My Office

Now I'm retired, I only use my personal machine. It's mostly for gaming (I've lost count of my Fallout 4 playthroughs, and I have also played a lot of sniper elite over the years), though I am currently idly looking at developing for Android, just for fun.

The machine is an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X with 16G of RAM and two graphics cards. A Gigabyte RTX 2070 Super drives the middle (gaming) display, and an old MSI GTX 1070 drives the two outer displays. Yes, I know it's complete overkill, but it's what I had laying around. The motherboard is a Gigabyte Aorus Pro X570. The left hand screen is an old Benq 24" 1920x1200 VA panel, the middle is a 27" 2560x1440 Dell IPS, and the right-hand one is a 24" Dell 1920x1200 IPS rotated into portrait mode for working with long log files and Slack. The downside of this setup is the radically different DPI of the monitors, but since I usually do one-task-per-monitor, that doesn't really affect me much. The OS is 64 bit Windows 10. I also have a Linux box in the office (Ubuntu) though I don't do much with that at the moment.

The keyboard you can see is a Ducky Zero mechanical with Cherry brown switches. the mouse is a Logitech gaming mouse (Proteus core, the current equivalent would be the 502, I think). There is also an Arozzi Sphera podcasting microphone, which I used to use for conference calls, and recording voice-overs for presentations.

I built the system into a BeQuiet Dark Base Pro 900 Rev 2 case, and the cpu is cooled by a Corsair H115i 280 platinum pro AIO, originally mounted as a front intake (more on that later). Yes, a 280 AIO is overkill for a 3700X processor, but I wanted the option to upgrade to a beefier processor later. I replaced the BeQuiet case fans with Corsair ML 140s throughout because... RGB. To be honest, I don't know why BeQuiet includes the fans in this SKU, if you're buying a huge case aimed at water cooling you're not likely to be wanting the stock fans anyway. They should adopt the same approach Lian Li have taken with the 011 Dynamic: leave the fans out completely and just sell it for less money. The Dark Base Pro 900 is dead easy to work in, being so big, but the downside is its colossal weight. I made the mistake of building this system downstairs, and practically gave myself a hernia carrying it up to the back bedroom. My only other complaint about the case apart from its weight is its silly remote PSU power hookup. That "feature" is necessary to allow you to modify the case layout, but most users won't use it, and the very short power passthrough cable gave me problems with reliable plug-in to the PSU. If I had my time over, I think I'd go with my original choice of the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe (did I mention I like big cases?) and live with the lack of optical drive support, but my usual supplier didn't have the Enthoo Luxe in stock when I was buying. The machine is waaay too heavy to move when it's in position, so I put it on a piece of melamine-covered MDF with a cupboard handle screwed to it, so I can pull the machine out with ease to swap cables. This works very nicely for not much outlay, and also guarantees that the PSU fan has space to breathe by ensuring the bottom intake doesn't get blocked by carpet.

Since this photo was taken I have modified the case layout so the AIO is now mounted at the top as an exhaust. This is only possible because the Dark Base 900 has a movable motherboard tray. You can slide the tray between three alternate screw positions, with the top one being the default. However the top position doesn't give you enough space for an AIO's fans to clear the VRM heatsinks, so it had to be moved. This change gave me slightly better thermals, but more importantly it placed the highest point of the cooling loop in the radiator, rather than in the pump. This should improve the life of the AIO in the event of any coolant migration producing air locks. Don't want those in the pump, no sir.

The downside of using two intake fans and three exhaust fans is I end up with a negative pressure design and consequently it has a tendency to dust build-up, as the case sucks air in when it's switched off. It would be better to remove the optical drive cage and fill all three intake fan mounts at the front, but I still need the optical drive for the moment.

Those fans actually all look the same shade of blue to the naked eye by the way, the camera flash washed out the front ones. I went with the Corsair ML140s because they match the fans supplied with the AIO, but their combination of low noise and decent static pressure is very good (they're actually a hybrid design which can be used in either airflow or static pressure roles). The downside of these fans is they only have four LEDs illuminating them as you can see, so the colour is a bit... uneven. Plus they're Corsair, so you have to be prepared to put up with Corsair's expensive RGB eco-system, its massive amounts of wiring and its stupid, stupid proprietary connectors. End of rant.

The system has three internal drives: a 1TB Samsung 970 SSD boot drive, a 500GB Sata SSD for my steam library, and a 2TB WD Black spinning drive for bulk storage.


That weird little thing below the middle display is a speedloader, a relic of my shooting days. I used to own a Smith and Wesson model 686 .357 magnum, though I mostly put .38 wadcutter handloads through it to save money. Handguns like this are illegal now in the UK.

The shells kept in it are some of those (expended) .38 handloads. I use it as a "think-toy" now: when I need to think, it keeps my hands busy.

For the record: single-action, I am superb. Double-action, I couldn't hit the barn wall the target is hanging on.

The desk clock was a gift from Microsoft, when I was in the MVP program many years ago.

Back to Your Host