• notebookcomputer
  • 01/06/2022

Teenage Engineering’s new PC case is gorgeous, expensive... and bendable

Teenage Engineering, a design company that dabbles in everything from synthesizers to helping build the Playdate gaming handheld, has made its first computer case. It’s called Computer-1. It’s a bold orange case that’s made for mini-ITX-sized motherboards, which are reserved for small form factor builds. Like most of the company’s products, it’s not exactly affordable at $195. But that might not be an obstacle if you’re a sucker for a case that’s dripping in color and unique style.

The Computer-1 case is made with powder-coated aluminum and has chrome handles, which makes it look a bit like Apple’s most recent Mac Pro desktop chassis. Though, unlike that computer, this case comes unassembled. It arrives in a flat pack, like most Ikea products. Not only will you have to build your computer, complete with motherboard and components, but you’ll literally have to bend some of this case’s pieces into shape. Its assembly guide (PDF) warns you to “think twice, bend once,” so no pressure there with your $195 case.

Teenage Engineering’s new PC case is gorgeous, expensive... and bendable

In case you can’t tell from the images, the Computer-1 is tiny. The dimensions with the chrome handles attached are 6.69 x 7.48 x 12.67 inches (WxDxH), which roughly translates to 10 liters of capacity. You’ll need an especially tiny GPU to fit inside. It has a limit of 180mm in length for graphics cards, and few modern models are actually that small. Basically, you’ll need a single-fan graphics card, so forget about building an RTX 3080 system in this compact case. Even the RTX 3060 card that we reviewed is too big.

The layout of this case raises some concerns around airflow. Since heat rises and GPUs typically pull in fresh air, it’s not clear why Teenage Engineering designed the case with the GPU at the top instead of the bottom. We assume that the company has tested airflow, but it’s a bit of a red flag for a case this costly.

You’ll need a SFX power supply to fit inside the bottom of the case, which is smaller than standard ATX-sized power supplies. If you plan to use a CPU cooler, there’s 120mm of height clearance from the motherboard’s surface.

In Teenage Engineering fashion, the Computer-1 has a switch that I can’t wait to flick— that’ll power your PC on and off. Its front I/O has a headphone jack and a lone USB-C port. It’s clear here that this case is more about looks than utility, so if you want more ports on the front, look elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the Computer-1 sold out during the process of writing this post. It’ll likely go back on sale in the near future, though, and The Verge has asked Teenage Engineering if it can share more specific restocking information.