Friday, July 28, 2017
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How can I add a touchscreen to my desktop PC?

Dave is planning to get a new family computer but would like a touch-sensitive screen for Windows 8

I need to replace my PC setup at home, so your article on buying a new family PC was really great for me. Currently the PC is only used by the children for accessing the web, running Minecraft, iTunes, playing The Sims etc. I would really like to try using a touchscreen monitor for windows 10 monitor to get the best out of Windows 8. I am aware of the argument about gorilla arms, but after using an iPad, I find myself prodding all computer screens with an (unrealistic) expectation that something should happen.

There’s a lot of choice for people who want all-in-ones, but I would much rather get a tower to leave the option of potentially upgrading the PC. I am a developer and might use the family PC for development in the future. Dave

You can add a touch-sensitive screen to any PC – or even an old laptop – by buying a touch-sensitive monitor. There must be a market for them, because most leading monitor suppliers offer them. This includes Acer, AOC, Asus, Dell, HP, Iiyama, LG, Samsung and ViewSonic. The less well-known HannsG also has competitive offerings.

However, touch sensitivity requires extra technology, which is an extra cost, especially for large screens. Touch-sensitive monitors are therefore more expensive than traditional designs, which must restrict the size of the market.

All-in-one or tower?

As you have found, there are lots of all-in-one PCs with touch screens, but they are basically laptop designs with separate keyboards. Slimline designs impose thermal constraints on the processor, which will typically operate at a TOP between 15W and 35W, or less. The processor will be throttled when it gets too hot, and the PC may shut down. By contrast, spacious desktop towers can use processors that run at 45W to 90W or more, so you get more performance for less money.

Towers provide space for adding more memory, ports, faster graphics cards, extra hard drives, optical drives (DVD or Blu-ray) and so on. They are also much easier to repair, so they should last longer. The main drawback is that they take up more space than laptops or all-in-one designs. This may be critical if you want to mount the screen on a wall, which is common with touch-screen PCs used for public information access.

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