My Workspace reshuffle and DiY.

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Hall of Famer
Location
Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
After holding on as long as I could I eventually "gave up" on editing images on my Asus ZenBook Pro Duo because of severe performance issues with 32 MP Sony a7 Mark IV RAW files (the system works fine with 20 MP Micro Four Thirds RAW files). It's one year shorter then the 5 years I was hoping to get out of my laptop as my main (and only) PC.

So I bought an Apple Mac Mini M1, my first Mac OS device ever, and an Asus Pro ART series 27 inch 4K IPS monitor as my main (and exclusively) editing machine. But I have to change my workspace to make it fit. And I would like to share that as it's a bit of point of pride for myself (something I don't have a lot in my life).

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This was my previous layout and setup. The issues I had with it is the printer takes up half of the desk space, there's not enough room for a new system, because the table is so far I don't have a long enough Ethernet cable so I'm on WiFi only, I don't have any room for drawing which I am hoping to start it up again this autumn (I miss it terribly sometimes).

So the plan was to turn the table to the window and clear up space on the desk. The printer had to go off the table and I put it next tot he table on the left side on a unite where I can now keep the printers supplies as well (at the moment just some A4 paper and A4 mounting frames).

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Unpacking the Pro ART monitor, the installation was simple enough and I am quite happy with the monitor so far (this was on Wednesday). I do wish they would specify which USB port is the upstream for the built in hub but (for now) I don't have anything connected to those ports.

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Under the table ijave mounted a support bracket for cable management (sorry I forgot to make a picture but I will try to remember to make one when I get home after work, if that happens I will add it in here...) Which fits a power strip and almost all the power cables except for my laptop power brick. Because I didn't want to squeeze everything again I decided to have the laptop power brick separate but I didn't want it on the floor, so I drilled a hole on the side of the undersupport of the table to fit a zip tie.

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But I forgot I don't have any zip ties so I makeshift one out of 3 velcro straps through the hole and around the power brick to hang under the table (yes, I noticed the rubber grommet is broken at the end of the power cable but the inner cables are fine).

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I know it's a bit off putting but it will have to do for now since (at the moment) my budget is 0 £. I would have liked the power brick to be sitting on the side of the undertable support, it would be more flushed and unnoticeable.

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Besides the Mac Mini M1, which I bought used to save up money, I also added a dock that goes on top and fits exceptionally well with the Mini in terms of looks and function. The reason I got the dock is for storage, having only 512GB on the Mini I needed more and the cheapest way to do it is through Type C Thunderbolt ports.
The dock itself has a 2.5 inch SATA bay and a nVME M.2 B and M key support. The manufacturer claims 2TB support for both drives only but I don't see why it shouldn't be able to support larger drives since bigger drives fit in th dimensions restrictions unless it's a power delivery limit from the hub itself. I don't have larger drives to test the limits but I would like more space.
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I had a 1TB SATA SSD that I wasn't using and I bought a 2TB M.2 nVME drive used for 100 £ (I know it's not a good idea to buy and use used storage but I am very budget limited at the moment).
The Hub itself sits on top of the Mac Mini and adds 3 USB 3.0 ports in the front and (what I wanted and needed very much is) a SD card reader plus a Type C port.
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The card reader is limited to 107 MB/s but that's fine with me because I tested my other 2 Type C SD card readers and both are limited to about 71 MB/s so I don't lose a USB port by having to plug them in (and I use them instead on my Asus laptop).

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On the back the cable management is not the greatest, I did try to keep it as tidy as I could. The Hub uses one Thunderbolt port for the storage and one Type A for power. The other Type A on the Mini is used for the printer and the HDMI for the monitor. I'm having to use the only Ethernet cable I have for the Asus laptop since I download heavy on it more and the Mac Mini on Wi-Fi for now.

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My current workspace upclose. I had to get the Apple Keyboard because I realised that Mac OS has different layout and buttons that would be difficult if not impossible to get used to with a conventional PC keyboard. I do prefer my mechanic gaming keyboard in terms of ergonomics and feel but I'll get used to it. My Logitech MX Ergo Trackball is my main mouse for the Mac (I can switch to the Asus laptop with a button as the mouse supports up to 2 inputs with a 1/2 switch). The battery last be over 6 months and takes about 2 hours to fully charge. Since I bought this mouse I haven't felt the need to use my touchscreen or pressure sensitive pen on my Asus when doing very fine adjustments because the Logitech has a button that fixes all of that need: Precise aiming, where it turns the sensitivity down so much I can have pixel level movement on the trackball and I can go in and out of this mode with one button next to the trackball on the mouse. It took a lot of effort, awkwardness and time to get used to controlling the pointer with the trackball but now I just can't live without it and my wrist is so much happier (and that's coming from a mouse user for the last 28 years on a daily basis, in the past 16 hours a day).

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Editing pictures in the evening. The only thing I'm not happy with the current setup is the Asus corner, which is a literal corner. Because I didn't want to drill new homes in the wall to remount the arm for the laptop I am left with very limited angle for the laptop and limited space for my right arm to sit on the desk for the mouse. I might move the laptop at the end of the month when I do have more time to work it out because I may have to shift the whole setup to the left to make room.
I do have the laptop connected to a Thunderbolt dock and to the monitor through a Display port cable but because the dock is older generation it supports 4K at only 30 Hz which is not a good experience but fine when I want to watch a movie or a TV Show. I can't play games on external monitor with my Asus because it does not have a MUX adapter and I lose around 20% GPU performance from the already underpowered version of RTX 2060.
My media HDD is in a 2 slot station connects to the Asus dock but I have only one 8 TB HDD in it and it's almost full. I don't like mixing data but I don't have any other storage at the moment so I have about 6 years of photography back images on it and 7 TB of movies, TV shows and some games on it (the entire MCU takes up 2 TB at 1080p, I have it ordered chronologically to the MCU events by episode and movie up to the last Spiderman movie).

In the future I would like to have my gaming keyboard and mouse changed to wireless (easier to shuffle them around depending on what I need to do at the desk). I would love (maybe end of next year or 2025) to have a gaming mini PC (nothing over the top , just a system that fits the recommended specs for AAA games and to play at 1440p 120 FPS). Change the laptop to a tablet for travel (when I visit my family overseas) for personal or photography needs. More reliable and stable long term storage for my images, maybe a RAID 1 or RAID 5 SSD DAS or maybe NAS (my network skills and knowledge are very limited). A few speakers, nothing fancy or powerful, just better sounds and decent base for movies and games.
But one thing I can not have is a desk chair. I know it's going to cost me my health but my dog lives on my lap and I don't have enough room on a chair for her, that's why I have a side of my couch and extended under the table because that's where she lives and sleeps when I'm at home or when I'm out.

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When I'm at home.

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When I go to work or go out.
 
wow !! quite a huge change and it's looking great. I wish you many happy hours of enjoyment of your new system.
In the first photo, I like your wall unit - the spaces work well for what you've put into them. I would like something like that
 
wow !! quite a huge change and it's looking great. I wish you many happy hours of enjoyment of your new system.
In the first photo, I like your wall unit - the spaces work well for what you've put into them. I would like something like that
Thanks, I forgot to add the picture of the whole setup corner:
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The white shelf was a display unite (no windows) that goes on top of furniture. I put 2 L brackets on it and mounted to the wall for my camera gear. The tripod fits snuggly in the tall slot and the square slots fits all my lenses and my cameras. I fit them 2x2, my Sony primes, my Tamron f 2.8 zooms and my Tamy 150-500mm a bit lonely.
I think I will look for a extra wood plank to have more shelves on the 2nd tall slot because it's a bit of wasted space at the top (though a Sony FE 200-600mm f 5.6-6.3 G OSS would fit well there, hood reversed).
I moved all the boxes on the top. The slim slots I keep my lens filter kits (Lee Sev5n and a vintage 55mm various filters) and my last spare of Fujifilm Instax Wide film pack. When my lens set grows I will add more lenses on those slots (it keeps some of the dust off, for whatever reason my house tends to be dusty).
 
Instead of drilling holes for velcro to hold power bricks, cable runs etc. I simply use small screws right through the velcro strip and to the desired place on the underside of the table top or the apron (the vertical boards under the edge of the top). If I need to move them it's a matter of removing a screw for each strip.
 
A minor update that improves the ergonomics significantly:

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I took the laptop off the wall mount arm and moved the Mac Mini to the right side (corner-ish). The Mac Mini stack is under the monitor stand. I have the DiY digital picture frame in front of my daughter's Teddy bear and the laptop headphones just hanging around (until I get a stand for them).
I got a cheap (only 160 £, 10 years ago they used to cost over a thousand) 27 inch 144 Hz 1080p IPS gaming monitor hooked up to the laptop and a Thunderbolt 2 dock behind it. 1080p doesn't look particularly crisp at 27 inch but if I need to read something I will use the Mac with the Asus Pro Art.
The motion is buttery smooth at 144 Hz and pure joy to play on and with 1080p I can run pretty high frame rates even on the underpowered RTX 2060.
And the laptop in the far left side, sitting on the desk negates the 2nd screen on it because the viewing angle is to steep but that will change some day when I get a laptop stand like this one:
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The last few items, not marked urgent so whenever I get the time and funds for, are:
*Sound bar under the Asus Pro Art monitor (just for YouTube videos)
*Small desktop speakers for the Laptop setup
*Replace the gaming wired keyboard and mouse for wireless versions
*A backup solution for the Mac Mini
*Larger desk pad (longer then 2 metres)
*A small tripod for my Sony a7 Mark IV for video stream (just camera club Zoom calls) behind the monitors (with f 2 wide lens I don't need dedicated lights).

I've been dreaming of a setup like this for 15 years, for the first time I'm living it.
 
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