Volume Number: 18 (2002)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Reviews
by Michael R. Harvey
The G4 DeskMount from Marathon Computer is an impressive little piece of engineering. This device, from the folks who provide various rack mount products for Apple computers, will take your G3 or G4 computer and suspend it from the underside of your desk. You might not think that doing this is going to make any difference in your workspace, but once you have your computer up off the floor, or down off the top of your desk, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
The DeskMount unit consists of two pieces of metal. One is the mounting arm. It replaces the two top handles of the CPU, attaching to the points where the handles were. The second piece is the bracket that you attach to the underside of your desk with screws (hence the need to have a wooden desk for this).
Assembly and installation are simple, and obvious. Included in the kit are the screws you need to attach the mounting arm to the CPU case, and a hex tool to remove the handles. You need only provide a cross tip screwdriver, and wood screws for mounting the bracket to the underside of the desk. You really don't need to read the included instructions to divine what goes where. They're worth looking over though, if for no other reason than that they are cleverly written and amusing. First off, find the right location. Someplace that will allow you to open the access door would be best, although not required. Second, remove the top handles of the CPU case and install the mounting arm with the provided screws. Third, attach the bracket to the underside of your desk with your own screws. This part of the installation is the only place you need to be careful with. Choose screws that are not too short to support the weight of the computer, but not so long as to pierce the top of your desk. It'll ruin the top of your desk, and besides, the sharp point of the protruding screws hurt when they stick you in the arm. Fourth, slide computer onto the bracket. Done. We had installation complete in about 8 minutes, but we took our time.
Well, not quite. There is one more thing you can do. Marathon includes in the box a lanyard so that you can open the access door on your computer without having to take it down off the bracket, or try to support it yourself. It just works. However, the lanyard isn't all that useful if you have the access door against the side of your desk (which if you mount it to your right, you will). Doing that is not a deal breaker, though. Far from it. The computer will slide on and off the bracket very easily, so access to the innards of your system is still painless.
Once mounted, your computer is held securely in place. Little to no wiggle, and it feels solid. Even though the computer can easily be removed form the bracket, when it's attached, it's held safely.
Looking at your computer suspended from the desk is really something. Looking at all the newly freed dust bunnies rolling away from under there is something else entirely. Only one mark against the DeskMount. The size of the bracket. It's just a little bit too long. Marathon set out to provide you a bracket that could be attached with great ease, but in doing so, they made the length excessive. We took the bracket to a local office supply store, and tried it on several desks. Most were fine. Some, however, were too shallow. The bracket stuck out the front up to 3/4 inch. Cutting the length of the bracket by that much would make the DeskMount fit every desk we tried it on.
The DeskMount is one of those products you don't know you need. But, once you have one, you will wonder how you ever got along without it. Now, only if Marathon would make one of these contraptions to get that ugly old beige box up under there....
Michael R. Harvey