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Computer Workstation

REV: 2020-09-04

Operating System



We like to install operating-systems on a per-drive basis (instead of multiple OS partitions on the same drive).


We've used consumer-grade SAMSUNG drives for over 8 years with success.

Recommendation: SAMSUNG, 970 PRO, 1TB (PCIE Gen3 x4 NVMe, M.2-2280-KeyM)

Interested: SAMSUNG, 980 PRO, 1TB (PCIE Gen4 x4 NVMe)

We use M.2 enclosures to assemble external data drives with greater capacity, reliability, speed, and modularity than normal USB drives.


Power Supply

We prefer high-reliability and fanless designs. SEASONIC is a proven source with 12-year warranties.

Testing: SEASONIC, Prime Series


Interested: AMD, Ryzen 4000 Series


We like durable, easy-to-assemble, light-weight, compact-volume, compatible. We like passive-cooling but accept current limits for high-power designs.

Testing: FRACTAL DESIGN, Define 7 Compact, All Solid Panels

USB Drive

USB drives are versatile.

  • Device-to-Device File Transfer
  • Live OS Installation
  • Full Small-Disk Backup

Recommendation: SAMSUNG, Bar Plus

We use a dedicated case for storing USB drives.

Recommendation: NANUK, 903

Mouse Pad

Testing: RAZER, Gigantus V2, XXL (410mm x 910mm x 4mm)

Password Manager

We strongly recommend that you use a password-manager that works offline (without internet).

We strongly recommend that you regularly save a copy of your password-database to a back-up system.

Keepass - Free, open-source, good long-term track record. But out-dated, clunky GUI. Recommended.

KeepassXC - Free, open-source, cross-platform, modern GUI with v2.6+. A fork of Keepass with more active development that we are testing.

Document Suite

Libreoffice - Free, open-source, high-quality, cross-platform alternative to Microsoft Word for producing text documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, and basic drawings. Great import/export compatibility for various file formats.

Text Editor

Atom - Free, simple, customizable integrated development environment (IDE). Developed by Github.

RETEXT - Markdown editor with live preview.

Team Chat


Diagram Editor - Free diagramming tool with emphasis on alignment and node-to-node connections. Use online with the browser app, or download the desktop app.

Vector Graphics Editor

Inkscape - Vector graphics editor. Create or edit logos, line art, infographics, and other line-based images.

Raster Graphics Editor

GIMP - Raster Graphics Editor - Produce, resize, crop, rotate, and retouch your photos and other dot-style image files.

Audio Editor

Audacity - Audio Editor - Record your voice or music, manipulate audio clips for your media library, and import-export different filetypes. Great for handling standard audio tasks like other digital audio workstations (DAWs).

Video Editor

Kdenlive - Video Editor - Simple, robust video editor with primary support for Linux. Free and open source. Renders to numerous standard formats, including WebM and MP4 (AAC/HEVC).

Video Screen Capture

Open Broadcaster Software - Screen Video Capture and Live Streaming Tool - Simple on-screen video recording and live streaming program.


7-zip - File compression and archival tool.


Transmission - Free, simple torrenting client. Recommended by Wikileaks.

3D Animation and Modeling

Blender - Free and open-source with integrated video editor. Supported by the Blender Foundation.

Digital Illustration

Clip Studio Paint - Popular and effective digital drawing program for illustrations and manga. Formerly named Manga Studio. Use with a drawing tablet.




Autodesk Inventor

Based on valid concerns expressed in this forum thread, we are considering alternatives such as Solid Edge (SIEMENS) or BricsCAD (Hexagon).

FreeCAD is accessible and basically functional, but we consider the featureset and UI/UX limiting for professional workflows.


Kicad for most of our schematic-to-PCB ECAD work. This is a good free, open-source, cross-platform EDA suite sponsored by CERN and increasingly supported by the industry such as with the Digikey Kicad Library.

Industry-standard alternatives include:

  • Altium
  • Cadence (Allegro/Orcad)
  • SIEMENS Mentor (PADS/Xpedition)