It’s funny when you see a student’s computer setup on social media with gear that looks like it costs a bazillion bucks. Like, what, did Elon Musk go back to college for some reason? Maybe to escape the $44 billion dumpster fire that is Twitter?
Well, today’s clean and practical MacBook Pro setup is the real thing — a starving student’s workstation cobbled together on a budget.
Let’s look at how the user saved some money.
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Student’s modest MacBook Pro setup gets the job done on a budget
Redditor Red__1860 showcased the tidy, modest-but-effective MacBook Pro setup in a post entitled, “My Current Student Setup.”
“Finally, a real student setup that’s not a combined $8,000 or something,” said an approving commenter.
“The fact that it’s 2:45 AM proves it’s a student,” said another, noticing the time the photograph was taken in the upper right corner of the display.
Cost-saving display, older PS3
And the display is a notable cost-saver, actually. The MacBook Pro drives a 24-inch Gigabyte G24F Gaming Monitor that you can get for about $200. It features 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, a 165Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response time and six ports (two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort and three USB 3.2).
“How does macOS look on a 1080p screen? Are the fonts crispy enough or do they look blurry?” asked a commenter.
“From the distance where I sit it’s fine but as soon as you get close you will see the individual pixels,” Red replied.
And instead of using the latest, priciest Sony PlayStation 5, he uses a PS3. You can get a refurbished one of those for about $230, about half the price of the newest edition.
Penny-pinching keyboard and mouse
Red also makes do with modest peripherals in terms of input devices. No Magic Keyboard or Logitech MX Master 3S mouse here. But Red noted he might add a Magic Trackpad 2, which would be pretty slick.
Instead of pricey choices, he sports a colorful Logitech K380 Multidevice Bluetooth Keyboard ($30) and a Logitech Pebble M350 Wireless Mouse ($24). They’re on the basic side, but they’re perfectly fine.
“This mouse really good?” asked a commenter.
“I like it because it’s compact and silent,” Red replied. The keyboard is compact and portable, too.
However, other folks tossed in other suggestions for budget-friendly replacement.
“I recommend Logitech Triathlon,” one said. “It’s basically a budget version of MX master series. It also has the gesture controls.”
Another person pushed the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop set (keyboard and mouse).
Supercell action figures won, not bought
You may notice the Supercell fantasy action figures on the left. They’re an archer and wizard from the games Clash Royale / Clash of Clans.
They’re not cheap, tending to sell for $100 to $150 each. But Red didn’t have to buy them. He revealed that information when a commenter said he should get a barbarian to complete the set and asked if Red 3D-printed the figures.
“Won a giveaway and Supercell sent them to me!” he replied. “I do have a barbarian but it was a little big so decided to bring these two only.”
Stacked books for a laptop stand?
And here’s a random comment that sums up the starving-student computer-setup mindset:
“I ended up with a stack of books to set my laptop on next to my monitor for a dual-screen setup.”
Hey, whatever works.
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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.