not like a longer travel so MX Speed Silvers could be exactly what they are looking for in a mechanical keyboard switch.
Overall there is no true winner in this category as it all comes down to preference.
The consistency between actuation type, springs, and housing material makes the sound is very similar between both options.
Sound is usually down to preference but in this case, because they are almost exactly the same it isn’t really a factor that should affect which switch you decide to get.
Both switches are pretty quiet, especially when compared to switches like Cherry MX Blues or even MX Browns.
Linears are typically the quietest type of switch.
If you work in an office both switches are good options and shouldn’t distract the people around you.
If you want your keyboard to be even quieter, check out this guide on how to silence your keyboard.
Gaming: Winner = Cherry MX Speed Silver
When it comes to gaming, Cherry MX Speed Silvers take the cake.
The MX Speed Silvers activate significantly faster than the MX Reds giving you an advantage in-game.
When gaming, especially in competitive shooters or MOBAs, a split-second reduction in your input could make the difference between living or dying, and ultimately winning the round..
Both options are linear, so they are both already excellent for gaming due to the smooth keystrokes. The Speed Silvers just have a shorter actuation point, making them faster.
Although the MX Speed Silvers may be the best in this category, the MX Reds are still a great switch for gaming. In fact, a large portion of gaming keyboards use Red switches because they are more widely available than Speed Silvers.
If you want to see how mechanical keyboards can provide an improvement over membrane boards click here.
Typing: Winner = Cherry MX Red
Being comfortable while typing is an essential aspect of your keyboard.
In this case, the Cherry MX Red switches win over the Speed Silver option.
The shorter actuation of the Speed Silver can make bottoming-out much easier. Bottom-out refers to pressing the switch too hard and slamming your fingers against the keyboard.
Cherry MX Reds have a longer keystroke giving your fingers more cushion for typing. Therefore making them a better option for the purpose of typing.
For typists, this is great because not only are they comfortable to type on but the satisfaction from the long travel distance can make you want to keep working because the typing is so satisfying.
MX Speed Silver switches can take more time to get used to because they have as quicker activation and shorter travel distance.
A Closer Look At Cherry MX Reds
Type: Linear Feel/Sound: Smooth and Quiet Actuation Force: 45g Bottom-Out Force: 75g Actuation Distance: 2mm Travel Distance: 4mm
Cherry MX Reds are a very popular linear switch with a relatively light spring force.
They are a great option for gaming and well as typing, but if you are a heavy typist they might not be the best choice for you.
Cherry’s MX Reds are pretty quiet, especially compared to tactile and clicky switches.
You can find Cherry MX Red switches widely available in pre-built mechanical keyboards. They typically come in a normal and RGB version depending on if you want backlight.
Like most Cherry switches the reliability is phenomenal.
The Cherry MX Reds have great reliability with a final lifespan of 100 million keystrokes. This means that if these switches are in your keyboard then the switches should be the last thing you are worried about breaking.
A Closer Look At Cherry MX Speed Silvers
Type: Linear Feel/Sound: Smooth and Quiet Actuation Force: 45g Bottom-Out Force: 80g Actuation Distance: 1.2mm Travel Distance: 3.4mm
Cherry Mx Speed Silvers like the MX Reds are linear but provide benefits for those who need faster switches.
They share the same noise profile as well as the 45g activation force and 75g bottom-out force.
Cherry MX Speed Silvers differ from MX Reds in the sense that the activation and travel distance is shorter. The MX Speed Silvers activate at 1.2mm with a total travel distance of 3.4mm.
The feel and sound are the same between both switches and the main issue is if you will benefit from a faster activation.
To find out if Speed Silvers are the right decision for you, discover if speed switches are worth it.
Cherry MX Speed Silvers are usually a bit more expensive so it is worth it if you will benefit from this faster actuation.
The Cherry MX Speed Silver switches are in some pre-built gaming mechanical keyboards but you can find them at some sites to put in a custom board.
Cherry MX Speed Silver switches are found in their RGB variant in pre-built boards.
Like the MX Reds, the MX Speed Silvers have the same amount of pins per variant as Cherry’s MX Reds.
The MX Speed Silvers from Cherry also have the standard reliability across the Cherry MX line with 100 million keystrokes. The reliability is really good and won’t be a concern.
Overall you can choose either switch depending on your preference and what you are going to use your keyboard for.
For the application of both switches, although Reds can be used for gaming the Cherry MX Speed Silvers are the better option. In contrast, in typing situations, the MX Reds are generally preferred over Speed Silvers for typing.
The activation and total travel distance is the biggest difference between both switches.
There are no differences in sound and the overall feel before the bottom out is the same. The amount of time that it takes to bottom out is the main difference that the user will physically feel.
Cherry MX Speed Silvers are great for gamers to give them the edge with a faster activation. For those who want a longer, potentially more satisfying, travel distance, the reds may be the better options.
If you are interested, you can see how these switches compare to the rest of Cherry’s MX line.
I hope this article helps you decide which switch is best for your next mechanical keyboard and if you will benefit from having a faster switch.