Captain’s log, date Covid quarantine day 10,008. This will be the final entry into my journey for a completely remade home office.
First part, the computer. This is probably the least important part of this whole experience. Hopefully your work has provided you one in which case, you get what you get. In case you have to purchase one on your own, just don’t be cheap (or overly expensive) and no, one from the shelves of Walmart will not always do. Get to know the specifications and find someplace to settle in the middle. RAM should be a minimum of 8GB, but 16GB is better. RAM allows you to do more work at once and have more running at the same time. That it’s job. It does not make anything faster, just makes the “bucket” larger to hold work. Hard Drive is the most important and cost effective upgrade. Size matters for how much you can store on the computer, but the technology of SSD vs HDD is where to look. SSD are “Solid State Drives”. They are FAST!!! This is where to spend your upgrade dollars. If SSD is not an option, then keep looking. HDD will work, but trust me when I say the upgrade cost is worth it. There is a reason that none of current Apple Macs have HDD technology in them any more.
Monitor: Here is another place to not fret over the cost. The monitor is what you look at 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. With working and learning from home, monitor prices have gone up 50%. So be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. I recommend 24″ or better. I also recommend 1080p. 1440p is good, but be warned, the text is small and you will have to play with the settings to get it looking good. I purchased a 34″ LG 1440p. It is the largest and best monitor I have ever worked on. Took a bit of adjustment, but well worth the $700. Unless you are a gamer, don’t get hung up on 60Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz refresh rate or the 5ms response time…this is how fast the screen updates and you won’t notice unless you are sensitive to one of those settings and see flickering, or playing games.
Network….ah, the Achilles heal of the home office. From the internet provider (ISP), there isn’t much to do. Pay for what you can or need. Inside our home it is all up to us. It will pay dividends if someone in the home is network savvy. First, if at all possible, and someone in the home has the ability do not use the crappy wifi the ISP provides. It will do if you don’t have another choice. So many things are on our WiFi networks now. Anything for the smart home, streaming devices, and computers. I have 45 devices in my home all are on WiFi. So, if you have many devices, find a good one for you. I recommend Netgear 7000 models. It can handle my home just fine with 2 kids, wife, and me, with phones, tablets, laptops, TVs….all running video conferencing, streaming all the time. One way to beat the congestion of WiFi is to use cables (ethernet). Anything connected via ethernet will not have to compete with the other devices, it’s a one to one connection. Anything that can be wired, should be wired.
I hope this helps someone get the most from their home office.
Please stay safe