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Mechanical Keyboard for Computers, the Best Input Option

Before the computer was invented machines were built to do a single task, or a very limited number of tasks. However, a computer is hardware that can change its function depending upon its software. A computer is a general purpose programmable machine, capable of performing, arguably, unlimited tasks. Change the software and you can change the work the computer performs. The versatility of computers has made them crucial to the workings of the modern world, managing everything in our lives and providing us with endless entertainment. Billions of people work with computers everyday. Despite progress in speech recognition and user interfaces, the most important input device for computers remains the keyboard.

IBM Model M

The computer keyboard by which all others have been judged against is called the IBM Model M (a 1986 Model M is shown above). The Model M appeared in several variations but was most commonly shipped with the IBM PS/2 computers. The same computers that gave the world the PS/2 port for the keyboard and mouse before USB came along. The Model M is known for its tactile typing performance, quality of materials and durability. The Model M was not perfect, its limited key rollover is not good for gaming, and moisture protection was weak. However, ever since the Model M became a computer users favourite, computer enthusiasts around the world have been trying to emulate it and improve upon it.

Buckling Spring

The Model M has a mechanical action. The click of a keypress is achieved by a spring that buckles as a key is pressed (as in the above animation), hence the term buckling spring. Most keyboards that come with new computers use a plastic dome under the key. Keyboard enthusiasts consider dome based keyboards inferior to mechanical keyboards. A whole industry now exists to support computer users in finding, or building, their perfect mechanical keyboard. Today most keys available do not use a buckling spring, but there are many alternative mechanical switch options from which to choose. Mechanical switches that follow the design of switches from the German Cherry company are popular. There is a wide range of key switches, key caps, and keyboards parts available, ready for computer users who want the perfect customised keyboard, with personalised colors and key layouts, a mechanical keyboard perfect for their particular specialism, whether typing or gaming, or both.

The following lists provide some useful links to the world of the mechanical keyboard. If you are going to spend a working lifetime in front of the computer, get a good keyboard, or better still, build one exactly to you requirements.

Mechanical Keyboard Chat

UK

Rest of World

Information on Different Key Switch Designs

Typing Tests and Training

Got the perfect keyboard? Now perfect your typing:

See Also

  • Search the Internet for mechanical keyboard videos to see the rich world of custom keyboard manufacture.
  • The Deskthority Wiki has lots of articles on keyboards.
  • For a full list of all the articles in Tek Eye see the full site Index.

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