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This is how HardwareZone works from home #HWZWFH (Part 3)

By Liu Hongzuo - on 17 Apr 2020, 10:45am

Work from home? Or play from home?

While I favour keeping work separate from the home, the current Covid-19 circuit breaker measures have nonetheless helped affirm that the HWZ team will no longer be going into the office for the foreseeable future.

To start with, I have neither the sophistication and class of Kenny, my associate editor, nor do I have the luxury of space like Ken, our in-house enterprise tech expert and fellow senior tech writer. I have limited room space to work with, which makes comfort and convenience more important since it's the same spot where I currently spend my working and gaming hours combined.

Age and time plays its tricks on the Sitoca logo.

The true workhorse and the unsung champion of this setup is old-school Sitoca computer desk. Of all the accessories here, this is a relic of the past, as Sitoca no longer dabbles in the consumer tech furniture market. This table is old enough to be a legal adult. It's as sturdy as a bomb shelter and has given me more bruises on the knees than I can count, which is why I've forcibly removed its adjustable keyboard tray for more leg space (and voided the long-expired warranty in the process). While I'd be happy to change the Sitoca desk out for something more aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing, it's still durable, and it's rather spacious (54-inches, diagonally). The more savvy approach would be giving it a fresh coat of paint and a protective coating.

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q.

The centrepiece is none other than the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q (our coverage here), a 27-inch gaming monitor released in 2015 (purchased mid-2016) that masquerades as regular work monitor in the day. At night, it's a 2,560 x 1,440 pixels resolution gaming companion, with 165Hz refresh rate, an IPS panel, and integrated NVIDIA G-Sync support. One of the most valuable features is the monitor's adjustable height and portrait/landscape tilt, which makes it easier for me plug in my CPU from the office (unlikely) or my other gaming consoles (much more likely).

The same setup at an intimate angle.

The supporting cast is a Ducky Shine 6 mechanical RGB keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches and a Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum gaming mouse with wireless capabilities. Both are low-maintenance, high-performance peripherals that aid 99% of my work and PC gaming input. Blue switches on the mechanical Ducky Shine 6 also makes it satisfying to type for long hours with strong tactile feedback, while its default double-shot keycaps make sure that frequently used keys don't fade over time. On the other hand (literally), the Logitech G900 mouse is insanely accurate with almost no jittering at 12,000 DPI, and it's rated at 20 million clicks.

Creative Stage air under-monitor soundbar, which is literally under the monitor outside of sight.

For audio, I currently use the Creative Stage Air under-monitor soundbar which I've won from my Editor-in-Chief (another story for another time). It was a timely change, given that the Logitech UE Boom (also another prize) served me for a good six to seven years. You might wonder why I traded out a decent portable speaker for a less compact, generic-sounding alternative. The Creative Stage Air was able to deliver volume when it needed to, something the UE Boom wasn't able to for that odd Netflix show that was entirely filmed with a whispering cast.

That covers the work aspect of the WFH setup. But in true HWZ spirit, below are the custom-built PC tower's specifications:

My goldfish memory did its best to recall all the components used in this custom-made PC.

Built in mid-2016, the PC tower has been a fuss-free gaming powerhouse for me. The only time it needed resuscitation was when a Toshiba HDD died two weeks after it was installed, so nothing of value was lost after getting a free replacement through their service centre. Besides the standard dust discipline required, the PC tower is pretty low maintenance. It still boots up within 20 seconds of hitting the power button after all these years. Even until today, it can handle everything on my Steam account's backlog at max graphic settings, so there isn't a need to upgrade anytime soon.

The PS4 Pro uses a custom decal that gives it a faux-marble look. The Dobe casing on the right houses all the extra Nintendo Switch accessories.

Completing the gaming trifecta are the consoles, the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro and a first-generation Nintendo Switch. The official DualShock 4 charging dock ensures that the PS4 Pro's controllers are always fully charged whenever I start a game. Two controllers, not because there are two players, but because I can quickly switch controllers whenever the other is low on battery in the middle of a really long gaming binge.

What this setup lacks is compatible HDMI switch that lets me jump between the two gaming consoles at a press of a button. Currently, the PC uses DisplayPort, but the gaming consoles have to share the single HDMI port on the monitor. Older HDMI cables and switches that support up to HDMI 1.4 output will simply not work with the PS4 Pro's demanding output requirements, even if the Nintendo Switch plays nice. That can be solved with an adapter-powered HDMI switch that supports HDMI 2.0 or higher, and HDCP 2.2 - perhaps something like this. I am open to tried-and-tested combinations, so fire those suggestions at our Editor-in-Chief's inbox.

Putting the money down for a compatible HDMI switch would require one or two Premium High-Speed HDMI cables to support the eventual output from the switch to the gaming monitor as well. I would've done this sooner, but the extra convenience together would set me back by another S$100, not to mention that my Targus SmartSurge 6 multi-plug outlet is running out of space. Also, cable management can be a pain in the butt.

Secretlab Omega in Bright Orange.

Speaking of butts, I'm usually seated on a Secretlab Omega chair in bright orange, which has a nice blend between sturdiness and flexibility. I could choose to sit upright for work or lower the back to a lazy slouch when needed. Unfortunately, the local weather is not friendly towards PU leather, and I got this chair before Secretlab launched their SoftWeave fabric variant of Omega chairs.

That's enough from me. Tune in early next week to check out a new WFH set up by us. Remember to wash your hands, stay safe, and healthy as we tide through this period together.

Liu Hongzuo

Liu Hongzuo / Senior Tech Writer

Covers everything that goes on in the mobile ecosystem, and more. Loves being left to his own devices, but it's pointless without good signal.