A desktop computer.

Be aware this is a draft post — please adjust your expectations accordingly. Get in touch if this post could use an improvement.

I’ve made little noise about this subject, but I have. If you do not know, I had been itching to get a gaming computer. Using my family member’s laptop to game was inconvenient. Of course, apart from the fact that it barely ran any game I wanted to play because of poor heat management plaguing small form factors.

Over the last two weeks, I put together a full rig: a big monitor I can use for gaming as well as for coding, and a PC that I can offload, well, intensive gaming to.

Here’s some thoughts.


Three exclamation marks, indeed.

Honestly? There’s no comparison. I can’t go back. I shudder thinking I might have to use just the MacBook on some days — maybe I’m traveling or just out at a café for a change of scenery. Maybe the power’s been out too long and I need to rely on just my laptop battery.

How did we convince everyone just a laptop is okay for full-time work?

While I already used a stand/riser for my laptop so the screen was at eye-level, the screen was still tiny at 13.3 inches. Cue squinting and bending forward at times.

New monitor.

A 13″ screen size gave me very little space to manoeuvrer things. I frequently found myself lost and having to create space and take it away based on what I was doing.
VSCode felt like running a car from a few decades ago at least – no real quality-of-life to go with it.
Okay, I’m not a car woman so maybe that reference is not great. But you get it, right?

Now, with a 4k 28″ monitor, font size is great, and there’s space to keep multiple things open. No longer do I have to hide the left and right sidebars in my code editor. It just always is like that. Truly a blessing! I’m so happy. The laptop just sits tucked away in the corner, giving me space to keep other things in the main area of the desk. It’s no longer incredibly busy and fragile – is this tricky hand movement going to have my laptop in a short fall to the desk surface?!

Oh, the monitor has something called HDRi – intelligent HDR. I don’t think it’s the “real” thing. But whatever, it wasn’t important to me. Both Windows and macOS let me turn on a toggle that puts the monitor in this mode. It looks awful. And to top it off, I lose control of the brightness of the screen when HDR is on. No surprise, us coders mostly do like dark rooms, and this blows right into it. Not good!

I was worried about buying the wrong monitor but this one holds up really well despite falling in “The Bad Zone” here. No return policy, so I’m excessively glad.


While someone I recently met on Hinge (as a friend) helped me 90% of the way with putting my config list together, I asked a ton of questions from ChatGPT to get up to date with what’s going on in the PC world.

What’s M.2? If it’s using PCIe 3.0/4.0 underneath for data transfer anyway, why make M.2? What’s an M-key M.2 slot and what’s an E-key M.2 slot? What do the “CL” numbers in RAM specs mean?

And so on.

It was super helpful. Obviously I still ran everything by my friend, but a lot of these explanations were critical in me not feeling like an idiot for way too long.

Mechanical keyboards.

I understand people like them, but these are not for me.

At the store, I tried red switches and brown switches. Brown felt firmer, nicer… I might even buy one one day for coding. But I have this Magic Keyboard that I recently threw money at, so I’m not tempted to buy anything just for coding anytime soon.

For gaming, I went with red switches at first. They were quiet enough, bit tactile, and required very less force to actuate them. Perfect! Until it came to billing when I asked for the keyboard to be removed. I just didn’t like the layout of the keyboard, the shape of the keys, the elevation of the whole thing as it slanted high to low from top to bottom. It just isn’t…me. I like a flat keyboard with a reasonable travel and being able to shift my fingers around with the least effort possible. Chiclet keyboards is just where it is for me. Keyboards are very personal, and I’m super glad I didn’t buy one. A shout out to Chris and Dani for being a voice of reason.

Windows 11.

I’m not a big Windows user. My “usage” is limited to tweaking a few settings and hitting those sweet, sweet little icons that launch games. That’s it!

Windows 11 feels so much different, but remains…Windows. How do you change your username from the Settings app? You can’t. You need to open up the Control Panel app that still exists in 2023. Great job, Microsoft!

OneDrive is still forced into your desktop. Sneaky little thing is they hide this icon into the little expandable space for your tray icons that you can open up. By default. Defaults matter and are an indication of what you want to do as a company.

Centered icons didn’t feel like home, so I moved to the classic left sided layout. There’s “deep” indexing that’s now native (or I am late to the scene) to the OS so that’s another great thing. No need for Everything.

Well, there you are. Some random thoughts on this whole experience.


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