So you love the portability of your laptop, but want the elegance and functionality of a desktop? No problem! With a few simple steps, you could have a fully functional desktop without buying the actual PC.
There are a few things that you need to figure out before you decide to purchase the necessary equipment for a Desktop. For this process, you’re going to need a video output connection on your laptop. In most cases, this will be a VGA, DVI, or HDMI cable. In some laptop models, there are proprietary video output ports that are not compatible with VGA, DVI, or HDMI connections. The most notable of these laptops are Apple’s line of Macbooks. These computers use either a Mini DVI (older models) or Mini Displayport connectors. In order to connect these laptops to a monitor, you’ll need to purchase an adapter that converts the proprietary connection to either a VGA, DVI, or HDMI connection. Unfortunately, if you do not have a video output port on your laptop, you will not be able to use your laptop as a desktop.
You’ll also need to keep in mind that you will need at least two free USB ports at all times to connect your keyboard and laptop. In most cases this won’t be a problem, but if it is, you can purchase a USB hub that adds additional USB ports for a pretty small price (around $10-$20)
The following items are necessary to converting your laptop to a desktop:
- Monitor with a VGA, DVI, or HDMI input
- Speakers (note: though low quality, speakers are often built into the monitor)
This may seem like it could cost a lot of money, but in reality, you can have your desktop running for under $300 if you keep an eye on your budget and spend time researching good deals. The largest component to your budget will obviously be your monitor, which will probably run you around $200 to $250. Your mouse should run you around $20, and your keyboard will probably run you around $50. Keep in mind that the price of your components will depend on your needs. Gamers, for example, will probably want to invest in a nice gaming mouse and keyboard.
Once you have all of your equipment, you’ll just need to set it up. Personally, I prefer to set my laptop on a dedicated cooling tray. This keeps the laptop cool and keeps fan speeds down; you should note that your computer will be doing extra work by transferring the display to a higher resolution on a bigger screen. Also, this makes a dedicated “base-station” of sorts. I can keep all of the wires at the base-station and simply unplug and take the laptop when I want to use it elsewhere. The configuration is simple:
- Connect your laptop’s video output cable to your monitor
- Connect your USB keyboard and mouse to your laptop
- If you’re using a VGA connection, connect the audio cable to your laptop’s headphone jack
One of the things I love about using my laptop as a desktop is that it gives me the opportunity to have a really elegant computer without the cost of an actual PC. If you have a cabinet where you can hide all of the wires and hold your base-station, you should definitely utilize that space. You’ll be surprised with how sleek the picture will look; the change from a laptop to desktop is dramatic, and I think you’ll be surprised with how easy and affordable it is.