Summary: Itís easy to touch-enable your existing PC without breaking the bank. Hereís one recommendation, but there is one downside to note.
Question from the Hardware 2.0 mailbox:
ďIíve downloaded and installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview onto my desktop PC and Iím very impressed with it. One thing I wish I could experiment with was the touch interface. The trouble is, I donít have access to a tablet system, and I donít want to buy one yet because I think theyíll get better by the time Windows 8 is out for real.
Is there a way I can touch-enable my existing PC without having to throw the whole thing out, and without having to sell my kidney?Ē
Yes, there is a way, and itís actually quite simple to do. You can replace your existing monitor with a touchscreen panel. And it wonít break the bank in the process.
If youíre looking for a hardware suggestion, I suggest you take a look at Acerís T231H 23-inch LCD panel. Not only do you get a really nice 1920 x 1080 full-HD screen, but youíre adding touchscreen support to an existing system for around $320.
The Acer T231H is a great touchscreen, but there is one irritation you need to know about before you buy. The screen has a bezel around it, and this makes it tricky to get to the edge of the screen to make use of Windows 8ís edge gestures.
If you have large fingers this can make getting to the edge tricky. A solution to this problem is to use your graphics card driver to underscan the display slightly to bring the edges in a little. Youíll lose a few pixels at the edge, but chances are you wonít notice it. Both AMD and NVIDIA offer an underscanĖoverscan ability in their drivers, so itís quite easy to do.
By the time Windows 8 is released I expect touchscreen monitors to feature a bezel-less design so that edge gestures will no longer present a problem.
If youíve got the space and a second output on your graphics card, you could keep the existing monitor on your system and give yourself a dual-screen workspace. Youíll be amazed just how much extra productivity you can get from adding a second screen to your system.