Model M reviews and links

External links about what others think about the original model M keyboards built by IBM.

Why I, even after finally owning a Beamspring, still went back to a Model M by u/Bitteneite (

The Legendary IBM Model M

It was a hot sunny day after school. I came back home ready to do whatever homework I had, but my mind went blank as I saw a long heavy box inside the kitchen. It was a generic box, no labels describing what’s inside, but by the shape of it, I knew exactly what it was.

I couldn’t have been any more impatient. I instantly cut open the tapes and unveiled the bubblewrap to what seemed like the heaviest keyboard I’ve picked up, and I was in awe. There was just something about the dense construction and hefty weighting that displayed pure quality. I thought my Razer Blackwidow was premium, but not anymore. The build is in a class of its own, and I was already off to a sweet upgrade!

Why I Still Use a 34-Year-Old IBM Model M Keyboard by Benj Edwards (

In a world where rapidly changing technology feels increasingly disposable, one thing remains constant in my computer setup: my 34-year-old IBM 101-key Enhanced Keyboard, commonly known as the Model M. Here’s why I’ll never give up its clicky keys and ideal layout.

In 1986, the IBM Enhanced Keyboard cost $295, which is the equivalent of about $695 today. That’s some serious dough—but you did get a serious keyboard.

It Sounds and Feels Satisfying
If you’ve ever used an electric typewriter, you’ll understand the tactile and auditory feedback of the Model M. Whenever you pressed a key on an IBM Selectric, you heard a thunk as the type ball hit the paper. The momentum of the fast mechanical movement vibrated the entire machine.

The secret sauce in every Model M keyboard is a mechanism called the buckling spring actuator. Each key compresses a tiny spring until it suddenly snaps against the side of a cylinder, producing a “click” sound. The spring also pushes a tiny pivoting rocker beneath each key that registers the key press on a membrane below.

Thanks to the snappy springs, you always know when you’ve pressed a key. Because of its high quality, you also know the computer registered the key. The same can’t be said for cheap rubber-dome keyboards.

As a result, the Model M is famously noisy. Every key press generates two clicks, so it almost sounds like you’re typing at twice your actual speed. If I ever type while I’m on a phone call, the person on the other end usually goes silent and then says something like, “Holy cow! What was that?!”


“I am typing these words on an IBM Model M, a behemoth beast of a keyboard that has a solid steel plate inside. For the past fifteen years, I have refused to type on anything other than a Model M. Made by IBM from 1985 until 1991 (successors made by Lexmark and now Unicomp, while good, are not regarded as classic), it weighs in at six pounds, about as much as six iPads, and connects to a computer with a curly cable that resembles something Jimi Hendrix might have used with his Fender Stratocaster. Its clicks rival any Remington’s.”

“Does a writer’s style depend on the tools he uses?” Arthur Krystal asks in an essay on the early days of the typewriter. Yes and no. Unlike painters or musicians whose tools and instruments are fully integrated into their art, writers just have words on a page. Sometimes, however, I think I have to be a little angry to write. I need to get worked up in some fashion, and take it out on my keyboard. One fan site dedicated to Model M’s has a tagline I love: “Type hard or go home.” William Wordsworth describes good poetry as coming from a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” I take my overflows out on a keyboard that can also be used as a weapon.

Ultimate Keyboard Showdown – IBM model F or Model M by Modern Classic (YouTube)

Overall winner: The model M.

“It’s got a standard layout, it’s easier to work on, cheaper, it’s easier to obtain, longer cord with slightly more modern connectors and it feels 95% as good to type on as a model F.  Don’t forget that whether or not the model M was intended to cut costs internally, this was considered an upgrade by both IBM and consumers at the time.  That’s why they called it the Enhanced keyboard.  It was only available as a higher cost option on XT’s and AT’s initially and it wasn’t available at all on the original PC at the time.  Those buyers were stuck with the original model F — which was considered outdated at the time.”

Why I use the IBM Model M Keyboard that is older than me (blog)

“If you have not used the Model M or buckling spring switches before, it is hard to describe to you why it makes the typing experience so great. Just give this keyboard a test drive for a couple of days if you have access to one.

If you like it and you want to buy one, you should get one as soon as possible. Being out of production for decades, the cost of purchasing the Model M especially those in good condition will only go up with time.

It is sad that with all the advancements in computing, the one piece of equipment that we use the most to interact with our computers has regressed technologically in the name of costs. We don’t usually expect to be using 30-year-old hardware on a daily productive basis but the IBM Model M keyboard is that exception.

Today, I don’t really care about fancy features like great aesthetics, RGB backlights, media keys and extra USB ports. I just need something that gives me great tactile feedback, be durable, enable me to easily swap keys to fit my Programmer Dvorak layout. The Model M fits my needs perfectly.”

April 19, 2018 KTLA morning TV broadcast

“They are driven by the love and overwhelming appreciation for the design, diversity, and the history of computer keyboards.”

0x001F – IBM Model M Repair by AkBKukU (YouTube)
“Today I’m doing a video on IBM’s venerable keyboard — the model M.  ..and you did read that title right, one of my model M’s is technically, actually broken.   ..and when I say one of, I do mean one of many model M’s.  I’ve found my forever keyboard.”

Video with typing and sound demonstration.  Presenter explains 7/32″ nut driver to open the four screws holding the model M case parts together.  Also shows good olde fashioned Fluke multimeter technique to diagnose and repair a faulty NumLock LED.

The Ultimate IBM model M review (buckling springs) by Chyrosran22 (YouTube)
“A testament to IBM’s world-class everything at the time, these extremely high quality keyboards were the standard by which all other keyboards were measured back in the day, and arguably they still should.  The model M is possibly the most well known and most influential keyboard of all time and remains a timeless classic even to this day.  While the computers they came with are either dead or horribly obsolete, the model M has endured and in fact is still relevant keyboard with many that are still in use to this day.”

IBM Model M keyboard ultimate roundup! by Modern Classic (YouTube)
The iconic (and iconically clicky) IBM Model M keyboard has been a fan favorite for three full decades now – an unbelievable run in computer years. I take a look at the major revisions in this video, and I also answer the question of whether it’s still worth buying one in this second age of mechanical keyboards. Is the Model M still the One True Keyboard, and if so, which one should you get?

Show Us Your Rig: Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson by PC Gamer by Tom Marks, September 2014

Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of Minecraft, has a powerful rig with a deceptive appearance. Hidden behind its ancient keyboard and healthy layer of dust, Persson’s computer houses some serious punch.

What’s the most interesting/unique part of your setup?
Definitely my original IBM Model M from many, many years ago. It has a PS/2 connector, and weirdly my motherboard does too, so there’s no need for a USB converter. The Model M is basically the best keyboard ever made, with the perfect buckling spring and amazing weight and sweet brownish white color. Definitely designed for people who type a lot, like programmers, authors, and YouTube trolls. Mine is also incredibly dirty and probably a health hazard. I almost broke it the last time I cleaned it, so now I’ll just live with the finger cancer.

On why: “…you have a billion dollars why do you have a keyboard made in 2001”
…”because it doesn’t look like a christmas ornament on acid” – @Notch (twitter feed)

IBMs Tastaturklassiker im Test: Und klappert die Model M (German)
IBM’S KEYBOARD CLASSICS IN THE TESTAnd forever the Model M clatters (English)

“For many computer users, a keyboard is a device that does not have much to think about. They are closed, typed, finished. There are, however, also users, who spend hours on switches and their different features, via clicks and the quality of keyboard caps. Often, these are not necessarily nerds, but users who have learned to appreciate the advantages of a mechanical keyboard: better tactility, a measurable stroke distance and a direct response increase the typing speed and can reduce the error rate.”

Lazy Game Reviews: Using an IBM model M on a Smartphone
“So if you really want clicky keyboard greatness and you don’t want to bother with Unicomp or getting something else more modern, then here you go….  But you know what, there’s always something about the ORIGINAL”

Meet the Master of the Old-School Clicky-Clacky Keyboard
(English version)
(Japanese version)

King of click: the story of the greatest keyboard ever made

Why I use a 20-year-old IBM Model M keyboard —

IBM model M simulator

Retro Review: IBM Model M Keyboard The IBM Model M keyboard is perhaps the most legendary keyboard of all time. Companies have been emulating the clicky goodness of the Model M for over 30 years.

Typing on an IBM model M Keyboard This is my very first keyboard with mechanical key switches. I have to say that, coming from a rubber dome keyboard, the sound and feel of the Model M is infinitely better quality. I agree that it greatly resembles a typewriter.

This particular keyboard is the 1993 model, which I purchased at

How to Clean an IBM model M keyboard



HAK.5 video (episode #3) video podcast for the hacker, modder, and do-it-yourselfer
“…IBM M series keyboard made in 1987.  These were great keyboards at the time, and they still are actually.  They’ve got great tactile response.  I mean these keys are real springy.. and the cord for it is 8-miles-long and detatchable — plus,  stretchy.  I’m going to give it the same treatment that I gave the (computer) case.  It’s going to be all black, with some red accents, pinstripes, and the logo… …the way we’re going to do it is going to save you about $60.  We’re going to make our own Das keyboard in the same stroke.  No characters on it whatsoever.  Fairly inexpensive.  This keyboard will be for the truly 31337 HX0R”


YouTube video: Keyboard Carnage
This video tests the myth that a Model M keyboard can be used to kill a man and you can still type on it afterwards.  We use a slightly broken Model M from 1988 (letters [B], [N] and the [?/] button were broken to start with).  The other keyboard from the same year is made by Zenith sporting a Bull logo. This one has a thinner metal plate, rubber dome keys and is a ’bit’ thinner than the Model M.
The model M’s round front edge makes it harder to kill a lemon, but it’s better overall endurance made it the overall winner..

“This proves in hand to hand combat, the IBM model M keyboard is better than the Zenith bull keyboard.”


The Steampunk Keyboard Mod:
The already venerable IBM Model M is retro-fitted with glass and nickel keys and mounted in a polished brass frame.

Flickr slideshow of random lust and appreciation for model M keyboards:

WIKIPEDIA | Model M Keyboard
“The Model M is also remembered for its overall heavy and sturdy design, which allowed the keyboard to survive far longer periods of time, use, and abuse than practically any other personal computer component ever manufactured.”

CNET | Top 10 tech we miss: #7: Good keyboards
“The keyboards on early IBM PCs were heavy, had a great feel, and made a satisfying clacking noise when you typed, thanks to the expensive “buckling spring” design for the switches.”

ZDNet | Where have all the good keyboards gone
“Not too long ago, it was hard for a PC user to love anything IBM. But even back then, IBM excelled at least at one thing: It made the best darn keyboards on the planet.

Those keyboards, included with the original IBM PCs, the ATs and the PS/2s, had a remarkable feel.

They were solid and overengineered. When a key struck a contact, the feel was tremendously satisfying.”

PCWORLD | How to Fix Keyboards: Don’t Touch ’Em!
“When it comes to keyboards, consistency makes sense. Sitting down at a PC and getting to work without having to curse what’s under your fingers is a genuine productivity booster. But increasingly we see all sorts of improvements that aren’t.”

“Keyboard feel is pretty much a lost art. Everything I’ve tried lately has a dead, sticky touch, in part because just about everybody uses the cheapest possible technology.” | Classic keyboards redux
“I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to PC keyboards, and after all these years, I still prefer the feel and sound of my old IBM 101-key (circa 1990) with its “buckling spring” action. I’ve moved this keyboard from PC to PC through more upgrades than I can count.”

Dan’s Data | Review: IBM Keyboards – The Odyssey Continues
“Computer users are used to hardware that’s worthless in three years and useless in five; clicky keyboards aren’t like that. You could leave one of these things to your children in your will. Or be buried with it..”

Dan’s Data | Review: IBM 42H1292 and 1391401 keyboards
“The big deal about these old keyboards is their lovely, positive key-click. When you use a keyboard that doesn’t have a good positive click, it’s hard to tell when you’ve depressed a key properly. You have to watch the screen to make sure you don’t leave letters out, or you have to really hammer the keyboard, which is not good for your hands.”

Dan’s Data | Letters IBM model M15 bent ergonomic keyboard
“Yes, there were clicky split ’boards, but nobody makes them any more. You’ll have a hard time finding one; Clicky Keyboards have sold the couple they found.”

“Thirteen million Selectric electric typewriters were made from 1961 until June 30, 1987, setting the standard for how professional office equipment ought to look and feel. Duffy admitted that the shape and feel of the keys on today`s PCs are calculated emulations of the Selectric.

On IBM PC keyboards, for example, the resistance of the key against the finger relaxes about halfway through the stroke-about the instant the character is triggered-as a spring under the key buckles. The dropoff in resistance mimics the ”tactile response” of the Selectric, where a certain amount of key travel triggered the printer mechanism, followed by a small amount of key travel until you hit bottom.

Meanwhile, the key tops of PC keyboards mimic those used in the Selectric III. ”With the Selectric I and II, the keys had a depression in them, but it was more of a square cavity. With the Selectric III, we changed the top to make it more rectangular, and human-factors testing gave good results,” Duffy said.

The new key tops-since emulated by virtually everybody-have a cylindrical depression. Instead of all four sides being higher than the middle, only the right and left sides are higher. Also, instead of being square-as you look down on them from the top-the keys are longer front-to-back than right-to-left. The combination makes the key tops more comfortable, since they offer a larger target and fewer edges to an imprecisely guided finger.” | IBM Model M: The Best Computer Keyboard Ever
“I just took a typing test using my old Model M and hit 64 words per minute – and I had fewer typos in the process. There’s just something right about the design; I really can’t describe it other than saying that my finger always presses hard enough and never too hard on a Model M – are two of the many reasons for typos on lesser keyboards.

What makes the IBM Model M so good? It’s all in the spring – buckling springs, to be precise. A buckling spring is a mechanism that carries tension until enough force is applied to “buckle” the spring, at which point it collapses and the key can travel down, producing an audible click when it does.

Of course, while noisy and intrusive to your neighbors, there’s one very good reason why the buckling spring keyboard remained in production for so many years and why it’s something of a specialty item today. Those switches are very expensive compared to the cheap rubber domes in use today, and it’s those switches that give this keyboard its legendary feel (and make it too expensive for this age of made-in-China mass-production).

One thing is certain: If you generate a lot of text, you owe it yourself to get a decent keyboard.”

Linux Journal | Building the Ultimate Linux Box
“Like many hackers of a certain age, I imprinted on the IBM Model M keyboard about 20 years ago. They have a relatively stiff travel with a sharp break and a positive keyclick that can only be described as crunchy. They inspire cult-like devotion. It’s still possible to buy the real Model M, armor-plated case and all. “

Computerworld | Quest for a decent keyboard
Those who aren’t old enough to have used an IBM Selectric typewriter or the first IBM PC keyboard don’t know what a difference a good quality keyboard makes.

Those early devices had excellent keystroke travel and responded with satisfying mechanical clacking sound that told you the system had registered each keystroke.

Good keyboards can improve productivity and reduce stress on your hands. Unfortunately, today’s keyboards are cheap, unresponsive, lightweight affairs with little or no tactile response. Keyboards are tacked onto computers almost as an afterthought.“

Care and feeding of an IBM Model M 1391406 keyboard
“Ah, the mighty IBM Model M – the best keyboard ever manufactured. The Model M was originally bundled with 8086 and 80286 IBM PS/2 computers dating from around 1986. The design has not been improved on since. Fortunately the Model Mis so durable and well-made that a vintage 80’s keyboard will likely still be usable today, after a decade and a half and of use and abuse. “

Clean your vintage IBM M2 clicky keyboard
“Clicky fever is indeed upon us. It’s not hard to find a used one of these, but it is hard to find a clean one, so you’ll need to break out the elbow grease. I’ve found instructions for cleaning the big version, but I haven’t found any yet for the M2, which is the smaller version I’m using here. I like this one a lot better, as it has all necessary keys, but is much more compact.”

The heavy, clicky monster I love
“This type of switch is nearly immune to corrosion and dirt. These switches are very resistant to key bounce problems that result in multiple characters appearing from a single strike. They are also the most durable in the industry—rated for 25 million or more keystrokes, as opposed to 10 to 20 million for other designs. The tactile feedback is unsurpassed because a relatively loud click and strong over-center feel normally are provided.”

Slashdot | Das Keyboard: Hit Any Key
“…because the great thing about older, mechanical-action keyboards like the Model M is not so much how they look, but how they feel beneath the hand. Instead of the clacking, snapping action of buckling-spring keyboards, manufacturers have mostly moved to cheaper, less-complicated membrane keyboards, some of which feel better than others. My impression on opening the box and giving the black keyboard a lengthy groping was that the Das Keyboard’s action is a bit squishy. To be fair, in the current keyboard market, most of the competition feels no better, and many competitors feel worse.”