Desktop Setup Mk IV

For some time now a number of you have been interested in an update to my desktop setup. I believe that it has been nearly two years now since I originally took the original pictures for the LTT Forums. The setup itself hasn’t changed too much since I feel I have it how I like it finally. However it’s just taken quite some time to keep it clean long enough to take pictures. Gertrude and Hamlet didn’t really make it any easier since they think I cleaned it up just for them.

I have a couple different angles this time to show everything that comprises my setup. I also thought it would be interesting if I took some in the dark due to my ambient backlighting on the monitors. Looking back I wish I would have had some nice wallpapers up instead of leaving all of my programs open. Side effect is that you get to see what I use on a regular basis.

The first thing you will probably notice right away about my setup is the monitor array. I have been using this same layout since the last setup update. At that time I had just switched to this and was actually debating having the two portrait monitor next to each other to one side. I ended up particularly liking this layout because of my workflow. The primary monitor is in the middle and the portrait ones are used for reference material and auxiliary windows. The top monitor is mainly for leaving programs open like IRC or Foobar as well as having a video up as I work. For those wondering DisplayFusion is what allows me to split up my windows so nicely across my monitors.

The monitors I have are mismatched which some people may find odd. I could not afford them all at once and have slowly grown the setup one monitor at a time. By the time I was able to afford the next monitor it had a upgrade which I grabbed instead.

On the left I have a ASUS PA249Q which is a 16:10, my preferred aspect ratio, 24in 1920×1200 10bit panel. It handles the brunt of my web browsing and portrait photo viewing/editing. Once you get used to browsing the web in portrait you’ll never want to be confined by a landscape screen again.

In the middle I have a ASUS PA279Q  which I snatched for a great deal as an Open-Box off of Newegg. This is my main work space and is a 27in 16:9 2560×1440 10bit panel. I keep all of my most used folders open and tiled covering the desktop since I find it a waste to close them. I would have preferred a 30in 16:10 2560×1600 panel but could justify the near doubling of cost.

On the right I have a PA248Q which I bought because it was marketed as the successor to the PA246Q, my first IPS panel. It is also 24in 16:10 1920×1200 but with LED backlight. However it ended up not being a 10bit display and had a bunch of stupid marketing around its 4-port USB 3.0 hub. It’s not a bad panel but did not live up to the “ProArt” name in my opinion. Shortly it was replace by the previously mentioned PA249Q by both ASUS and I. This panel is used for secondary web browsing if I need two things open, otherwise most times it has my txt files open in Notepad++ for referencing.

Lastly up top I have the only non ProArt and non IPS panel of the bunch, the PB278Q. This is a panel that I grabbed mainly because it was the first even semi reasonably priced 27in 1440p panel from a reputable manufacturer. I really should have waited for the PA279Q or equivalent from another company. It’s not bad ny any means and is a popular panel but its defiantly not a ProArt. Also being PLS it does have a slight tinge compared the IPS panels surrounding it.

Besides the monitors there are quite a few peripherals in my setup, all of them being quite important for day to day use. The main interface to all all of these panels is my custom built and programmed KMAC Happy (60%) and KPad. For me this is the perfect combination when it comes to a typing interface. Paired with those I have my current favorite mouse the Razer Mamba Tournament Edition. This mouse is like a less curvy Deathadder with some additional buttons. Squares recently did a review on it at my behest (thanks). I seem to always be coming back to this mouse even after testing plenty of others as of late which is what it’s still on the desk.

Under both the Mamba TE and the KPad is my custom C4 NGen Stainless Steel mouse pad that I made. One unique thing about this setup is that my numpad is actually on top of the mousepad during normal use. When I play games I move it up and out of the way to have additional space as well as being closer to my keyboard or more importantly my Orbweaver. The Razer Orbweaver is one of the peripherals along with the Logitech G700 that really brought me back to the PC as my main gaming platform. I don’t think there is anything PC gaming wise that I would trade the additional customization and control that I get with the Orbweaver. In the future I plan to release my layouts for all of you to get idea’s of how to make use of it.

Sandwiched between my panels is another type of monitor, one that you listen to instead of look at, my pair of Adam A5X Monitor Speakers. It likely bugs a number of people that the side portrait monitors are not right along side the center landscape ones but this was done to give the monitor speakers as optimal placement as possible. Due to how I use my monitors the gap is not really an issue since they are essentially separate work spaces and nothing spans across them. Paired with them and hidden under the desk is a Adam Sub7 that connected through XLR. Luckily I got an amazing deal on these used (40%+ off). If your looking to pick up some high end audio gear yourself keep an eye on the used market as the hardware is pretty much bullet proof (not literally, sorry).

Powering all of my audio equipment is ASUS’s original external audiophile DAC/AMP the Essence One. I picked this up after an amazing review over at 6moons and just knowing the amount of engineering that ASUS puts into a product when entering a new market. Generally speaking I do prefer speakers when possible but sometimes that just isn’t an option. Because of this I have a number of different headphones but my favorite manufacturer by far is been AiAiAi with their TMA-1 and later TMA-2. The sound quality is great for the size of the drivers and the industrial design is amazing in  both function and form. For some reason while gaming I still prefer a headset over a desktop mic and headphone combo. To that end I have two of the best “gaming” headsets on the market. My main would be a custom Beyerdynamic MMX 300 that looks slick and is cozy as hell. Over the last holiday season I also picked up the Sennheiser Game One as a contrast to it in both speaker and mic style which is nice for a change every now and then.

I think covered all of the major components to my desktop setup. If you see something pictured that I forgot to mention or just have a question about it comment below. You can create an account here to do so if you don’t already have one. Otherwise I’m always on Twitter which you can use hit me up with questions as well.

If you enjoyed this content and would like to see more in the future I suggest following on Twitter for updates.

2 thoughts on “Desktop Setup Mk IV”

    1. My bad I didn’t even think about that. Personally I use Antec SoundScience Halo 6 LED Bias Lighting Kit http://goo.gl/M46h4z which was actually the first time I had seen this used. Calling it a kit is a bit of stretch since it is just a sticky back LED strip that terminates in a USB plug.

      I tend to run two for a 24in monitor and four for 27in ones. This is more than they say is necessary but what I think is needed for proper light coverage. I power these with cheaper USB chargers that are hooked up to a Christmas Tree foot switch. You could also just use USB ports on the monitors if you have them. This works quite well on my TV where I have the longer TV version as they turn on and off with it.

      Once you get used to ambient backlighting on displays you really can’t go back in my opinion. If anyone finds a better method than this for multiple displays please let me know here or on Twitter http://goo.gl/Yrqogx .

Leave a Reply