The stock GK61 is already a great option for your first mechanical keyboard and is one of the most popular 60% hotswap keyboards on the market as it features:
✅ 5-pin hotswappable PCB compatible with any MX-style optical switches.
✅ High-profile ABS case.
✅ 1.5mm thick aluminium plate.
✅ Plate-mounted stabilizers.
✅ OEM Double Shot ABS Keycaps.
✅ ANSI layout.
Ascend has added a bit of spice to the GK61 and while still matching the Amazon price for the stock GK61, it also includes:
✅ Stabilizers hand-lubed with krytox 205g0 and permatex.
✅ Clipped stabilizers, making them less wobbly/mushy/unstable.
✅ Stabilizers have also been band-aid modded which in addition to the krytox 205g0.
✅ The ABS case has been filled with case foam so that the keyboard gives off a deeper and more bassy sound whilst also dampening the sound of the metallic plate as well as mitigating spring ping coming from the switches.
The GK61 is only hot-swappable with optical switches, If you’d instead prefer a keyboard that is hot-swappable with mechanical switches, check out ‘The Starter 60%’ here: https://ascendkeyboards.com/products/the-starter