The Importance of Key Rollover in Mechanical Keyboards

April 23, 2024

If you ever experienced a keystroke that didn't register while you were typing or playing a computer game at top speed, you've encountered key ghosting. It can be quite annoying and downright frustrating, especially if you need precision at that very moment.

This is when a key rollover feature in mechanical keyboards becomes important. This feature, although often not given much attention, refers to the keyboard's capacity to recognize multiple keys being pressed together. 

You might have come across phrases like "2-Key Rollover" or "N-Key Rollover." These are not just fancy terms but useful features that can impact your experience while using your mechanical keyboard. 

What is Key Ghosting

You're playing a fast-paced action-packed game. You want to do a special action by pressing a set of keys in quick succession. It's inevitable; you press several keys simultaneously. But why is your keyboard not registering these key presses? Why is your character doing something weird and unintended?

Well, your keyboard has just been ghosted.

Key ghosting happens when specific combinations of keys pressed simultaneously either fail to register or yield unexpected outcomes. This problem stems from the limitations in the keyboard's circuitry and keystroke processing.

Let's explain how this works. Each key corresponds to a distinct row and column within a keyboard matrix. When you press a key, it completes an electrical circuit between its designated row and column. The keyboard controller identifies and records this action as a keystroke.

However, when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously, the keyboard controller may get confused in accurately detecting and processing all keystrokes. This can lead to misinterpreted signals, resulting in unintended keystrokes or no response at all. For instance, pressing keys like A, S, and D together may trigger the computer to register an extra keypress that wasn't intended. Ghosting usually happens when three or more keys within the same "block" of the matrix are pressed at the same time. 

It's easy to understand why key ghosting is frustrating. 

What is Key Rollover?

To solve the ghosting issue, newer mechanical keyboards often integrate anti-ghosting or key rollover technology.  Key rollover refers to the capability of a keyboard to accurately register multiple key presses simultaneously. 

How does it work? Well, in a keyboard with a key rollover feature, there's a dedicated diode for each key switch. These diodes block electrical signals from one key to another, preventing each key from interfering with the other. Thus, each key press is independently registered and relayed to the keyboard controller.

With key rollover, users can easily perform intricate key combinations in activities such as gaming, programming, or multitasking without concerns about missed or misinterpreted keystrokes. 

Types of Key Rollover in Mechanical Keyboards

an image of a mechanical keyboard

There are different types of key rollover:

  1. 2-key rollover (2KRO): Allows for the registration of up to two keys pressed simultaneously. 
  2. 6-key rollover (6KRO): Supports the registration of up to six keys pressed simultaneously. 
  3. N-key rollover (NKRO): Offers unlimited simultaneous key press registration. 

When a keyboard's circuitry is unable to handle simultaneous key presses beyond its rollover limit, it can cause key jamming. Some of the key presses may not register at all, or the keyboard may register unintended keystrokes.

Advantages of N-Key Rollover in Mechanical Keyboards

The N-key rollover (NKRO) allows you to press keys simultaneously without disrupting the input. Needless to say, this offers several advantages:

  1. Accurate Input: NKRO ensures that every key press is accurately detected and transmitted to the computer, regardless of the number of keys pressed simultaneously. This guarantees precise input.
  2. Elimination of Ghosting: With NKRO, ghosting is virtually eliminated. NKRO keyboards can handle any combination of key presses without encountering ghosting issues.
  3. Enhanced Gaming Performance: Gamers benefit significantly from NKRO keyboards because these devices allow for rapid and precise inputs during gameplay. Complex key combinations, often essential for executing advanced gaming maneuvers, can be made seamlessly without worrying about missed or misinterpreted keystrokes.
  4. Improved Typing Experience: NKRO keyboards offer a smoother and more responsive typing experience. It reduces input errors and enhances productivity.


Key rollover is not just a feature; it's an integral part of your mechanical keyboard. With the implementation of NKRO (N-Key Rollover), every single keypress is registered, ensuring an uninterrupted and effective typing experience. Gone are the days of missed keys or the annoyance of ghosting. For gamers, coders, and writers alike, the adoption of NKRO can significantly improve your interaction with the keyboard. Keep in mind, it's not just about tapping keys, it's about ensuring accurate, error-free inputs. So, take charge, and let your keyboard become a seamless extension of your thoughts and actions. Choose with discernment, and type with fervor!

Chris Greiner, a Mechanical Keyboard specialist, boasts a solid educational background with dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Business Management from Lewis University. His additional certification in Mechanical Keyboard Design showcases his dedication to staying on the forefront of keyboard technology. Chris primarily writes for keyboard enthusiasts and has been featured on platforms like Jestik, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the mechanical keyboard community.
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