What bothers me about IBM Model M

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

18 May 2018, 12:21

Every time I am expressing my dislike for IBM Model M keyboards, people ask me whether I am kidding. But I am not and it's not just an attempt to be edgy. Instead of having a discussion about what bothers me about IBM Model Ms every time it comes up I would like to start a thread and share my thoughts and collect some input.

In many ways, I see parallels between Cherry MX/MY and IBM Model M/F. Cherry MX and IBM Model F were both developments from the early days of desktop PCs and were both replaced or joined by cheaper membrane-over-steel-plate variants. Unlike Cherry, IBM soon replaced their brilliant Model F keyboards with their cheaper Model Ms while Cherry kept making their "premium" variant of switches until today.

Now every little kid knows how shitty Cherry MY keyboards are and they are good for their caps only. No one is surprised when you mention that.

But that same attitude applied to IBM Model M/F keyboards is a surprise to some people. But to be honest the step down from Model F to Model M is even worse than from MX to MY. Mostly due to Model F keyboards being so insanely great, not trying to defend MY switches.

What really bothers me:
- Model M switches REPLACED Model F switches and (in my naive view) prevented Model F switches to be more common in keyboards and layouts that are more useful today. This whole community was in ecstasy for almost a year over the possibility to have the common Model M keyboard with Model F switches.
- The cost reduction measures go way beyond cosmetic changes. While a Model F is very convenient to service and repair, a broken barrel on a Model M is a death penalty.
- The Model F metal barrel plate with replaceable barrels has been turned into a single piece plastic barrel plate that is permanently attached to the metal back plate making repair a major pain.
- The shitty plastic barrel plate isn't REALLY permanently attached to the metal back plate and instead the mounting rivety tend to break negatively impacting key feel. You're either lucky and find a Model M with healthy rivets or have to do a "bolt mod"
- Even with the smartest layout, the membrane mat used in these keyboards is probably the cheapest way to realize a keyboard matrix and lacks the ability to perform proper anti ghosting and NKRO
- The rating has been reduced from 100mil to 25mil and considering how "durable" the barrel plate is in many cases, that's flattering

Okay now please buy my M102 and M122 keyboards ;)

I do understand there are some real benefity to the Model M ... Mostly availability and the layouts that are available. But that's no reason for me to embrace them. I really wish IBM kept making Model F keyboards as a premium alternative to their Model M keyboards. Instead, we're now watching all kinds of mainstream tech channels fapping hard over probably the worst cost saving measure in my personal history of mechanical keyboards.

User avatar
Dingster

18 May 2018, 12:32

Yea I get your point, but keep in mind that if IBM kept producing model F keyboards they would go bankrupt as fuck. Now model M's are at least widly available for us poorfags to have a BS keyboard, but many of model m owners (at least me) would still prefer to have a model F any day of the week. Only problem is the price... :p
You still make some fair points.
Again I never tried a model F, but I think id like it more than the model M.

(btw try removing the foam on the M122, the sound becomes F-ish)

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

18 May 2018, 12:50

Thank you Wodan,
for putting words to what I had tried to express with gifs a few days ago:
kbdfr wrote:
J888www wrote: […] IBM […] new in original box purchased over a decade ago […] then put into storage […]
complete with some broken plastic rivets inside […] but that's the nature of these products […]
ImageImageImage

User avatar
Dingster

18 May 2018, 12:51

kbdfr wrote: Thank you Wodan,
for putting words to what I had tried to express with gifs a few days ago:
kbdfr wrote:
J888www wrote: […] IBM […] new in original box purchased over a decade ago […] then put into storage […]
complete with some broken plastic rivets inside […] but that's the nature of these products […]
ImageImageImage
Oh boy!

Anakey

18 May 2018, 14:11

Sadly i think that it was the economics that sealed the fate of the F. The fact that in the early 1980s the first home computers would have costed a small fortune and were built to last, as things often were 30-40 years ago and were also made in relatively small quantities therefore the cost per board could be higher. However as computers became more mainstream and due to competition the prices needed to come down and one of the easiest things to modify is the keyboard. Metal is always going to be more expensive to fabricate then getting the same molded in plastic due to the cost of the materials themselves and also in the time needed to make them therefore the parts that could be made out of plastic were going to be so. Another factor is that because technology was moving at a faster pace the home computer didn't need to be designed to last for years and years therefore there would be little point in engineering the whole package to last more then a few years because the pace of technology would make it obsolete and with the new computer coming with pc/mouse as standard anyway there would be no justification in retaining the old one. I just wanted to also add that although cherry has been able to continually produce their switches, they have only been able to do so because they can be used on their own without needing a dedicated pcb solution. Had cherry made Hall Effect or some sort of non contact based switches for instance, i doubt they would still be making them in such volume and without anything being changed since the 1980s.

User avatar
depletedvespene

18 May 2018, 14:18

I understand and agree with most of your points... but with a marked disagreement on one subtle, but not that subtle, thing: Cherry MY switches do not feel good in and of themselves and are not pleasant to type on (IMNAAHO, YMMV). OTOH, Model M switches are great in and of themselves, and it's only when you get to back-compare them to Model F switches that you realize the latter are decidedly better. It doesn't help the case that you can easily get keyboards with MX or MY switches on keyboards with the Enhanced Layout, while this isn't the case with IBM: it's trivial to get a Model M keyboard with the Enhanced layout (duh), but with Model F keyboards, the only option is to procure an F122, which, discounting the pricing problem, isn't that easy... and let's not even consider getting an Unsaver to replace an SSK.

Ob. disc.: I'm typing this on an F122. :mrgreen:

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

18 May 2018, 14:34

Who knows what our perception of Cherry MY switches would be if the exact same keyboards were readily available in various Cherry MX variants.

The comparison between Model M and Cherry MY was more on a conceptual basis though. They are both based on membrane sheets over a steel plate. No double the Model M is the better membrane keyboard but also cost 250$ originally!!!
That's about 500$ in todays money ...

andrewjoy

18 May 2018, 15:14

I totally agree with your points on the cost reduction replacing F with M and so on your correct.

However in my view the feel of a Model M is less of a step down from F ( however it is a big bloody step) than MY is from MX.

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

18 May 2018, 16:00

Remember the old keyboard with a calculator and display which our founding member sixty bought years ago, and his comment? "23 years, and Its alive!"
Nothing there like "broken rivets" or "bolt modd" - read the keyboard brand in the photo :mrgreen:
Spoiler:
sixty wrote: 23 years, and Its alive!

Image […]

User avatar
depletedvespene

18 May 2018, 16:28

Yeah, yeah, but... broken rivets can be easily repaired — how 'bout a bleeding LCD screen? :evilgeek:

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

18 May 2018, 16:35

kbdfr wrote: Remember the old keyboard with a calculator and display which our founding member sixty bought years ago, and his comment? "23 years, and Its alive!"
Nothing there like "broken rivets" or "bolt modd" - read the keyboard brand in the photo :mrgreen:
Spoiler:
sixty wrote: 23 years, and Its alive!

Image […]
My dream... the g80-2000. as if I don't love my 2100 and 2550 enough already :)

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

18 May 2018, 16:38

I think my real gripe with model ms is they are mediocre and overplayed in pretty much every way. The keyfeel is... mediocre. The looks... mediocre. How many clickbaity low effort articles have you seen proclaiming it as the "greatest keyboard of all time"? it's not that the model M is a BAD keyboard, but it is simply a mediocre and overhyped one.

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

18 May 2018, 16:41

Wodan wrote: I do understand there are some real benefity to the Model M ... Mostly availability and the layouts that are available. But that's no reason for me to embrace them. I really wish IBM kept making Model F keyboards as a premium alternative to their Model M keyboards. Instead, we're now watching all kinds of mainstream tech channels fapping hard over probably the worst cost saving measure in my personal history of mechanical keyboards.
Yep, capacitive BS is superior to membrane BS in every way except the layouts, the F AT being the "easiest" choice.

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

18 May 2018, 16:52

depletedvespene wrote: Yeah, yeah, but... broken rivets can be easily repaired — how 'bout a bleeding LCD screen? :evilgeek:
No bleeding LCD screen here, but a perfect, flawless display after over 20 years of use - it’s a Cherry keyboard, after all.
Not one of those overrated keyboards whose rivets break even if they never leave their boxes :lol:

User avatar
Dingster

18 May 2018, 16:53

kbdfr wrote:
depletedvespene wrote: Yeah, yeah, but... broken rivets can be easily repaired — how 'bout a bleeding LCD screen? :evilgeek:
No bleeding LCD screen here, but a perfect, flawless display after over 20 years of use - it’s a Cherry keyboard, after all.
Not one of those overrated keyboards whose rivets break even if they never leave their boxes :lol:
At least the overrated keyboards feel better ;)

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

18 May 2018, 16:54

Dingster wrote:
kbdfr wrote:
depletedvespene wrote: Yeah, yeah, but... broken rivets can be easily repaired — how 'bout a bleeding LCD screen? :evilgeek:
No bleeding LCD screen here, but a perfect, flawless display after over 20 years of use - it’s a Cherry keyboard, after all.
Not one of those overrated keyboards whose rivets break even if they never leave their boxes :lol:
At least the overrated keyboards feel better ;)
Vintage MX black >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Model M

User avatar
Dingster

18 May 2018, 17:01

That I agree with since I love linears, but vintage blacks are harder to get in my experinece :D

But the rest of the MX crew feels like linears with an extra step.

User avatar
green-squid

18 May 2018, 17:06

I think your points are pretty thought provoking. I still like my Model M, but I wish it was more tactile and less loud.

Edited for grammar (phone is acting up)
Last edited by green-squid on 18 May 2018, 17:11, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

18 May 2018, 17:07

Dingster wrote:
But the rest of the MX crew feels like linears with an extra step.
I see someone needs to try well tuned ergo clears :)

User avatar
Dingster

18 May 2018, 17:09

mike52787 wrote:
Dingster wrote:
But the rest of the MX crew feels like linears with an extra step.
I see someone needs to try well tuned ergo clears :)
Would love to try them :)
Clears I havent tried as well, but if they feel anywhere near to browns they arent my switch :lol:

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

18 May 2018, 17:13

Dingster wrote:
mike52787 wrote:
Dingster wrote:
But the rest of the MX crew feels like linears with an extra step.
I see someone needs to try well tuned ergo clears :)
Would love to try them :)
Clears I havent tried as well, but if they feel anywhere near to browns they arent my switch :lol:
You know it really is shocking what a different spring can do to the tactility of cherry switches, I feel that the sweet spot for browns is around 60g, and the best for clears is 62-67g. there is a noticeable increase in tactility on browns when a heavier spring is installed, and clears with a lighter spring makes the tactility more sharp and snappy.

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

18 May 2018, 17:14

mike52787 wrote: You know it really is shocking what a different spring can do to the tactility of cherry switches, I feel that the sweet spot for browns is around 60g, and the best for clears is 62-67g. there is a noticeable increase in tactility on browns when a heavier spring is installed, and clears with a lighter spring makes the tactility more sharp and snappy.
Good infos I need to try that.

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kbdfr
The Tiproman

18 May 2018, 17:15

Hey, this thread is about IBM Model M! :mrgreen:

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mike52787
Alps Aficionado

18 May 2018, 17:17

kbdfr wrote: Hey, this thread is about IBM Model M! :mrgreen:
see! that's how bad they are! even their own threads cant keep on topic :lol:

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

18 May 2018, 17:20

mike52787 wrote:
kbdfr wrote: Hey, this thread is about IBM Model M! :mrgreen:
see! that's how bad they are! even their own threads cant keep on topic :lol:
Good one. It's called offtopicthority. :mrgreen:

User avatar
Dingster

18 May 2018, 17:28

seebart wrote:
mike52787 wrote:
kbdfr wrote: Hey, this thread is about IBM Model M! :mrgreen:
see! that's how bad they are! even their own threads cant keep on topic :lol:
Good one. It's called offtopicthority. :mrgreen:
*cough* new layout indiegogo *cough*

User avatar
Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

18 May 2018, 17:32

Dingster wrote: *cough* new layout indiegogo *cough*
Don't even bring it up, some people are apparently hypersensitive about it. :roll:

User avatar
seebart
Offtopicthority Instigator

18 May 2018, 17:34

Blaise170 wrote:
Dingster wrote: *cough* new layout indiegogo *cough*
Don't even bring it up, some people are apparently hypersensitive about it. :roll:
It's got a funky name though: indiegogo. :lol:

User avatar
Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

18 May 2018, 17:35

No I don't mean that, but the Latin keyboard he's referring to.

User avatar
Dingster

18 May 2018, 17:38

Blaise170 wrote:
Dingster wrote: *cough* new layout indiegogo *cough*
Don't even bring it up, some people are apparently hypersensitive about it. :roll:
Hmmm yea ive seen the post on offtopic but its blank...probably for a reason?

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