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Triple-Monitor Desk Excess – Review Geek

  Michael Crider & # 39; s setup for a standing desk.
Michael Crider

I have been a web writer since 201

0 and work almost exclusively from home all the time. Combined with obsessive hobbies in desktop construction and PC gaming, my home office is … ok, I'll just admit it: exaggerated. But for the way I work, and at least some of the ways I relax, it's not impractical.

Nor is it as expensive as it looks, at least if you consider it an ongoing project rather than a single piece of equipment. The whole setup has evolved slowly since college and I have regularly replaced a lot at a time. I know I've had at least one component (the DVD drive in the computer) since 2008. If you have less than one major upgrade per year, that adds up.

The principles behind my office are multi-tasking skills, made possible by the home-built PC and the three-monitor system, and comfort, with a standing desk and smart entrances. Oh, and it doesn't hurt if it looks neat – after all, I have to work here.

The Desk

For years I just used a large oak desk from honkin and I loved it. But after developing sciatica in my twenties, I needed something healthier, something that allowed me to exercise a bit more during hours of work and gaming. My current agency is a Fully Jarvis, and while it's not perfect, it has served me pretty well for the past three years. The motorized lifting legs and position memory (activated via the controller on the left) are great.

  Standing desk, frontal.
Michael Crider

Using a standing desk with a laptop is fairly straightforward, but with a desktop setup as extensive as mine it takes a bit of planning. Since the desk level was constantly going up and down, I had to take the computer with me for the ride. That's made possible by a "CPU holder" (an annoying misnomer) screwed to the bottom, because my computer and monitors are too roomy to fit on top.

I also had to make sure that all power and data cables moved as one, except the surge protector cable that was inserted into the wall with a little slack. This is made possible by trays that run along the back of the desk. The only other cable I should use is Ethernet. Planning all that routing, as well as getting various gadgets like a mini-surge protector with three outlets, a handy charging cable and an SD card reader at the front of the desk took a lot of trial and error. [19659012] Desk bottom. ” width=”3000″ height=”1688″ data-credittext=”Michael Crider” src=”/pagespeed_static/1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif” onload=”pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);” onerror=”this.onerror=null;pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);”/>

The bottom is not so neat. But I don't have to look at it. Michael Crider

For all the stuff I don't use regularly, I have a cheap footstool for storage and a side table full of gadgets and trinkets for the office. I use an exercise ball as a chair – which keeps my back in a healthy position – when I'm tired of standing.

The PC

I started building my own PCs in 2008 and have carefully developed them ever since. I'm not boring you with the details, so here's the basics: my current setup is a mid-range Core i5 machine. I tend to go cheap on most components except the GPU for the monitors (GTX 1070) and RAM for multitasking (32 GB). It's all stored in a Define R4 chassis from Fractal Design.

  Computer case under desk.
My bottom computer is covered with hanging gadgets. Michael Crider

I don't use luxury water cooling or LEDs because I spend my time looking at my displays and not my machine. I tend to equip it with a lot of things hanging on it, just to make those things easier to achieve. One downside of having the thing on the bottom of the desk is that I don't clean it up as often as I should, just because it's hard to take it out again.

The Monitors

I am addicted to multiple monitors. I've been using a three-display setup for more than a decade, and right now I feel almost incapable of using a laptop for more than a few days.

  Setup with three screens.
Michael Crider

The center display is a 32-inch Samsung gaming monitor, which is quite a budget for this form factor. It uses a resolution of 256 × 1440 – a good balance between desktop space and a resolution that my graphics card can handle for gaming. The thing is fast, 144Hz at 1ms, but it's not as colorfast as I would like. I usually have everything I write on the left and what I research on the right. I hope my next major upgrade could be the MSI Creator PS321UR, which will preserve game performance and improve color accuracy for Photoshop work.

The side monitors are identical 24-inch Dell Ultrasharps from 2012, with 1920 × 1200 resolution. These are the workhorses and the ones I rely on for photo editing thanks to their color-accurate IPS panels. I usually have Slack (our digital team agency) and Tweetdeck on the right, with a second research window and music on the left. These are older and lack any kind of advanced USB system but they have served me well and I see no reason to upgrade them anytime soon.

  Behind the monitors.
This takes quite some time to set up. Michael Crider

They are on a mountain! Triple standard with gas spring arms. This thing is surprisingly affordable and strong, and I love the quick-release VESA holders – very useful for when I need to swap out a monitor for a review. The adjustable arms are wide enough for my setup, I only wish I could route cables through the center post. I added a few LEDs at the back for bias lighting, which required a bit of soldering to make them fit.

The Accessories

If you haven't heard it yet, I'm a fanatic when it comes to keyboards. I have too many to tell here quickly, but my main one is a Varmilo VB87M that I picked up (no longer made) in 2015, with a Bluetooth connection. I upgraded it with a heavy duty aluminum body, swapped the Gateron switches for extremely clicky Kailh BOX Navy Blues and added to the Star Trek themed Galaxy Class DSA keycaps. The gaming keyboard on the left has also been modified – check out the gaming section before that.

  Varmilo VB87M keyboard.
This thing makes 65 decibels with those BOX Navy switches. Michael Crider

My mouse is a recent addition, a Logitech G604, upgraded from my beloved G603. I really like the hardware, although the software leaves a lot to be desired. I use a Blue Yeti USB microphone and an old Logitech C310 webcam for meetings.

  Logitech G604 mouse.
Michael Crider

That screen for my keyboard is a Pixel C Android tablet, unfortunately no longer supported date. I keep it on my desk thanks to Android's excellent widget support: it shows me three different email inboxes throughout the day, without the need for space on the monitors for constant, er, monitoring. Next to it is a charging station for my Pixel 3a XL phone, which gets a lot more love from Google than the tablet.

  Pixel C and Pixel 3a on the desktop.
Michael Crider

For speakers, I have Edifier's excellent R1280T set, with a set of Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones that I received last Christmas if I wanted some privacy. Other things on the desktop include this giant mouse pad, this palm rest and smaller ones for the mouse and keyboard, and various chargers and connectors.

  A key chain with cables.
I keep a "key fob" full of charging and data cables on the other side of the PC. Michael Crider

Some of the extras I'm proud of include a "key fob" of common cables hiding on the other side of the CPU tower and a handy travel impact protector to charge various gadgets. This is held in place under the Velcro desk as it comes to me on work trips. The LEGO sets in the back are all Overwatch theme (and they regularly make cameos in review photos). There are a few Android figures, including my favorite, a Trekkie theme from Comic-Con 2012 in a protective case.

Gaming Stuff

You may have noticed that the Nintendo Switch is on the desktop, powered by this beautiful aftermarket dock. I occasionally move it to my living room, where it has the original (custom) dock. It is connected to the center monitor, which can easily switch to it. For operating the Switch, I love the user-configurable 8BitDo SN30 Pro +, but for PC games I prefer a standard Xbox One controller. Both hang on the PC chassis via controller holders.

  Nintendo Switch and 8BitDo controller.
Michael Crider

Usually I only use standard computer speakers during gaming, but for privacy and communication I have the HyperX Cloud Stinger. That headset and the Sony headphones also usually hang from the chassis.

For PC games that don't use the controller, I had to get creative. I used to use a Belkin T52te and then the Razer Nostromo and Tartarus, because using my main keyboard isn't fast or comfortable enough. But I prefer wireless devices and routing that keyboard cable on my clean desktop became tedious. In the end, I switched to a GameSir VX, which is nice and wireless, but doesn't program and uses cheap hardware.

  Changed GameSir keyboard.
GameSir VX with custom switches, keycaps and sticker. Michael Crider

I couldn't do anything about the programming, but I cracked open the plastic case, soldered the cheap clicky blue switches, and replaced them with linear Kailh BOX Yellows. I got some better DSA keycaps with textured add-ons for the WASD keys and added some keyboard feet to the bottom to give it a more ergonomic side. These feet are also magnetic, so the keyboard can stick to the desktop chassis when I'm not using it.

  keyboard is attached to computer.
I added magnetic feet to the keyboard to make it cold on the PC when I'm not using it. Michael Crider

Finally, I removed the gaudy GameSir sticker and replaced it with some custom vinyl. The result is a unique piece of gaming goodness that I prefer over the newer VX2 model or the old Razer keyboards I used.

My Work Software

I use Windows 10, but to be honest, the only reason I'm still married to it is support for PC games and Photoshop. Ninety percent of my work is done in Chrome —- WordPress for web publishing, Google Docs for word processing, TweetDeck for news and a bit of fun, Spotify for music, Google Keep for tasks and of course Gmail. I make a lot of use of the & # 39; shortcut & # 39; functionality that allows me to treat individual sites as Windows programs that are easier to find and manage. For my portable installation, I use a ChromeOS tablet, the ill-fated Pixel Slate.

 Screenshot screenshot.

But there are a few Windows tools I can't live without. The biggest one is probably DisplayFusion for managing windows and displays – it's paid software, but worth every penny for a setup like mine. I am also a big fan of SoundSwitch because I can easily switch between my different sound gadgets. I use a combination of Cobian Backup and iDrive for data backups on my storage drive, Dropbox for easy file retrieval, and Chrome Remote Desktop for accessing my PC while I'm away.

A few other tools that I can wholeheartedly recommend: MiniBin for easy, unobtrusive access to my trash, SpaceSniffer for finding space-saving files, and Screenpresso for frequent screenshots.

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