It’s finally done. You’ve got all the components you want in your PC, and you’re set for the next few years. Now what? It’s a good time to think about refining your setup with a few accessories that, while not strictly necessary, are excellent additions to any PC.
Only a few of these are what we’d call “must-have” items. But they all make your life just a little bit better.
This is a must-have for any kind of PC, be it a laptop or a desktop. A surge protector guards your PC against a sudden jolt of electricity that could fry precious components. This is more common than you might realize, and the reality is that most PCs have little to protect them from these potential surges.
Surge protectors aren’t particularly expensive and are well worth the small investment that they require. You don’t need something crazy. Just a wall wart to plug into a regular power strip is enough. Many power strips also come with surge protection built in, so you may already have what you need. To be on the safe side, just make sure that your power strip has the protection of at least 2,000 joules.
Easy Surge Protection
Chances are that you spend a good chunk of your PC time with headphones on. The trouble is, there’s never a great place for headphones to sit when they’re not in use. If you put them on the desk, they’re likely to fall off—and the same goes for when they rest on top of the PC tower.
One popular way to counter this is NZXT’s Puck. At first glance, it seems like a ridiculous thing to spend $20 on, but in the end, it’s money surprisingly well spent. In addition to providing a convenient spot to hang up your headphones, it can also gather up and hold any excess cable from them. The Puck also doesn’t take up any extra space, but instead, makes use of a spot on your PC tower that typically has nothing on it, getting those cans out of the way when they’re not needed.
Another option is a headphone stand, like this simple one on Amazon. It’s a little cheaper, but it takes up some extra desk space.
A Home For Your Headset
NZXT Puck Headset Mount
A convenient headset mount that attaches to your PC case with magnets. It has a place to store the cable, too.
Uninterruptible Power Supply
Even in the age of auto-saving desktop programs, you can still lose your work due to a power outage on a desktop PC. That’s where an uninterruptible power supply (or UPS) comes in. These units contain large batteries and are equipped with multiple standard power outlets for your desktop PC, monitor, printer, and other equipment. They may also have USB ports for charging, and they often include surge protection. These are not meant to act like power generators that keep you working for hours when the lights go out. The idea is for the battery to keep your PC running long enough to save your work and safely shut down in the event of a power outage.
A UPS is an often-overlooked piece of equipment that every desktop PC user needs. It’s one of those things that you won’t really appreciate until that fateful storm hits or the demands of a hot summer day overload the local grid.
Backup Power for Your PC
Depending on how your PC is configured, a USB hub can be a very helpful addition. These are small, rectangular devices loaded with USB ports that connect to a single port on the PC, thereby turning one USB connection into many.
If you have a laptop that’s limited in its number of USB ports, or your desktop tower only has one or two on the front, a USB hub can be very useful. While desktops typically have a ton of USB ports on the back, they are a pain to access and use. A USB hub prevents you from having to fiddle with the ports on the rear of the machine except when it’s absolutely necessary.
USB hubs can have a varying number of ports. Some will have USB-C, and others only USB 3.1. Some can be powered by a USB port, while others need an independent power supply.
More USB Ports
Extended Mouse Mat
Put this one in the luxury column, but there’s nothing like having an extended mouse mat (pad) under your keyboard and mouse. This gives you far more room to negotiate with your mouse and offers a nicer feel than that of the cold, hard desk underneath your keyboard. There’s even enough space for a coaster if you’d like to put your coffee mug on top of it, too.
A Mousepad With LEDs
With the exception of the surge protector, none of these PC accessories are must-haves. They do, however, make your day-to-day experience better—whether that’s with extra power that prevents you from losing your work, or little luxuries that make life easier.