Let’s imagine you’ve just bought a fantastic desktop PC. It’s exciting, of course, but a desktop alone does not make a set-up.
Many people choose a desktop PC over a laptop because that way you have the freedom to pick the internal components you want. But desktop PCs also give you the opportunity to choose from an enormous breadth of accessories and peripherals, too. From fantastic keyboards to headsets, cameras, microphones, and speakers, it’s all part of the fun of putting together your own computer workstation.
Let’s take a look at a selection of accessories which will enable you to work more effectively. And look good at the same time!
A good mechanical keyboard is a must if you’re a PC gamer or frequent typer. They make your in-game reactions that little bit faster, your typing that little more accurate, and the overall experience of using your keyboard that much nicer.
There are a few different mechanical keyboards which are a joy to use, but a popular model is the ASUS TUF Gaming K3, It’s a mechanical RGB keyboard that features durable switches for responsive and reliable performance. The customisable all-key RGB lighting offers unlimited personalisation options, while the detachable magnetic wrist rest gives you extra support and comfort for gaming marathons. Of course, this keyboard is perfect if you just want to type out work projects, or whatever. In addition, K3 offers convenient USB 2.0 passthrough, an aerospace-gradase aluminium top cover, eight fully programmable keys with onboard memory and media keys – so you’ll be ready to play like a pro.
You don’t have to splash out for a mechanical board with RGB lighting and other advanced features. If you opt for a more simple feature list, a good mechanical board with Cherry MX, Razer, or Logitech switches will go a long way to improving your PC experience.
A gaming mouse might seem like overkill if you’re just working on your PC, but these devices do have some of the best ergonomics and functionality of any mice out there. Check out our full range of mice here.
Headphones and Headsets
If you prefer to use headphones at your PC, a great headset is a better bet than high-end speakers. One of the best options out there, the Razer Kraken X is perfect for both work and play. It’s a multi-platform gaming headset built with superior comfort, extended durability and crystal-clear sound. Harness accurate positional audio with 7.1 surround sound, while the soft ear cushions and adjustable headband let you game in total comfort.
The oval design with leatherette creates a comfortable fit and plush feel. An adjustable headband slider provides greater flexibility while being durable to twisting and bending overtime. It really is the ultimate headset, and perfect for those Zoom meetings!
Don’t need a microphone or chat functions of the Kraken X? Check out the best headphones you can buy instead.
A good set of speakers is a must to enjoy music, movies, and games at your PC. They add depth and presence to experiences that would otherwise feel tinny and underwhelming on the kind of speakers that come with pre-built PCs, or even worse, monitor speakers. Our favourite PC speakers are the Logitech Z200 Midnight Black speakers which are between £30 and £35. 10 Watts Peak/5 Watts RMS power produces room-filling sound, and each speaker has one active/powered driver that delivers full range audio and one passive radiator that provides bass extension. Always at the top of customer review charts, this is a great product for a surprisingly low price.
A good USB drive is something no PC user should be without. USB flash drives are a quick and easy back-up solution whether you’re sat at home or on-the-go, and they’re light, portable, and relatively affordable at even quite large capacities. The SanDisk Ultra Flair 3.0 is a favourite of ours. Spend less time waiting to transfer files and enjoy high-speed USB 3.0 performance of up to 150MB/s. With transfer speeds to drive up to 15 times faster than standard USB 2.0 drives, you can transfer a full-length movie in less than 30 seconds. Its durable and sleek metal casing is tough enough to handle knocks with style. And, with password protection, you can rest assured that your private files stay private. Secure your files in style with the SanDisk Ultra Flair USB 3.0 flash drive.
If you need something with even more capacity than the SanDisk Ultra Flair 3.0, check out our range of flash drives.
If you’re working from home or video calling with friends and family, a good webcam can make a big difference. The Logitech C920s is a fantastic camera for its price, with 1080-pixel resolution delivers polished, Full HD video calls. The C920s Pro HD Webcam delivers remarkably crisp, clear and detailed images in vibrant colours. HD autofocus and light correction adjust to the conditions to provide consistently high definition, while the five-element glass lens delivers razor-sharp images. Dual mics placed on either side of the lens capture the natural sound of your voice. The 78-degree field of view is wide enough to include a second person. Whether for a key Zoom call, to demo your skills or create your next YouTube video, the C920 ensures you make a strong impression. A brilliant piece of equipment which is great value-for-money.
The dual microphones are also a great pick to make sure your audio is clear during remote work or online school.
The cam also supports YouTube-ready capture, although streaming isn’t exactly its focus. Here are some other great webcams you could consider apart from the Logitech C920s, including excellent picks for streamers, business conferencing, and more.
Although most modern computers come with Wi-Fi support right out of the box, that’s not always the case with desktops. Some high-end motherboards support it, but far from all. A good wireless adapter can help get you online when a wired connection won’t work, and it’s a good way to add faster Wi-Fi support to older portable devices.
Enjoying high-speed wireless network access is as simple as plugging the Edimax N300 Wireless Broadband Router With 4 Port Switch and Detachable 9dbi Antenna into your computer’s USB port.
This high-gain USB wireless adapter is a quick and easy way to add high-speed wireless connectivity to your desktop, laptop, or notebook computer. Pricewise you’re looking at around £25 – so this is a brilliant value addition to your setup.
How many times have business or social calls been either ruined or adversely affected? Most people have experienced sound issues, and a good microphone can take your video calls to a new level of intimacy and clarity, or improve your home video recording for streaming, voice-over, or any other audio projects you have. A very popular solution for semi-professional and amateur recording artists is the Elgato Wave:3. It’s a powerful, capable microphone with great features for one-to-one and multi-person recording, and it has a solid stand right out of the box if you don’t want to attach it to a boom arm.
The Elgato Wave:3 Premium Microphone & Digital Mixing Solution offers high-quality audio and is priced between £130 – £170, which makes it one of the best USB microphones on the market, and one of the best value.
The Wave:3 is a premium microphone and digital mixing solution that fuses plug-and-play convenience with broadcast-grade circuitry. Never clip again thanks to proprietary anti-distortion technology. Tap the capacitive sensor to silently mute your mic feed. Connect headphones for zero-latency monitoring. Twist the dial to tweak input gain, adjust monitor volume, or crossfade between your mic and PC. Plus combine all your audio sources and create two independent mixes – one for you, one for your audience – with the Wave Link app. Wave:3 doesn’t just give your stream or podcast a professional sonic signature. It gives you control of your entire audio workflow. And just in case we’re getting too technical, this all means that IT’S FANTASTIC!
Cable Management Sleeve
Yes, this is a just a fancy name for something which keeps your leads all neat and tidy around your work area. But, it makes a big difference when you can fit different cables into the same sleeve to keep things bundled together. Cable Management Sleeves are an effective and affordable solution for more complicated set-ups — and people who just prefer a tidy desk in front and behind.
One of the most important things to consider when plugging your computer, home entertainment equipment, office equipment or handheld gadgets into the mains is that they won’t get destroyed should there be an unexpected surge in electricity. And surges are quite common. The good news is that there are lots of surge-protectors on the market by quality brands such as Belkin and APC and they are not expensive: £20 will easily get you a good quality one.
Power surges occur when something affects the normal flow of power. Surges can be caused by a number of different factors. In many cases, they are triggered by a nearby heavy electrical load being suddenly switched on or off. In addition, a surge can sometimes occur just before or after a power failure, whilst a bolt of lightning hitting power lines could also be a cause.
You’ll need a monitor to go with your desktop, and there are hundreds and hundreds to choose from. It’s fair to say that most monitors these days, even budget ones, are pretty good. However, depending on if you need a monitor to excel at a specific job, you’ll want to get a high quality screen.
Let’s take it that you already know the size of screen you want. And once you know what size you want, you’ll need to decide on the type of screen. It’s easy to be confused by all the tech terms, and we’re not going to give you a detailed description of each now, but we’ll help you decide which is best for what you need.
If you’re primarily going to be using your monitor for work (and by that we mean generally looking at text and images), then you’ll want a screen with either IPS (in-plane switching) or VA (vertical alignment) panels. You’ll find this information on the monitor’s specifications. These two screen technologies offer better clarity and colours than TN (twisted nematic) screens. This is particularly important if your budget is small (and we mean under £100) as cheap TN panels are usually of poor quality, with substandard colours and narrow viewing angles. This can make them quite uncomfortable to use. A cheap IPS or VA monitor is a much better bet.
If you’re looking for a gaming monitor and have a bigger budget, you can get an excellent TN panel for £200 and over. The positives are that they provide generally higher refresh rates which makes gaming much smoother.
In simple terms, resolution means the number of dots which make up your screen. These dots are also known as pixels. The more dots you have, then the sharper the image will be.
At the very least, you should buy a monitor with a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080, otherwise known as 1080p) resolution. Anything less than this (usually 1,600 x 900 or ‘HD’ 1,366 x 768) will mean two things. Firstly, the picture you have won’t be as clear. And, secondly, the panel you’re buying will not be of high-quality.
When you’re thinking about resolution, you also need to think about the size of the screen. For most people, as long as they get HD, that’s enough – but if you’re really looking for the very best option and larger screens (27”+) you should consider an upgrade if you have the budget. There are two main options to consider. QHD (2,560 x 1,440): also known as 2K, or 1440p, QHD screens are a middle ground between Full HD and 4K resolutions.
What will better resolution actually mean?
A better resolution on a bigger screen means that the action feels smoother and more defined. And it’s much more natural and easier on the eye.
UHD (3840×2160): also known as 4K, or 2160p.
This takes viewing up the next level, but for most people it really isn’t necessary. A lot of gamers like to play with this high resolution, but they have the powerful hardware to make the best use of it. If you don’t have the right hardware, then controlling large numbers of pixels can put pressure on your graphics card.
Don’t overlook an adjustable stand
It’s probably one of the last things you think about, in fact you might not have thought about it at all! But you should. This can help you set up the perfect height for your monitor so you don’t have to crick your neck or position your monitor on a pile of books just to get it into a reasonable position.
If you work in code, you might find a screen in vertical orientation is better for your needs. Some monitors allow you to tilt them 90 degrees to get the perfect angle. If you work with social media, this is a really useful thing, as some formats such as TikTok rely on portrait format.
If you are short on space, why not opt for a small monitor which has a built-in stand and a case? This means you can carry it around with you easily. These devices are usually self-powered, so you simply need to plug in an HDMI port and a USB into your laptop, and away you go.
So, you’ve got the desktop PC, monitor and everything else you need for the perfect desktop setup. But don’t forget your printer. It was said that when computers took over, we wouldn’t need printers… But guess what? We’re using more paper than ever before. And that’s because all manner of documents need to be a ‘hard copy’ and the best way of checking work is by looking at a printed copy. So, a printer is a must-have in your home or work office. And if you have children, how many times do they need print-outs for school projects?
Choosing a computer chair is very important considering that you’ll probably be using it for several hours each day. When your office chair is well-designed, it can improve your productivity and lowers the chance of any discomfort. On the other hand, if you have a bad chair for computer use, it can increase the chances of fatigue and discomfort.
So, when it comes to designing your workstation, whether at home or at the office, you need to make sure that you have a great chair. Choosing the right computer chair can greatly affect your overall mood whether you are working or not.
Hopefully we’ve given you ideas on a selection of accessories to enhance your working and playing experience as you sit (hopefully on a comfy chair) working on your desktop PC. The important thing is that you buy the best available items to fit in your budget, and we hope we’ve given you a few positive ideas.