After working from home for nearly 10 years, I have gone through quite a few different office configurations and tools. This is a list of things I use every day in my distributed leadership role at 10up and for competitive gaming.
Have questions about something you see here? Tweet at me: @chriswallace
NZXT h510i / AMD Ryzen 7 / RTX 2080
Back in 2018, I built a Hackintosh with the goal of being able to boot into OS X for work or Windows 10 for gaming. I set it up, got everything working and felt pretty good about that setup for a bit. Then after upgrading mac OS from High Sierra to Catalina, I quickly realized Nvidia didn’t plan to release Web Drivers and I could no longer use my $700 Nvidia RTX 2080. I would have to switch to an AMD GPU. So I decided to drop dual-boot and build a proper 2020 gaming PC. This build used some parts from my previous build as well as a bunch of new ones so it is a bit of a mix. I am planning to upgrade my GPU once the 3080 becomes widely available as well.
- AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor
- Deepcool CASTLE 240EX 64.4 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
- MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK ATX AM4 Motherboard
- Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory
- Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory
- ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 8 GB SEA HAWK X Video Card
- NZXT H510i ATX Mid Tower Case
- Rosewill 850 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
- Dell AW3418DW 34.1″ 3440×1440 120 Hz Monitor
- Apple Broadcom BCM94360CD
Dell Alienware 34.1″ Ultrawide LED Monitor
I wanted to find a monitor I could use for both work and gaming. In order to balance a high refresh rate with a need for an ultrawide display, I decided to pick up a Dell Alienware curved 34″ 2k display. While I appreciated having a 4K monitor before, I still have my Macbook Pro retina display for times I need ultra-crisp images and more accurate color reproduction. Overall, I am really happy to have found a solid monitor that makes sense for my setup.
80″ x 30″ Uplift V2 Standing Desk (Rubberwood)
The Uplift V2 is one of the highest rated sit/stand desks on the market. I wanted the largest desk to maximize surface space (really for all sorts of crap all over the desk). I ended up getting the standard frame rather than the commercial one and it seems extremely solid. Paired with the bamboo top, it was dubbed by Wirecutter the best standing desk on the market. I also grabbed the additional computer case mount to attach my PC under the desk.
Finding the perfect desk chair is a tough proposition. I’ve sat in a few different chairs over the years but nothing has lived up to the Sayl. With its adjustable arm positions and back it has helped make sitting at a desk for long stretches much easier on my aging body. I previously owned a MARKUS chair from IKEA and can safely say this one absolutely destroys it in terms of comfort and build quality.
Durgod Taurus 320 Nebula RGB Mechanical Keyboard
Equipped with MX Cherry silent red switches, this 87-key keyboard is a sturdy, beautiful RGB keyboard. I previously used a 60% Ducky One 2 Mini but wasn’t particularly happy with the size and quality of it. Not to mention the lack of arrow keys 😭. The Durgod addresses all of the shortcomings of the Ducky for me and has been a solid daily driver. I’ve added a few custom keycaps that I’ve picked up over time but it is otherwise unmodified.
Logitech G502 LIGHTSPEED
I have used a wired G502 for quite a while and loved it so much I wanted to keep the same form factor and buttons in a wireless mouse. This mouse is mostly perfect. The only major issue I’ve run into is programming the buttons takes some work and I haven’t yet figured out how to make the settings permanent for all the buttons, just the DPI settings. Regardless, it’s still my favorite mouse.
HyperX Cloud Revolver S Gaming Headset
I did some research on the best headset for gaming at a reasonable price and came across these. I bought them after using the cheaper HyperX Cloud Stinger headphones and enjoying their sound. The 7.1 surround is actually extremely helpful in adding detail to first-person shooter audio. It also doesn’t feel like there is a weirdly simulated audio effect like many other headphones. While they are a bit heavier, I appreciate the sturdy build quality and ability to remove the microphone. Overall, 8 out of 10.
ONEGenug Walnut Headset Stand
With expensive headphones comes the need for something pretty to place them on while not in use. I picked up this walnut headset stand and am extremely happy with how it looks. The only downside is that it is a bit bulky and takes up a decent amount of space on my desk.
I recently built a new PC and wanted to place it on my desktop to be able to see the RGB lighting I installed, which forced me to reduce the footprint of other items previously on my desk. One such casualty being a pair of KRK Rokit 6 monitors. Besides the fact that they were huge, they also were connected to my Behringer UMC404HD audio interface which added quite a bit of clutter and wiring to my setup.
Looking for a smaller set of speakers, I wanted to find something that sounded good enough that I didn’t sorely miss out on studio monitor sound quality while adding the ability to quickly swap between my Macbook Pro and my PC audio. The Audioengine HD3s were the perfect fit. With 2 1/2″ woofers and 1/3 the footprint of the KRKs, I was concerned that they wouldn’t sound as good but wow, was I wrong. While their size prohibits them from matching the deeper bass, the balance in the sound field actually seems better to me, likely due to some optimizations they’ve made for being a near-field powerhouse.
I was also worried about sound quality over Bluetooth. Those concerns were also entirely unwarranted as the audio quality difference is mostly imperceptible. While there is a difference, I actually found it to be small enough I didn’t even bother to run the USB cord to my PC. Instead, I simply swap the speakers between my two computers via Bluetooth and that works quite well for now.
I also purchased the Audioengine DS1 isolation pads which both angle the speakers up toward my ears and separate them from the desk, allowing for crisp, clear audio directly to my earholes. If you have the opportunity, I would say these speakers are a clear 10/10 and well worth the sub-$400 price tag.
I’ve had my trustworthy Blue Yeti for a few years now. Because I am on Zoom calls most of my days, it is important to be able to speak and be heard clearly through the vast interconnected wires of the Internet.. I find many built-in microphones for webcams or EarPods/iPods tend to be inconsistent and low-quality at best. I also don’t love wearing a headset or AirPods for long periods of time. As a result, I settled on the Yeti, using it for both work and gaming. Paired with krisp, I can avoid a lot of background noise even with a sensitive mic like the Yeti.
Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam
I’ve struggled with finding the right video camera solution for quite some time now. My desire is to have a high quality camera for virtual Zoom meetings, however I do not own a DSLR or a strong desire to shell out $1,000 to acquire one just for calls. I think the C922x Pro does a very good job for a sub-$100 webcam. Though, I do wish it had a slightly better light sensor as the colors can appear blown out in various conditions throughout the day. Looking into other options, I am intrigued by the Logitech Brio (4k webcam) and brand new StreamCam (1080p). My hope is to test each of these cameras and see if they can top the performance of my current model. For now, this one works in most situations and is extremely easy to use.
Logitech G Powerplay Wireless Charging System
Because I am using a G502 LIGHTSPEED mouse, I wanted to take advantage of the built-in wireless charging feature to avoid plugging in the charging cable ever again. I mean, it’s annoying to have to charge your mouse, right? And I always forget to switch the power “off”. Now, with this mouse pad and charging system, I don’t have to worry about that again. I simply keep the mouse on top and it stays charged at all times.
The other pro is that I can also sync the RGB lighting with my mouse and the rest of my lighting components for some really interesting effects. All in all, a pricey but worthwhile investment.
Bamboo Motion-X Board by UPLIFT Desk
One of the items I wanted after switching to a standing desk was a balance board. Luckily, when I purchased my Uplift desk, they provided a great one with their Motion-X board. I have enjoyed using this board while working to help reduce fatigue and engage leg and core muscles. Highly recommend.