How to upgrade your gaming desk without breaking the bank
It's no small thing to buy a sturdy, decent gaming desk on a budget -- even if you've already read our ultimate guide on doing just that. If you've managed to make a purchase, congratulations!
But even with that purchase out of the way, you might find yourself staring down at a monitor, your legs lost among a sea of cables, and your speakers focused on blaring sound to your elbows -- to say nothing of the state of your unprotected wrist.
A non-ergonomic setup will get you through the honeymoon period with your budget gaming desk happily enough.
But after that, the stiff neck sets in, your burgeoning writing career and proclivity for TF2 leaves your wrist a wreck, and your lovely little desk gives itself over to chaos and POP! figurines... or, so I've heard, anyway.
Let's have a look at some tight-budget measures to upgrade your gaming desk.
Grab a gel mousepad
If you care enough about your gaming setup to look for budget ways to upgrade it, then you're more than likely going to be spending enough time using your computer to make RSI a valid concern.
Since prevention is much better than creams, braces, and a memorable afternoon trying to get Windows Speech Recognition to recognize an Australian accent, a decent gel mousepad is a must. Amazon and Kmart can hook you up for $6-$8 with a basic one.
If you've got a little more money to spend, then I strongly recommend the Gabe Newell oppai mousepad. For reasons.
This upgrade can cost as little as zero dollars! Cleaning up your desk and periodically wiping it down with a damp cloth is a great way of sprucing it up without spending anything.
Often, however, you'll have things that you need to keep close at hand -- pens, DVDs that you borrowed months ago and haven't yet watched, seasonal decorations, nerd stuff -- and for this, a desk organizer can come in handy. Amazon has a lovely little organizer that's more than equal to the task.
While you're cleaning your desk, why not clean out your computer? A can of compressed air is one of the preferred tools for this, and is wonderfully cheap.
Well, you won't be featured on r/cableporn on a budget, but there are still a couple of things you can do. Perhaps the easiest method to radically clean up your cables is by tying together the ones that you don't expect will see movement with cable ties. If you forgot to buy cable ties, hairbands or even string can be a perfectly functional substitute. Hang these cables out of sight on adhesive hooks for a rental-friendly way to keep them managed.
If your desk comes with a hole for cabling, or you're happy to do a little DIY, cable covers are an excellent way to further streamline your cable management.
Mount your speakers
Get more out of your basic speakers by mounting them at ear level and angling them toward you, for greater sound clarity.
To do so, you could pay a frankly unreasonable amount for mounting brackets. If you're renting, budget-conscious, not fond of wielding a drill, or some mixture of all these, however, you'll need to get a little creative.
My speakers are currently mounted on a pair of round acrylic swivel organizers, broadly similar to these. They are an excellent source of extra storage. Each is stuffed with charging cables and spares, which... does not look great, if we're being honest. Dark or opaque organizers would work better.
A monitor stand is a must
There's ongoing discussion about the specifics of this, but it's generally agreed that your monitor should be around your eye level, allowing you to tilt your neck within a certain range for natural viewing.
If you have any DVD boxsets rendered obsolete by either Netflix or the creeping realization that your passionate love of anime really was just a phase, two laying horizontally make an ideal monitor stand. For less than twenty dollars, you can also purchase an inexpensive monitor stand that also has space under the stand for storage.
Being on a budget doesn't mean that you have to forgo upgrades -- just that these upgrades might need to get a little more creative. If you've got any other great or creative tips for upgrading a gaming desk, then let me know in the comments below!
Also, if you happen to already own the Gaben mousepad, is enfolding your wrist between his formidable bosoms as comfortable as it looks?