My Ideal Computer Setup

OldComputerI’ve always wanted a certain kind of computer setup that would be super powerful at home in my office and where I could take the core of that computer away from my desk and still have it functional and mobile. In effect, I want something like a powerful laptop what would doc at my desk and use multiple monitors and a vast amount of storage. I’ve finally worked out how to do this and I will be transitioning over by the end of this year.

Speaker. I’m a musician who sometimes writes music. Audio fidelity is a primary concern of mine. In building my ideal system I already have my speaker of choice and it only cost me a thousand dollars. It is a 100-pound keyboard amp from Roland that I have my main music keyboard plugged directly into as well as my computer sound output. When I want good sound with rich tone throughout the spectrum from thundering bass to solid midrange to brilliant highs, trust me I have it. Front and top pictures follow:

RolandKC880Front

RolandKC880Top

You can click the top view immediately above to see the knobs better. All four channels can be output at once and the headphone and speaker volumes are independent and can both be used simultaneously. I can have a mix playing from my computer and also play the music keyboard and balance them through this amp. These are my needs.

I have two monitors, a 30-inch 2560×1600 pixel wall mount and a standalone 23-inch 1920×1080 high def model. Both Dells. Apple charges too much for monitors, and the 30-inch monitor is the exact same display as Apple sells — I skimp where I don’t have to sacrifice quality. To this I would add a third monitor from a powerful laptop.

My digital media library is rather large, so large that I cannot keep it all in the four drive bays of my current Mac Pro and still have an internal backup drive and SSD system drive. I am going to get a Drobo 5D raid array which will provide 11 terabytes of storage while also allowing for one of the five drives to fail without losing any data.

I choose to go with the Apple 15″ retina MacbookPro. For the specific things I do it has power to spare with its quad-core processor. I currently have a proper Mac Pro Tower which has two quad-core processors which I only push when converting hi-def video from one video format to another and I have eliminated the need to do that. It is also four years old. Processing many tracks of music at one time can be easily handled by the Retina MacBook Pro, and it is portable.

To doc into my two additional displays, the raid array, music keyboard, and the speaker I will get a docking station. Two pictures of the Henge Dock that I will be getting follow:

HengeDock

HengePorts

The specific model I will be getting will have three Thunderbolt ports instead of three Video only ports. That way I can hook up to the Thunderbolt input of the raid array, and these Thunderbolt ports can also be used for video out. I also gain more USB 3.0 ports than the two the laptop by itself would provide.

What I lose when I take my laptop away from my desk is the massive storage, two large displays, and music keyboard. But I still have all my apps and a fully capable and powerful computer.

Beyond this I have a retina iPad and iPhone. The reason for all this Apple stuff, apart from my opinion that they are better than the competition, is that they all seamlessly work together. At the grocery store I can start writing this blog on my iPhone. Then I can lounge on the couch or lay in bed and continue writing it with my iPad. Then, if I wish, I can finish it up with my laptop, either at the kitchen table or plugged into the doc at my media workstation.

To be sure one could do all this with Windows 8 as well, saving to the cloud to exchange files from device to device, but I have not researched exactly how to go about doing it. I’m sure it can be done, but I personally don’t want to.

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