Critique the Workspace Setup i'm Planning

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Amator, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Amator macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2011
    Hello all! I've landed a part-time writing gig for a tech blog that will bring in a little over a thousand bucks a month. This is in addition to my regular 9-5 job. I can now claim computer equipment as a business expense as well as my home office.

    I want to take advantage of this by setting up the workspace below, a little at a time. My requirements are that I need to install Windows7 and Ubuntu in addition to OS X to test software applications. I do light photo editing in Photoshop (mostly just resizing and merging multiple screenshots into one image) and am not a gamer. My current setup is a pre-aluminum Intel 20" iMac, a homebuilt PC running Vista, and an ancient laptop running Ubuntu.

    13" Macbook Air
    27" Cinema Display
    27" iMac

    Kanex SnapX monitor switcher to share the Cinema Display between the MBA and the iMac.
    BookArc for Air docking stand.
    BookBook for Air case for MBA.

    The plan is to buy the MBA first along with a cheap 20" monitor and an adapter for DVI. After the first of the year I'd get the iMac and by then the Thunderbolt Cinema Displays should be available refurbished.

    Does this seem like a decent setup? Thanks!
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I'd just get a single computer (maybe a current iMac or a Mac Pro) and virtualize all three OS's on the same machine. But that's just me.
  3. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Why would you want to switch the 27" monitor between the MBA & iMac? Wouldn't you just always use the dual 27" screens if you are right there anyway? I could see having the display available to plug the MBA into if it were not sitting right next to the iMac, I just don't see why you would want to switch it like that. I used to think I wanted a 27" display to connect to my 27" iMac, but really, there's not a desk that big in the world!

    I concur that VM is the way to go to get all of your test environments up and running. That will work great as long as you are just testing the software functionality; if you have to create any sort of benchmarks, you will probably also need to include the hardware they were generated from. VMs also have the advantage of snapshoting, so you can always start from a 'clean' system when you instal the software you're testing.
  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Your proposed setup seems like overkill. I would be more inclined to have the MBA and the iMac and stop there. In fact, you might do well to consider a Mac Mini and a cinema display and an MBA. As for a display switcher, I think that's unnecessary. Display sharing allows you to see what the logged in user sees on another Mac. Starting with Lion, screen sharing (finally) allows you to log in and run your own apps on their machine and display them on your machine.

    I like your plan to buy stuff in stages and I agree the MBA and a generic monitor make a good start. I doubt you will find that you need to add all that other stuff. BTW, even with a small SSD, you can do virtualization on the MBA by using an external USB disk for your virtualization partitions or disk image files.
  5. Amator thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2011
    Thanks for the info! I need to get started with VMs right away it seems!
  6. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Ouch! Yes, you can run VMs from a USB external, but it's not a pleasant experience! I have run some VMs that I had archived onto USB, and they work, but everything is slowed down. USB is just too slow for this to work very well. I guess it depends on what you do with the VM, and a Linux VM would probably be a lot more suited than Win7 - after all, you can boot Linux from a LiveCD if you really want to.
  7. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    The room its all in, what's the lighting like? You have glossy screens. Also, too much stuff for what you do, which is not all that complex. How about one computer and an iPad for the times you might want to work on the couch or off someplace?
  8. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2011
    I'm in the overkill camp. Get a high end MBA and a Apple display. If you need to have a permanent desktop get either a Mini to go with the display, or lose the display and get an iMac. 2 27" monitors for blogging is absurd. If its not for blogging then it can't actually be written off.

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