Work and Play
This workstation focuses on the parallelization of multiple work and play environments around a single screen and single set of controls. The primary screen and USB devices switch between Mac, Windows or Linux, and console gaming with the press of a button. The secondary touchscreen provides uninterrupted research, digital document viewing, live tv, movies, music, tablet gaming, and more. The portable speaker provides quality sound and separate volume adjustment for secondary devices. For mobility, the Windows touchscreen and MacBook laptops are easily disconnected at a moments notice without worry. For storage, all desktop devices share private RAID configured cloud storage that additionally supports internet connectivity when outside of the local network. The workstation offers duplex-printing, scanning directly to the network drive, pen & touch input for both screens, and the ability to push audio and video content to home theatre systems using Bluetooth and Apple TV.
Environments & Switching
The tower boots into Windows or Linux (Ubuntu). The Windows OS is installed onto the first SSD. The Linux OS is installed onto the second SSD. Applications and games are installed onto a third SSD. Photo and video editing files are stored onto a fourth high-capacity HDD. The system consists of an ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard, 4x16GB of RAM, dual-disk drives (BD-R and BD-RW), a GTX 980 graphics card, and a core i7 processor that is liquid cooled using a Corsair H100i. All hard-drives reside in hot-swappable bays for quick and easy removal. When in doubt, grab the hard drives and get out...lol. The tower case originally included a standard large diameter computer fan. I removed that and installed a quiet variable speed personal home fan of the same diameter. It worked out extremely well.
Mac OS runs from a MacBook connected to a thunderbolt dock.
The tower, thunderbolt dock, various USB devices, and speakers connect to a 2-way KWM switch that supports HDMI and USB 3.0.
Lastly, the Xbox One and KVM HDMI outputs connect as inputs to a Bi-directional HDMI switch that outputs to the monitor. The KVM switch switches between the tower and the thunderbolt dock and the bi-directional switch switches between the KVM switch and the console. The secondary HP Spectre x360 Touchscreen Laptop sits in-front of the MacBook and runs in isolation.
The Xbox has an added 4-port USB stand that allows controller and device charging. The gaming headset connects to a compact USB switch that connects to the Xbox One and KVM switch.
Private Cloud Storage
Copying files between desktop environments and devices is a pain. The Western Digital MyCloud EX2 is a network connected RAID drive that is easily accessed by all devices on your private network and keeps your files protected with dual server-grade hard drives. While on the go, this network drive can be accessed via the internet to access files.
Streaming & Screen Recording
The GTX Series of graphics cards provide excellent hardware level video capture support called Nvidia Shadowplay. Features include instant replay, recording, and broadcasting directly to YouTube and Twitch. As an example, when swooping loot or ambushing fleets in Eve Online, broadcasting easily allows other players a second set of eyes to monitor different locations in the game that greatly assist in strategy decisions. Im not a traditional YouTube streamer, but find myself streaming content all the time. Check it out here: twitch.tv/agsperry
The flexibility that this workstation offers is great! One day "Windows" just feels right and other days its all about getting things done on Mac OS. The secondary touchscreen is great as a lookup and research tool becuase it doesnt require window switching and is easily touch scrolled. Its also great for controlling background music and catching up on new seasons. Squeezing in a match on the Xbox here and there while working is a great way to revive inspiring thoughs. When its time to wind down for the night, its nice to fleet up with others and get things done in space.
Overall, lets just say I never turn down the Staples protection plan on chairs.