Computer Parts | Keyboard and Mouse

One of the most important, but often overlooked parts of a new computer is the keyboard and mouse. We all take it for granted that plugging any desktop kit into the appropriate socket will work but sometimes the cheap and cheerful £1 USB Keyboard from the local discount shop is going to do you more harm than good. We are going to look at the technical side to new desktop kits, show you the benefits of wireless vs wired and browse some of the brands you should look at.

But First…. a History lesson

If you are buying your new computer and peripherals for the first time then it is really easy. The vast majority of new keyboard and mouse (or other pointer) devices are now USB connected which is great; it is so easy now to just plug and play, even with wireless ones. If you are upgrading an older computer to a new motherboard though it is a good idea to check your connections. Since 2001, Microsoft considered PS/2 obsolete but lots of people are still using them in old computers. Lots of new motherboards do not support PS/2 devices so you will either need a new adapter or a new keyboard and mouse

Keyboards

A Logitec MK250 Keyboard

Ignore the clutter on the desk.

A keyboard is still essential to use a computer regardless of whether it is a Windows PC, Linux box or an Apple Mac. Along with tablet computers and smartphones, Windows 8 has started to increase the use of on-screen keyboards which allow you to use a touchscreen to replace a computer keyboard. Using a touchscreen at length can be difficult and for anyone who has already mastered touch typing the challenges of a touchscreen that relies on the screen being set up perfectly to work might be off putting. For most then we have to say that having a physical keyboard for your computer is a necessity. I make use of a wireless keyboard as you can see on my rather untidy and grubby desk. My Logitec MK250 keyboard and mouse have done me well over the years and it is starting to show it’s age.

There are plenty of manufacturers of keyboards in different guises. The keyboard I use is a standard QWERTY keyboard which has a few extra functions that you can access using a key similar to the way that Control and Shift keys alter the use of each button. If you are going to be doing lots of editing using an office suite then you might prefer a keyboard with dedicated cut and paste keys or you might prefer one with an integrated touchpad similar to a laptop. The good thing is that with so many different keyboards on the market the prices are low.


Shop for Keyboards at Logitech

Extras You Might Want on a Keyboard

  • Dedicated keys for your media player (play, pause, next track, volume control)
  • Cut, Copy and Paste keys for your office work
  • A mini wireless keyboard for your media centre so you can surf your movie collection from the sofa
  • Programmable Macro keys if you are a hard core gamer

Mice

a logitec mouse

A Logitec Mouse

The humble mouse is much less complicated than the massive range of different keyboards that are available. All mice do exactly the same thing they allow you to move your cursor around the screen and then select something, highlight something or click on a button on the screen. There are a few different types of technology that will allow you to do this though and so there is still a little choice. Most people will associate the mouse as being the same as the image here and a well designed device will sit nicely in the palm of the hand with the buttons (at least 2 for Windows and 1 for Apple computers) in easy reach of your fingers.

The touchpad is usually found on modern laptop computers if you are building a new media center for your lounge then having one built in to your keyboard might be a more sophisticated option. You can buy keyboards now that are small enough to fit in your hand and include the touchpad and example can be found on the link above to the mini wireless keyboard.

A Trackball input device

By Suimasentyottohensyuushimasuyo (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

For a precision pointing device you may prefer to go for a trackball pointing device. The trackball (pictured right) is basically an older ball style mouse turned upside down. It can help you to be very precise as unlike the traditional mouse once you move your hand away from the ball it won’t move unlike when you are moving your fingers to click on the mouse button. Trackball devices are often found in air traffic control and modern railway signalling centres for this reason.

If you are going to be buying a new desktop kit then I always recommend Logitec for all my wireless keyboard and mouse needs.


 

If you want to see MY current computer build to start off your own idea to Build Your Own Computer then see my About My Computer page.