Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

The Ultimate Computer Desk? 67

Roonster asks: "I've just moved into a new house and I am now lucky enough to have a separate room to use as a computer room/office. I have been searching for a new computer desk but most of the standard offerings seem to be lacking in imagination and design. I also tend to sit in a reclined position with my feet up on the desk beside the monitor, this eliminates a lot of the corner and U shaped designs. Have any of you come up with unique yet functional desk setups? I remember seeing some really wild (and expensive) workstations a few years ago, but have been unable to locate them recently. Any Ideas?" This topic was last discussed some 2 years ago. I figured it was time for a rehash.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Ultimate Computer Desk?

Comments Filter:
  • is just an old deep office desk.. it fits my monitor.. speakers.. and 2 pcs on it.. well and keyboard and mouse... works ok BUT I am thinking of making/building a custom desk someday to just fit an upgrade of 3 pcs plus a couple of Uspace of rack servers. :)
  • Repost! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by kruetz ( 642175 )
    OMG, the /. editors now ADMIT to reposting! WTF?

    Seriously, I use a huge, heavy, solidly-built desk that is at least 20 years old. The older desks seem (in general, not in every case) to be built wway more solidly. This is important for me, cos I have a LOT of stuff on my desk (at least 60kgs all up, plus my weight when I'm killing spiders on the ceiling).

    Also, the older desks weren't built with PCs in mind, yet they quite often seem to work better than new "workstation" desks and like - especially those desks with a tower holder and monitor cavity, etc. What the hell do you do with your larger-than-15-inch monitor that doesn't fit in that little hole? I find that a large, flat desk just works better for me.

    And one inportant bonus is that I find you can obtain these desks rather cheaply and they last forever.
  • Simple but effective (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djmitche ( 536135 ) on Saturday February 15, 2003 @07:39PM (#5310776) Homepage
    My cheap desk is a large piece of frosted glass intended as a tabletop, supported by two tripods. I got it from IKEA. I believe the glass was $80 and the tripods $25 ea. I have a dual-head system, but they're both flat panels, so I still have lots of space.
  • I am on a counter, on a really tall chair, and I want a better desk... donations accepted
  • I think besides functionality ergonomy is very important, because you probably sit on your desk many hours every day. If you sit with your legs on the table all the time, and your desk doesn't "support" that feature, you'll end up in a wheelchair!
  • by shooz ( 309395 ) on Saturday February 15, 2003 @08:09PM (#5310905) n.asp

    • Anthro stuff is nice but expensive, at my last tech job the Anthro cart desk's were genereally more expensive than the equipment we put on them, as an ultimate computer desk, as well as an ultimate video editing desk and just about any other type of desk, Anthro cart is the best stuff money can buy, a lot better than the IKEA stuff everyone else got.
    • Sure it's the best a busting dotcom can buy. ;) Nice stuff, but too rich for my blood.
  • by thecampbeln ( 457432 ) on Saturday February 15, 2003 @08:10PM (#5310907) Homepage
    This is mostly a rehash for my very first /. posting (attached to Building a DIY Home Office [], which was the real last time this question was asked like a year or so ago), but it right in line with the topic...

    I designed my own computer desk and after using it for nearly a year now, I must say that I really like it a lot! I decided to build my own after realizing a few things...

    After much searching around town I came to the realization that I wanted the look and functionality of a cheap desk but made out of hardwood like the expensive, god awful ugly unfunctional executive style desks. So from this I realized that I would have to make my own. Luckily, my grandfather is very skilled at woodworking and has made pieces of furniture before. So after talking it over with him I began making plans for a computer desk with enough room for:

    • 3 Desktops
    • 3 Towers
    • 3 Printers (a DeskJet, LaserJet, and Scanner/Printer/Copier dealie)
    • 1 17" Monitor
    • 1 21" Monitor
    • 10 Feet of Bookshelf Space
    • 2 Telephones
    • 1 Stereo Receiver w/ Speakers
    • Enough room for a friend to setup his laptop for network gaming

    I did the plans in MS Word 2000 (yea, try to keep the laughing to a minimum) in 1/12th scale (i.e. 1 inch = 1 foot). The plans show only the left side and the printer/server island. The second desk is a mirror of the left side. The plans are available here [] in PDF and Word 2000 versions. These plans are a little different from desk we eventually made, but the desktop area remained unchanged.

    If you are truly interested in this design, I can take some photos of the finished product and provide modified plans for the version we built, along with a parts list (not to mention the "what not to do's" you only know after building one =). If you are so interested, just write a replay to this posting and I'll see what I can do. The approx cost of my desk for both sides and the server island was about $550-600 I believe (which included nearly $100 for some really nice drawer rails/slides/thingys).

    Anyway this is the DIY home office solution I've came up with so I hope it either gives someone else ideas or the guts to do it themselves!

  • whose desk consists of an old door on a set of old milk crates. Maybe someday i'll go for the 'real desk' but for now, it works.

    This [] would be quite an upgrade, but I can't imagine sitting there all day like that.
    I saw on techtv the other day a desk that had 2 flat panels that hung down in front of you. It wasn't even really a desk... just a really sweet looking computer chair thing. I can't find the link to it, but it was a whole system, and from what I remember it wasn't too expensive. Anyone else know what desk I'm talking about? I'll look for a link...
    • Not far off

      I've got a peice of laminated particle board on cinder blocks, with a shelf I built out of some scavanged pallet lumber.

      yeah, my desk is redneck, what's your point?

      • Does it use duct tape? You've got to have some duct tape on it somewhere to qualify for the redneck home interior awards.
        • Duct tape, jesus do you know how much that stuff costs? It's a valid defence against air born pathegons.

          Al Queda is going to invade any second and you want to use an important resource to build a desk, are you mad.
          • I'm not taking any chance with my home, I'm stealing a couple of thousand yards of 200MPH tape off a NASCAR truck, 4 out 5 dentists agree that it resists VX and Mustard gas better.

            Seriously, asuming Al-Queda did launch a major attack on my town of 2000 souls in the middle of nowhere, how many people would seal their windows but forget to enclose the AC air intakes, range hood, fireplace, and/or dryer vent, that's right 99% would screw up. Do you really trust your building super to attend to your apartment complex when his own house and family are in danger? Do you really trust 6 mil plastic made by someone making minimum wage (or less, depending on country of manufacture) to really be as fine grained as needed to prevent a VX gas exposure. Unless you retreat to your nearest positive air pressure, known clean air, nuke/tornado shelter, you aren't going to survive a bio/chem attack without immediate medical attention.

            That being said, if they attack, I'm going to the company data center bunker, it should be survivable, and with the addition of a firearm, defendable. Take that Sarah Brady!
  • One thing I like is to have a lot of technical books by my machine. Because of this, the next desk I buy will have a shelf above where the monitors will go. Its otherwise wasted space anyways.

  • Poetic Technologies (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    makes some neat looking all-in-one integrated work areas. No prices listed on their website (so I'll bet they're pretty expensive), but they do look interesting. []
    • I found this site about a year ago, and actually called them for their prices. Think of this in the range of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" -- the Echo, the low-end model, started off at $1500, and ran as high as $3500 for the Aura. Damn good looking workstations, though
  • Here's an example... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Saturday February 15, 2003 @09:19PM (#5311236)

    This desk [] looks very nice. I particularly like the rackmount piece, it integrates nicely.

    All in all, it's a nice finish, a nice rack (mount), but not huge. This is a work desk, not a lounging desk.

    Still, it's given me ideas, perhaps it'll help you too.

    (Yes, it's off the Penny Arcade domain. No, the link isn't to a comic strip.)

  • what about DIY (Score:4, Interesting)

    by paradesign ( 561561 ) on Saturday February 15, 2003 @09:25PM (#5311263) Homepage
    if you have an idea of what you want, make a quick sketch, it dosent have to be any thing fancy. or start by writing down all of the qualifications for it, it seems like you have a few in mind. take that to any reputable hardware store ( the local one, you know with the old man thats always there) and talk to the guys there. they will be able to show you what materials and fasteners you have to work with. if you go in with a little more direction (read a small 'blueprint') theyll help you cut your materials and set you up with everything you need. building what you really need is infinitely more satisfying than buying a premade solution.

    or if you have no mechanical abilities, and thats fine, you can go to IKEA [] and buy kits at a reasonable cost. plus theyll look good.

    • i forgot to add what i use personally...

      an old door, you know a solid, flat one, supported by two bookshelves that are also old and sturdy. I built it for $10 out of stuff at from local estate sale (like a garage sale)! it holds 3 moniters fine, and all of my books on the shelves. a bit of paint and it looks great.

      • Re:what about DIY (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mmckinstUM ( 447480 )
        I have a similar desk. I found a large wood door in the trash that I rescued. It is about 9 feet long. Instead of bookcases I have a minifridge holding up one end and another smaller fridge and old computer as the other end.

        It is the best desk I have ever had. I have room for my two monitors, ample space to do schoolwork, and still more space for stoarge or whatever. It's a bit weird cause I have nor shelves or drawers.

        All of the good desk I have seen have been the do it yourself variety, usually done pretty cheap using second hand parts.

        Store bought desk tend to be cheap and not sturdy. They are constructed from particle board and held together by pegs or some other crappy means. A _good_ store bought desk will cost you a lot. Try going to a used office supply store and see if they have any real old desk, those are always the best. If there are any colleges in your area go to their surplus stores/sales, you can always find an old desk or material to build one yourself.

  • by Mr. Quick ( 35198 ) <> on Saturday February 15, 2003 @09:28PM (#5311274) Homepage Journal
    it's in the latest wired.

    only $7K!
  • Get a real desk... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sudog ( 101964 ) on Saturday February 15, 2003 @09:35PM (#5311297) Homepage
    A Poetic Desk!

    PoeticTech Desks []

    All others pale by comparison and the amount of comfort and human convenience is mind-boggling. There's even room to put in tiny little fridges!

    There is nothing better (that I've seen) than what these guys can do for you. A computer desk with air conditioning; a power swivel--for the whole desk just to track the sun (no sun-glare for you); specially-designed ambient lighting; ultimately adjustable seats! What more need be said? This Ask Slashdot is answered.
    • by BSDevil ( 301159 )
      Every time this topic comes up someone mentions these guys - and I agree, they do look cool as all hell (I mean really, who dosne't want a desk that rotates?), but has anyone actually tried one? Most times that I buy a desk, or nay furniture, I field-test it either at the store, a friend's house, or in my bedroom. Has anyone actually tried one of these systems, or even seen one in the flesh?

      Personally, I just use a standard executive office desk. Nice huge workspace, sliding keyboard tray, cable organizers at the back, and two small bookcases on wheels that roll around the room. Tower lives beside the desk, printer lives on one of the bookcases, and you can guess where the books live. Maybe it's just me, but I don't mind getting up if I need a book or grab a printout. Now if you took away my Aeron or my second monitor, that would be an entirely different story...
    • Wow, their desks do look incredible, does anyone have any idea of their approximate cost?
  • Nice L Desk (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blogan ( 84463 )
    I got a nice L-desk that can be found here [] It doesn't have a ton of cabinets, but it was cheap and hold my stuff.
  • Get a bunch of cinder blocks and plywood. And maybe some 2 by 4s nailed onto the back of the plywood where you need extra strength (if you have a large span under yer monitor). Re-arrange until happy. Just be careful not to drop a block on your foot :D
    • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <slashdot AT stango DOT org> on Sunday February 16, 2003 @01:20AM (#5312436) Homepage Journal
      Quote 1: []
      Bart: According to three-time soap box derby champion Ronny Beck, "Poorly guarded contruction sites are a gold mine."

      Quote 2: []
      Marge: Homer, we have a perfectly good bookcase.
      Homer: Yeah, but this is what they're doing on campus. Besides, it isn't costing us: I swiped the cinderblocks from a construction site.

      [At the site, a worker walks forlornly up to his boss]
      Worker: Sir, six cinderblocks are missing.
      Boss: There'll be no hospital, then. I'll tell the children.

  • I have an old office desk that supports my wife's and my computers. She sits on the right side of the desk, I off to the left, with my feet propped up along the left against an oak printer stand. To my left is an old server tower that is currently a receptacle for drinking containers, but will ultimately become a DNS box, providing I don't spill my drink into it. =^_^=

    It's a hack, but it works.

  • While I use a pre-fab desk from office max, because it has a nice cd rack on the left side. But my friend uses quite a cheap effective home-made desk. It consists of two two-drawer filing cabinets with a standard sized door across the top of both of them. Big, flat. You can add more cabinets and doors/wood planks of various sizes to create any arrangement you want.
  • Ikea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iankerickson ( 116267 ) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @12:05AM (#5312149) Homepage
    Go to Ikea and look for the "Jerker" desk. Terrible name for a product in an English speaking country, but it's a great desk with lots of room. The have shelves, keyboard trays, cable organizers, and CPU holders (which are good for holding USB/1394 devices in a stack or your PDA/camera/cell phone stuff). They also have a rack of lights your can bolt under the top shelf for built-in lighting. You can also adjust the height of the tabletop, but you have to take the desk apart to do it.
    • I think it has been discontinued, which is a pity. I have one and it is great. It can support a couple of 19" monitors w/o problems as the monitor shelf is supported by steel.

      At one stage, I even constructed a poor-mans dealer desk using a Jerker - two monitors, two weokstation boxes and a keyboard + switch.

  • I use Grandpa's old desk. BIG oak thing. I figure it's at least 60 years old. My parents had it restored back in the 70s, it's still in pretty decent shape despite lots of moving while my dad was in the Army.

    Wide drawer in the center for pencils and desk supplies, drawers down both sides -- bottom right is double height for file folders. On either side of the chair, there are pull out boards for writing or holding papers -- but I use em for resting my elbows on while I'm typing.

    I've never measured it, but it must be over a yard deep. With the keyboard in front of me and a few inches of open space, my 21" monitor doesn't hang off the back of it. Plenty of room on either side for a stack of books, a picture, phone, and speakers.

    Only downside is the sheer size of this thing. Barely fit though my doors moving in, and it's heavy! Any future apartments will have to be on the first floor -- not sure I could convince friends to help me move it up a flight of stairs!

    This seems like it'd be the perfect desk for kicking your legs up on and leaning back, but I just sit kinda normal like in my chair.

    I'm a fan of this system. They have a few competetors with similar specs.
    Since they have many odd parts, you can easily make exactly what you want.
    Wire rack makes it simple to velcro or zip tie cables, and attach things to an overhead shelf like speakers and lights
  • If you like to recline, how about a wireless keyboard & mouse with a hospital table holding the monitor so that it can be close enough.
    Ikea makes this small computer unit that can sit by the side of your chair.
    I worked at Borland years ago and someone at the time used a lazyboy and a hospital table so that the monitor was positioned just right.
  • In my house, since I have many monitors, I bought a door from home depot, and put milk crates on either side. I might look sort of ghetto, but I have a LOT of room!
  • If you buy a desk you'll be paying a big premium for the conveineince, especially on the more simple designs.

    If you have the tools, then building your own really isn't all that hard. A 10'x8', 3/4" MDF sheet is about 11 quid ($15) and should be adequate to build a desk to hold multiple machines.

    You can use batons to wall mount it, backed up with tubular steel legs (again, fairly cheap) and since you're doing it yourself you can shape it precisely and plan where you're going to put holes, mount points, power points etc.

    If I was bulding one, I'd set ethernet ports into the top, or build a vertical section to mount them to. Same with power points - get wall mounting sockets and fit them into the desk and have a single plug coming out near the bottom of the desk to plug it into the wall, making cabling much simpler.

    Mounting rack-designed units would be pretty easy too. Stuff like ethernet switches and the like could be mounted vertically in the desk top off to one side, and if you had heavier stuff it wouldn't be hard to build a rack unit into the design in place of one of the legs - a 12U rack would be slightly too small for desk height, but modifying it to enable you to fit a desktop above it would be easy.

    Plus, building stuff is fun!
  • by yandros ( 38911 ) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @11:49AM (#5313963) Homepage

    A company called Ultimate [] makes keyboard stands and `studio equipment stations' that are quite popular in the music world. After poking at some of these in my local Mars Music, I decided that they were almost what I wanted, and then found the `ThinkerToys' stuff -- basically, Ultimate sells the individual pieces used to construct these stands, so you can design your own. Mine is a 3-tier, sitting next to a 6' wire rack shelf. I made the `desktop' myself, from thin pressed wood (Mmmmm, luan...) sheathed in corrugated plastic (available at any decent art supply store). The displays sit on a row slightly above this one, and there's a utility shelf above them. There's also a side-shelf mounted on the right support, slightly above the kayboard, that holds my laptop when I want it and swings out of the way the rest of the time. The wire rack shelf holds the CPUs, printer, scanner, and other junk.

    My setup was a little pricey (about $400 total, I believe), and took a while to get `just right', but I enjoyed putting it together, and I'm pretty happy with it.

  • I've got an Ikea Amon/Curry desk. Nice size, looks good, was cheap etc. Only problem is, after 2.5 years of supporting a 19" monitor off centre, its got a curve to it, so my keyboard rocks. Damn annoying! Be alert!
  • One of the few places I've seen that carries a wide range of ergonomic furniture, including sit-to-stand desks, is OfficeOrganix []. I have my eye on them for outfitting my office at work.

    In addition to more or less traditional desks and chairs, they have some crazy stuff, such as the Stance chair [], which adjusts from a kneeler chair to a regular chair to a lean-back-while-standing chair; and a couple of reclining desks [] or desk/chair combinations [].

    Even if you want to build your own, their site may be worth looking at for ideas. Their prices also approach reasonable, which is a rarity in the ergonomic furniture arena (where, I suppose, the assumption is that insurance or lawsuit money is paying for everything).

  • While not the most attractive things in the world, a big (eg: they come anywhere from 6-12' long, I like the 8 footers) works well. Make sure you don't get a cheap one though, as they don't handle weight all that well. You can probably get an older one (read: sturdier/metal, no plastic crap) one from a garage, rumage, bizzarre sale.

    You can easily do Dual-head, multiple machines, multiple people, plus it is fairly portable!
  • years ago i needed a desk for my first computer and swiped the old kitchen table from my parents attic. it is big, heavy, deep and ugly, but i have it and my 21"crt up against the wall, and there is a full magazine-height of room between my belly and keyboard. conference tables are a good solution i saw someone mention, but it would be nice to screw and/or glue a 2 x 4 tallways underneath to add some stiffness. otherwise they inevetably sag in a year or two. but they are cheap. the more specialized 'computer' desks i've seen pigeonhole (literally!) you into having a 15" monitor, pc minitower, and big ugly beige keyboard. nothing else quite fits.
  • What I did to maximize space.. let's see.. two monitors, a 15" flat panel, an apple cinema display, a notebook, three towers, and room left over. What you want is table surface and LOTS OF IT.

    All you need is a few sheets of 3/4" plywood, a way to cut it, a drill and some screws, and some industrial table legs. You can finish it however you want, I didn't bother. I just sanded it down. I might get fancy and laminate it or whatever, but that strikes me as one more thing to cause a problem.

    I looked at the room I had - about 10' x 4' on one side of the L in the corner, 5' x 4' on the other side of the L. I cut out the plywood to match the shape I wanted. Then I doubled it up by screwing the two sheets of 3/4" plywood together into a good, very, very solid 1.5" sheet. A few minutes with a sander will take off the rough edges. Then just screw/clamp on the table legs you bought, or pile up some cinderblocks. I recommend the legs, though. When you move, just throw away the plywood and keep the legs. Plywood is very cheap here, no more than $100 or so for two very large sheets.

    This allows you a solid surface to bolt things to without worries you're destroying an expensive desk. I'm waiting to get one of those floating arms to put a 15" LCD panel on to move around to whatever machine needs more screen space.

    The lack of drawers lets you put machines and cables underneath at will without problems. You can stretch your legs out and not worry about smashing your knees. I store my extra stuff in large plastic toolboxes that cost me about $10 and are really handy for hauling stuff around in. The cheap metal storage shelves you find (or slightly more expensive wooden ones) are all you need for books and whatnot.

    If you don't have access to woodworking tools, then do what I did when I had my apartment - go to Sears et. al and get the biggest, cheapest, thickest kitchen table you can find. Use that for your desk. It's all about massive surface area. It's also a lot cheaper than a useless "Executive" style desk with no room for monitors.

    Hope that helps. Works for me. Doesn't look real good, but it is very functional.
  • *replicated

    It's got a long board about 6 inches above the main desk surface, with a supporting board, between the two. It's wide enough for 3 monitors side by side (2 for my main box's ti4200 dual head, another for whatever other little box I have hooked up) If you make one (which I think would be a good idea, with your requests), try to do a similar thing. It's a computer desk, but it does not sacrifice working area. It's about twice as wide as the area for your legs, so I've got the other area filled with an industrial ethernet chassis (Cabletron MMAC-M8FNB) and two skinny-ish desktop cases (old vectra's). There's plenty of room on it, especially with the tower stand off to the left of it. If you can picture what i'm saying, try making it. I like mine a lot.
  • Laugh all damn day, but I built a loft when I was in college that beats the shit out of any other computer desk, anywhere.

    1' under the bed area (now used for plain-old storage space), there's a recessed shelf that's deep enough for my array of home theater components, all arranged on a 6' long power strip.

    2.5' below that is a desk that's wide enough for a set of large (shielded) bookshelf speakers, a 21" and a 17" monitor.

    The area beneath the desk is high enough to accomodate the tallest tower cases I could find.

    The sides are cross-braced, and the desk and shelf are supported on the braces. The "back" braces have their own, small shelf for rear-surround bookshelf speakers, right at ear-level.

    The whole set up inspired geek awe when I was in college, and I've never found anything so functional anyplace else, so I continue to use it as a grown-up, even though I can afford real furniture.
    • I would LOVE to see a picture of this setup if you have one. I've been thinking about doing the same thing myself, but I'm having a hard time getting it right in my head *before* I fire up the skill saw. ;)
  • Most computer desks I've seen in stores look too wimpy for my purposes. I have a couple of 21" monitors. Same for my wife downstairs.

    We each have main computer tables: 36"x78". 3 feet gives a nice deep amount of space. They're 30" high, with knee/thigh clearance of 26". They have a couple of thin, deep drawers. There are 2-3 machines lurking under each table. Something I will soon add to the setup is a sort of bookshelf underneath (out of kicking range) for external firewire drives, the hub, the hardware firewall, etc.

    I have another table, meant for one monitor, that's 36"x48", with one deep drawer.

    All of these were built by English Country Pine, in San Rafael, CA. [] Since they're basically big rectangles that will last forever, they may see future use in a dining room, or, they would be straightforward to sell. I like them because they have acres of desktop space.

  • I've had the same problem, then one day at Office Depot/Max (doesn't really matter) I found the desk that was perfect for me. Remember the episode of The Jetsons where George is playing the drums at the concert []? Since then I wanted a desk that surrounded me and I've come close to my greatest desk yet. I love desk usage area space, so I can use it as a work table and layout all of my documents and stuff I do, non-computer related. My desk comes with a shelving area on one side and some slots for CDs and stuff on one end and a small cabinet on the other end. I put my dual monitors in the middle of the U with my PC case to my left and other gizmos to my upper left corner next to a monitor. Now I have all the area to the right of me and to the left and rear left of me for work space. I use the area to the left and rear left for paper work area (mail, bills, documents, stuff that's important at the moment) and my right area, I try to keep clear at all times. I have an artist lamp on both either ends of my desk, which is great when I'm working my fixing or messing with my computer or working with some gizmos. I LOVE DESK SPACE! I also have my desk with the open U facing the wall, so the wall is behind me. Behind me I have a whiteboard and my speakers so I have complete surround sound. Also, I have privacy with the monitors and door in front of me. My bookcase is to the right of my desk and I set my TV to the front left of me. I like it.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter