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Looking for advice on quality desk for many monitors.

Last response: in Components
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April 19, 2008 10:26:11 PM

I know this is stretching the intention of this forum, but I can't find anything more closely related to post in.

I am in the market for a new desk for my office (I telecommute) and am finding myself limited to cheap crap from Staples and Office Max or extremely expensive stuff like offered by the WorkRite Sierra electric 22" to 48" adjustable 70x70x30 line (seems fantastic, but EXPENSIVE).

Traditionally, I have always just used a couple cheap $40 foldable banquet tables. It wasn't too difficult and was scalable for multiple machines and monitors (I have a dozen solaris, linux, osx and couple windows boxes with countless monitors). Need more? Just get an additional table. Problem solved.

However, I'm looking for a step up, now. I've just completed a new desktop build which now includes three 30" LCD monitors. Obviously, this doesn't work so well on a cheap banquet table. But I can't find much out there that would accomodate this setup.

On one end, you have cheap PC desks made from fiber board that you can pick up for $100-$300 at your local office store. They tend to be small or complex with countless cubby-holes and drawers and not very deep or wide. Or you have the traditional desk style, like you'd see in any random office in the 50s (rectangle shape with drawers on the left).

I think I really like the WorkRite desks from the Sierra line. They have a corner desk that is 30" deep and the left and right "whings" are each 70" (counting the center where they meet, of course). It's adjustable from 22" to 48" in height. Unfortunately, it's also about $2,400, without shipping. And then I would probably need to buy adjustable clamp arms to hold the monitors. Those seem to be around $250-$300 each. So multiply that by three. I'm happy to spend money on a desk setup, but I think $3,300 before shipping is a tad much -- unless they're really that damn great.

So I'm desperately looking for solutions other people may have come upon. Of specific interest to me are the following:

+ Depth. I spend a lot of time at my desk and sometimes I like to lean into/on my desk while working. This is easier with a deep desk top. 30" is probably reasonable.

+ Overall desk space. The more, the better. And preferably a corner-desk style where you have a lot of desk real-estate reachable without having to roll your chair all over the place to get from one end to the other.

+ No complex crap. I don't care about drawers and would prefer not having them. I don't want shelves, although perhaps a higher level desk/shelf in the back of the desk intended for monitors might be acceptable.

+ Easily handles multiple large monitors. At least three 30" apple displays (using clamp arms is probably okay, if the desk will work well with them). And preferably should be big enough for an additional 19" or greater monitor and then an LCD television around 32".

+ Adjustable height. I am not a fan of those keyboard and mouse cutouts in desktops these days. Or the keyboard and mouse roll-out platforms. Or the extension trays that hold a keyboard and mouse. I like my keyboard and mouse to be on the main part of the desk. If the height isn't right, I'd rather have an adjustable desk and raise/lower the entire thing as needed.

+ Price. I know that I'll be better off paying a lot for a HIGH QUALITY desk that will last me many years than almost any other office or computer related investment. So I'm willing to spend a little. I'm not willing to drop $5k or $10 on a freaking fancy glass-covered trendy hipster desk, though. I would say my price range goes up to about $2,000, not including the LCD monitor extender clamp arms. For something particularly high quality and worth it, I could probably be negotiated upward a little bit in price.

I think I really love what the WorkRite Sierra (http://www.workriteergo.com/products/sierra.asp) seems to be, but it is clearly meant to be bought in bulk for corporate offices. I don't know if the price (about $2,400) is worth it. Sure, it's electric. It has a high adjustment range. It has lots of real-estate. It has lots of (spendy) add-ons, like tool-bars and trays and power connectors and such... but is it worth the price? Is there a lot of "corporations can absorb it" expense packed into that and a single person is getting screwed?

Are there better solutions? I spent at least 16 hours a day, seven days a week at my desk . . . So comfort and flexibility is important here.

Thank you all for any advice you might be able to offer. I am frustrated from countless visits to local stores and dozens of hours of searching online only to come across the same cheap crap over and over again at every knock-off retailer.
April 19, 2008 10:59:45 PM

do you own the following:
Drill
Screwdriver
Saw (jigs Saw helpful)

Then you need:
Wood
Screws

then build your own desk, i did.

makes sure its very high, higher than a normal desk, so you get your knees under it properly.

then make it long and wide.
and there you go.
April 19, 2008 11:11:07 PM

Unfortunately, not really an option in an apartment. :/ 
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April 19, 2008 11:14:10 PM

ok fair enough, what you need to do is to see the desk you after, and make sure its suitible.
April 19, 2008 11:53:24 PM

Looks like you have your mind set on a specific design. Here's what I did a few years back :
I ordered mine at a local carpenter. It's custom made to fit my room.

Made from fiberboard with a black gray finish.
The work surface is about 3cm (1,25") thick made from two layers of fiberboards glued and screwed together. A rectangle 270cm (106") long by 120cm (48") deep and the center is 80cm (32") deep (so you get a bit of a bracket shape). It's about 80cm (32") tall. The leg is shaped like the letter E so you get 2 workspaces (1 for my computer and 1 for studying and other desk duties).

The front edge is rounded for comfort. I have a board 30cm (12") deep about 45cm (18") from the floor for leg support so I can sit with my legs streached (during long hours).
It has a basic plastic box shape (the kind you use to route cabling through the house walls) in the back for routing cables and two round cutouts for power cables to come up onto the desktop through.

It cost 300 EUR for material and workmanship about 6 years ago (that long already?). Fits my needs perfectly and it cost way less than those you're mentioning.
April 20, 2008 2:05:25 AM

Andrius, that's a good idea. I hadn't considered having one custom built. I guess any decent custom built desk could meet my requirements, as long as it's also later on when having to move -- and since you could clamp the monitor arms to anything... no specific requirements there.

I'll definitely add this option to my list of considerations!
!