Mechanical keyboards are awesome. Model Ms are cool, but if you want something a bit more modern (with media keys, a slightly smaller footprint, and slightly quieter keys), look into any keyboard that advertises having Cherry MX switches. You can get a great keyboard for only ~$80 (look at the CM Storm QuickFire line - ignore the goofy "pro gamer" marketing, they're wonderful for hacking too!).
I second this advice! I've been using a mechanical keyboard for a few months now.
I got a Cooler Master Quickfire Rapid (Rapid is the most "barebones" version of the keyboard; other versions: TK = has a numpad; Stealth = keys printed on the side; Pro = has backlighting) with Cherry MX Blue switches (my favorites for typing; if you're interested I recommend reading up on the switches: http://www.keyboardco.com/blog/index.php/2012/12/an-introduc...)
Before that I had been using a bluetooth Apple keyboard for years; but I felt that I typed sloppily on it and that it hurt my wrists. Changing to mechanical has been great for that; if you're not a touch typist, it'll definitely encourage you to lean that way.
And finally, the amazing things with Cherry MX caps is that you can buy custom caps online (or 3D print your own!). So now my keyboard looks like this, which I find lovely :) http://i.imgur.com/j1jZN1a.jpg
Finally, if you're working in tech, you probably have a crazy hacker friend who owns a Happy Hacking Keyboard and talks about it all the time. Those use Topre switches, which have a different feel than Cherry MX, and are super expensive (300$ when you include shipping and tax); but damn, they look good, are super portable, and quite comfortable (available in black/white and printed/non printed and ansi/mac layouts). However, they're really meant for UNIX usage- if you don't spend 90%+ of your time in terminal applications of some form, then it's not for you. They have a mac layout that makes things a bit easier if you use a mac, but it's still very much hacker oriented.
Also, avoid the Lite version- while it is much cheaper, it uses rubber dome switches (the kind of switches in traditional cheap keyboards) and is just not worth it.
The hacker keyboard rabbit hole is a deep one (for example, there are people who swear only by Japanese keyboards because they have a smaller space bar and thus have more meta keys/are more compact). It may seem a little superficial and silly, but hey- you're spending dozens of hours a week on your keyboard. Having something that you feel is comfortable and looks nice can make your computing experience significantly better :)
Just an FYI however: there are lots of different subtypes of Cherry MX keys. You can go with Blue or Green switches (named for the color of the 'stem' under the key cap). They give you a Model M-style feel, with a click halfway down. Brown and Clear give you the feel of the click without the noise, and Red and Black are quiet. User preference and all that.
Nice, compact, great key action. I initially balked at the idea of spending $105 on a keyboard (now $89). After having one, I will never again have a problem justifying a purchase that makes my day-in day-out coding more comfortable and enjoyable.
Don't skimp on your keyboard or your chair. You don't have to go all-out Realforce and Aeron, but don't cheap out either.
I agree 100%. I used to use a Model M, but I've been using a Green switch CM Storm keyboard for a few months now. The green switches are much stiffer than the blues (in a good way). I would recommend green switches for anybody who wants a similar feel and responsiveness to the old bucking spring keyboards. Also the CM keyboard is very well built (almost identical to Filco's keyboards) and comes at a great price.
As a bit of anecdote for those who are considering buying a mechanical keyboard but aren't sure which to buy:
A friend of mine has a $160 Filco with green switches that he's been using for over a year. He types on it at around 95 WPM. Once I had him try out my $100 green switch cooler master. After a few rounds on typeracer, he was averaging 110 WPM. For experienced typists who are already very fast, the extra stiffness of green switches can be a huge boost for productivity. Plus they sound extremely sexy.
Bought a CM Storm QuickFire last month with cherry browns. Super in love with it - I was a little worried because it was my first meychanical keyboard (the market can be overwhelming) but I am very happy with the build quality.
I own two model M's (one at home, one in the office). They have a slightly different feel due to different manufacturing years (or wear?). Both are great, but I do need a ps2-usb adapter, and somehow the adapter ignores one of the keys... I manage without it, even though it's strange.
I wonder about getting any of the newer keyboards in Europe. Most of those manufacturers or online shops selling those 'speciality' keyboards seem to be US based. And it's quite hard to find the same models in Europe.
Any tips where to go without getting ripped-off by delivery charges and/or customs?