If Apple and PC makers aren’t inspiring you, there’s always teenage engineering. The Swedish maker of synths, sound gear, and electronics are now offering up their own custom PC case – orange, aluminum, with carry-handle, for mini-ITX and dual-slot GPU. It could be the start of someone’s killer portable music/gaming/VJ rig.

So, wait, how did the OP-1 and OP-Z maker start turning into a custom PC enclosure maker? Well, it seems as per usual, the design studio is easily distracted by other design challenges. (We feel you, teenagers.) This project evidently began with their own custom PC case project, built with laser cutter, high-density board, and spray paint. In fact, I can only assume I’ve seen this prototype already since I was known to have appeared in that “first office many years ago.”

The results look pretty cool, though, a cross-breed of the aesthetics of the pocket operator modular and some of the more rugged metal creations they’ve made.

What you get:

  • lightweight aluminum with chrome handles (so you can tote it around)
  • powder-coated “pure orange” RAL 2004
  • flat pack design – 1mm metal you actually bend into the form (uh… whoa)
  • supports mini-RTX motherboard
  • SFX power supply format
  • fits dual-slot graphics up to 170mm
  • tons of space for ports

€195/$195/£195. (just the case – you build the system)

There are certainly other options in this category, but it’s cute to see something with some style. And – orange! I’ve been wanting more orange I think ever since I heard the new Du Jour single in Tower Records…

I’m actually reasonably impressed. Would I buy this? No; there are other options out there that would more likely support hotter GPUs. (I asked TE what they’re using it for – as a stylish desktop machine for certain rigs I’m sure it’s good fun.) But am I glad it exists? Yeah, totally. Let’s bring on the ideas.

And let me predict this, too – even for all we’ve spent too much time with computers in the COVID-19 era, I think the convergence of great new hardware from both the Apple and PC sides, and tons of expressive potential both in low-latency audio and synthesis and advanced 3D graphics and video, will add up to a resurgent affection for computers as live instruments. So it’s nice to see teenage engineering in the design arena.

Let’s just have more LAN party of VJs and synthesists and live coders soon. So stay healthy, and let’s reconnect.

Pics – note that the ports and power supply you see here are not part of the computer-1 itself, just poking through its metal shell. But on the other hand, if you look at this and say “I can design something better,” please do. I’d love to see more custom PC enclosures, not only those from major electronics companies.