Sunday, March 17, 2013

PC Parts You Should Keep Around or Collect

This is a guest post by Stacey Thompson.

People have been proclaiming the beginning of the end of the PC for quite some time now, but never has it been more apparent than the past few years. The marketplace is being bombarded with an increasing number of mobile computing devices: smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and gadgets that fall somewhere between. More people are finding these smaller, almost equally capable machines preferable over the bulky, hardly portable desktop units.

I have a handful of gadgets myself, but I guess I’m a traditionalist in that I find myself most comfortable and productive in front of my desktop PC. I don’t think it’s merely the dimensions of the screen or keyboard; there is a feeling of security knowing that the computer won’t fall off the table if I bat it with my hand accidentally, or that it will run out of battery power.

I’m also a gamer of sorts, and despite the fact that consoles have pretty much caught up with the PC in terms of graphics and processing power, I still enjoy my gaming experience more when handling a keyboard and mouse.

For us who are not willing to let the PC go gentle into that good night just yet, I have a suggestion that some of you are already doing without giving it much thought: collect the most memorable pieces of PC hardware to preserve the memory (not RAM), or in some cases, continue using them until it’s just not supported anymore.

I’m not suggesting you cling to your rewritable DVDs or something like that, only that if it still works and it still performs comparably well against newer technologies (rewritable optical disks aren’t much of a match against SSDs and flash thumb drives). Being desktop users, there are a handful of legacy devices we can keep around without it being way too inconvenient.

Computer Chassis

One of the biggest and bulkiest components of a traditional desktop PC is the chassis that contains just about everything save for the input and output devices. The first ones used to be made of rather thick steel and were positively hellish to move around, but the cases as of late use thinner, lighter materials that don’t render the PC as heavy as a child.

Don’t go and snatch every old chassis you see in the junkyard, now. You have to be more selective since these objects take up a lot of real estate. Some old cases, with a few retrofits here and there (you’d like to have front panel USB ports, right?) could even serve their intended purpose.

For me, I’m rather interested in cases of a more... hardcore, lineage. Military and industrial application computer chassis are heavy, spartan, and incredibly tough. They would have to be if they were required to be operated in such harsh conditions. Some of them are even portable. I’m always on the lookout for these on auction sites, but if you really want one, they are available from various manufacturers.

bad-ass hardcore chassis (


At the present state of touch screen and motion detection technology, I still prefer the ever-lovable mouse. It’s fast, responsive, and you hear clicking sounds from it. While it’s unwieldy that you’d use a mouse (even a wireless one) when using a mobile device, for a desktop, it’s totally awwright.

a typical optical wheel mouse

I do not miss the ball mouse (cleaning dirt-encrusted balls is just not my thing), so I won’t pine for the old days of mousing. Since I have a bit of gamer DNA within me, I do prefer the flashier models with the extra buttons and better responsiveness. Of course, wearing Air Jordans won’t give you the skills of His Royal Airness, but every advantage counts!

SRS BZNS mouse (


IBM Model M Keyboard (

I am a fan of the cacophony of mechanical clicks. The classic fully mechanical keyboards have actual metal switches for each key, thus producing that familiar and oh so comforting sound (I’m sure not everyone feels the same as I do about these). There are enough enthusiasts of the mechanical switch keyboard that they are still produced today, albeit significantly more expensive than the current silent, rubber dome switch ones.

The only major problem with older keyboards is that they are prone to ghosting. More modern keyboards tend to be less prone to ghosting, and gaming-oriented keyboards will allow you to press more keys than your ten fingers could possibly press in unison.

l337 gaming keyboard (

I prefer any kind of actual keyboard over having to type on a simulated keyboard on a touch screen. It just doesn’t feel as... good.

Desktops Will Endure

I’m not worried about the decline of the venerable desktop. The way I see it, there will always be people that will prefer these boxy and large machines, given that they are hardier, better-performing, and more customizable than mobile computing gadgets.

For as long as there will be hardware manufacturers (and developers, too!) that will cater to us PC enthusiasts, we’ll always have space in our desks, and our hearts, for these computing clunkers.

What PC parts and other electronic gadgets from the recent past do you plan to keep forever? Do chime in and leave a comment!

About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is a staunch desktop PC user, and is based in San Diego, California. Stacey keeps a blog with her gal pals, Word Baristas.