Laptop computers can offer as much power as a PC that people can take anywhere. For those who want a more permanent workstation, it’s easy to transform a laptop using the right accessories and some extra cables. Also, the laptop won’t have to stay connected to your workstation if needed at another location, as all that needs to be done to disconnect those extra cables, and you’re ready to go.    

Most people interested in building a workstation from their laptop wonder whether it can handle all the peripherals, such as a bigger screen. There could be issues with performance depending on the processor, but most Ryzen and Intel processors shouldn’t have a problem running an external monitor. The fact is that this can work even with an old laptop that someone used for activities such as keeping up with the Toyota save mart 350 odds, as long as it has a powerful enough processor and graphics that are sufficient. There are several things users will need.

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External Monitor and Mouse

The monitor on most laptops is small for a desktop computer and should be at least 22 inches to feel the most comfortable for the user. A bigger monitor such as 24 or 27 inches is what’s recommended. 

If possible, try to choose one with the same resolution, making it less likely there will be performance issues. If the laptop has a lower resolution than 1080p, an external monitor of this resolution should have no problem using its native display. Those with newer laptop processors may be able to upgrade to 1440p or even 4K without any issues. 

Once the monitor is connected using an HDMI cable, the next step is to connect an external mouse. A USB hub can be used if there are not enough laptops’ ports to support everything. 

Try to select a mouse that supports at least 1800 DPI (dots per linear inch) to allow the mouse pointer to move further on the larger external screen with minimal hand movements. A wireless mouse works just as well as a wired one and helps reduce the amount of clutter in the workspace. 

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Using the laptop as a second monitor should be placed on either side of the main display, and users should make sure it is at eye level. A box or a couple of books is an easy way to adjust the height, or purchasing a laptop holder will also work. If not using the laptop as a monitor, it’s possible to close the laptop and keep it running, enabling the user to save space at their workstation.

The Keyboard

Some users prefer to stay with their laptop keyboard instead of an external one. Therefore, choosing a mechanical keyboard is recommended. This is much easier to type on than a laptop keyboard and helps reduce fatigue on the fingers and lower the risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI). 

Although wireless keyboards are not expensive, they aren’t recommended for this setup. They are unreliable and don’t offer any added value as part of this process. 

External Speakers

The laptop speakers are sufficient for most people, but those who need extra volume and sound quality should think about investing in some external speakers. A simple set of stereo speakers will do a lot to improve sound quality. Even cheap Bluetooth speakers will significantly improve over the laptop speakers, so either one the user chooses is recommended.  

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Another option for users to convert their laptop into a PC workstation is to use a laptop docking station specifically designed to convert a laptop into a desktop. They are easier to organize as all that’s needed is to connect the laptop to the dock. However, these can be expensive, so using a solution like the one detailed here is a better option.


Ruby has been a writer and author for a while, and her content appears all across the tech world, from within ReadWrite, BusinessMagazine, ThriveGlobal, etc.

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