What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC?

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Howie
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What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC?

Post by Howie » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:02 pm

I'm looking to make a change and am interested in one which offers functionality, durability, enhances typing speed, with any ergonomic benefit a plus. Any thoughts/suggestions? I will be using in a Win 7 64-bit environment.

Thanks.

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LadyGeek
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:12 pm

A cheap basic keyboard from Microsoft. It's well laid out, easy to use, with a good tactile response. I've had it for a long time, here's the latest equivalent: Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600 (Black) in black (Bogleheads.com referral added to URL).

I could never figure out how those ergonomic keyboards with the split right/left key configurations could sell. To me, they're totally unusable.
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by JV » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:14 pm

I just bought the Logitech K750 Solar Keyboard and it is phenomenal. Feels great, about 1/3-inch thickness, quiet keystrokes, solid construction. Better yet, no batteries to change!

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Khanmots » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:37 pm

All depends on what you want. Most keyboards available in the US are going to be membrane switches and thus all feel about the same (one exception is apple's, while it's still at it's heart a membrane switch it has "scissor" supports for each key allowing for less key-travel and a different feel). If you start looking into boutique keyboards you'll find a wide selection of different mechanical switches with different tactile responses ranging from near-silent purely linear switches to ones that make a loud noise and give you very strong tactile feedback that you've pressed the key far enough. You also have some choice of stiffer or softer keys to adjust to your typing style. Finally, the boutique keyboards will offer NKRO if that's important to you (majority of keyboards are 2KRO).

Personally I find a cheap $10-20 membrane keyboard to be just fine for most of what I do. That said, I picked up a Leopold mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches for xmas this year ($110ish) and while it hasn't been revolutionary I can't exactly say I consider it money wasted. Given it's construction quality I'll have this thing for decades and the NKRO and tactile feel is definitely nice.

That said, if you can't see spending $80-350 for a keyboard, then go to your nearest Fry's and try out the stuff in the $10-20 range. Membrane-switch keyboards are all going to feel about the same so look for something with key spacing and layout that you like :)

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:03 pm

Khanmots wrote: Finally, the boutique keyboards will offer NKRO if that's important to you (majority of keyboards are 2KRO).
NKRO = N-Key RollOver
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by NAVigator » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:13 pm

LadyGeek wrote:I could never figure out how those ergonomic keyboards with the split right/left key configurations could sell. To me, they're totally unusable.
My experience as well. I picked up a cheap used keyboard at a flea market for a couple of dollars to replace the ergonomic keyboard that came with the PC.

Jerry
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Keyboards can be subjective, depending on your own personal ergonomics. The best approach is to go to a store with several demo units and try them out in something approaching your normal usage. This might mean asking a sales associate to help you move the demo unit to a demo desk, since often the display shelves are at an unnatural angle.

Also don't neglect the ergonomics of your desk setup. You might need the keyboard tray to be lower or higher. You might need the chair to be lower or higher. Even the chair arms could need adjusting. Also, make sure the monitor is at eye level. One component is not going to matter much if the rest of the setup is less than ideal.

Personally, I focused more on the whole desk setup and with that I find that a regular old IBM keyboard works great. Since my body as a whole is in an ideal position, my hands and wrists do not get tired even though it's not an "ergonomic" keyboard. I also take frequent breaks (some unplanned, like chasing a cat away from the computer cables :) ) to prevent repetitive stress.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by masteraleph » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:10 pm

NAVigator wrote:
LadyGeek wrote:I could never figure out how those ergonomic keyboards with the split right/left key configurations could sell. To me, they're totally unusable.
My experience as well. I picked up a cheap used keyboard at a flea market for a couple of dollars to replace the ergonomic keyboard that came with the PC.

Jerry
I actually love my ergonomic keyboard. But I also had a course in middle school that was a basic computing course, including typing. So I type with my fingers on the home keys, and had it drilled into me which finger is supposed to reach for which keys. So the ergonomic thing doesn't bother me, and I do find it to be more comfortable. I'd imagine that someone who types with a 2-finger style or anything other than the "formal" touch-typing style would have problems with it.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by stratton » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:22 pm

Keyboards are very personal things.

I prefer real springs in keyboards so mine are all 15+ years old mostly bought used. The one I'm using right now is off a 1993 or 1994 $30K Silicon Graphics workstation. :-)

For laptops you have to try them out. Thinkpads and Apples have decent keyboards.

The absolute worst keyboard I've ever used was the one included with iMacs circa 2008. It's like pounding on a brick because there is no key travel. If I used that for a day or two I'd probably have all kinds of wrist and finger issues. My friend used one for 15 mintues and did two months worth of damage. 4 $5 used Mac SE keyboards later we have some nice keys with springs that don't bother her. We had to buy four to get two working ones.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by CyberBob » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:41 pm

The keyboard enthusiast answer would probably be that the greatest keyboard ever made was the IBM model M. They're the ones with the 'buckling spring' key design loved by heavy typists because of the tactile and auditory feedback resulting from a keystroke. Phooey on those membrane keyboards. Unicomp makes them nowadays.

Bob
(Sent from a computer where a lot of typing is done because it doesn't even have a mouse!)

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by sddiehard » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:49 pm

Just got the Logitech K750 Solar Keyboard last week and it is all that JV (in an earlier post) said. Works great!

Paul

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by hicabob » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:15 pm

Personally I like logitechs too - but here you go for a variety of highly rated units at many price points ....
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory ... der=RATING

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Toons
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Toons » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:02 pm

I've always been a Logitech fan.Personally I prefer being untethered and less clutter so I have wireless keyboards.I have both the Logitech LX-710 and the MK320. They are both nice units,the LX-710 having more options to work with ,but dollar for dollar the MK320 is outstanding(both are mouse keyboard combos).I found I did not need all the options with the LX-710,the MK320 is very basic,but all I need.Check out the price :D :D

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless ... 485&sr=1-1


http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless ... _e_title_0
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:16 pm

CyberBob wrote:The keyboard enthusiast answer would probably be that the greatest keyboard ever made was the IBM model M. They're the ones with the 'buckling spring' key design loved by heavy typists because of the tactile and auditory feedback resulting from a keystroke. Phooey on those membrane keyboards. Unicomp makes them nowadays.

Bob
(Sent from a computer where a lot of typing is done because it doesn't even have a mouse!)
I used the Model M keyboard with my IBM XT and later IBM AT computers. In addition to the quality, it's the layout I've always preferred, and is what I use now. I've done midnight requisitions at work to correct the keyboard layout if they gave me anything different. :D

(Entered on a computer where a lot of typing is done and I do have a mouse. Somewhere.)
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:28 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
CyberBob wrote:The keyboard enthusiast answer would probably be that the greatest keyboard ever made was the IBM model M. They're the ones with the 'buckling spring' key design loved by heavy typists because of the tactile and auditory feedback resulting from a keystroke. Phooey on those membrane keyboards. Unicomp makes them nowadays.

Bob
(Sent from a computer where a lot of typing is done because it doesn't even have a mouse!)
I used the Model M keyboard with my IBM XT and later IBM AT computers. In addition to the quality, it's the layout I've always preferred, and is what I use now. I've done midnight requisitions at work to correct the keyboard layout if they gave me anything different. :D

(Entered on a computer where a lot of typing is done and I do have a mouse. Somewhere.)
I've got a newer non-model M IBM keyboard with the model M 104 key layout (IBM model KB-3923). Like LadyGeek, it is my preferred layout and my coding speed diminishes greatly on other keyboard layouts (particularly when doing shell scripts and having to hunt for the pipe character). But this actually illustrates how keyboards can be subjective. My boss's preferred keyboard layout is the Sun keyboard layout. So now our Sun systems have two keyboards plugged into them, an IBM and a Sun keyboard, so each person using it can switch to their preferred keyboard, heh. Keyboard layout wars can be almost as heated as "emacs vs vi" among geeks.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Bengineer » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:43 pm

I'm kinda partial to the M$oft "natural" keyboards. I find I can keep my wrists straighter, which results in more hours of typing before fatigue sets in. The key action is ok.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by interplanetjanet » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:44 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:I've got a newer non-model M IBM keyboard with the model M 104 key layout (IBM model KB-3923). Like LadyGeek, it is my preferred layout and my coding speed diminishes greatly on other keyboard layouts (particularly when doing shell scripts and having to hunt for the pipe character). But this actually illustrates how keyboards can be subjective. My boss's preferred keyboard layout is the Sun keyboard layout. So now our Sun systems have two keyboards plugged into them, an IBM and a Sun keyboard, so each person using it can switch to their preferred keyboard, heh. Keyboard layout wars can be almost as heated as "emacs vs vi" among geeks.
I never particularly loved the model M's myself, I found the clickiness and the resistance curve to be a distraction. What I have used and enjoyed for years have been Sun type-4 and type-5 "Unix style" keyboards - there is an extra pair of rows of function keys on the far left (the "L keys") and they tend to have more resistance than newer keyboard designs. Any keyboard can be remapped but these are the ones I grew up on (starting with my Sun 3/60) and the layout just feels right - there's a true Meta, I bind the L keys to window operations so I can raise/lower/cycle windows without the mouse, etc.

My on the go system is a Macbook Pro and the key layout is customized enough to where people who aren't familiar with it get completely tripped up. As it's very rare that someone else has to work on it, this seems like an acceptable situation. As an aside, I wish wish wish laptop manufacturers would put fuller keyboard layouts onto laptops - there is no excuse where space is concerned on a 17" laptop.

-janet

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by daytona084 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:01 pm

I also prefer an old (1990's) keyboard with lots of travel and audio and tactile feedback. If it ever dies I think I will go to the thrift shop and look for something similar... they always have a large number of keyboards.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:39 pm

Bengineer wrote:I'm kinda partial to the M$oft "natural" keyboards. I find I can keep my wrists straighter, which results in more hours of typing before fatigue sets in. The key action is ok.
+1 If I spend more than 10-20 minutes on a "normal" keyboard, my wrists begin to hurt. I also find it affects my shoulders to have to hold my hands so unnaturally. But, I guess that's what makes horse-races.

EDITED TO ADD: I've been a touch typist since high school, so I don't have to "see" what letter I'm typing, and I'm pretty fast (I spent years as a computer programmer). My son has been tested at faster than 120 words per minute, on a "normal" keyboard -- it sounds like a drum-roll when he gets moving. He is incredibly picky about keyboards, and hates to use mine. De gustibus non est disputandum.
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by GregLee » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:55 pm

This is not a recommendation. I bought a Saitek "Eclipse" keyboard, wired usb, over a year ago, under the impression that it would be super nice, judging from reviews on Amazon and the price. And it's okay, I guess -- all keys still work and it has a blue backlight. But the action is nothing special, and the paint on most-used keys is wearing off, which is unsightly. It's satisfactory, but not really worth the price. Long ago, I had a keyboard from a Teletype machine with a clicking action that sounded and felt nice. I wish I could find another one like that.
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Khanmots » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:55 am

GregLee wrote:This is not a recommendation. I bought a Saitek "Eclipse" keyboard, wired usb, over a year ago, under the impression that it would be super nice, judging from reviews on Amazon and the price. And it's okay, I guess -- all keys still work and it has a blue backlight. But the action is nothing special, and the paint on most-used keys is wearing off, which is unsightly. It's satisfactory, but not really worth the price. Long ago, I had a keyboard from a Teletype machine with a clicking action that sounded and felt nice. I wish I could find another one like that.
Greg, I'd suggest looking for something with Cherry MX Blue switches. They have an internal mechanism in each switch to give you that type of feel (I think... not having used a teletype machine I'm going off your description XD). The only keyboard with those switches that I ran into at brick and mortar stores was the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate, and it's lacking in quality, is only 2KRO, and as a result is overpriced compared to the competition. That said, it does have Cherry MX Blue's and you could try out the switches to see if you like them and then order a higher-quality board (a leopold or a filco or a ducky or...) if you decide you really like the feel.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by runthetrails » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:34 pm

The M$ Windows keyboard:

Image

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Rick_29T9W » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:48 pm

I like the feel of the keys in the Logitech illuminated keyboard. It is a little on the expensive side at about $60 - $80, but it is one of the few that felt right, when I tried using various keyboards in the local electronics and office supply stores. I prefer a keyboard that requires only a light touch, but which also has at least some slight tactile feedback. I did not like how on many keyboards, my fingers had to work slightly harder to press stiffer keys. Unfortunately, most of the keyboards also had almost no tactile feedback.

Until recently, I had been using a NMB Right touch mechanical keyboard since the mid-1990s. Unfortunately, it finally wore out and I could not find another mechanical keyboard which had that same light feel and good tactile feedback. Most of the keyboards now being manufactured do not have much tactile feedback.

My new Logitech keyboard is not a mechanical keyboard, so the tactile feedback is not quite as good, but it is better than some of the other keyboards that I tried. Overall, I am pretty happy with it. Living in a small city with only a few stores that sell keyboards, there were probably some keyboards that I did not get a chance to try using.

The Logitech illuminated keyboard uses a USB cable and is not a wireless keyboard. It has illuminated keys, which can be seen in the dark. I like it pretty well.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by GregLee » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:58 pm

Khanmots wrote:Greg, I'd suggest looking for something with Cherry MX Blue switches.
Thanks for the suggestion, and I will. So far, I've looked at reviews for the XArmor U9Plus on Amazon, for about $100. And I ran across a review of the various sorts of mechanical keyboards here: http://hothardware.com/cs/blogs/mrtg/ar ... ified.aspx.
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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Tom_T » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:06 pm

My sister learned touch-typing in the 1960s, on IBM typewriters. She hated PC keyboards because none of them had a big enough raised bar on the 'F' and 'J' keys that tell the touch-typists where the home keys are without looking. Whenever I would show her one, she'd say, "No, the bars are too small."

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Khanmots » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:55 pm

GregLee wrote:
Khanmots wrote:Greg, I'd suggest looking for something with Cherry MX Blue switches.
Thanks for the suggestion, and I will. So far, I've looked at reviews for the XArmor U9Plus on Amazon, for about $100. And I ran across a review of the various sorts of mechanical keyboards here: http://hothardware.com/cs/blogs/mrtg/ar ... ified.aspx.
You might take a look at this keyboard guide. Note that it has links to force graphs for the different switches if you're good at translating from that to how it'd feel.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by johnubc » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:06 pm

I really like my keyboard - http://www.adesso.com/en/component/cont ... 308ub.html

takes a little time to get used to it, but the layout allows your wrists to sit in a comfortable position.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Howie » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:16 pm

johnubc wrote:I really like my keyboard - http://www.adesso.com/en/component/cont ... 308ub.html

takes a little time to get used to it, but the layout allows your wrists to sit in a comfortable position.
Thanks to all thus far for some very illuminating information and input.

Regarding the Adesso keyboard, I found it only possesses a 1-year warranty (seems paltry considering the price). Is this typical of all the keyboards- a one-year warranty?

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by Khanmots » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:28 pm

Howie wrote:Regarding the Adesso keyboard, I found it only possesses a 1-year warranty (seems paltry considering the price). Is this typical of all the keyboards- a one-year warranty?
That's what my Leopold has. Not sure if others like a Ducky or Filco would be longer or not though.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by MDfive21 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:20 pm

my kensington K64365 feels just like a laptop.
Scissor-switch technology delivers crisp responsive touch typing. Laptop-style keys with a lighter action for faster typing.

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Re: What is the best/your favorite keyboard for a desktop PC

Post by strcmp » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:29 pm

I used to use model Ms exclusively, but when you type a lot and very fast (I type 110-130 WPM), it starts to get tiring pushing down the buckling spring keys.

I think the Cherry MX switch keyboards are the best to reproduce the feeling of model Ms, but without as much effort to push the key down.
If you are a true typing enthusiast, you'll probably look to the Cherry MX switch keyboards. There's different color switches used for different purposes.
Google it as there is much info out there about them.

You will likely be spending anywhere from $80-$150 for a cherry mx switch keyboard.
If you type a lot and fast, it might be a worthy investment since keyboards will last a long time while your computer will get obsolete every 2 years. The tactile feel of the keys is very nice.
If you hunt and peck to type, it probably won't make a difference either way. :D

I suggest checking out the Filco Majestouch 2..

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