Comparing 1U Keyboard Mouse Options for Data Centers

Rack density is key in data centers. That’s why 1U slimline keyboards are popular for saving space while enabling hands-on server access. But selecting the right integrated pointing device is also important for easy mouse control within 1U height confines. Common options include touchpads, trackballs and trackpoints.

Touchpad Pointing Controls

Integrated touchpads provide mouse control from a flat, touch-sensitive surface on the keyboard. They allow relative mousing by sliding a finger to move the cursor. Touchpads detect multiple contact points for scrolling, tapping and gestures.

Touchpad Advantages:

  • Intuitive cursor control through finger movement.
  • Multi-touch gestures supported. 
  • No moving parts, high reliability.

Touchpad Disadvantages:  

  • Limited surface area on 1U models.
  • Fingers can obstruct view of cursor position.
  • Requires frequent finger lifting.
  • Can cause repetitive strain injuries.

Overall, touchpads work best for situational or periodic rack server access rather than constant long-duration use. Their compact size fits 1U constraints, but extended mousing can be tedious.

Trackball Pointing Controls

With trackballs, a ball on top of the device spins to control cursor movement. Fingertips rotate the ball to position the cursor, while the hand stays stationary. Trackballs require only thumb movement.

Trackball Advantages:

  • Precise mousing with full-size ball.
  • Thumb control reduces arm fatigue. 
  • Hand stays in natural position.
  • No surface dragging needed.

Trackball Disadvantages:  

  • Moving parts attract dust and debris.
  • Learning curve for some users.
  • Ball requires occasional cleaning.

Trackballs excel at precise cursor control from a fixed hand position. This avoids repetitive hand motion injuries. Their robust tactile operation suits sustained rack server management.

TrackPoint Pointing Controls 

TrackPoints use a small joystick/nubbin embedded in a keyboard key between the G, H and B keys. The nub tilts to control cursor movement. Index finger pressure aims the cursor, while the hand hovers over the keys. 

TrackPoint Advantages:

  • No desk space needed.  
  • Always accessible on home row.
  • Extremely compact.
  • Ambidextrous cursor control.

TrackPoint Disadvantages: 

  • Unfamiliar to some users. 
  • Pressing the nubbin can be tiring.  
  • Limited speed and accuracy.
  • No multi-touch functions.

TrackPoints excel when desk space is very limited. Their dial-in-place operation keeps hands on the keyboard at all times. However, TrackPoint’s lack of tactile feedback can fatigue fingers with extended use.

Ergonomic Considerations

For maximized 1U keyboard mouse with drawer ergonomics, look for large integrated palm rests to reduce wrist strain. Consider articulated keyboard arms for adjusting to eliminate awkward postures.

Mice requiring extensive wrist flexing or deviation can lead to injuries. Extended reaching is also problematic. Compact integrated 1U mice keep hands and arms neutral. 

Proper keyboard tray height, depth and tilt angle further optimize ergonomics. Raise trays to elbow height to avoid hunching over.


For light rack server access, touchpads provide simple and intuitive cursor control from 1U keyboards. For more involved server management, trackballs optimize pinpoint cursor accuracy through thumb manipulation. TrackPoints minimize desk space needs but sacrifice comfort for extended mousing. 

Considering usage duration and ergonomics when selecting a 1U keyboard pointing device ensures equipment accessibility without causing strain. This allows comfy control of racked IT infrastructure big and small.

Leave a Comment