Amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, working from home has become ever so popular. Running a Digital Agency, having an office at home is important as it allows for more flexibility as we do not necessarily have to go to the office to work.

Most of the time, my team will work from home, which has been the case even before the Covid-19 outbreak.

My MacBook Pro

The MacBook that I am using is the 13 Inch 2018 edition MacBook Pro with Touchbar. It is the i5 version with 8GB of ram, and 500GB of storage.

After switching over to a MacBook since 2017, I promised myself to never use a Windows PC ever again. It has become my daily driver ever since. I instantly fell in love with the design and of course, the User Experience of MacOS.

Macbook pro top
Macbook pro opened

Until February 2020 when my MacBook failed on me. Twice. Firstly, my Mac encountered a bloated battery issue that affected the keyword and trackpad sensitivity.

I got it checked and Apple replaced the battery for me Free of Charge, which was great. Until March where my MacBook died on me halfway and wouldn’t turn on anymore. I brought it in for repairs and was slapped with a $650 repair bill.

Macbook repair bill
Not cheap at all. FYI I paid $646.79 exactly. Not 50 cents.

The diagnostic showed that the mac probably died because of bad cooling, which is the case as I would often leave it at a corner. I learned my lesson and bought myself a PC in hopes to lighten the workload of my Mac.

Today, I only use the MacBook Pro on certain occasions. Usually for client meetings or if I need to get work done outside. The compact form factor of the Mac means that I can easily carry it around in my small laptop case.

My Desktop

I set a budget of $800 SGD which will include the PC with all internal parts. I bought all of the parts from Sim Lim Square, except for the 2TB HDD which I salvaged from my NAS.

My PC build
The glass panel allows you to see through and realise that your wire management skills suck.

The specifications of my PC are as follows:

  • Motherboard: Asrock H310CM-HDV
  • CPU: Intel i5-9400f
  • Case: Tecware Nexus M with tempered glass side
  • PSU: EVGA 500BV 80+ Bronze
  • RAM: KLEVV Performance 2666MHz 8GB RAM
  • GPU: Zotac GTX 1650 Super 4GB OC Twin Fan
  • SSD: Crucial MX500 SATA SSD
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 3.5 Inch 2TB HDD 7200 RPM

My budget wasn’t the biggest, but I wasn’t really penny-pinching either. I knew what I wanted and needed.

I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore gamer, but I wasn’t really causal either.

The games I play are GTA V, Red Dead Redemption 2, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, and X-Plane 11. Most of which are triple-A titles.

In terms of work, running a Web Design company in Singapore would mean that I am a heavy user of Chrome, a web browser.

Within my workflow, I also do some coding, some Photoshop, and Illustrator. Being a WordPress developer also meant that I had to open a bunch of tabs in each window.

Many tabs open on my browser

My thoughts so far

After about two months of intensive daily usage of my PC (because of Covid), I can say that I am very impressed with the price to performance ratio. For $800, I was really getting A LOT.

I play X-Plane on a daily basis and would do my work while letting X-Plane 11 fly on autopilot, in the background. My settings are set to high while getting an average FPS of about 50.

On the other hand, I am getting about 60 FPS on average in GTA V on Ultra. For Red Dead, on the other hand, I get about 50 FPS on High, pretty impressive actually.

In terms of workflow, everything is snappy. I usually keep three windows of Chrome open, with an average of 20 tabs within each window.

I can see some performance degradation whereby Chrome would automatically kill a tab when it detects inactivity, which does not really bother me anyway.

One thing that really bothers me a lot is opening large files in Illustrator. It takes ages to load, save, and export large files.

In terms of performance, the i5 does a pretty good job. Paired with the GTX 1650S, it makes a good duo for gaming.

One thing I wish I would have done was to get another stick of 8GB RAM.

My monitor

Nothing special, just a regular 1080p display by LG. Specifically the 24MK400H-B (idk why that long name).

Its a 24 Inch TN panel with AMD Freesync.

My keyboard and mouse

The keyboard that I am using is the Phantom Mechanical keyboard. It uses brown cherry switches which are non-clicky and quiet. I hate clicky mechanical keyboards btw. The keyboard is pretty affordable. I bought it from Sim Lim for about $50.

The mouse that I am using is nothing special. It’s just a wireless mini mouse from Logitech. I should probably get the MX Master or something.

My Speaker

For audio, I usually prefer to listen to music on a speaker when I am doing work. I use the Acoustic Energy BT2 Bluetooth speaker. Good quality audio is important to me, but I am no audiophile.

In terms of sound quality, I’d give this a 8/10 for it’s price and audio quality. Even though it is not a stereo system, I can live with that.

Aesthetic wise, it looks pretty minimalist and modern.

I got the speaker from X Audio, which is a shop my uncle co-owns. They’re located at Bukit Timah Plaza and sells a wide range of audio equipment, mostly audiophile-grade.

Acoustic Energy BT2 Speaker
The Acoustic Energy BT2 Bluetooth speaker.

Wireless Mesh

I use the TP-link Deco M9 Plus for my home mesh WiFi System. I am live in a HDB with a pretty long corridor leading to my room. As the fibre point is located at my living room, getting the WiFi to reach my room is almost impossible.

TP-link deco M9
The Deco.

The distance between my room and the Router located in the living room is about 15-20 metres.

Before getting the Mesh, I used the TP-link Power line pass-through adapter which was a quick way to get WiFi in my room. Electromagnetic interference coming from Fans and adapters means that the connection is slow and unstable. I got frustrated with the unstable internet and purchased the Deco.

Even with the 20-metre distance between the Deco in my room and the other Deco outside, I am still able to get pretty decent speeds. I usually get higher results, not sure what happened this time.

Stability-wise, it’s always up and I’ve never experienced downtime because of the Deco.

Speed Test from my room.

Conclusion

Enough for work? Yes, definitely. Enough for gaming? Yes for me, but it really depends from person-to-person. Choosing a PC build really depends on your need and wants. You have to find the balance between needs, wants and the price.

In terms of performance for both my Mac and PC, I wished I would have opted for at least 16GB of RAM. It seems like 16GB of RAM is the norm nowadays. But 8GB of RAM still does the trick, but you may experience some lag or slowness when running many applications at once.

At the time of writing, I am just about to enlist. Actually, I have already enlisted just that because of CB, I didn’t have to go to Tekong yet.

Maybe when the whole Covid situation ends, I might want to do some shopping and get a new stick of RAM and probably a better all-rounder mouse for gaming, and work.

harold

harold

I love working with people, integrating technologies, and adding value to my clients' company. I am a major WordPress geek with over 10 years of web development experience. On my free time, I enjoy traveling and mingling with people.

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