So, I really kinda became a keyboard nerd recently. It all started because I wanted to replace my old MS Natural 4000 at home. It was, really, about worn out, and was way too big for the little keyboard tray it lived on.
So, when I ordered the stuff for this new rig, I ordered a 'tenkeyless' mechanical keyboard to go with the stuff. It was made by Zalman and I knew zilch at the time. All I knew was that mechanical keyboards were cool, and this one would fit on my tray.
Before the thing was even delivered, +Corey Goldberg schooled me on the different switches. Once I got the the Zalman, I liked it well enough, but it had "Red" switches -- and not even Cherry MX (brand) "Red" switches, they were a knock-off Chinese made switch, that were actually somewhere between Cherry "Red" and "Black".
What that keyboard did do, however was get me hooked. I ended up ordering a Coolermaster with Cherry MX "Brown" switches for my machine at work (which also had a very old MS Natural 4000 hooked to it). I loved the tactile feel of the Brown switches. I went with Brown for the office so it would be quieter and hopefully not annoy my co-workers (and nobody has complained). The one for work is pretty cool too -- it's back-lit, and it's not a real "Tenkeyless" -- it still has the number pad, but the arrow keys & ins/del/home/end/pgup/pgdown cluster is built into the number pad and you switch between the two layouts with numlock. I actually didn't realize this when I ordered it, and was disappointed when I realized that, but it has actually worked out well, I like being able to turn the numpad on when I want it, and I'm still accurately hitting the correct keys when numlock is off.
Now...back to that Zalman at home ... Once I got the feel of real Cherry MX tactile switches under my fingers that Zalman with the knock off linear switches felt like mush, so i ended up RMA'ing it back to NewEgg, and tonight another Coolermaster arrived. This one is a proper "tenkeyless" since the one I had at work was just over an inch wider. Also, this particular model was sold out in the "Brown" switches so I got Cherry MX "Blue" switches, and oh my goodness! I really love the blue switches. They are amazing. I do think they would drive everyone at the office crazy though. I'm not sure who the OEM for the Coolermaster keyboards are but both of these keyboards are bult like tanks, and have nice feeling keycaps, and the keyboards themselves are both a kind of "soft touch" rubberized feeling plastic.
Oh, and the other cool thing about the one at home, the <Super> keys don't have Windows logos - they have the Coolermaster logo :-)