Before and after photos show MacBook Pro rig's subtle evolution [Setups] | Cult of Mac

Before and after photos show MacBook Pro rig’s subtle evolution [Setups]


See if you can spot the differences between the setup in the photo above and the setup in the photo below.
See if you can spot the differences between the setup in the photo above and the setup in the photo below.

We love it when computer setup users show their work as they trudge toward home-office nirvana. Today’s featured MacBook Pro and iPad Pro setup does it in a subtle way, providing “before” and “after” photos showing incremental changes that improved the workstation.

You can see the before photograph below and the after shot above.

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Before and after photos show improvements to MacBook Pro and iPad Pro setup

Redditor wrong24 showcased the changing setup in a post entitled, “MBP setup v1.005.” It followed as an update two weeks after his first effort, “My Intel MBP setup in 2023.”

“I posted my setup two weeks ago and while it was fine enough, I felt like there could be improvements,” Wrong said. “With a few upgrades, rearrangement of decorations and tidying up some visible cables, I’m feeling pretty good with the current state!”

The setup relies on an Intel-based MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro — both mounted — plus a 32-inch Dell 3221QS 4K Monitor with Govee TV light bars mounted on the back. The computer connects to peripherals via a Caldigit TS3 Plus Dock mounted under the Fezibo Standing Desk with 3D printed brackets.

And in an interesting wrinkle, Wrong mounted an Elago Stream Deck Mini under the laptop tray using a magnetic car phone holder.

8 changes

Here are Wrong’s changes, as he described them:

  • Swapped out my deskpad.
  • Added a monitor light bar.
  • Removed the monitor shelf as well as Lofi girl (she’s safely resting in a different room now).
  • Added a cup holder mount.
  • Added a vesa reinforcement plate for my monitor to test different mounting positions but ultimately ended up reverting to the same as before (an unexpected benefit is that the light bar remote has magnetic feet for the battery door which also adheres to the plate).
  • Swapped out the USB cable that connects my iPad to my [Thunderbolt] dock for a cable with an LED display showing the charge wattage.
  • Previously I was trying to leverage natural lighting from the windows the left of the desk. Ultimately I decided while I like the natural lighting, I prefer having a dark and moody setup as the day progresses (I’m also prone to headaches so having more control of lighting is beneficial).
  • I also cleaned up my cable management some more and feel like the underside of my desk is more presentable now. Altogether the change in setup is minor (hence the arbitrary title upgrade versioning) but I enjoy using my desk even more now!

iPad Pro as display extension

“Is the iPad an extended display?” asked a commenter. “If so, any lag issues?”

“I do use it as an extended display,” Wrong replied. “As for any potential lag issues, the iPad <-> Mac connection seems fluid enough that I don’t notice any lag. I do connect via a USB connection instead of Wi-Fi and I use the iPad for reference document materials so it’s mostly static content. That being said, the mouse cursor tracking and keyboard input seem/feel like 1:1.”

Another person asked about the MacBook Pro mount. Wrong explained that it’s mounted on a laptop tray desk mount that shares an arm with the iPad mount.

Useful Stream Deck

Another commenter wondered if the Elago Stream Deck mini is useful.

Wrong answered in the affirmative, listing these top uses:

  • Toggling between different audio devices.
  • Shortcut scripts to connect SideCar or Universal Control with one click.
  • [Managing] various code snippets whenever I have VSCode open.
  • Switching between brightness and color temperature for my light bars.
  • Controller pad for Zoom meetings.
  • A macro for putting my computer to sleep and turning off light bars when I’m done with using the computer for the day.

And finally, regarding the Intel-based Mac, someone wondered if overheating problems come up.

“Maybe when I open too many VSCode windows and am juggling multiple projects all at once, but otherwise I haven’t noticed any problems,” Wrong replied. “I will admit that the fan noise is distracting though with Intel models but luckily I have multiple headphones/IEM if I can’t ignore it.”

Shop these items now:

The user made half a dozen changes to this setup to arrive at the one in the top photo.
The user made more than half a dozen changes to this setup to arrive at the one in the top photo.

Computer, mount and dock:

Tablet and mount:


Input devices:

Audio and video:

Furniture 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, challenges and plans for new additions.

Wali Laptop Tray Desk Mount

This handy vented mount is for one MacBook or other laptop up to 17 inches. It's fully adjustable and weighs 22 pounds.

12/09/2023 12:27 am GMT


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