I plan to get a brand new pc for house use, no video games. I’d relatively have a desktop/tower, if it was potential to get a extra delicate keyboard, however I’ve Parkinson’s and discover that the keys are manner too onerous to make use of as a result of they require a deeper push than laptop computer keyboards. Your earlier suggestion of getting an exterior monitor for a laptop computer feels like a winner. How is the connection made? Richard
The brief reply is that you should purchase a desktop PC. With a laptop computer, you’re kind of caught with the keyboard fitted by the producer, and the standard varies from common to mediocre. With a desktop PC, you may take your choose from dozens of USB and Bluetooth keyboards. These vary from keyboards with flat, island-style remoted keys to full mechanical keyboards geared toward professionals and players.
Some USB keyboards have extra-large keys with big letters for youngsters and for grown-ups with imaginative and prescient and different issues. There’s additionally a programmable membrane keyboard, Helpikeys, that doesn’t have keys in any respect. Helpikeys works with quite a lot of keyboard overlays, and other people can create customized keyboards with its Structure Builder software program.
There are many flat keyboards that may go well with you. The wi-fi Bluetooth choices embrace the Microsoft Modern (£85.76 on Amazon.co.uk) and Microsoft Surface (£71.99) keyboards, plus related fashions from Fenifox (£36.99) and Jelly Comb (£29.99). Personally, I’d go for the silver Cherry KC 6000 Slim wired USB keyboard (£28.66), although there are cheaper wired choices.
Both manner, contemplate contacting AbilityNet, a charity that gives specialist recommendation on expertise to “individuals of any age, residing with any incapacity or impairment”. AbilityNet can also be capable to give you free IT support at home by way of its community of volunteers. It’s a beautiful useful resource for older individuals and people with disabilities.
Desktop or laptop computer?
There are some good causes for purchasing a laptop computer. The principle ones are, first, that you might want to use your PC whereas out and about, or at the least in several rooms; and second, that you just don’t have room for a desktop monitor and exterior keyboard.
Dimension is now not a disqualification as a result of you may get tiny mini PCs that can connect to the again of a monitor. Nonetheless, it’s fairly onerous to make use of a desktop with out some kind of desk or desk and a chair, and people take up worthwhile ground area.
You probably have room for a desktop, there are many causes to purchase one. Desktops typically run quicker than laptops as a result of they’ll use quicker processors that run hotter. Desktops don’t restrict your display dimension or keyboard high quality, so you may optimise the system to your wants. Desktops are simpler to increase, replace and restore – you may normally add further reminiscence, larger drives and quicker graphics playing cards – so they need to last more. And in case your system is about up accurately, desktops have better ergonomics than laptops, so they’re higher on your well being.
Laptop computer as desktop
Most laptops allow you to plug in an exterior monitor or display show, a USB or Bluetooth keyboard, a mouse, headphones, ethernet adapter, and exterior USB onerous drives for backups and additional storage. Microsoft Home windows helps a number of shows as commonplace, so the primary downside is choosing a cable to attach the second display to your laptop computer.
For many functions, we’ve already left behind VGA and DVI connections. Fashionable TV units and displays have HDMI ports, and generally others resembling DisplayPort. Fashionable laptops sometimes have HDMI, DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort connections, and generally USB Sort C ports.
If each gadgets have HDMI ports, an HDMI cable will do the job. Typically you would possibly want an adapter cable resembling HDMI-to-DisplayPort, or vice versa. In any other case, there are cables with VGA, DVI, Mini DisplayPort, DisplayPort or USB-C plugs at one finish and HDMI on the different finish.
There are three issues with this method. First, your laptop computer could not have sufficient ports to plug all the pieces in. Second, it’s tedious to must unplug all of the equipment while you wish to take your laptop computer someplace, then plug them again in later. Third, you’ve gotten all of the disadvantages of a desktop PC with out the benefits.
Within the early days of enterprise laptops, docking stations alleviated these issues. Equipment – keyboard, display, mouse and so on – plugged into the docking station and the laptop computer docked with that. Devoted docking stations are nonetheless accessible, however the general-purpose resolution is a mini-tower just like the Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station. Every thing plugs into the Plugable, or related system, so there is just one USB 2 or ideally USB three cable to the laptop computer. There are additionally USB-C variations that may present energy to the laptop computer in addition to all the varied connections.
You can take this route should you want a laptop computer, however it’ll value extra and never carry out as effectively.
Desktop PC choices
The desktop PC is way from being an endangered species, nevertheless it has speciated a good distance from the “one dimension matches all” fashions standard a couple of many years in the past. There are tiny Windows 10 PCs for serving media, SFF (small kind issue) fashions for workplace use, all-in-ones constructed straight right into a display, high-powered towers for music and video modifying, and much more high-powered machines with sci-fi styling and multicoloured lights for players. In your functions, nearly any of them would do.
If you’re on a funds, a suitable minimal could be one thing like a Lenovo IdeaCentre 310s with an Intel Pentium J5005 processor, 4GB of reminiscence, DVD and a 1TB onerous drive. Currys PC World is promoting this PC for £249, and Lenovo gives it on-line with 8GB for £329.99. One purpose for purchasing direct is that you may purchase three years of on-site help for £48.96.
Nonetheless, reminiscence is so low cost, I don’t see the purpose of shopping for a PC with 4GB of reminiscence, except you propose so as to add extra. Final yr I purchased one other 8GB (£36) to take my desktop PC as much as 16GB.
You’d additionally get a way more responsive PC by shopping for a system with a quicker processor, resembling an Intel Core i3 or higher (ie i5/i7/i9), or the equal AMD Ryzen processor and a 128GB or bigger SSD as an alternative of a standard onerous drive.
If you happen to can afford it, go for one thing just like the HP Pavilion (seek for 590-p0057na) with a Ryzen 5 2400G, 8GB of reminiscence, 128GB SSD and 1TB onerous drive for £449.99 at Argos. It’s overkill on your doubtless wants, nevertheless it’s good worth. The Lenovo IdeaCentre 510R-15ARR with precisely the identical spec prices £529 at PC World. The Xenta (who?) model at eBuyer has a 240GB SSD however lacks the 1TB onerous drive for £449.99. This type of spec ought to simply final greater than 5 years.
Massive companies nonetheless purchase desktop PCs in massive volumes. They often need one thing small, dependable and repairable. These machines are written off after a couple of years, refurbished, and bought to customers and a few small companies. One in all as we speak’s basic buys is the Dell OptiPlex 7010 SFF (PDF), with the HP 8100 Elite SFF among the many alternate options.
One disadvantage is that their previous Intel Core chips aren’t pretty much as good as as we speak’s variations. Nonetheless, with 8GB of reminiscence and, ideally, an SSD, they need to be speedy sufficient on your functions.
Tier1Online will add reminiscence and storage, and lengthen the guarantee, for a worth, nevertheless it’s cheaper to purchase a low-end machine and improve it your self. If you happen to can.
For the time being, Amazon Renewed has some offers value exploring. You can get a refurbished OptiPlex 7010 SFF with a Core i5-3470, 8GB, a 250GB onerous drive, DVD and Home windows 10 Skilled for £135, or with a 128GB SSD as an alternative of the onerous drive, £149.95. And the Core i5-3470 is far superior to the IdeaCentre 310’s Pentium J5005, regardless of being 5 years older.
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