A Chronological Trip Through My Past Battlestations

Battlestation is a term used to describe one’s computer setup. I have had numerous different setups, with varying equipment and degrees of functionality over the years. Most times the end result isn’t necessarily the most appealing visually, but it is created with optimal utility/functionality in mind.

I’ve never been able to feel satisfied with a certain battlestation configuration because I always feel as if there is a more efficient way to utilize the space. This leads to me tearing everything down, moving it around and setting it all back up again every couple months. This process can take almost an entire day because of the sheer amount of cables and objects which all need to have their own spots.

Luckily I have photographed almost all of my previous battlestations, but there are a couple gaps in between the following pictures where I can think of a certain configuration that I did not document.

01_battlestationsFebruary 2008. Lovely friends.

This is the first picture I could find of a computer setup. Wouldn’t really call it a battlestation yet, it was more of a communal computer for my friends and I to use. Pictured is a solitary eMac with a whole lot of OBEY stickers on it.

Also note, the creepy Burger King mask.

02_battlestationsJuly 2010

I would say this counts as my first true battlestation. It’s solely for my own personal use.

Pictured is a dual-core black Macbook, circa 2006, and a different eMac.

03_battlestationsJuly 2010

I’ve always loved the collage aesthetic. I may have just been trying to cover up that ungodly fake wood paneling though…

04_battlestationsJuly 2010

Pictured here is the Macbook and eMac again with some new gadgets.

A pair of Sennheiser HD555 headphones (which I still have and use to this day), a Bamboo tablet and a Behringer USB Audio DAC.

The reason for this Digital-to-Analog audio converter is because I managed to blow the part of the Macbook’s logic board that controls audio, so the speakers and headphone port did not work. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but it had something to do with trying to record audio from a guitar amplifier directly into the computer using the microphone port… Something along those lines.

05_battlestationsJanuary 2011

A new addition, a Macbook Pro 6,2 (mid 2010). See how I included the ID (6,2)? Yeah. This model is notorious for it’s graphical issues. I believe the 6,2 was one of, if not the first, Macbook model to incorporate a discrete gpu (NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M) – basically a secondary graphics card which works with the logic board’s integrated Intel graphics by switching between the two depending on the graphical load.

Seems like dual gpus would be beneficial, right? Right. Except when it’s an Apple product and the only three serviceable components are the RAM, HDD, and Battery (which is sadly better than the newer Macbooks which have soldered-on memory, and SSDs). The Macbook6,2 has a fatal issue with the NVIDIA GPU failing. There was a recall, but much to my chagrin, the issue did not present itself until far after the recall ended.

Whenever I would do anything graphics-intensive (even just watching YouTube videos sometimes) the laptop would switch to using the NVIDIA card and subsequently kernel panic then restart. The integrated Intel card still worked though. I spent far too much time trying to find a bodge and the only solution that I had any semblance of success with was an application that allows the user to select which GPU to use.

To be fair, my Macbook Pro did last quite a long time, up until April 2014, before it started to display the signs of GPU failure. Still, when you pay such a high premium, you would expect it to last more than 4 years.

06_battlestations2011

Picked up a second monitor on Craigslist. It was some weird, non-standard resolution.

This was also around the time I got into analog photography/Lomography.

07_battlestationsMay 2011

This is one of my favourite setups to date. I’d recommend giving the picture a click to open the full-size panorama.

Looks really cluttered and cramped, which it is. However, those aren’t necessarily negative traits. A room being cluttered, if you know where everything is, and everything has it’s own spot, just means that anything you wanted to grab would be located in a centralized area. You could call it cramped, but I think it looks cozy.

08_battlestationsA couple days later in May 2011

Not a huge fan of this one, to be honest. It is less cramped, but that room has an unfinished roof, and even more ugly white “wood” paneling

I also started using a television as a computer monitor, which I now view as a big no-no. Non-standard resolutions and not to mention the distance between the chair and television is far too small.

09_battlestationsMy birthday, July 2011

Basically the same setup, just some new peripherals. The keyboard, which I still have as a backup, is a Logitech g510. Good board if you don’t mind rubber-dome keys, which I do. Mechanical is really the only, true, key.

Also got those white speakers from my Grandparents. A pair of Solid 150W magnetically-shielded speakers. They are a part of my 6.1 Surround setup even today. A really good quality set of speakers.

Oh jesus, I just realized what is on screen there… I believe this was when I started watching YouTube video game Lets Plays. I am almost 100% sure that video is a Pewdiepie Amnesia video. It’s safe to say, I don’t watch him anymore (I didn’t know any better at the time), now I only watch quality YouTube content.

18_battlestationsAugust 2011

The only new addition to my setup is the Logitech G9x mouse. It was very highly-regarded, and still is. I now use a Logitech g502 “Proteus Core”, but I miss that G9x very much and unfortunately, Logitech discontinued the G9x a long time ago. Quick search shows a few on Amazon that are available for around $250…

You can see my collection of cameras on the top shelf there. I bought into Lomography  real hard around this time and had a number of shitty plastic cameras. The basic principal of Lomography is “just take photos, don’t worry about composition/traditional rules”. This just translated to “buy our expensive film and cameras and take a shit-load of pictures so you can buy more of our film”.

Even though I still view Lomography as a bit of a deceptive photography “movement”, it did spawn some pretty neat photographs of mine. Analog photography is just too much of a hassle, and too expensive, if you are getting multiple rolls developed a week.

19_battlestationsAugust 2011

No real additions to this one, but this is one of my favourite battlestation pictures I’ve taken. Posted it on Reddit back in 2011 under the title “My Utilitarian Battlestation”. It was received well, considering the fact that I only have Apple products.

10_battlestationsNovember 2011

The beginning of a new configuration. New monitor/television on the right. The way I came to acquire it is quite a long story.

11_battlestationsNovember 2011

I just noticed now, how haggard that computer chair was. Super comfy though.

12_battlestationsNovember 2011

I believe the top monitor was used for watching videos, and the Macbook on the right was used as a torrent box.

13_battlestationsNovember 2011

Collection of peasant games. This is obviously before my ascension to the Glorious PC Gaming Masterrace.

14_battlestationsNovember 2011

That twin-lens reflex camera on the left, a Zeiss Ikon, was a new addition. Really beautiful camera that I still have on display today. Using it isn’t really feasible because of the large-format film it uses.

15_battlestationsNovember 2011

Finally got fed-up with the lack of a finished roof, and took matters into my own hands by… nailing sheets to the ceiling… I think it gives the room a neat    a e s t h e t i c.

16_battlestationsNovember 2011

Not pictured: How messy it probably got after a couple days.

17_battlestationsNovember 2011

A really wonky panorama. Click it for a larger version.

324836_10150512393952433_1621308425_o-1December 2011

Seems as if I was trying to de-clutter a bit. Got rid of the other monitors. I’m actually not really sure what is up with this ghetto setup.

Also, gotta love that “sound bar” which consists of a plank of wood, a bunch of screws and a random assortment of speaker drivers… And three amps?

20_battlestationsJanuary 2012

Ohh, it was actually FOUR amplifiers. One of which was a car subwoofer amp, powered by PC power supplies…

Got some new desks. Setting back up in the other room.

I actually am still using that white desk. It’s a good quality, sturdy desk.

21_battlestationsJanuary 2012

Oh my god, look at that tower of power on the right.

It was around this time that I made up my mind to save up and build a PC. So I got a job, specifically, to save for this PC.

22_battlestationsApril 2012

Between the last picture and this, I saved up enough money to build my new computer (on the left). I believe at this time that I was still waiting for my graphics card to arrive. I also only had that crap, non-standard monitor.

23_battlestationsApril 2012

A new configuration, and truly the beginning of my actual battlestation.

Got those two Hitachi 3-way tower speakers at Value Village. Three-way because that bottom cone is just a passive radiator, a bass reflex of sorts. Still using them.

24_battlestationsJune 2012

Made the walls less bare and finally received my graphics card, a NVIDIA GTX 680.

I also got my first, actual, 1920×1080, 23-inch, monitor. An ASUS VS238H-P. I will continue on to purchase two more of the same model over the upcoming years because of their value. Only $130 on Amazon.

Almost forgot, but I also purchased my first mechanical keyboard! Razer Blackwidow with Cherry MX Blue switches. The ones that sound like you’re typing on a typewriter. I will never go back to typing on rubber domes ever again.

25_battlestationsJune 20122

Second favourite picture in this series!

26_battlestationsJune 2012

I miss having a monitor positioned vertically above my main monitor. You will see my next attempt to do so in a little bit.

31_battlestationsJune 2012

Second Asus monitor.

27_battlestationsAugust 2012

A bit of reorganizing here. Ditched that dinky little peripheral monitor. Looks like I am also trying to use a different chair. This desk is far too high for that to be comfortable though.

28_battlestationsAugust 2012

It is around this time that I no longer was an Apple Fanboy. Up until April of 2012 I had only owned Macintosh computers, and Windows was newish to me. Haven’t looked back since.

The first computer I/my family owned was a Macintosh Classic. Since then and up until this point in time, I was an Apple fanboy. It is my opinion that ever since Jobs died, Apple has been becoming less and less innovative, and more iterative. Even more so than in the past. I think it was actually my need for a more hands-on computer that changed this mindset.

Apple products are over-priced, but they have top-of-the-line build quality (most of the time). They are not meant to be user-serviceable, and Apple actively dissuades people from trying to work on/repair their products. See Apple’s fight against the Right to Repair bill. This is so they can rake in more money from people whose only options are to go to an Apple certified repair shop/or “Genius Bar” or purchase a whole new device instead of repairing it. Planned obsolescence if you will.

To me, OSX/Mac hardware feels like it’s child-proofed, you can’t open the hood to see what’s inside/fix it because it’s got child-proof locks. Hm, maybe not a good analogy. Okay, OSX/Mac hardware is the equivalent of a nerf dart, and Windows/PC hardware is like an AK-47. A nerf dart because it’s child/idiot/user-proof, versus an AK because it’s rugged, will fire after being submersed in mud, run over by a tank, it is versatile and can be customized or repaired in any way the user sees fit. I’m doubtful that was a good analogy either, but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m trying to explain.

29_battlestationsAugust 2012

Cameras and papercrafts.

30_battlestationsAugust 2012

Don’t know why, but I still displayed all my old console games. I don’t believe I ever used any of them after building my PC.

34_battlestationsMarch 2013

Quite a big gap between these two. Not entirely sure if there were any variations in that time. Most likely.

Decided to set up back in the main room.

35_battlestationsMarch 2013

Finally got a new chair! Still using it as we speak. Forget what it’s called but it is from Ikea.

My battlestation is starting to look more and more like what it is currently.

36_battlestationsMarch 2013

A small chill area, probably never used it.

37_battlestationsMarch 2013

Still displaying those console games. Got that shelf from Home Depot. Pretty cheap, but I’m still using it. Would like a larger one sometime.

38_battlestationsMarch 2013

Everything is cooler with blue lighting!

39_battlestationsMarch 2013

I believe this is a shot of the final product. Using flags as a sort of room divider.

Using that crap monitor vertically. Can’t remember how I mounted it that way, but I know it was not an intended configuration for it.

Also, look at that garbage center channel speaker placement!! Seems as if I just had no where good to put it.

40_battlestationsMarch 2013

Subwoofer setup. Seems dumb of me to have that on a desk and not just on the ground underneath it. Must have rattled like a sonofabitch.

41_battlestationsMarch 2013

Crappy plastic basket monitor stands.

Yes, my computer’s name is Frostqueen. Shut up.

42_battlestationsMarch 2013

More of the same.

I think that middle monitor was exclusively used for my torrent client.

44_battlestationsMarch 2013

Battlestation collage

43_battlestationsJune 2013

A couple new additions here. You can see that fan monitor/controller mounted to the front of my PC case. It was pretty neat, more eye-candy than anything though. It just randomly died after a while though.

My G9x broke and I had to purchase a new mouse. This is my least favourite of the ones I’ve owned. I regret the purchase. I went from my favourite, a G9x, which is very small, comparatively, and fit in my palm, to this Corsair abomination that was slippery and far too large for my hand!

Hard to see, but to the left of my keyboard is a Razer Nostromo. Just a key/gamepad peripheral. Really never got much use out of it.

Those headphones were new as well. Grado SR80s. Great audio fidelity for the price. Again, still using these cans to this day. The first day I received them, the cups kept slipping off the metal rods that attaches them to the headband. I was livid, but fortunately all it took was some superglue to fix. Still, shouldn’t have to do that on their first day of use!

1040355_10151739590717433_1389938583_oJune 2013

Finally got that third monitor! I was stoked because I wanted to play all my games in NVIDIA Surround – basically the monitors are stitched together so the video spans across all three. Never ended up using Surround much because of the performance hit, and the lack of support for it at the time.

Here I am playing Battlefield 3, rekking noobs on Noshahr Canal. As a side note, Battlefield has never been my favourite shooter series. Not entirely sure why either, in theory it has everything you could want, large maps, vehicles, a large assortment of arms… Something about the combat felt off to me. I spent the majority of my time in BF3 (which I did play a fair amount of) on the CQB maps, or the Close-Quarters maps.

45_battlestationsAugust 2013

This was my final battlestation configuration in this house. I also believe it was the one I was most happy with. There were no major revisions until I moved in February 2014 (likely the longest running config).

Of course there were minor changes to it, don’t think that table with the tv/xbox stayed long.

It’s nearly impossible to see, but I have a large sheet of Plexiglas attached to the back of my desk, extending past the tops of those speakers. Why you ask? I’m not entirely sure to be honest. Something to do with sound is my best bet. Actually, yeah that is what it was. I later put a thicker blanket overtop of the Plexiglas and behind the desk for a better sound environment… Theoretically at least.

The brown desk next to mine functioned as a workspace and a secondary desk for my friend Keith when he lived with me. Much fun was had playing Red Orchestra 2.

I happen to have a video of this configuration as well!

During this configuration is also when I became an administrator for a DayZ server with some friends. That was a very enjoyable experience.

This is a video I put together of the other admins and I screwing around in-game. Just for fun.

33_battlestationsFebruary 2014

These following pictures are what my rooms looked like on moving day after 15 years of use.

32_battlestationsFebruary 2014

 

47_battlestationsFebruary 2014

 

48_battlestationsFebruary 2014

 

49_battlestationsFebruary 2014

 

50_battlestationsFebruary 2014

 

51_battlestationsMarch 2014

After an exhausting move, my battlestation is finally set up for the first time in my new place. Of course, I set up my desk and computer ahead of time, even before my bed.

52_battlestationsMarch 2014

Some art

53_battlestationsMarch 2014

At this point I had not figured out how to use that closet effectively. Later I will end up taking the folding doors off the hinges and at one point have my bet wedged in there, and now my work station area,

54_battlestationsMarch 2014

Those shelves aren’t always the most efficient use of space.

55_battlestationsMarch 2014

Some panoramic action

56_battlestationsAugust 2014

A few month later, looking quite the same. Only real difference is that entertainment setup on the left.

59_battlestationsDecember 2014

This was my setup while on a website contract job for a school in the district.

“What is that near the speaker?” You ask?

60_battlestationsDecember 2014

A goddamn tripod. Yes, this is the attempt at mounting a monitor above my main monitor that I mentioned earlier on. Luckily this did not stay this way for too long.

57_battlestationsDecember 2014

Here we can see a much more efficient use of the space available in the closet. The roof of the closet is very high so there is a ton of vertical space.

58_battlestationsDecember 2014

Got my home networking stuff all neatly set up and cable managed. Even have a fan blowing on it all for some extra cooling!

61_battlestationsJune 2015

Then I took it all apart and moved for a couple months.

62_battlestationsJune 2015

My setup for the summer

63_battlestationsOctober 2015

And back to it’s original spot.

This picture illustrates how I managed to quit smoking. I dumped almost 70 hours into Euro Truck Simulator 2 whilst chain-vaping for probably like two weeks. Just needed something like that to keep my mind off of cigarettes.

Pictured is my current Keyboard, a 60-key Filco Minila. Cape with Cherry MX Brown switches, which are quieter than blues, but have the same tactile feel. Recently I swapped all the browns with blues, then switched back…

64_battlestationsNovember 2016

Between the last picture and this one, there were two different configurations, one in a different room, and one in this room. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of those ones. During the aforementioned configs, I got deep into the electronics, and the other room where I had this table set up was too small, so it’s all back into the bigger room.

The above picture is my current work area (in that closet).

I will update this post with my current set up when I get around to making it presentable!

Hope you enjoyed this battlestation retrospective!

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