Desk Setup for MacBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mynameisraj, May 24, 2009.

  1. mynameisraj macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    Before I start, yes, I've searched ;)

    Like I state in my signature, I've got an early '08 white MacBook. I recently got some cash as a present for my birthday and I'm looking to put it towards a desk setup for the machine - specifically a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

    I can't seem to decide which mouse I want - there's the huge MX Revolution (I'm only 15 so I don't have huge hands), smaller VX Revolution, and the Mighty Mouse. I see pros in all 3 of these but the cons seem to outweigh choosing any of them. The VX/MX both have terrible software (I don't want to put a lot of money towards another mouse program) and use a USB dongle. The Mighty Mouse doesn't need a dongle (if I go the BT route), but it has that awful scroll nub issue. I've looked at a RocketFish BT mouse as well, but I'm not a huge fan of the loud click scroll wheel.

    Another issue for me is price - I have a hard time justifying a mouse that costs $70. In terms of the dongle, I don't know if I should just plug it into the wired keyboard, or the computer itself. If I'm gonna need a USB dongle, I figure it's the same as getting a wired mouse, because it doesn't go much further than my desk (which isn't huge anyways).

    I'd say the mouse is my biggest issue.

    I think I'm set on the wired Apple keyboard (I like having a numeric pad), but I was also eyeing the Logitech diNovo keyboard. Once again, I'm having a hard time justifying the price of the Logitech - for those of you who have it, is it any good? I've heard good things about the Apple keyboard, but not any cons. If there are any, what are they? For those of you with this keyboard, how is it? Good for a MacBook?

    I'm starting to doubt whether or not I even need a monitor, but if I were to get one I'm not even sure where to start. I use my computer for web design, watching videos, and music recording. There are so many manufacturers to choose from, and then there's the issue of resolution and whether or not my MacBook can handle it (I'd get nothing more than a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution monitor). I'm looking at Samsung, Asus, and Acer, but I've also heard great things about Dell. Size for me would be optimally around 22-23". I'm not even sure if I need an HD resolution monitor since the DVI input won't handle it anyways (am I correct?). - EDIT: found a good deal on a Samsung, anybody have this one?

    It would be great if anybody who has a mouse, keyboard, or monitor they recommend could give me some pros/cons and if anybody could point me in the right direction. I'm looking to spend less than $300.
  2. mathcolo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2008
    I wondered the same thing a while ago and I eventually came up with this set of products:

    Keyboard - Apple Wired Keyboard (best fits with the computer :/)
    Mouse - Apple Wired Mighty Mouse (best fits with the keyboard ;))

    Monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 2253LW

    I really like the SyncMaster because it's slick, good quality, and matte. It isn't glossy like some of those other ugly monitors :D. Its price is also reasonable, not quite as bad as an Apple display.
  3. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    Dont forget to get yourself a stand like the Rain mStand for your MB.
  4. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...of the two newest mice I have in the house, I looked at the ones you were and decided on the Logitech V470 BT and the V450 Micro - both are laser and together less than one of your other options - they get used for different things.

    I also got an :apple: BT keyboard on sale for $69 and while it works great with my iMac, I can't get it to pair with my eeePC and I've tried all the regedit hacks already...its a really nice keyboard but it may get returned.
  5. mynameisraj thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    At the moment, I'm just using an Antec laptop cooler on top of a 1.5" binder. Works pretty well…*I can't justify spending the money on a piece of aluminum when I can make my own…

    I can't make my own monitor, keyboard, or mouse though. :)
  6. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    :confused: This makes no sense, but all right.

    The Revolution is a brilliant, brilliant mouse. Well worth the money. As to the mouse software - the bundled Logitech software is fine. I've no idea where you get the idea you need to buy more software just to make the mouse work.

    Keyboard: Apple wired. Love mine to death.

    Display: unless you're doing colour-sensitive work or want full HD, buy whatever is cheap. I bought a cheap Acer 22" to pair with my MB and it's been great. The only other consideration might be inputs - e.g. do you want to plug your XBOX or something into the display? If so, you'll need something with HDMI in.
  7. mynameisraj thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    I've been reading that to get the tracking speed right and to avoid kernel panics certain 3rd party mouse software must be purchased. I guess I was wrong.
    Cool, but which Revolution? Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the VX & MX have a revolution after their name?
  8. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
    I was in your position almost a year ago with my first Mac.

    Mouse: MX Revolution. Works awesome, software isn't bad at all, and really you don't need to use the software much. The dongle has good range as well, from my experience. Not wired at all.

    Keyboard: Apple Wired. I wanted a number pad also, and I don't mind the wire.

    Monitor: Well, eventually mine will have a TV tuner, as soon as I order one, as well as my X-Box 360. So I went with a higher-end monitor. Don't worry about your computer's ability to handle higher resolution monitors. Get what you can afford and one that has good ratings.
  9. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    *shrug* That might be true. I've never had any trouble with third-party mice, though, including my Logitech. They're just USB peripherals, anything should work fine.

    That depends. They'll both be excellent, but they cater to different markets. The MX is a little bigger, and comes with a charging base/transmitter. So you won't be taking it with you when you travel. The VX is a notebook mouse, so it uses replaceable batteries and comes with a smaller USB dongle - you could pack it into your bag and take it with you when you travel if you so desired.

    IMO the MX will be more liveable as a daily mouse, because it's a bit bigger and is rechargeable, but choose whichever one suites your lifestyle better. :)
  10. mynameisraj thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    Alright, I'm pretty much narrowed down to the MX & the VX.

    I don't carry my notebook around too frequently, but I do have a small logitech wired notebook mouse I can use when I do.

    I'm worried about the size of the MX. I don't have very large hands (only 15). Will the size be an issue for me?

    In terms of monitor, I'm still unsure. There's a new deal which popped up today for a 20" HD Dell for only $109… and it has DVI.
  11. gan6660 macrumors 65816


    Aug 18, 2008
    I am going to pick up the new bluetrack mouse from microsoft. It is going to have a micro dogle so I can leave it in the macbook it you wanted to.
  12. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    Ok, let me start by introducing myself. I am also 15, and will be getting a 13" Macbook Alu soon, and I am in the same predicament. I already have an MX Revolution, and I am loving it. I may have larger hands than most 15 year olds, but it feels awesome in your hand. All the extra amenities are worth the cash. For a keyboard, I have the wired aluminum keyboard with my iMac, but it will stay with the iMac, so I am stuck between another wired or a Logitech DiNovo mac (not edge). For a monitor, I am considering the Dell SX2210 which is a 21.5 inch monitor with a 2.0mp camera, two microphones, a 4 port usb hub, DVI, HDMI, and VGA with true 1920x1080 HD resolution. Its brother, the S2209W, has no camera, microphone, or USB hub, but the display itself is the same. That monitor you mentioned is not true HD, Dell uses the HD moniker very lightly. (usually for high pixel density)
  13. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Apple's Mighty Mouse is absolutely the worst mouse I have ever used in my life. I've tried both the wired and wireless versions and both are equally terrible. The tracking is poor, the device isn't at all shaped like a human hand and the scroll ball gets gunked up and eventually stops working. The side buttons are in the most inconvenient place and the scroll ball is far too small to be effective.

    That's not the worst part though - it gets confused by what you are trying to do. If you have just one finger resting on another part of the mouse when you try to click it won't know what side you were trying to press, and if you have your finger on the scroll ball when you try to click it will think you wanted to do a middle click. Disaster. Why couldn't they just make a normal mouse with normal buttons?

    Also, MX Revolution is rechargeable and costs the same as the wireless Mighty Mouse. That alone gives it an upper hand, but really it is the best mouse I've ever used. I love mine so much and recommend it to anyone.
  14. mynameisraj thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    I've decided to go with the MX Revolution, but I need to find a good deal on one. Has anybody had good luck with a refurbished mouse? If you got a new one, where and for how much? Looks like about $75, which is a little high for me.
  15. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I bought mine new for $70 or so from
  16. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    I got my MX Revolution for $40 refurbished on eBay. I think it was $47 total with the shipping included. It came in excellent condition with the mouse, the USB dongle, and a charger. Package looked really messed up on the outside, but the mouse was in great condition. Works perfect though. It's the best mouse I've ever used.

    I also have a VX Revolution, but find it too small for me. I think the MX Revolution is way more ergonomic and comfortable.

    I have the Apple Bluetooth one. I really like the way it looks and feels and don't really miss the lack of a numpad. Got it for around 60-70 on eBay refurbished.

    Your choice here depends on the kinds of things you plan to do with it. If color accuracy is important to you because you do print/video/web work, then you'll want to invest in a higher quality panel and also buy a colorimeter. If you're just a lame enthusiast (like me :p), then just get what you feel like spending.

    If you do a little research on monitors, you'll find a lot of talk about panel types. Not all LCD monitors are created equal.

    LCD monitors usually have these different panels:

    TN - mainstream consumer panel. Not very color accurate, and also suffers from color shifting. This means that if you look at the display at an angle other than straight on, it will look very different (think of your Macbook screen).

    PVA - a little more higher end, colors are a little more accurate. Known for very nice, deep black levels. Color shifting is not as bad as TN, but is still noticeable. A well known PVA monitor is the Dell 2408WFP.

    IPS - pretty much the most sought after panel for professionals. If calibrated using a colorimeter, these panels give the best color accuracy out of all 3 types. Color shifting is pretty much not present with IPS panels. Apple's Cinema Displays are all IPS.

    Note that hardware calibration will benefit any monitor regardless of panel type; IPS is just desired because it yields the best after-calibration results. Accuracy is measured by this value called 'delta E', but you can read other articles if you want to go in depth about that.
    Just a couple of hours ago I bought an HP LP2475w. It's 24 inches with a resolution of 1920x1200, and has an S-IPS panel. I got it new on eBay for $463 after Microsoft cashback. Didn't want to buy a refurb monitor just 'cause I feel weird buying a used monitor. I figured that it was a decent price considering the quality of the panel and the inputs available.
  17. mynameisraj thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    Thanks a ton for the info, I didn't know anything about panels up until now.

    I'm not entirely sure if I need a monitor anymore…

    13 inches is alright as long as it's not too far away, right? I'm thinking 1/2m or so away from my eyes…

    I just don't want to cause eye strain by being too far away… the monitor would be level with my face so I wouldn't see any color shifting anyways.

    As cool as it is to go wireless, I'm gonna stick with the wired keyboard. I use the num pad pretty frequently and I could use the extra usb port for the mouse…

    I just need to decide on if I need a monitor or not. Anybody got a sort of "monitor survey" for me? haha
  18. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Regarding the monitor:
    I've done almost all my computing for the last five years on an even smaller 12" 1024x768 iBook screen. I'm using tiger too, so I don't even have the benefit of using Spaces.
    The point is, it can be done. Yes, there are times I could use the extra screen space (one of the reasons I'll be upgrading to an iMac here soon), but in general, I make it work. So do millions of other people.
    These boards tend to oversell extra monitors-- they're full of kit geeks and creative professionals, exactly the kind of people with multiple monitors. For 90% of the population, 13 inches is fine.
  19. JML42691 macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2007
    I did basically the exact same thing back in February.

    I too debated about getting a monitor or not, but decided to not get a monitor and instead got an elevated stand and placed my computer on that. I would highly recommend doing this as the result was great, there are a few stands to choose from and I went with the Griffin Elevator as it was the cheapest out of the ones I was looking at, and collapses easily for storage/transportation (which I've had to do several times with it).

    I debated between these mice as well, and went with a third choice instead. The logitechs seemed like over-kill for my use, and I have heard nothing but bad things about the Mighty-Mouse. I ended up going with the Microsoft Arc Mouse, it was cheap compared with the other options, simple to use, feels comfortable in the hand, and can fold up with the receiver inside of it for transportation. The receiver is tiny and can be put in one of the USB slots underneath the Apple Keyboard and you wouldn't know it is there because the keyboard covers it up. The receiver was my biggest worry as I didn't want it noticeable, and I was worried that it would take up one of my USB ports, but using one of the ones underneath Apple's Keyboard is a perfect solution.

    EDIT: Never minds about the mouse then as I missed your above posts, but if you haven't bought it yet, then give the Arc Mouse a look, as much as I hate Microsoft, if there is one product that they make well, it is mice (I have one on my family's PC downstairs that has been working flawlessly for what is probably 7 years).

    I decided to go with the Apple Keyboard as you might guess, and it was a great choice.

    There are pictures of my setup in the link in my signature if you want to take a look, tell me what you think.
  20. mynameisraj thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2008
    Boulder, Colorado
    The pics were incredibly helpful as now I can visualize what it will actually look like on my desk. Your setup looks fantastic.

    I think I'm going to basically go with the same setup as you except for a few things:

    1. For the stand, I didn't realize you could hide stuff under it. This makes my homemade one useless, but I'd love to put my WD My Book under there so I think I'll get myself an mStand.
    2. I've looked at the arc mouse and I've decided against it, so I think I'll get the MX Revo.

    Another question: I have a set of good Creative I-Trigue speakers so I'm probably gonna hook those up. For those of you with non-monitor speakers, do you just plug it right into the headphone port? I don't have a USB/FireWire interface to use my speakers with…

    The next part for me is convincing my parents to allow me to spend my money on this. I'm sure they are gonna think it's foolishness, yet they both use docking stations at work.

    I guess I should give them a total:
    MX Revo ($70)
    mStand ($49)
    wired keyboard ($49)

    It's rather expensive at ~$170 so it's gonna take a lot of convincing to allow me to purchase it (I have to get parental approval before spending my own cash)
  21. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Actually, you're right. (At least on the tracking speed part...)

    I have the Rocketfish BT mouse (for my Macbook) that you mentioned - great basic mouse, but it definitely does have a loud wheel. (I also have a the BT Mighty Mouse for my iMac - can't decide if I love it or hate it.) I have to use USB Overdrive to get the tracking speed right with the Rocketfish - if I don't use it, it is so overly sensitive, even on the lowest setting in System Preferences, that its almost unusable. I can't speak for the Logitech mice, but that's my experience with the Rocketfish.

    If you want a decent, cheap keyboard, see if you can find the Rocketfish BT keyboard (the aluminum Mac-like one, not the ugly black one). I got mine for $25 on eBay and its fine - not as nice as an Apple keyboard, but not bad and its bluetooth. Its keys are the laptop-style scissor keys (think that's what they're called) - it feels a lot like a "regular" laptop, NOT a Macbook. Again, not terrible... but no Apple keyboard. I got it because 1) it was cheap 2) it was bluetooth 3) it matched, and 4) it actually had a full number pad (unlike Apple's BT keyboard).

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