CNET editors' desktop buying guide:
Pick the right peripherals for your desktop
The CNET editors' guide to desktops clues you in to what you need to know, from finding the type of PC that fits your lifestyle to catching up on all of the latest trends.
Pick the right peripherals
Choosing how best to fill the inside of your PC's case is only half the battle. You'll also need to choose peripherals that complement the type of system you're assembling.
MonitorThe price of LCDs has dropped so low that we no longer recommend purchasing an old-school CRT monitor. For help deciding on which LCD to buy, read CNET's monitor buying guide.
For basic audio, you'll need to choose a monitor with integrated stereo speakers or a cheap two-piece set. If you have any appreciation for music, look for a 2.1 set at the very least. The number 2.1 refers to the two satellite speakers and the one subwoofer. If DVDs are your thing, a 5.1 (or better) set will give you surround sound. For more information about your speaker options, head to CNET's surround sound buying guide.
Keyboard/mouseThe wireless revolution has spread to keyboards and mice. Now you can find wireless varieties of each, often powered by rechargeable batteries. Obviously, these devices will cut down on the dreaded mess of wires that can entangle your desktop, and they also give you more freedom of movement than their wired counterparts. We don't love the idea of wireless mice and keyboards in the living room, since with the right software and remote-control combination your entertainment commands should be simple. But even on your desktop, the fewer cables the better.
For the latest in mice, keyboard, and joysticks, read CNET's input device roundup.
PrintersMany vendors offer a discount on a printer when you choose to bundle it with your PC, and in some cases, companies will throw one in for free. For help finding the right printer, visit CNET's printer buying guide.
More desktop resources from CNET
Rich Brown, Dan Ackerman, and Matthew Elliott wrote and edited this guide. For more information on desktops in general, please visit our desktop center.