Create Your Dream Workstation: Popular Computers And Gadgets For Designers (PC/Mac)

Posted in Tools, Web Design3 years ago • Written by 14 Comments

I spent several hours scouring the internet for designers’ workplaces and their specifications. Now, this will seem biased towards Apple products since almost everything I have seen on Flickr, Dribble, and other communities for designers indeed favor Apple products. But don’t worry here you’ll see all the most popular alternatives and everything else you need to build your dream workspace!

From what I have noticed the number of displays needed for a designer is always one more. You have two? Add another one. A good combination I have seen is a laptop and a cinematic display from 24” to 27”. Wireless mouse and keyboards are also favored.

Popular Displays


Dell UltraSharp U2711 27”–  Best Choice

Dell27

According to CNET this is one of the best monitors to use today. If you’re considering buying it you can read CNET’s official review and the user’s reviews.

It boasts amazing color accuracy, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Not to mention the price, okay, it’s a bit expensive at $987.00 but surely this is worth every single buck.

Best Alternatives:

1. ViewSonic VX2250WM-LED 22–Inch

2. NEC MultiSync PA271W

3. Samsung PX2370 23”Apple LED Cinema Display 27–Inch

4. ASUS VH198T 19–Inch

5. Apple LED Cinema Display 27–Inch

6. HP 2710m 27–Inch Diagonal HD Ready LCD Monitor

7. ASUS VW193TR 19–Inch Wide LCD Monitor

8. ViewSonic VA2431WM 24–Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor with Speakers

9. Acer V223W EJBD 22–Inch Wide LCD Display

10. Asus VH236H 23–Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor – Black

Sample Workspaces:

Popular Laptops


Apple MacBook Pro 15.4” Laptop –  Best Choice

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4” Laptop

Good choice for gamers and designers who love hopping from one place to another. With 15.4” display I’m pretty sure you won’t miss anything that should be in sight. Surely, this won’t make Steve Jobs blush of embarrassment.

It also now comes with Intel Core i5 or Core i7, giving near-flawless processing power. Something that even non-gamers and non-designers want to have.

Best Alternatives:

1. Samsung RF510-S02 15.6-Inch HD LED

2. HP G62-340us 15.6-Inch

3. Acer AS5253-BZ684 15.6-Inch

ASUS N53JQ-XV1 15.6-Inch

4. ASUS N53JQ-XV1 15.6-Inch

5. Lenovo G560 Series 067999U

6. Alienware m15x 15” Gaming Laptop (Cosmic Black)

7. Sony VAIO VPC-F133FX/B 16.4”

8. Toshiba Satellite M645-S4065 14.0-Inch LED

9. ASUS G73JW-ROG Limited Edition Republic of Gamers 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop

10. Dell Inspiron Mini Duo 3487FNT Convertible Laptop/Tablet

Sample Workspaces:

Popular Desktops


Apple iMac 27” Desktop – Best Choice

There is all this talk about gigahertz, cores, RAM, HD, and relevant technical things. Knowing these will help you choose your dream computer. My take on all of these in six words: “the higher the number, the better.” Note: pricing is a different matter. There are products that closely resemble each other in terms of features but greatly differ in price. Is it about quality or the name? In the end we’ll just have to trust people’s reviews and ratings. What comes to mind? Apple iMac. 27 inches!

Best Alternatives:

1. Acer AspireRevo AR3700-U3002

2. Apple Mac Mini MC270LL/A Desktop

3. Sony VAIO VPC-J11BFX/B 21.5-Inch Desktop

4. HP TouchSmart 600 23”

5. Dell Studio XPS 7100(Piano Black)

6. Gateway DX4831–05 Desktop (Black)

7. Lenovo Ideacentre H405 77231AU

8. iBUYPOWER Gamer Extreme A537SLC

9. HP Pavilion p6720f PC

10. Apple Mac Pro MC561LL/A

Sample Workspaces:

Best Mouses


Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse (Black)

“BlueTrack Technology ensures that the Arc Touch Mouse works wherever you need it to, on a range of difficult surfaces – be it a rough wood bench, glossy granite countertop, or soft carpet.”

And hey, if you are thinking that the “curve” stops it from being easily portable then you are wrong.

Alternatives:

1. Apple Magic Mouse

2. Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

3. Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX for PC and Mac

4. Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000

5. HP Wireless 3 Button Mouse

Sample Workspaces:

Best Keyboards


Apple Wireless Keyboard

Technical Details:

  • Anodized aluminum enclosure
  • Extended layout with document navigation controls, a numeric keypad, and special function keys
  • Low profile keys
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Ultra-thin design

Alternatives:

1. Logitech Cordless Desktop Wave Pro Ergonomic

2. Microsoft Sidewinder X6 Gaming Keyboard

3. Logitech G19 Programmable Gaming Keyboard

4. Logitech Keyboard K120

5. Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000

Sample Workspaces:

Best Selling Graphics Tablets


Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch

It takes time to get used to using a tablet but it sure will help for illustrators, graphic artists and designers out there. If you have a fat wallet and can afford a much better version of this, you might want to go for Intuos4 or Cintiq 21UX.

Alternatives:

1. Wacom Intuos4 Medium Pen Tablet

A great example using graphics tablet!

2. Wacom Cintiq 21UX

3. Genius MousePen 8 x 6-Inch Graphic Tablet

4. VT 12-Inch Touch Screen Graphic Pen Tablet

5. Wacom Intuos4 Small Pen Tablet

Sample Workspace:

Best Tablet PC


Apple iPad – Best Choice

Touchscreen computers and smartphones have taken over the world today. Wherever you look there are always people fiddling with their touchscreen devices (except poor me). Is there a tight competition in the market or is a certain brand the definite leader? Can’t really say which product is leading because it all depends on how good advertising and PR is. Anyway, here’s a short list of fantastic tablet PCs to complete your workspace.

Alternatives:

1. Motorola XOOM

2. Dell Streak 7

3. Coby Kyros MID7015 7-Inch

4. Archos 70 – 8 GB Internet Tablet (Black)

Sample Workspaces:

Popular Books in Web Design


1. Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML

2. CSS: The Missing Manual

3. The Web Designer’s Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design

4. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

5. Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 on Demand

6. Serif WebPlus X4

7. Introducing HTML5 (Voices That Matter)

8. Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion

9. The Web Guru Guide

10. Website Design and Development: 100 Questions to Ask Before Building a Website

Anything you would like to add on this article? Would love to hear your feedback!

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Rean is the editor of 1stwebdesigner. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development. Rean also writes at Moneyarty.com, a blog dedicated to teaching people how to make money online.

14 Comments Best Comments First
  • Martin

    Thursday, March 24th, 2011 13:43

    1

    It is clear who is a fanboy here. Give me a break, allmost all best choises are Apple? Get real. Nothing wrong with Apple and some of the best choises I agree with but this is not a objective report!

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Thursday, March 24th, 2011 14:05

      2

      Why not offer your best picks for designers? I’m all ears. For sure others will find your suggestions valuable!

      0
      • Alex

        Thursday, March 24th, 2011 17:24

        3

        In all fairness Rean, he’s right. Also some of your alternatives make no logical sense either…

        In what world can a Revo with an Intel Atom CPU and an Ion chipset muster enough horsepower to properly drive essential design applications such as Photoshop or Illustrator at a usable speed? You may as well be trying to run them on a Netbook.

        0
    • SAiNT

      Thursday, March 24th, 2011 20:46

      5

      totally agree with you Martin..

      0
  • Leon Terry

    Thursday, March 24th, 2011 20:38

    6

    The mouse/keyboard categories seem a bit… off.

    A keyboard with no number pad is worthless for video editing & motion design, but it’s the number 1 pick here? Also, the K120 (this is the KIA of keyboards) grabs a spot, but no mention of Razer’s or the Das keyboards? Das wins these kinds of lists on most tech blogs regularly…

    For mice, who uses a trackball for design? Or the MS 3000 for that matter? But the most customizable mouse available, the R.A.T., is missing, as well as Razer’s excellent mice.

    0
    • Alex

      Monday, April 4th, 2011 14:05

      9

      I actually use a trackball regularly

      0
  • Edd

    Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:43

    4

    Great alternatives :)

    0
  • Atulperx

    Sunday, March 27th, 2011 00:16

    7

    Well Apple is far away from my budget but I have tested few of them and love to get them as gift . Right now I am dreaming for Apply Macbook Air and hope to get in next few months .

    0
  • Fred

    Saturday, March 26th, 2011 23:13

    8

    Just a note of warning.
    There seems to be some strange issues with connecting your best choice display, the Dell UltraSharp U2711, with your best choice laptop, the Apple MacBook Pro 15.4”. The 13″ and 17″ MBP works just fine but numerous 15″ users have reported weird behaviour.

    0
  • Gavin

    Friday, July 15th, 2011 09:42

    13

    Really good list here, and I’m pleased to say I have most of the above for various work spaces. I am in need of a new mouse and it’s interesting you have recommended the Microsoft Ark over the MagicMouse. I use a magicmouse at work but find my wrist dragging on the table – would the ark fix that?

    0
    • gavin

      Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 00:02

      14

      maybe

      0
  • Arturo

    Sunday, May 15th, 2011 16:58

    12

    “Best Tablet PC: iPad – Best Choice”

    I was loling so hard there… I read this post and I smiled so thank you.

    0
  • Sean

    Monday, April 25th, 2011 17:35

    11

    I have a problem with several of the so called “best picks” here. One in particular is the Macbook laptop as a gaming laptop? I have a Macbook pro laptop (though not by choice) and I can’t stand the thing. It really really sucks. Especially in the gaming department. My wife’s $800 Windows laptop plays games way better and plays a lot more games than my stupid macbook pro. Apples laptops and desktops have never ever been known as gaming systems. This list was just useless.

    0
  • Chris

    Monday, April 18th, 2011 01:32

    10

    Well funnily enough as someone who has a long history using Apple products, I would be on par with each of recommended Apple products. With that said, this is quite a subjective topic to some degree, there is going to be a clear split in particular between the classic Windows vs Mac OS user base, taking that out of the equation this is still a great round-up. GG.

    0
  • Gavin

    Friday, July 15th, 2011 09:42

    13

    Really good list here, and I’m pleased to say I have most of the above for various work spaces. I am in need of a new mouse and it’s interesting you have recommended the Microsoft Ark over the MagicMouse. I use a magicmouse at work but find my wrist dragging on the table – would the ark fix that?

    0
    • gavin

      Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 00:02

      14

      maybe

      0
  • Arturo

    Sunday, May 15th, 2011 16:58

    12

    “Best Tablet PC: iPad – Best Choice”

    I was loling so hard there… I read this post and I smiled so thank you.

    0
  • Sean

    Monday, April 25th, 2011 17:35

    11

    I have a problem with several of the so called “best picks” here. One in particular is the Macbook laptop as a gaming laptop? I have a Macbook pro laptop (though not by choice) and I can’t stand the thing. It really really sucks. Especially in the gaming department. My wife’s $800 Windows laptop plays games way better and plays a lot more games than my stupid macbook pro. Apples laptops and desktops have never ever been known as gaming systems. This list was just useless.

    0
  • Chris

    Monday, April 18th, 2011 01:32

    10

    Well funnily enough as someone who has a long history using Apple products, I would be on par with each of recommended Apple products. With that said, this is quite a subjective topic to some degree, there is going to be a clear split in particular between the classic Windows vs Mac OS user base, taking that out of the equation this is still a great round-up. GG.

    0
  • Fred

    Saturday, March 26th, 2011 23:13

    8

    Just a note of warning.
    There seems to be some strange issues with connecting your best choice display, the Dell UltraSharp U2711, with your best choice laptop, the Apple MacBook Pro 15.4”. The 13″ and 17″ MBP works just fine but numerous 15″ users have reported weird behaviour.

    0
  • Atulperx

    Sunday, March 27th, 2011 00:16

    7

    Well Apple is far away from my budget but I have tested few of them and love to get them as gift . Right now I am dreaming for Apply Macbook Air and hope to get in next few months .

    0
  • Leon Terry

    Thursday, March 24th, 2011 20:38

    6

    The mouse/keyboard categories seem a bit… off.

    A keyboard with no number pad is worthless for video editing & motion design, but it’s the number 1 pick here? Also, the K120 (this is the KIA of keyboards) grabs a spot, but no mention of Razer’s or the Das keyboards? Das wins these kinds of lists on most tech blogs regularly…

    For mice, who uses a trackball for design? Or the MS 3000 for that matter? But the most customizable mouse available, the R.A.T., is missing, as well as Razer’s excellent mice.

    0
    • Alex

      Monday, April 4th, 2011 14:05

      9

      I actually use a trackball regularly

      0
  • Edd

    Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:43

    4

    Great alternatives :)

    0
  • Martin

    Thursday, March 24th, 2011 13:43

    1

    It is clear who is a fanboy here. Give me a break, allmost all best choises are Apple? Get real. Nothing wrong with Apple and some of the best choises I agree with but this is not a objective report!

    0
    • Rean John Uehara

      Thursday, March 24th, 2011 14:05

      2

      Why not offer your best picks for designers? I’m all ears. For sure others will find your suggestions valuable!

      0
      • Alex

        Thursday, March 24th, 2011 17:24

        3

        In all fairness Rean, he’s right. Also some of your alternatives make no logical sense either…

        In what world can a Revo with an Intel Atom CPU and an Ion chipset muster enough horsepower to properly drive essential design applications such as Photoshop or Illustrator at a usable speed? You may as well be trying to run them on a Netbook.

        0
    • SAiNT

      Thursday, March 24th, 2011 20:46

      5

      totally agree with you Martin..

      0

Comments are closed.

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