M1 Mac mini usurps Mac Pro and tops MBP in super-widescreen rig [Setups]

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A Mac mini usurped a 16-inch MacBook Pro in this super-widescreen setup.
A Mac mini usurped a 16-inch MacBook Pro in this super-widescreen setup.
Photo: OSJdesigns@Reddit

A lot of folks eagerly await new MacBook Pro models, preferably with updated M1 chips. You know, the ones not introduced at WWDC as predicted? In the meantime, plenty of people are snapping up the affordable and reportedly fabulous M1 Mac mini. We’ve seen it over and over again in our far-flung travels among Setups online.

Let there be lighted Zoom calls [Setups]

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You, too, can have a clean, well-lighted place for Zoom calls.
You, too, can have a clean, well-lighted place for Zoom calls.
Photo: UGenya806@Reddit

Redditor UGenya806, who works in marketing for San Francisco-based DocuSign in Germany, takes appearances on Zoom calls seriously. After all, their job has always been remote and will remain so, even when others return to offices following the COVID-19 pandemic.

UGenya806’s setup centers on an M1 Mac mini tethered to dual Dell 24-inch 4K monitors and a CalDigit TS3 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. The mini is connected wirelessly to a Magic Keyboard and a Magic Trackpad.

A stand-mounted MacBook Air rounds out the mix, but is usually used separately as a standalone machine, not with the peripherals.

Designer’s sublime space feeds his creative process [Setups]

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Arun Venkatesan's setup is a light and airy marriage of form and function.
Arun Venkatesan's setup is a light and airy marriage of form and function.
Photo: Arun Venkatesan

San Francisco-based designer Arun Venkatesan is about to take delivery on a 2020 MacBook Air with an M1 chip to replace the 2013 MacBook Air he uses in tandem with his 2018 MacBook Pro. But the new Mac isn’t really what he’s excited about.

He thinks less about having the latest technology and more about how his tools fit into his design philosophy, which he wrote about at length here. Form and function meet in his elegant and minimal setup.

Engineering student 3D-prints workstation components [Setups]

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Vincent Belotti's setup includes 3D-printed elements and Nintendo-inspired decorations.
This setup includes 3D-printed elements and Nintendo-inspired decorations.
Photo: Vincent Belotti

Vincent Belotti, a mechanical engineering student at Farmingdale State College on Long Island, New York, has a colorful setup — and we’re not just talking about his screensaver. He 3D-prints some of the components in it himself, and he can’t get enough decor related to his favorite games.

3D printing as a hobby

As an engineering student, Belotti has made 3D printing into a hobby. He uses his MacBook Pro to model and slice prints that become components to enhance his setup. They include an Apple Watch dock, shown on the right side of his desk in these photos, and 3D figurines on the shelf above his monitor.

Health care exec cures cable outbreak threatening healthy work and play station [Setups]

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Dr. Edward Wang's setup features an ultra-wide monitor.
Edward Wang's setup features an ultra-wide monitor. (Note the eye-strain-reducing BenQ Screen Bar lighting atop the monitor.)
Photo: Edward Wang

Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based Edward Wang, Ph.D., is an executive director with Quest Diagnostics. He took some serious time and effort making his setup a clean and powerful tool for health care work and audiovisual play. Once he diagnosed and treated a cable-management malady stemming from several separate pieces of computer and audio equipment, his setup delighted him.

Music to your ears? This Mac setup is part workspace, part soundscape [Setups]

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An audiophile's setup includes not just computers and a killer sound system, but sound enhancers on the walls and in corners.
An audiophile's setup includes not just computers and a killer sound system, but sound enhancers on the walls and in corners.
Photo: Ed Yoon

Ed Yoon has a job many music fans and players would covet. He’s chief operating officer of high-end electric guitar maker and distributor Strandberg Guitars USA in Riverside, California. As you might guess from his line of work, he’s a major audiophile. And his office setup makes a lot of noise to that effect.

OK, not “noise.” Beautiful music.

Even before the pandemic, Yoon had been working a lot from home to manage the company’s operations. Then, as COVID-19 spread, remote work became the norm. Unlike most of us, he needed more than just a desk and a computer with decent speakers. He had to have mind-blowing audio.

CalDigit’s USB-C Pro Dock powers dual 4K monitors

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CalDigit Pro Dock with MacBooks
The CalDigit Pro Dock has two DisplayPort ports, and plenty of others too.
Photo: CalDigit

CalDigit now offers the Pro Dock, a multiport USB-C hub that can drive a pair of 4K displays at a full 60Hz. There are plenty of hubs that let a MacBook connect to a single monitor, but this dual-screen option is more rare.

The Pro Dock also has a trio of USB-A ports, Ethernet, and other ports.

The one dongle every MacBook owner needs

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Calbit dongle
We found the one dongle to rule them all.
Photo: Erfon Elijah

The 2018 MacBook Pro is one of the sexiest machines Apple’s ever made. There’s just one problem: you need a bunch of dongles to use all your favorite accessories.

Because the MacBook Pro only has USB-C ports you’ll need a dongle for ethernet, a dongle for an HDMI display and another dongle to connect your gadgets that use USB-A, which is like everything. CultCast host Erfon Elijah, aka The Gadget Hunter, has been on the search for the perfect dongle solution for people on the go. In his latest video he reveals his favorite new dongle of 2019.

If you’re ready to taste the sweet relief of living life with just one dongle, pay attention:

Best USB-C accessories for Macs and iOS devices

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Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C
USB-C battery packs, chargers, hard drives, cables and hubs will future-proof newer Macs.
Photo: Anker

USB Type C — it’s no longer a novelty but an emerging connectivity standard for Apple products. As a newer, more powerful variation of the same USB we all know and love (well, kinda), USB-C features higher power and faster data transfer than its predecessors via a smaller connector.

While older USB Type A and B were a great gift for Mac users — few mourned the passing of ADB and SCSI — USB is often finicky. Just plugging in an old-school USB cable can prove challenging, since you must position the connector just so for it to slide smoothly into the port. That often means several tries to achieve the proper angle and orientation.

Those obstacles disappear with USB-C because, in addition to its smaller size, it is designed to be reversible — with no up or down orientation, just like a Lightning cable — and the cables can have the same type of connector on both ends.