Working from home means building his setup on his terms [Setups]


Wilcox's setup centers on a 27-inch 5K iMac with 28-inch Samsung monitors on either side of it.
David Wilcox's setup centers on a 27-inch 5K iMac with 28-inch Samsung monitors on either side of it.
Photo: David Wilcox

David Wilcox is an IT consultant working from home in Bristol, England. His remote work situation means he gets to tweak his setup just as he likes, he told Cult of Mac.

Wilcox’s central command is a 27-inch 5K iMac from 2019. Humming along with it are two 28-inch U2HE850 monitors paired and run together via a Startech Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort Adapter.

With that much screen real estate and a plethora of networking gear, he gets a lot done.

“My first computer was a Sinclair [Research] ZX81,” he said, referring to a machine made by Timex Corp. in the United Kingdom starting in 1981. “So this setup is just about a home-computing Nirvana!”

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Vast screen space and multiple operating systems

Lots of screen space is essential for his work as an IT consultant, Wilcox said. And so is running more than one operating system. For work, he has a Dell Windows laptop, which he accesses by Microsoft Remote Desktop through VPN. Parallels Desktop for Mac gives him the ability to run Linux and Windows on a macOS machine.

And outside of work, he serves as a political campaigner for the Green Party and active travel (a push for more walking and cycling in lieu of motorized transportation). So he finds a solid videoconferencing setup crucial to getting messages across to various audiences and constituencies.

What does an IT guy do? He solves problems.

Wilcox recently added a TP-Link T2500G-10TS 8-Port Gigabit Switch for better Ethernet wired networking and the ability to trunk the network connections between his Synology DiskStation DS418play 4-bay NAS and a Virgin Media Super Hub 3 broadband device. He has the hub running in router mode with its Wi-Fi switched off.

He also uses the Synology NAS to back up all his data.

In addition, Wilcox upgraded the Wi-Fi he runs in the house from an Apple AirPort Extreme to an Eero Pro 6 router and hub.

“I’m thrilled with it, as I can still use an AirPort Express in client mode to connect to my NAD hi-fi downstairs via AirPlay,” he said.

Because the iMac doesn’t have any front-facing ports, he uses a Satechi Type C Aluminum Monitor Stand and Hub, he said. It features USB-C, USB-3.0 and Micro/SD Card slots as well as a headphone jack.

Apple isn’t (always) everything

Wilcox prefers to run a Logitech StreamCam with his setup “because the internal Apple 720p doesn’t cut it,” he said. With the StreamCam, he gets 1,080-pixel resolution for his videoconferencing. Just because he’s working from home doesn’t mean he shouldn’t look good on camera.

However, Wilcox relies on Apple for a lot of things. In addition to the iMac itself, he uses a Magic Mouse and a Magic Trackpad. His smartphone is an iPhone 12 Pro Max, which he keeps powered with a Ravpower Qi Wireless Charger. And he uses an Apple USB SuperDrive to encode audio CDs to iTunes.

Working from home you need good sound

Sticking with the audio theme for a moment, he likes his Yeti Blue multipattern USB microphone and his Bose Companion 20 speaker system for exceptionally good sound with the setup.

“I’m really impressed by the Bose speakers,” he said, calling out the rig’s control pod for extra praise. “Having the ‘puck’ to control volume and mute is a godsend — if only this could be linked to Zoom and Teams!” The pod controls volume, muting, and headphone jack and auxiliary input functions.

Wilcox likes to bootcamp into Windows to play Elite Dangerous: Horizons.
Wilcox likes to bootcamp into Windows to play Elite Dangerous: Horizons.
Photo: David Wilcox

More ports, more storage and a little too much desk

Wilcox keeps a SilverStone 7-Port Rapid USB Charging Station and USB 3.1 Hub around for the sake of expediency.

“You can never have enough USB ports,” he said. He added his relative lack of Thunderbolt ports is a real issue. “I have a CalDigit Thunderbolt 4 Element [Hub] on pre-order to hide the cable for the Logitech StreamCam.”

Wilcox said he hopes to add some SSD-based storage in the future.

His said his desk, from Habitat, is an ideal size to cope with all the gear that needs to fit on it. However, he found he had to cut off a corner of the desk to accommodate his central heating radiator.

Sometimes sacrifices need to be made for the important things in life.

“Oh, and it bootcamps into Windows to play Elite,” Wilcox added of his setup, citing a favorite gaming pursuit. As seen in the photo above, it looks like he’s been getting into Elite Dangerous: Horizons.

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Computer equipment:

27-inch iMac 5K

Samsung 28-inch U28E850 FreeSync UHD Monitor (similar product linked) Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort Adapter

Apple Magic Mouse

Apple Magic Trackpad

Logitech M720 Triathlon multidevice wireless mouse

Logitech MX Keys wireless illuminated keyboard

Logitech StreamCam

Networking equipment:

AirPort Express Base Station

Eero Pro 6 router and hub

Satechi Type C Aluminum Monitor Stand Hub for iMac

SilverStone 7-Port Rapid USB Charging Station and USB 3.1 Hub

TP-Link T2500G-10TS 8-Port Gigabit Switch

Audio equipment:

Apple CD Drive

Bose Companion 20 Multimedia Speaker System

Yeti Blue Multipattern USB Microphone

Other peripherals:

Philips Hue Smart Lightstrip Plus

Ravpower Qi Wireless Charger

Synology DiskStation DS418play 4-bay NAS

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