What bothers me about IBM Model M

User avatar
Chyros

19 May 2018, 11:47

wobbled wrote:
Chyros wrote: I think the biggest difference is that Cherry MY boards are not regularly labelled the best keyboards of all time. The Model M is however, and MY boards ARE often named among the WORST keyboards of all time.
Right, but the Model M probably is the best keyboard of all time to a lot of people, not everyone prefers the F
Exactly my point. I dare say Model M owners have more reverence for their boards than even MX blue owners have for theirs.

The same trend of cheapification can be mirrored across many switches, not just BS and MX/MY. Virtually everything got made worse over time.

User avatar
Iggy

19 May 2018, 11:51

Chyros wrote:
wobbled wrote:
Chyros wrote: I think the biggest difference is that Cherry MY boards are not regularly labelled the best keyboards of all time. The Model M is however, and MY boards ARE often named among the WORST keyboards of all time.
Right, but the Model M probably is the best keyboard of all time to a lot of people, not everyone prefers the F
Exactly my point. I dare say Model M owners have more reverence for their boards than even MX blue owners have for theirs.

The same trend of cheapification can be mirrored across many switches, not just BS and MX/MY. Virtually everything got made worse over time.
Model Ms are bad because Model F exist.
Model Fs are bad because Beamsprings exist.
Beamsprings are bad because Selectric typewriters exist.
Selectric typewriters are bad because our ancestors used parietal art only 40.000 years before any typewriter was invented, so its far older and that's why it's better right?

User avatar
Chyros

19 May 2018, 11:55

Iggy wrote: Model Ms are bad because Model F exist.
Model Fs are bad because Beamsprings exist.
Beamsprings are bad because Selectric typewriters exist.
Selectric typewriters are bad because our ancestors used parietal art only 40.000 years before any typewriter was invented, so its far older and that's why it's better right?
Well, everything is relative, if that's what you mean, yes.

If no mechanicals had exited, I probably would've loved rubber domes.
If all the better mechanical switches hadn't existed, I would've loved even Cherries :p .

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

19 May 2018, 12:37

While going from Model F to Model M is clearly and in every way just a cost saving measure, the transition from Beamspring to Model F is a lot more complex. The Model F keyboards are an improvement over the Beamspring keyboards in some ways - most notably ergonomically!

Owning both restored and converted Beamsprings and Model F keyboards, the Model F keyboards clearly make a more convenient desktop keyboard than the cumbersome Beamspring boards.

Claiming that there are people out there who prefer the Model M isn‘t really an argument. I‘ve seen people claim G81 boards perform great in certain condition and situations too... Personal preference and popularity shouldn‘t really play a major role when considering which keyboard technically superior to another. Otherwise there would be no doubt that Cherry MX are the best mechanical switches of all eternity since they are just SO common and so popular even in the hardcore custom scene.

The Model M is delivering a DIFFERENT typing experience from the Model F and for every typing experience there is someone who enjoys it. The points about the Model M that I have been making were criticizing the technical and design shortcomings of the Model M, especially compared to the Model F. I stopped trying to preach which switch feels better because it will always be a very subjective experience. For people who like heavy clicky switches, the Model M will be a great pick.

User avatar
clickykeyboards

19 May 2018, 12:40

After IBM designed the Personal System/2 computers in the mid 1980's and built the model M with the Enhanced Keyboard layout as a standard, all the other PC manufacturers of the world then and now copied and cloned and model M and not the model F.
IBM model M enhanced keyboard
IBM model M enhanced keyboard
ibm enhanced keyboard.jpg (382.79 KiB) Viewed 1779 times
source: (1986) "Hardware News: The Right Touch" In Read Only, A review of the IBM Personal Computer Family, Vol 3., No. 1.

User avatar
Chyros

19 May 2018, 14:59

Wodan wrote: The points about the Model M that I have been making were criticizing the technical and design shortcomings of the Model M, especially compared to the Model F.
I get what you mean, and you definitely have a point, but tbh the Model F has its structural weaknesses as well. The shells are more brittle compared to the PVC M shell, and the capacitive assembly is so sensitive that you can get ghosting issues. Sometimes fixing these is actually harder than a bolt-mod; although in all fairness the metal clip assembly is definitely a major improvement over the rivet one.

User avatar
zslane

19 May 2018, 20:23

I’d like to think that if beamspring switches and keycaps had not become too expensive for widespread adoption in common office environments, they would have been found in continually evolving layouts (e.g., ANSI) and in a variety of evolving case designs. The fact that they never got a chance to bring their benefits to modern layouts is not a deficiency of the technology, but a tragedy of history.

To my mind, everything about the Model F/M design, except maybe its key layout, is loathsome; the fact that it was more affordable than a beamspring (or better yet, Microswitch HE) terminal is not enough of a virtue to make me like or appreciate it from a technological or aesthetic point of view. Sure, it became a de facto standard, but not because it was a superior design, rather because if you were a clone maker then immitating IBM’s PC design (including all of its functional and aesthetic deficiencies) was more important and cost-effective than improving on it.

It was the clone makers who gave that design the critical mass it needed to become “iconic”, not IBM, who ultimately got pushed out of the very market they gave birth to. IBM’s tradition of engineering excellence was replaced in the marketplace by the cheaper-by-any-means-necessary philosophy of the clone makers who were cutting every possible cost in a furious race to the bottom. The original Model F/M stands atop a mountain of trash, and so it’s not really saying much that it is the king of its domain.

User avatar
FXT
XT

19 May 2018, 22:22

zslane wrote: I’d like to think that if beamspring switches and keycaps had not become too expensive for widespread adoption in common office environments, they would have been found in continually evolving layouts (e.g., ANSI) and in a variety of evolving case designs. The fact that they never got a chance to bring their benefits to modern layouts is not a deficiency of the technology, but a tragedy of history.

To my mind, everything about the Model F/M design, except maybe its key layout, is loathsome; the fact that it was more affordable than a beamspring (or better yet, Microswitch HE) terminal is not enough of a virtue to make me like or appreciate it from a technological or aesthetic point of view. Sure, it became a de facto standard, but not because it was a superior design, rather because if you were a clone maker then immitating IBM’s PC design (including all of its functional and aesthetic deficiencies) was more important and cost-effective than improving on it.

It was the clone makers who gave that design the critical mass it needed to become “iconic”, not IBM, who ultimately got pushed out of the very market they gave birth to. IBM’s tradition of engineering excellence was replaced in the marketplace by the cheaper-by-any-means-necessary philosophy of the clone makers who were cutting every possible cost in a furious race to the bottom. The original Model F/M stands atop a mountain of trash, and so it’s not really saying much that it is the king of its domain.
It's pretty crazy to me how much opinions vary on something like keyboards. Personally I love beamsprings, but I actually prefer capacitive buckling springs to them. The F107 I just restored is the best typing keyboard I've ever used (on par with my XT). The main thing I miss from beamspring boards is spherical double-shot ABS keycaps.

User avatar
0100010

20 May 2018, 03:15

Need a BS107 (beamspring capactive 107 layout) with spherical double shot keys.

User avatar
Elrick

20 May 2018, 03:58

0100010 wrote: Need a BS107 (beamspring capactive 107 layout) with spherical double shot keys.
I think WE all want that to happen here but do expect a doubling/tripling (if such a word exists) in price, compared to the current Ellipse keyboard.

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

20 May 2018, 04:19

Personally I think beamspring is highly overrated. Sure, the sound and keyfeel are nice, but not any nicer than capacitive buckling spring. IMO there are no real advantages of beamspring over model f. The downsides of beamsprings are huge though, bad layouts, incredibly bad ergonomics and high price to name a few. again, certainly not a bad switch, but it has its major flaws.

User avatar
wobbled

20 May 2018, 04:24

mike52787 wrote: Personally I think beamspring is highly overrated. Sure, the sound and keyfeel are nice, but not any nicer than capacitive buckling spring. IMO there are no real advantages of beamspring over model f. The downsides of beamsprings are huge though, bad layouts, incredibly bad ergonomics and high price to name a few. again, certainly not a bad switch, but it has its major flaws.
1000% agree

User avatar
Elrick

20 May 2018, 04:56

mike52787 wrote: The downsides of beamsprings are huge though, bad layouts, incredibly bad ergonomics and high price to name a few. again, certainly not a bad switch, but it has its major flaws.
It's just incredibly difficult to 're-make' the switch from scratch.

Just look at the misery Ellipse goes through just to make a single working Model-F keyboard?

Hence a Beamspring switch put into a functional ANSI layout (sorry Euro zone) would be right up there with Mark Zuckerberg finding a conscious or the Saudi's finding theirs (impossible but who knows).

User avatar
zslane

20 May 2018, 19:40

mike52787 wrote: The downsides of vintage beamspring keyboards are huge though, bad layouts, incredibly bad ergonomics and high price to name a few. again, certainly not a bad switch, but it has its major flaws.
There, fixed that for you.

The downsides you describe aren't downsides of the switch itself, but of the vintage keyboards that utilized them. It is important to recognize and appreciate the distinction.

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

20 May 2018, 19:42

until there is a proper beamspring reproduction those will be one in the same

User avatar
Iggy

20 May 2018, 19:46

mike52787 wrote: until there is a proper beamspring reproduction those will be one in the same
Hopefully not the sort you see with hall effect switches. Those Chinese boards are too flashy for me.

User avatar
Dingster

20 May 2018, 19:59

Iggy wrote:
mike52787 wrote: until there is a proper beamspring reproduction those will be one in the same
Hopefully not the sort you see with hall effect switches. Those Chinese boards are too flashy for me.
The wooden one with some cherry doubleshots would look prety nice imo.

User avatar
digital_matthew

20 May 2018, 19:59

Iggy wrote:
mike52787 wrote: until there is a proper beamspring reproduction those will be one in the same
Hopefully not the sort you see with hall effect switches. Those Chinese boards are too flashy for me.
Man can you imagine a gold keycapped, gloss black chassis, gamer font RGB keyboard with reproduction beam spring switches? Federal crime I reckon...

User avatar
zslane

20 May 2018, 20:00

mike52787 wrote: until there is a proper beamspring reproduction those will be one in the same
On a practical level, sure.

But in terms of comparing switch designs, it is not hard to compare beamsprings to buckling springs (or almost anything else) and come away realizing how much more impressive the former is than the latter. They sounded better, they felt better, and they were engineered better. Yes, they were more complex and robust, and therefore more expensive to produce, but that's true for most high-end things in this world (that's why a Tesla costs more than a Toyota, for instance).

User avatar
mike52787
Alps Aficionado

20 May 2018, 20:05

zslane wrote: They sounded better, they felt better
subjective

anyway yeah there is really no separating the mechanism from the keyboard at this point. its hard to look at something as a single part instead of as a whole.

apastuszak

23 May 2018, 04:13

So, here is the "new guy" take on this argument. I owned 2 keyboards with Cherry MX Blue switches. My coworkers have Cherry MX Browns and we have traded keyboards for a week to try each others switches out. I've never tried out a Cherry MY or a Model F.

But I will say, now that I own a Model M, I will take it any day over a Cherry MX Blue or Brown. Is it as good as Model F? Internet wisdom says it's not. But, to me, a buckling spring Model M is light years better than the Cherry MX Blue or Brown switches I have used.

Because of this, I think that a Model F must be absolutely luxurious to type on.

But I am looking on modelfkeyboards.com now, and It looks like I would need to shell out $359 to get close to what I want, and it's not even a full 103 layout. That's insane. And used Model Fs on eBay aren't much cheaper. At that price point, I am glad that the Unicomp Model M exists for $94.00 shipped from Amazon.

Had IBM continued to make the Model F as a higher end option, I think it would have quickly died out, as the much cheaper, much quieter, and "good enough" Model M would have probably outsold it 100 to 1 easily, if not 1000:1. In the mid 80s, when companies were buying PCs for their workers, I doubt a single purchasing manager even once said "How's the key feel on these two keyboards." Heck, if IBM came our with a rubber dome back in 1985 and offered it as an option, I tend to think there would be far fewer used Model Ms available for the current keyboard enthusiast community. Soon as Compaq came out with the first PC Compatible, the race to the bottom began.

if someone could make a Model F in a 101/102/103 layout and make it at a price point of $150 or less, it might make a resurgence. But when I can't find one for less than $300 new or used, it will forever remain a curiosity to me.

User avatar
Blaise170
ALPS キーボード

23 May 2018, 12:02

You can find them easily for under $100 in XT layout. It's not exactly ideal, but it's also not that bad to type on. Even the XT was light years ahead of other layouts that were out at the time.

apastuszak

23 May 2018, 14:08

Blaise170 wrote: You can find them easily for under $100 in XT layout. It's not exactly ideal, but it's also not that bad to type on. Even the XT was light years ahead of other layouts that were out at the time.
I'm searching eBay now, and I see a few for as low as $80. But last week they all started at $300. It's all about timing I guess.

User avatar
czarek

27 May 2018, 16:44

I surely can't be the only one prefering Model M sound to Model F sound, right? Feels wise, F is springier and more gentle, but the sound of early M is a joy to the ears compared to my F122 or F AT. Not to mention stupid, rock heavy space bar on XT and AT Model Fs...

green-squid

27 May 2018, 16:49

apastuszak wrote:
Blaise170 wrote: You can find them easily for under $100 in XT layout. It's not exactly ideal, but it's also not that bad to type on. Even the XT was light years ahead of other layouts that were out at the time.
I'm searching eBay now, and I see a few for as low as $80. But last week they all started at $300. It's all about timing I guess.
for-sale-f55/orihalcon-s-huge-mostly-ib ... 19095.html

;)

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

27 May 2018, 23:49

czarek wrote:
I surely can't be the only one prefering Model M sound to Model F sound, right?
Fs sound ridiculous until you floss mod them. Then they are just right, better than Ms.

Flosss-modding Ms is mostly a waste of time, although it does make them marginally quieter.

User avatar
FXT
XT

28 May 2018, 01:03

fohat wrote:
czarek wrote:
I surely can't be the only one prefering Model M sound to Model F sound, right?
Fs sound ridiculous until you floss mod them. Then they are just right, better than Ms.

Flosss-modding Ms is mostly a waste of time, although it does make them marginally quieter.
I personally love the way the F sounds, maybe even more so than the M. My F107 is my favorite sounding keyboard; the full metal case really compliments the crisp, pingy clicks.

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

28 May 2018, 14:41

fohat wrote: […] [Model] Fs sound ridiculous until you floss mod them. Then they are just right, better than [Model] Ms. […]
This in fact seems to be an extension of the thread opening post, where the rant was targeted only at Model M.
Well, you can still use Cherry MX boards manufactured at the same time without having to even open them :mrgreen:

ccl

04 Jun 2018, 11:54

Hi Wodan,

with all due respect, this is just trolling. Der Vergleich hinkt.. totally. Only valid comparison is, both are cost savings. But that's
about it. OK, you don't like to use model Ms, but that is your personal opinion, which is of course 100% valid and also interesting. However then..

a) Cherry totally ruined the keyboard with the MY switches (admittetly, the board design looks great - but was and still is flimsy; keycaps, old one, of course are end game till today). No one, at least in this community, uses it (I would dare to say, maybe no one in the whole world uses it as a daily driver). Only purpose is to harvest the keycaps, if the board is old enough. Now on the other hand, many many here love to type on a Model M and it is definitely in the end game category (if you like a little bit heavier switches and of course, clicky).

b) While the G81 is just a step down (into the abyss) with no good, the Model M actually has some improvements. The layout is a classic. The look is a classic. For some the SSK is the most beautiful keyboard in the world. The keyboard case is still top notch. I don't know what rivets are, mine just works and looks brand new. The sound to me is not worse than the Model
F.., which also are highly a matter of taste, but anyway, both are a classic sound wise.

So in other words, the Model M and Cherry MY (G81) are not comparable at all, one is a POS, one is end game material (with different shortcomings, like everything in the world) - they live in different Galaxies.

But having that said, Wodan, we still love you (and your Cherry finds;)!

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

04 Jun 2018, 12:12

Just because you like the Model Ms doesn't mean they aren't technically shit.

The contact mechanism of both the Model M and the G81 are the same flawed shit technology (sheet membrane on a steel back plate) and contrary to Model M keyboards, I haven't seen a G81 fall apart from age and normal office use!

The big difference between G81 and Model M is the switch mechanism above the sheet membrane (thus the switch feeling) and the price.

Deal with it ...

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”