Mac mini and MacBook Pro trade off in student rig [Setups] | Cult of Mac

Mac mini and MacBook Pro trade off in student rig [Setups]


Both a MacBook Pro and a Mac mini drive this setup.
Both a MacBook Pro and a Mac mini drive this setup.

Back in our day — when we walked 5 miles uphill to school both ways — students were lucky to have plywood on cinderblocks for a desk and a laptop weighing, oh, let’s say 25 pounds (we’re too old to remember things).

Nowadays, these kids have pretty swanky computer setups with desktop machines you could toss in a knapsack. Today’s featured item boasts a Mac mini, a MacBook Pro, a 4K display, Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad 2 and a Lego building set to die for.

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Mac mini and MacBook Pro trade off in student setup

Student and Redditor Hyqmavericks (“Mav”) showcased the practical and comfortable-looking workstation in a post entitled, “My Setup.”

“My setup in the university dorm,” Mav said by way of description. Nothing against students, but it looks quite nice for a student setup, not to mention potentially highly productive.

It features a Mac mini and a MacBook Pro trading off on the desk — when the laptop isn’t in use it sits in a drawer — along with a 27-inch Dell 4K display with built-in speakers and a monitor light bar on top. And then there’s the Magic Keyboard and a Magic Trackpad 2 for use with the Mac mini.

On the left-hand corner of the desk a Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine stands ready to fuel Mav up with caffeine. On the opposite side, a rather pretty Lego Icons Orchid (101311) Building Set enhances the setup’s look without any need for watering.

And for audio Mav has both a HomePod mini and AirPods Pro (2nd generation).

How the device-switching works

“Is there a dock the MacBook and Mac Mini plug into?” asked a commenter. “Or how are you switching computers and accessories (monitor, keyboard, trackpad, etc.)?”

Here’s Mav’s reply:

The monitor has 3 inputs built in, 1 USB-C (with 65W PD) and 2 HDMI. I have one HDMI plugged into the Mac mini, while you can see the cables for the other two inputs to the left of the monitor. When I need my MacBook for work, I just plug in via USB-C for screen extension. I use the MacBook trackpad and keyboard for this.

The other HDMI cable could be for anything else, but currently I’m using it for the Switch dock. The USB-C PD can actually power up the dock when plugged into it! The Magic Trackpad and Keyboard are for Mac mini only, due to the lack of a convenient way to switch their connection between devices (the option in AirBuddy app is still pretty limited).

Mav went on to say that when the Mac mini is idle or off, the monitor automatically switches to MacBook when it’s plugged in. When the laptop is unplugged, the monitor auto-switches back to Mac mini. Or Mav can click two buttons on the monitor to switch it.

Shop these items now:

With the computers in desk drawers, only a Magic Keyboard and Logitech mouse occupy the Elecom desk mat.
With the MacBook Pro in a desk drawer, only a Magic Keyboard and Logitech mouse occupy the Elecom desk mat.



Input devices:



Furniture, lighting and accessories:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to 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.


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