Keyboard Ghosting and Rollover: How to solve? NKRO Rollover

Welcome to the world of keyboards, where typing or gaming is an everyday task. But what about ghosting? It is one of those frustrating issues that can occur when typing or gaming. Keyboard ghosting occurs when you press multiple keys simultaneously, and the keyboard may not register all of the pressed keys. This can cause issues such as missed words or commands when typing or gaming, which can be a real nuisance. Fortunately, there are ways to understand and solve the ghosting issue with ease.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about keyboard ghosting, including its causes and preventive measures. We will also provide tips and tricks to increase keyboard responsiveness and recommend some of the best anti-ghosting keyboards on the market in 2021. So, let’s get started!

What is Keyboard Ghosting?

Have you ever experienced a situation where pressing certain keys on your keyboard results in other keys not responding? This phenomenon is known as keyboard ghosting and is a common issue faced by many users.

In order to understand keyboard ghosting, it’s important to first understand how the keyboard matrix works. A keyboard matrix is a grid of circuits underneath the keys on the keyboard. When a key is pressed, the circuit for that key sends a signal to the computer, which then inputs the corresponding character.

However, when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously, the circuits can become confused and send incorrect signals to the computer. This is what causes the ghosting issue.

Note: Ghosting typically occurs when more than three keys are pressed at once, but can be an issue even with just two keys depending on the specific keyboard.

For example, if you’re typing the word “ghost” and press the G, H, and O keys at the same time, the computer may recognize it as “host” because the circuit for the O key is also registering as pressed. This can be frustrating when typing or typing in gaming situations where multiple keys may need to be pressed at once.

So, now that we know what keyboard ghosting is, let’s explore some ways to avoid and solve this issue.

Best Anti-Ghosting Mechanical Keyboards

From what I have found, the best anti ghosting keyboards are these using Hall Effect switches, because they also have Rapid Trigger technology.

What is Rapid Trigger in keyboards?

Rapid trigger keyboards often feature dynamic actuation points. In traditional keyboards, a key must return to a specific position before it can be pressed again. However, with dynamic actuation points enabled by technologies like magnetic switches, the keyboard can register a key press at any point in its travel, ensuring rapid and accurate responses.

There are now several mechanical keyboards with these megnetic switches and here are my top picks:

SteelSeries Apex Pro HyperMagnetic Gaming Keyboard — Adjustable Actuation — OLED Screen — RGB – USB Passthrough​
  • FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE & STUPIDLY FAST with OmniPoint 2.0 Adjustable HyperMagnetic switches
  • RAPID TRIGGER — Eradicate latency arising from the physical movement of the switch through dynamic activation and deactivation of keys based on travel distance rather than a fixed point in the key travel
  • ULTIMATE CONTROL — 40 levels of per-key actuation (0.1 – 4.0mm) — set WASD for light, ultra-fast movements and set ability keys to deep presses to avoid accidentally triggering specials
  • 2-IN-1 ACTION KEYS — Program two different actions to the same key, such as walking with a light touch or sprinting with a deep press
  • OLED SMART DISPLAY — Delivers information at a glance from games and apps alongside a clickable metal roller and media key
DrunkDeer A75 Rapid Trigger Mechanical Keyboard Magnetic Switch Keyboard TKL RGB Wired USB Gaming 75% Layout Compact 82 Keys with Knob, ABS Keycap Black
  • Ultra Response Speed: 10 times faster than the traditional mechanical keyboard.
  • Adjustable Actuation Distance: Actuate from 0.2mm to 3.8mm, the adjustable precision is 0.1mm.
  • Rapid Trigger: Triggered once pressed, reset once released. Sensitivity range 0.1-3.6mm, adjustable accuracy is 0.1mm.Smoothly adjusts key action to allow mid-motion repeats without locking in actuation points. Players are free to customize it to their needs, giving them an edge in FPS and rhythm games such as Valorant, osu!.
  • Magnetic Switch: Operates through the Hall effect. No metal leaf/pin/optical or other sensitive fittings. The keystriking life is 100m, which is twice as long as conventional keystriking life.
  • TKL keyboard with DrunkDeer driver: Customizable key values and backlighting effects. Software can be upgraded free of charge during its lifecycle.Please contact us if you have any questions.
CORSAIR K70 MAX RGB Magnetic-Mechanical Wired Gaming Keyboard – Adjustable Actuation MGX Switches – Rapid Trigger Mode – PBT Double-Shot Keycaps – iCUE Compatible – QWERTY NA Layout – Black
  • Adjustable Magnetic-Mechanical Switches: The entire keyboard is equipped with fully adjustable CORSAIR MGX switches, enabling you to set every key’s actuation point from a light 0.4mm to a strong 3.6mm in 0.1mm steps, putting you in control for fast keypresses or ultra-accurate typing.
  • Two Actions for One Keypress: Dual-point actuation lets you assign two discrete actions to one keypress, giving you the ability to execute instant one-two combos.
  • CORSAIR AXON Hyper-Processing Technology: AXON enables premier K70 performance, processing and transmitting inputs up to 8x faster than conventional gaming keyboards with 8,000Hz hyper-polling. *8,000Hz hyper-polling is dependent on CPU; older CPUs may experience reduced performance.
  • Soft, Satisfying Typing Acoustics: Two layers of sound dampening deliver the satisfying typing sound keyboard enthusiasts crave.
  • Package Contents: CORSAIR K70 MAX RGB Magnetic-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard | Magnetic Leatherette Cushioned Palm Rest | Detachable USB Type-C to Type-A Cable | CORSAIR Logo Key | Radiant Spacebar | Keycap Puller | Safety Information | Warranty Card | CH-910961G-NA

Magnetic Hall Effect switches, like these in Apex Pro or DrunkDeer A75, constantly monitor the position of each key in real time. This means that the keyboard knows exactly how far a key is pressed down at any given moment. This real-time monitoring helps in quickly resetting the actuation point, allowing for rapid and responsive key presses.

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With each of these keyboards you can customize the actuation points according to your preferences using the keyboard’s software.

The Key Rollover Factor

When talking about keyboard ghosting, one term that often comes up is “key rollover.” Key rollover refers to the number of keys that can be pressed simultaneously and still register on the keyboard. If a keyboard has a low key rollover, it may experience ghosting issues when multiple keys are pressed at once.

Anti-ghosting technology is an essential feature to look for in a keyboard to prevent ghosting issues. It ensures that each keystroke is individually detected, even when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously. The lower the key rollover number, the more likely it is that the keyboard will experience ghosting.

Key rollover is a fancy term that means how many keys you can press at the same time on your keyboard, and the keyboard will still recognize them all. For instance, if a keyboard has 6-key rollover, it means you can push six different keys all at once, and your computer will understand each one. But don’t think of it as a strict limit. Sometimes, you might be able to press more than six keys together, and they’ll all work, but it’s not something you can always count on. If you want to learn more, like the different kinds of key rollover and tips for picking your next keyboard, check out the article called ‘key rollover explained’.

Key Rollover NumberGhosting Likelihood
2Very High
3High
6Low
FullNone

It’s important to note that not all keyboards with high key rollover are anti-ghosting keyboards. Some high key rollover keyboards can still experience ghosting due to inadequate firmware or hardware design. You can test your keyboard’s rollover using an online test like this.

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The Role of Anti-Ghosting Technology

Anti-ghosting technology such as NKRO (N-Key rollover) is designed to prevent ghosting issues by allowing each keystroke to be individually detected. This technology is crucial for gamers, programmers, and anyone who demands fast and accurate keyboard input. With anti-ghosting technology, you can perform complex keyboard commands and combinations without the worry of missed keystrokes due to ghosting.

Most modern gaming keyboards come equipped with anti-ghosting technology, but it’s always essential to check the specifications before making a purchase. We recommend looking for keyboards with a full key rollover and advanced anti-ghosting technology to provide the best possible experience.

Prevention is Better

While there are ways to fix keyboard ghosting issues, prevention is always the best approach. Here are some tips to keep your keyboard running smoothly and avoiding ghosting problems:

  • Invest in an anti-ghosting keyboard: Key rollover and anti-ghosting technology can significantly reduce the likelihood of ghosting. Look for a keyboard with N-key rollover, which allows for multiple simultaneous key presses without ghosting.
  • Keep your keyboard clean: Dirt and grime can cause key switches to stick or not function properly. Regularly cleaning your keyboard can help prevent ghosting and maintain optimal keyboard responsiveness.
  • Adjust your typing style: Some typing techniques may trigger ghosting more frequently. Instead of tapping multiple keys at once, try pressing them in sequence or using your other hand to hit the additional keys.
  • Update your keyboard drivers: Outdated drivers can cause keyboard input problems, including ghosting. Ensure that you have the latest drivers for your keyboard installed.

Keyboards with N-Key Rollover

Keyboard ghosting is particularly detrimental to gaming experience. It’s a common issue that can ruin the immersion and precision of gameplay. Imagine pressing the keys to unleash a combination move in a fighting game, but only some of the moves register, or you accidentally trigger an unintended action.

That’s where anti-ghosting technology comes in. It allows you to press multiple keys simultaneously with accuracy and reliability. When choosing a gaming keyboard, look for one with a high key rollover rate, ideally 6KRO or NKRO, to ensure that all your key presses are registered.

Keyboard ModelKey Rollover
Razer BlackWidow Elite10KRO
Steelseries Apex ProN-Key Rollover (NKRO)
Keychron K6 ProNKRO
Logitech G51326KRO
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT6KRO/8KRO/NTRO

These keyboards have proven to be reliable and popular among gamers, with high-end features like customizable lighting, programmable keys, and ergonomic designs. I’d particulary recommend keyboards with Hall Effect switches. NKRO + Hall Effect switches is the way to go. But these keyboard cost around $200.

Remember, while a gaming keyboard with anti-ghosting can improve your gameplay, it’s not a magic solution. Additional factors like internet connection, screen refresh rate, and mouse precision also play a significant role.

Common Causes of Keyboard Ghosting

Several factors can cause keyboard ghosting issues, such as:

CauseDescription
Key Matrix LimitationThe key matrix is the grid of wires that sends signals to the processor when keys are pressed. If too many keys in the same section of the grid are pressed at the same time, ghosting may occur.
Faulty KeyboardA keyboard with worn-out switches or damaged wiring can cause ghosting.
InterferenceInterference from other electronic devices may lead to ghosting issues.
Cheap or Old KeyboardOlder or cheaper keyboards may not have anti-ghosting technology or may be more prone to ghosting.
Wrong ConnectionA keyboard connected to the wrong port or not connected properly may cause ghosting.

Fortunately, most ghosting issues can be avoided or solved using the tips provided in Section 4 and by purchasing a keyboard with anti-ghosting technology, as discussed in Section 3.

Troubleshooting Keyboard Ghosting

If you are experiencing keyboard ghosting issues, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to solve the problem:

  1. Unplug and replug your keyboard: Sometimes, simply unplugging your keyboard and then plugging it back in can solve ghosting issues. Give it a try!
  2. Switch USB ports: Try switching your keyboard to a different USB port. This can help resolve any connection issues that might be causing ghosting.
  3. Update your keyboard drivers: Outdated drivers can cause all sorts of problems, including keyboard ghosting. Check for any updates to your keyboard drivers and install them if necessary.
  4. Try a different keyboard: If all else fails, try using a different keyboard to see if the ghosting issue persists. If the problem goes away, then it’s likely that your original keyboard is faulty and needs to be replaced.

By following these steps, you should be able to troubleshoot and resolve most keyboard ghosting issues. If you’re still experiencing problems, it might be worth reaching out to the manufacturer for further assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about keyboard ghosting:

What causes keyboard ghosting?

Keyboard ghosting is often caused by multiple key presses that overload the keyboard matrix. This can also happen when the keyboard is not able to process the input fast enough, resulting in missed keystrokes.

How can I prevent keyboard ghosting?

To prevent keyboard ghosting, you can try using a keyboard with anti-ghosting technology, which allows you to press multiple keys simultaneously without any issues. Additionally, making sure your keyboard and computer are properly maintained and up-to-date can also help prevent ghosting.

Can keyboard ghosting affect gaming performance?

Yes, keyboard ghosting can significantly affect gaming performance, especially in games where multiple key presses are required. This can result in missed keystrokes and slow response times, hindering gameplay.

How can I troubleshoot keyboard ghosting issues?

If you’re experiencing keyboard ghosting, you can try troubleshooting the issue by checking for updates to your keyboard and computer drivers, cleaning your keyboard, or adjusting your keyboard settings. If the issue persists, you may need to replace your keyboard with one that has anti-ghosting technology.

Marcus Richardson
Editor-in-chief

I love testing and writing about new tech. I'm also a gamer and an engineer. Check out my Twitter for keyboard stuff.

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