I have what may be an odd search. I have long nails, and as a result, the key markings on any keyboard I get wear out in 6 months to a year and a half. As a result, I'm looking for keyboards that have very durable markings - something that can stand up to the abuse of fingernails.
While I would like to have volume controls on the board, I don't insist, and I have little to no use for anything else. I just really want a keyboard I'm not going to have to replace in less than a year.
If your computer has a dedicated (round)* keyboard socket I'd strongly recommend a used IBM PS/2 keyboard Model M. This has a great touch and not only are the key legends indestructible so is the keyboard -- like they were made in the the 1980s and are still in use and changing hands for around $30.
One of the few keyboards to merit a Wikipedia entry:
If you would prefer a brand spankin' new keyboard you can try Unicomp. They bought the rights to the design from Lexmark. Although not quite the same (nothing will ever beat the original!) this is a keyboard meant to take abuse.
The only noticible differences are a slightly different tacticle feel/sound, Removable keys instead of keys + caps and a built in usb or ps/2 cable instead of the originals removable ATor ps/2.
Both feature keys with a unique process of creating letters on keys. You will not be able to wear through the letters with your fingernails.
Keep in mind that these are mechanical switch keyboards and not your typical membrane style. They will (and do!) produce more noise. They also require a bit more pressure for each keypress, although this will improve your accuracy as a result.
This is a keyboard you can use for the next 20 years and still not have a single problem.
Re: The IBM PS/2 - Dear god, I remember using those, and I think they could probably go through a wood chipper without being damaged. I'll keep it in mind if I can't find anything else.
Re: The Unicomp - I'll look for one. I don't mind pop-off keys. I have cats, so being able to pull the keys off and clean under them is an OMG feature. Besides, with the fingernails hitting the plastic, there's already noise, and I learned to type on an IBM Selectric anyway. It's not like I'd notice.
Re: The Logitech G15 - Normally, I really like Logitech, and I think they're doing something new with their key creation (the current piece of cr... um. The current keyboard I have is a cheap Logitech, and I'm pretty sure the keys themselves could stand up to me for a while, but the board's likely to break if the cat sleeps on it). Given the games I play, I like the looks of this, but I'd really prefer to know how well it's going to stand up before I spend the $$ on a gaming keyboard.
Thank you, all three of you, for replying. You've given me things to look into, which is way more than I had to start with!
I've owned a few logitechs and they seem to be fairly reliable....for your typical keyboard. However, like most other keyboards I believe logitech uses those applique style labels which might wear off with constant scraping. I never had trouble but then again I dont have long fingernails.
You most likely will not find Unicomp keyboards in a brick and mortar store. They have their own store and I believe i have seen them on ebay and amazon.com as well.