My Desk Setup

Personally, I really enjoy other people’s blog posts or videos about their desk setups, as every single one has things that set it apart from others. I’d like to think mine has some unique requirements and properties as well, so I decided to write this post.

Use case and requirements

I’m a student, so this will be my primary place to do school stuff. I’ll also be programming and doing design work here, as well as listen to music and play some games from time to time. My budget (not that big) was also a deciding factor.

The components

As the desk, I use the Inwerk Imperio, which is motorized and allows me to sit down and stand up. Even if you exclude that it can move up and down, it’s not even that outlandishly priced when compared to other, quality desks. Below, I use some cable fasteners to make the desk look clean and organized and I also added some LED strips on the back for mood lighting and because everyone knows RGB equals more FPS. I’d also like to add a self-retracking USB charger to the bunch as well, but everything I found were some janky USB 1.0 cables (I’m not kidding) so thin I wouldn’t want running the current required to charge a phone through them. Being able to stand up after sitting a while is awesome, though I still find myself sitting for probably a good 85%. That’s partly because my desk chair, the Mayer 2486, is really comfortable and ergonomic. It’s very customizable and even comes with a headrest - which is my only gripe, as that in particular is not as comfortable and forces you in an awkward position, so I promptly removed it from the chair.

On the desk, I have two monitors, both from HP. My primary one is the 24es model. The name comes from the 24 inch diagonal size, which I find is the best for desktop use. It has, thanks to its IPS panel, good colors and pretty thin bezels and, so it would make a great dual-monitor setup if you picked up two - they’re pretty affordable, so you might actually do just that. Unfortunately, it’s only Full HD, so I’d like to upgrade it to 4K when those become available with the form factor and price I desire and only come with HDMI and VGA connectivity (which HP apparently likes to do to save a bit of cash). The quite old HP L1940T is used as the second display, which still has a 4:3 aspect ratio and only VGA and DVI as inputs. HDMI or DisplayPort aren’t really required though, as both these connectors can easily drive the 1280 x 1024 panel. While a bit dated, it’s space-efficient thanks to its aspect ratio and honestly good enough for glancing at the explorer or docs. To make connecting USB drives and turning on the computer easier, I hotglued the female end of a USB extension cable and a small switch to its backside.

Inbetween my monitors sits my trusty amplifier from Dayton Audio, powering two JBL Sat2 speakers. Even though being a bit older, they still sound very decent. They are pretty directional, which isn’t much of an issue in this case and due to their small footprint they make some excellent desk speakers. For low frequencies, I use an originally active, now passive (the included amplifier broke with no way to open the sealed case or getting it repaired, way to go Harman) subwoofer from harman/kardon. Overall, it makes a very pleasing listening experience, even at very low volumes thanks the quite low ground noise of the amps.

Another nice touch are the RF outlets I installed to turn on the computer, amplifiers and lights individually. I can even control these using my phone or PC - an ESP8266 (basically an Arduino with built-in WiFi) sends the requested RF codes with a transmitter, effectively emulating the remote control and making the outlets “smart”.

Bringing us finally then to the computer. Originally, I’ve built it to fit in a 500€ budget, so some corners had to be cut. The AMD X4 860K processor is good enough for Office and whatnot, but bottlenecks the AMD RX 470, which was chosen as the graphics card, quite hard in graphic-intense applications such as Premiere or games. All of it is mounted on a cheap-ass motherboard from Biostar with 8GB of DDR3 Kingston Value RAM, though I plan to replace that with a Ryzen 5 2600 once DDR4 RAM prices become a bit more humane again. An SSD is of couse used as the primary boot drive, the 500GB Crucial MX300 in this case, which is being topped of with a 500GB hard disk drive for backups and long-term storage. All these goodies are built into the quite nice looking Jonsbo C3 mini ATX case, which I got for a very low price, but its cooling capabilities are rather limited. This means that my components run a bit warmer than usual, increasing fan speed and noise. Low noise operation is quite important to me though, so I plan to add another fan to help with airflow.

To my left, I have a cheap shelf from IKEA to store all kinds of stuff, like pens and other school supplies, a TP-Link Archer C2 wireless router and a cheap-ass RICOH SP 211 printer, which is actually pretty decent for just 35€. Furthermore, I use to keep my external hard drive ready for backup tasks and I placed my Behringer Xenyx 1202, a fantastic little mixer I use to amplify vinyl record players, guitars and microphones, in it as well. Oh yeah, I also have a fake plant and an IKEA lamp that I barely use.

Conclusion

I am very happy with my desk setup. It’s very functional, clean-looking and versatile. Thanks to the moving desk it is also quite ergonomic and even working several hours straight is not an issue. In the future, I will probably add a few comfort upgrades such as the self-retracking USB charger and of course replace the anchient CPU in my computer, but other than that I’m very pleased with it and doing homework, coding, listening to music or watching videos is probably as enjoyable as I can imagine.