Two secrets of super-clean desktops [Setups]

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Dual, mounted monitors and an M1 hidden Mac mini make for a clean desktop.
Dual, mounted monitors and an M1 hidden Mac mini make for a clean desktop.
Photo: kurtvdpoel@Reddit.com

We keep coming across two great secrets of super-clean desktops when it comes to computer setups. As shown in today’s featured setup, they’re both about creating significant amounts of open desk space in different ways — without losing any access to your gear or forfeiting any computing power.

And we’re not just talking about clearing away basic clutter, or even cable clutter, although that always helps. We’re talking about how you can get some of your main equipment up and off the desk so you have room in front of you. Redditor kurtvdpoel demonstrates the two excellent methods in his post, “Home office with Mac mini Apple M1.”

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Two secrets of super-clean desktops

In a nutshell, the two secrets are really simple — and aren’t all that secret.

One, if you can, you should go to the trouble of mounting your monitor or monitors. That goes double, really, if you have more than one monitor. It effectively removes the display(s) and their stands from the desktop itself, creating space.

And two, if you can keep your computer out of the picture, like a small machine hidden under a desk or on a shelf — or a laptop in clamshell mode on a stand off to the side or in the back — you should try that, too.

Hidden M1 Mac mini and dual mounted displays

Kurt keeps the ol’ M1 Mac mini (base) under the desk in a nice little Sabrent under-desk mount. That keeps it well out of the way, but he can plug the necessary cables into it.

The two monitors are solid 24-inchers from Dell.

“Nothing too fancy,” he said, when asked about his displays. “They are just two 24-inch full HD monitors from Dell. They are two different monitors. One I bought a few years ago and the other one I bought this year. The left one is a U2417H and the right one is a P2419HC. I was thinking of buying one 32-inch 4K monitor but opted for the two monitors instead.”

He went on to explain that one monitor connects via HDMI port to the mini and the other connects via USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port — something easy to do with a mini but not so simple with older MacBooks, because the mini has no dedicated display.

He couldn’t remember which monitor followed which connection. But they’re both 1080p monitors running at 60Hz refresh rate, so whichever way should be fine.

Elgato Stream Deck for shortcuts

He also runs an Elgato Stream Deck with his rig. He uses it to employ a variety of shortcuts, for opening apps, windows management and more.

For a closer look at the variety of audio, video, networking and charging gear not described above, explore the list of links below. And if you like the wallpaper displayed on the monitors, you can find it here.

Shop these items now:

Computer:

Displays:

Input devices:

Audio and video:

Power, networking and lighting:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.