Tuesday, February 2nd 2010

Microsoft’s SideWinder X4 Keyboard Debuts Advanced Anti-Ghosting Technology

What gamers request most is better control in-game, and today Microsoft Hardware launches the SideWinder X4 Keyboard, a keyboard designed to give gamers more control over their gaming experience with the industry’s most advanced anti-ghosting technology. Developed by the Applied Sciences Group, this new technology ensures gamers’ most complex key combinations will be recognized by the computer to keep the game in action. The new keyboard also offers other advanced gaming features such as macro recording, mode and profile switching, and adjustable backlighting.

The Applied Sciences Group, an interdisciplinary research and development team that works across the Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division doing applied research for Microsoft Hardware, Microsoft Surface and Xbox 360, developed the anti-ghosting technology with gamers in mind. The advanced technology takes anti-ghosting to the next level by allowing gamers to press up to 26 keys at once. Because each key is scanned independently by the keyboard hardware, each key press is correctly detected regardless of how many other keys are being pressed at the same time. The SideWinder X4 Keyboard excels where other keyboards fail, letting users execute key combinations and taking full advantage of their skill and speed.

“We’re always looking for new and novel ways to enhance people’s interactions with their PCs,” said Steven Bathiche, research manager of the Applied Sciences Group at Microsoft. “We know that ghosting can be a problem for gamers, so we wanted to develop a way to eliminate this issue and improve the overall gaming experience, and we’ve succeeded with the new anti-ghosting technology in the SideWinder X4 Keyboard.”

Precise Gaming Keyboard With Advanced Features
The SideWinder X4 Keyboard also offers more of the features gamers need to stay at the top of their game. Macro recording lets them string together multiple moves into one press of a button, and the new automatic macro repetition feature lets them repeat the macro over and over as needed with one key. Mode and profile switching also provides easy ways to customize the keyboard for different games and users while adjustable backlighting lets gamers select the lighting level that meets their needs.

Pricing and Availability
The SideWinder X4 Keyboard will be available in March 2010 for the estimated retail price of $59.95 (U.S)1 and will be available for pre-sale on Amazon.com later this week. The SideWinder X4 Keyboard is backed by a worldwide three-year limited hardware warranty, and more information about this and other Microsoft Hardware products can be found at here.
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27 Comments on Microsoft’s SideWinder X4 Keyboard Debuts Advanced Anti-Ghosting Technology

#1
SuperSonic X 316
Looks pretty good except the F number keys; I like how it's pretty much a standard keyboard and not ergonomic. I am satisfied with my Razer Arctosa for the time being though.
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#2
TheLostSwede
Here's hoping for an X7 with the new features of the X4 with the removable keypad of the X6 (as I like having it on the left rather than right).
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#3
Mussels
Moderprator
i dont think i could manage 26 keys at the same time
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#4
AsRock
TPU addict
For advanced gamers who use their hands as well as their feet :slap:.

Anyways RED WTF.
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#5
ArkanHell
by: Mussels
i dont think i could manage 26 keys at the same time
."|It23"#$Really2"&/(&/(nvd-Does!asd23gfht&/('¿

nah, j/k, but now I can go Expert Mode in Guitar Hero with that
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#6
Homeless
If they made a budget version that didn't have the f keys and had n key rollover, I would buy it instantly
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#7
Initialised
Looks like £30+VAT in UK. Need to see some reviews *cough* Wizzard *hint*
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#8
eidairaman1
So does this mean you can press more than 3 keys at a time and it wont lock the keyboard up like standard keyboards?
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#9
AsRock
TPU addict
by: eidairaman1
So does this mean you can press more than 3 keys at a time and it wont lock the keyboard up like standard keyboards?
Yes..
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#10
pr0n Inspector
To do more than 6+4 on USB requires some tricks, wonder if MS did it right.
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#11
gvblake22
by: TheLostSwede
Here's hoping for an X7 with the new features of the X4 with the removable keypad of the X6 (as I like having it on the left rather than right).
Same here! I got the X6 keyboard for that very reason. I hate crowding my mouse hand with a numpad that is never used (at least for playing games).
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#12
Kitkat
i loved my sidewinder x6 (i think it was) it was GREAT!!!! during its short life... my only problem was the same prob i have with any MS product that Logitech seems to have NO problems with. that the PAINT coming off the keys even with clean hands no food no nothing it just comes off. and i mean during LIGHT game play. since its back-lit and the keys are painted with a reverse method i had allot of almost FULLY clear keys i mean they were like a window to the bottom of the keyboard i hope they did what ever Logitech does this time maybe its a clear coat of paint on top or something maybe its just more paint in general and not so thin. but it def looks cool.

by: TheLostSwede
Here's hoping for an X7 with the new features of the X4 with the removable keypad of the X6 (as I like having it on the left rather than right).
i never pressed one key on that thing hahaha i just liked it without a numpad.

by: eidairaman1
So does this mean you can press more than 3 keys at a time and it wont lock the keyboard up like standard keyboards?
yep its funny too cause some keyboards with anti ghosting still find problems
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#13
Scrizz
yeah i got the clear key issue too.
i like my eclipse better in that regard
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#14
Static~Charge
by: btarunr
The advanced technology takes anti-ghosting to the next level by allowing gamers to press up to 26 keys at once.
Only Shiva Nataraja could come close to taking advantage of this feature....
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#15
Kitkat
by: Scrizz
yeah i got the clear key issue too.
i like my eclipse better in that regard
yeah :( hey it was a good kb tho lol. but yeah paint came off in like a month i wondered wot it would be like if i gamed all the time lol.. its funny cause i went in conscious of the fact that im gonna wash my hands and everything see what happens lol NOPE the same. :roll:
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#16
W00ter
When I played bf2 and pressed "w" , "d" , and "shift" at the same time I didn't experience any problems? I looked "ghosting" up and I still don't understand it.


Also, wheres the screen? I need to see fps/temps so I can brag about them. :rockout:
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#17
Depth
Thank you, Microsoft, for allowing me to use one millisecond to type out the alphabet.

Now all I need is a second and a third mouse so I can multitask with my feet.
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#18
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
I am wishing these companies would put out ergo versions of their gaming keyboards. I love them because it really lessens the stress and fatigue on my hands with the ergos.
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#19
Wshlist
by: pr0n Inspector
To do more than 6+4 on USB requires some tricks, wonder if MS did it right.
Huh? a standard 5 button mouse with scrollwheel also sends 8 bits, 8 bits is 256 possible values, plus the movement info on top of that, so it's not hard to send 256 keys simultaneously over USB, the hard part is to make a cheap keyboard that can detect them, since keyboards use a matrix to scan input and that means certain combination of keys disable other, and having a separate line to all 105 keys is pricey since you need to make a chip with 105 inputs and trace 105 lines to the keys without crossing each other, or use a very clever matrix, and that's what they normally do AFAIK, use a more complex matrix with a few more lines.
But anyway the USB itself isn't a problem.
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#20
Mussels
Moderprator
the problem is more simple than that.

USB keyboards use groups of sensors - you know, 10 keys share the one sensor kinda thing. When gaming you press too many keys in the one 'cluster' and it overwhelms the poor thing. (i can hit many keys at once, so long as they're scattered all over the keyboard - but use shit + W + Q and try and hit C or something, and POW it stops being nice)
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#21
Wshlist
by: W00ter
When I played bf2 and pressed "w" , "d" , and "shift" at the same time I didn't experience any problems? I looked "ghosting" up and I still don't understand it.


Also, wheres the screen? I need to see fps/temps so I can brag about them. :rockout:
From wikipedia:
"Key ghosting occurs on matrix keyboards for certain combinations of 3 keys. When these three keys are pressed simultaneously a fourth keypress is erroneously registered by the keyboard controller. Modern keyboards detect ghosting and instead of registering a fourth key will ignore the third key, which is known as jamming. Which keys jam when pressed together differs between brands and models of keyboards."

And from another section on wikipedia:
"The keyboard switch matrix is often drawn with horizontal wires and vertical wires in a grid which is called a matrix circuit. It has a switch at some or all intersections, much like a multiplexed display. Almost all keyboards have only the switch at each intersection, which causes "ghost keys" and "key jamming" when multiple keys are pressed (see rollover (key) ). Certain, often more expensive keyboards have a diode between each intersection, allowing the keyboard microcontroller to accurately sense any number of simultaneous keys being pressed, without generating erroneous ghost keys"
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#22
xenos
My bro has an X6, I like to hide his numpad now and then.. :laugh:
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#23
pr0n Inspector
by: Wshlist
Huh? a standard 5 button mouse with scrollwheel also sends 8 bits, 8 bits is 256 possible values, plus the movement info on top of that, so it's not hard to send 256 keys simultaneously over USB, the hard part is to make a cheap keyboard that can detect them, since keyboards use a matrix to scan input and that means certain combination of keys disable other, and having a separate line to all 105 keys is pricey since you need to make a chip with 105 inputs and trace 105 lines to the keys without crossing each other, or use a very clever matrix, and that's what they normally do AFAIK, use a more complex matrix with a few more lines.
But anyway the USB itself isn't a problem.
All full n-key rollover keyboards use PS/2. They can only do 6+4 when using USB. to do more than 6+4 over USB, most keyboards would delay the input of some keys.

also, USB has many classes.
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#24

Up to 26 keys at once?? Interesting. So this keyboard support simultaneously 3 people pressing the keys together on the same time....wtf???
#25
possessed
26 keys at once, that's nice for playing an arcade emulator fighting game with a friend of mine on a single keyboard.
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