Many computer setups check all the functionality boxes at a cost of thousands of dollars. But who doesn’t love a complete setup that comes in at bargain-basement cost? Today’s featured MacBook Air workstation seems to cover all the bases without breaking the bank for the user, a nursing student.
How is the setup so affordable? In large part, because it relies on lesser-known brands and, in some cases, older equipment.
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Nursing student completes MacBook Air setup at low cost
Nursing student and Redditor LevitatingSponge (“LS”) showcased the setup in a post entitled, “Nursing School Setup.”
“Keep in mind I’ve accumulated this over many years and have been working full time before school started and am still [working] part time,” they said. We get it. Most of us aren’t exactly made of money.
Start with Apple’s lower-cost laptop
LS goes a long way toward affordability simply by building the setup around a MacBook Air instead of a MacBook Pro.
Depending on the year, model and whether it was new or “renewed” when acquired, the laptop might’ve cost less than a grand.
Stay sub 4K on the display with inexpensive mount
Next comes the external display. Instead of a 4K or 5K monitor, LS uses the laptop to drive an older, 24-inch LG Neo Blade III FHD Monitor. That’s a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display you can get for about $150.
Many folks say they “can’t go back” after trying a 4K or a 5K, but it looks like LS hasn’t gotten there yet, so it’s no problem.
The display sits on an articulated arm and mount, which is kind of fancy. But the arm in question is a lesser-known EleTab Single Monitor Desk Mount that costs $70. Plenty of mounts cost more.
Nice monitor light, budget webcam
On top of the display you see a monitor light and a webcam. The light is a BenQ Screenbar Monitor Light, which is not a cheap screen bar at about $100. Numerous brands go for more like $30 to $50.
But the webcam is an Aktya 1080p device that costs just about $20 on Amazon after you apply a coupon on the product page.
Fun and somewhat-affordable input devices
LS spends a bit more on input devices, in that they have two compact mechanical keyboards and a Magic Mouse. The keebs are a low-profile Nuphy Air 60 portable — $120 — and a Corn Anne Pro 2 for gaming at about $110.
“I love it,” LS said when someone asked about the Nuphy Air. “The low profile keys look and feel great.”
Cost-conscious speakers and furnishings
In the audio department, LS goes with dedicated speakers rather than just the laptop’s audio, but keeps costs down with a pair of KEiiD Bluetooth Computer Speakers. You can pick those up for $70 – $90 new or spend less for refurbished ones like LS’s.
The furnishings also didn’t set LS back much. They include an SHW Computer Desk — currently on sale for $67 — plus an office chair marked down to $250, an Ikea pegboard ($23) and Elago’s cute W3 Apple Watch charging stand, which looks like a vintage Mac ($14).
And if you like the desktop wallpaper on the display, you can find it here.
Shop these items now:
Display and mount:
Light bar and webcam:
- Nuphy Air 60 Portable Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
- Corn Anne Pro 2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- Magic Mouse 2
- FireBee Extended Gaming Mouse Pad
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, challenges and plans for new additions.