You can finally get your hands on Teenage Engineering’s absolutely tiny and absolutely orange Computer-1 PC case again, months after it initially went on sale and sold out. If you were really hoping to buy the $195 build-it-yourself mini-ITX case, you can head over to the company’s website and add it to your cart — though before you do, it’s probably worth refreshing yourself on the Computer-1’s... particularities.
When Teenage Engineering announced this case, we had some concerns. It has barely any room for a modern graphics card (even this tiny RTX 3060 is bigger than Teenage Engineering recommends), the airflow situation seemed a little suspicious, and the “think twice, bend once” warning in assembly guide made the building process seem high-stakes.
People who have since built systems in the case say the bending and the airflow aren’t huge problems, but they also discovered that the holes don’t come pre-tapped. That means that screwing into them might be a time-consuming forearm workout — not exactly the experience you’d expect with such an expensive piece of kit. (Quality Mini-ITX cases range from under $100 to around $200 — but those usually come pre-assembled).
With all that said, the Computer-1 is undeniably a fashion statement, something that can’t be said about the rather plain boxes most PCs call home (there are, of course, exceptions). And while there may be better ways to spend $200 on an orange flatpack PC frame — the Playdate that TE designed with Panic seems pretty fun and plenty stylish too — you don’t have many other options if you absolutely need a computer case that looks inspired by the Half-Life HEV suit. Just be ready to spend a lot for something you have to bend and build yourself; beauty doesn’t come cheap.