Guide: Personal Desktop PC and Mobile Setups

From the early conception of personal computing in the 1950’s to the present, user interface design and user experience have always been essential.  Today, users have a variety of hardware and software solutions to help create their own technology ecosystem. The form factor, individual hardware components, operating system, desktop environment/launcher, software applications, and UI styling and theme all have in impact in the UI/UX quality. Different choices can be used to express individuality and preferred workflow. Much of achieving the ideal hardware/software stack comes from experimenting with different options and sharing our experiences.

This page contains details my personal guidelines, current hardware, and software stack.

Last Updated: December 19, 2018

General Guidelines

Hardware Guidelines

Desktop PC

  • Purchase hardware on sale or price drop instead of cutting-edge.
    • Ex: buying a previous-generation Intel i7 series CPU instead of the latest generation i7 CPU).
  • Avoiding purchasing the largest available RAM/storage currently on the market:
    • Especially where the cost of the highest RAM/storage is double the next lowest option.
    • Example: 128 GB microSD instead of 256 GB card.
    • In general, budget about $100-150 CAD for each storage component, ~$200-$400 CAD for RAM packages.
  • Aim for 1080p High/Ultra gaming at 60 fps for most titles with chosen GPU.
    • Depend on gaming type and release year – I typically do a lot of casual gaming for titles from 4 or 5 years ago, so performance is less vital.
  • Keep the total budget for build between $1,000 CAD – $2,000 CAD
    • Depending on existing parts and purpose – I wanted an all-purpose computer (general, development, gaming, video editing, 3D rendering) and I had few available parts for my first build.
  • Browse completed builds, review individual component information, and create a parts list at PcPartPicker

PC Component Spending Priority (desc. order):

CPU > GPU > Motherboard >CPU Fan > Fan Controller > RAM > Monitor > SSD > HDD > Desktop Case > Keyboard & Mouse > Speakers > Case Fans

Smartphones & Tablets

  • Outright purchase the following unlocked devices:
    • Flagship devices from last year OR
    • Budget devices from the current year.
  • Aim for a device between $500 – $1,000 CAD.
  • Look up device information, reviews, and comparisons at GSMArena.
  • Browse websites like XDA-Developers for the development and modding community surrounding the device.
    • Stronger and more active communities could result in increased longevity and unofficial support for a device after OEM support ends.
  • Research aftermarket/unofficial OS builds like LineageOS for community-supported development.
  • Browse mobile news sites for new information and updates on the device.

Smartphone Features Priority (desc. order):

Form Factor & Design > Camera Sensors > CPU/GPU pairing > RAM > External Storage > Internal Storage > Mobile > WiFi  > GPS > Bluetooth > Fingerprint > Other sensors.

Software Guidelines

  • Cross-platform/web applications for seamless integration between Windows, Linux, and Android devices.
  • Free and open-source software (FOSS) instead of paid proprietary software (when possible).
  • For paid software, one-time purchases and discounted yearly subscription over month-to-month billing.
  • Stable and continuously supported software over untested and frequently abandoned solutions.
  • Applications with cloud storage/backup options for data are preferred.
  • Prioritize strong encryption and authentication instead of better integration and extensions.

List of Devices

Desktop PC (KAGOME)

Smartphone (LG G6)

History

LG Xenon → BlackBerry Curve 8520 → HTC Magic  → Google Nexus 4 → HTC One M8 → LG G6 (current)

Tablet (Google Nexus 7 2013 WiFi)

Desktop PC Setup (Windows 10)

Windows 10 DE

Desktop PC Setup (Ubuntu 18.04)

Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS

LG G6 Setup (Android Oreo)

LG G6 Setup

Google Nexus 7 2013 Setup (Android Nougat)

Google Nexus 7 2013 Launcher

Development (Windows)

ConEmu Bash WSL Terminal

Development (Linux)

Ubuntu Terminal Setup

Additional Readings

Here’s a few guide articles I used to help configure my development environments on Windows and Linux:

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