Mac Setups: An Electrical Engineering Student’s Desk

Dec 7, 2013 - 44 Comments

The Mac Desk of an Electrical Engineer student

This weeks featured Mac setup comes to us from David G., an university student studying Electrical Engineering. Let’s get right to the details!

What hardware does your setup consist of?

My Apple setup has the following:

What do you use your Apple gear for?

I’m an Electrical Engineering student and I use the iMac, MacBook Pro, and iMac everyday for university and related tasks.

Electrical Engineer Mac Desk setup

How do you use your Apple gear, and what apps do you use most often?

My primary device is my iPad, which I take ever notes with Goodnotes and Adonit Jot Touch 4 stylus. I don’t use a single paper. I use Scanner Pro to scan documents and send them to Goodnotes. 

My MacBook Pro is for programming with XCode and Visual Studio (via Boot Camp), which I need for my Bachelor in Electrical Engineering. It’s also used to program my Arduinos.

I use my iMac for editing photos using Aperture and some plugins. I also use Pixelmator very often to do everything related to graphic design. I use ScreenFlow to make YouTube tutorials. 

I also use my iMac to watch my Blu Rays with MacGo Blu Ray Player app. My Blu Ray hard drive is a crappy Samsung one, so I have made a special place in the drawer so that it does not destroy the Aluminium & wood combination. Placing it in the drawer is also great because you don’t hear any spinning sounds as the disc reads.

With Bootcamp I have the ability to play the latest games and watch Blu Rays that are not supported by MacGo (which is just a few). 

I use Dropbox daily to import and export notes to Goodnotes, without Dropbox it would be really difficult to share something between my devices.

I’m also a Keynote lover, I do lots of work in keynote. It’s great to design some charts and spreadsheets, which I use in my Youtube videos. 

The Screensaver running on the iMac is called Minimal Clock, it’s free and has been covered by OSXDaily before

Do you have any helpful info you want to share with others?

If you are searching for a good desk, search for eating tables, they are often real wood, cheaper, and bigger. Most desks have a really small place for your legs, that is not the case with a table.

Yes, my desk is actually an eating table, and the huge space is great to work on as you can see in the second picture. I’ve spent hours to get everything the way I wanted. I drilled 40mm holes in the desk to organize all the cables, and I used some PVC tube caps and some wood to cover them. I got mine for 240 Euros (about $330 USD).

iMac desk setup of an electrical engineer student

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Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac Setups


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  1. Mohamad says:

    I’m an Electrical Engineering student from Iran.
    I really like your awesome setup.
    I wanna buy a late 2013 Macbook Pro with the highest configuration.
    I plan to install Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion in order to run applications such as Altium Designer and Visual Studio.
    I wanna know how well is the performance of these applications in a virtual machine?

  2. Daniel says:

    This is a really great desk! I’m a big fan of stark minimalism, but a little bit of earth tones in your life never hurt anybody! I never thought about looking at eating tables, now that I have I think I will have to go start checking out more furniture stores!

  3. Michael says:

    Nice setup. It’s easy to see you put a lot of work in to it.

    Do you use the Macbook in clamshell mode where it sits or is it just there for storage? If you use it where it sits, how do you handle pairing the keyboard and mouse between the two computers?

    • Walter says:

      The MacBook ist underneath the iMac for charging only. I do not use my mouse and Keyboard with my MacBook, only with my iMac.

  4. Jared says:

    I am confused as to why the MacBook Pro is under the iMac. I have seen similar setups where a MacBook Pro or Air is being shown on an Apple Cinema Display or another external monitor which would be why one would want more desk space. But from the picture this does not look like it is being projected anywhere. Is the MacBook under the iMac just as a charging station and you have to pull it out from underneath every time you want to use it?

    • Walter says:

      The MacBook is not connected to a display. I use it at university and not at home. It is just for charging. And if I use it, i have to pull it out to use it.

  5. Axo says:

    Nice desktop !

  6. Léo says:

    A […] rich student […]

  7. Brian says:

    Where did you find the Clock Screensaver? Dos it work on Mavericks?

  8. Othman Safarini says:

    I’m an Electrical Engineering student too, this setup is the best serup I have ever seen. The Aluminium & wood combination is amzing.

    I have one question
    With this iMac and Bootcamp you can play any game on the highest resilution ?

    • Walter says:

      Yes. I have Call of Duty MW3 at 2560*1440 pixels. It just depends on your graphics. Crysis 3 works at 1680*1050 pixels.
      Most games will work at 1080p. AC3, Just Cause 2, …

      I also have Parallels Desktop 9 installed on my MacBook. This is just for Visual Studio and other programms I have to use in my university.

      I have Windows 7 64Bit installed on Boot Camp and in Parallels Desktop.

      Thank you so much for the compliment. I invested a lot of time in this desk, making it perfect for working, but at the same time as simple as possible.

  9. kev.o. says:

    Most college students can’t afford half the stuff on this setup let alone $330 on a desk. nevertheless it still a great simplistic setup.

    • Walter says:

      In Germany, you have to pay 500€/year for university. And still living with my parents and working a lot, you can actually afford this. Also, I live in a town, so I dont need a car, and those 500€/year also includes the ticket for the bus, tram, train,…
      If I had to pay for a car, I couldn’t afford half of the stuff.

      • James says:

        Wow! University in the USA costs about $15,000 a year or more, it is so expensive nobody can afford it so they get loans.

        Anyway what a great Mac setup and I love the desk too.

        • Walter says:

          Well in Germany you still live at home while going to Univerisy. You dont have a room full of college students who live together near the university.

  10. Chris says:

    Any idea what program did he use for the clock. That’s so cool.

    I have an iMac on order and can’t wait for it to arrive this week. I have the OCDock just waiting to be used.

  11. bbsuit says:

    There we go, thank you for making me feel better about my desk. The second picture is excellent mate!
    Mele Kalikimaka

    • Walter says:

      Well, this does not happen very often. I usually dont have time for some Arduino projects. But when I have time, I make sure to cut my desk and drill holes by accident. But I dont have a problem with that, my table is my workbench.

  12. bbsuit says:

    Does anybody do any work at these “very tidy” desks? I want to see some “war-torn deadline desks, or, “the week of finals” desks!
    Mele Kalikimaka

    • Gordon says:

      I thought the second picture was quite realistic.

    • Walter says:

      I actually do everything on this desk. Wood working, drilling, soldering, cutting cable conduit. And everything on my Mac, coding photography. I just clean up very often. I even bought a battery powered vaccuum cleaner (dyson dc45) to get rid of all the dust and the little isolation pieces after stripping wires.

      I actually cant sleep in a messy room, so I have to clean up after working. And most of the time, when i am not using my desk as a workbench, i just keep everything it is. There is no need to clean up. There is nothing to clean up, just put everything were it belongs. I have to put my macbook under my iMac in order to charge it. For instance.

  13. Lin says:

    Love seeing the Mac set-ups. What’s being used and how. Looking forward to seeing more, like different designers, etc.

  14. Anu says:

    Thank you very much.

  15. Anu says:

    How prevent macbook pro from going to sleep when close the lid ?

  16. Lori says:

    Sweet! Love the iMac stand with the MacBook beneath it and the holes for wires. So neat looking, so much working room. Awesome!

    • Walter says:

      Thanks. Well I am really aware to keep everything organzied and neat. I even measured the distance from each speaker to the iMac to keep everything symmetrical.

  17. iMario says:

    Hi. I’m looking into my new home office and I like the style of the desk you are using. Could you possiblt post the size and model of this desk?

    Where did you buy it?


  18. BDK says:

    I’ve never understood the point of doing stories about someones desk.

    • Paul says:

      That’s OK, they are some of our most popular posts but we know they are not for everyone which is why they only come up once a week. Thanks for the feedback regardless!

    • The Wise One says:

      I imagine most people have somewhere around $2000-3500 worth of desktop/laptop/tablet/phone sitting around that they use frequently. This is nothing more than an opportunity for someone to gloat about how they have $6000+ worth of tech on a single desk, a lot of which is unnecessarily overpriced like those $600 speakers and $80 iphone dock just to have good aesthetics.

      • Joe says:

        No, this is an opportunity for people to share their setups, workflows, and hobbies, and what they use throughout their day. Big deal if the speakers are nice, what’s wrong with having good equipment? Why don’t you share yours?

      • Walter says:

        Its not about showing all the money I have spent on my equipment. Its aboit sharing my ideas how to install everything and to inspire others. I actually really enjoy watching other people’s setup, there is always a new idea on how to wire everything up.

      • Born Again Apple says:

        Interesting that the people most concerned about materialism, are the individuals most focused on material things. I’ve used this website to discover new apps and equipment that have greatly improved my quality of life. But beyond that, most people that have apple equipment have an appreciation for the aesthetics of the design. I appreciate the manner in which individuals have arranged their equipment and work space and I have benefited from ideas about how to best utilize my space

        By the way the speakers are only $500 on Amazon – interesting that you took the time to look up the price or that you knew the price. Who is materialistic? No one forced you to view the page or did you feel compelled to make commentary to establish your personal sense of social superiority.

  19. Dennis says:

    Love the simplicity design, and I definitely agree a big desk is a must for a good work flow.

    • Walter says:

      Youre right. I searched a long time for desks in every german furniture shop. Alls of the desks had space for a macbook, nothing more. Not to mention that the designers forget that you have legs, not just feet.

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