Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

Summary: Usually you take your new PC out of the cardboard box in which it was shipped. But a company called Recompute is building systems that stay in the cardboard box.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Usually you take your new PC out of the cardboard box in which it was shipped. But a company called Recompute is building systems that stay in the cardboard box. That's because they are eschewing the usual plastic and aluminum computer cases and using cardboard as the chassis material.

Gallery: Your next computer comes in a cardboard box

Looking for a greener alternative to the eco-friendly solutions mainstream PC manufacturers have been touting, Recompute started as a student project that grew into a full-fledged online store. The case is composed of cardboard strips that adhere together with a non-toxic white glue and are then treated with a non-toxic flame retardant. The company claims that cardboard's ignition point is 800 degrees Fahrenheit, so you shouldn't worry about your PC spontaneously combusting, especially since the construction of the case is honeycomb-like to help defuse heat, and the motherboard and power supply are kept in separate chambers to minimize overheating.

Still -- and as you may guess -- these are not going to be mega-powerful systems with multiple graphics cards. Recompute's three pre-built systems all rely on integrated graphics, and the DIY kit option recommends you build with a low-profile graphics card. For $499.95 you can get an AMD Athlon X2 2.2GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 250GB hard drive, and Linux pre-installed; for $300 more, you get Windows 7 Home Premium plus a 2.8GHz dual-core Athlon X2 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive.

At $999.95, the most expensive configuration bumps the hard drive up to 500GB and ups the processor to a 2.8GHz Athlon II quad-core. You can also order without an OS installed, and there are other upgrade options (like an Radeon HD 5450 graphics card) but you can't get an internal optical drive. You can also get the DIY kit for $199.99, with you supplying most of the parts, including the motherboard (microATX form factor), 2.5-inch hard drive, and CPU with factory cooling.

Engadget has had a chance to test out a Recompute unit, and testifies that it does boot, though it did find a couple of flaws with the build. Most notably, the adhesive sounded like it was loosening from the power supply when the plug was inserted into it. That may be the price you pay for saving for the environment, but props to Recompute for trying something radically different. However, I'm not sure the world's ready for a cardboard monitor stand, mouse and keyboard just yet.

Topic: Hardware

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26 comments
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  • This is a joke right?

    I mean, the case for your typical PC is probably the least polluting component! Your metal case can be re-used until the technology bypasses the format to the point that it becomes difficult to drill new holes in...but even then some enterprising individuals find ways of rebuilding old Compaq 386s into new stuff. Once the case reaches EOL, it can be emptied and taken to a metal scrapper for recycling. The parts that cause the most "eco-damage" are all those circuit boards, HDDs, CPU/GPU and peripheral cards. In this cardboard case, those parts are still there long after the cardboard has turned to mush in the landfill.
    If a user wants to feel "green" or "eco-friendly", they should consider reusing as many parts of existing systems as possible, and what is left should be sent to recyclers.
    wizard57m-cnet
    • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

      @wizard57m@...
      Zackly
      MoeFugger
    • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

      @wizard57m@... I agree with you, but I'm thinking of all the cases I see being dumped in the trash (not just cases most of the time - the whole computer.) People are just too lazy to recycle their computer.

      I don't see that cardboard case thing going very far.
      MikeR666
    • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

      @wizard57m@...
      "the case for your typical PC is probably the least polluting component!" It's all to do with the product's life cycle, which doesn't start at the POS. The process for the production of steel, copper, aluminium and plastics are incredibly polluting, even before they are processed into the form that they take when sold as products. Overall the product lifestyle of most metal an plastic objects is environmentally destructive, and almost un-sustainable. Recycling is obviously a help, but it can also be environmentally taxing.
      webmaster@...
  • But it makes Libs feel good...

    ...to do stupid s*it like this.
    bricar2
    • I wouldn't mind so much except that they then get

      all morally superior and decide to shove it down our throat as well. Even to the point of telling us what kind of light bulbs we have to use.
      frgough
      • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

        @frgough <br>Exactly. <br><br>They're all for redistribution of wealth...as long as you don't touch theirs. You'd think the hypocrisy of being a wealthy Liberal (Socialist is the correct term) would eventually dawn on them. <br><br>In real life they hate the Second Amendment, but the movies they produce are filled with gratuitous gun violence. <br><br>They support killing unborn children (inviable tissue masses in their minds), but yet they vehemently oppose the death penalty. <br><br>And the solutions to every problem can be solved with more government and higher taxes. <br><br>And when a Liberal talks about patriotism, you have to wonder what country they feel patriotism for. It surely isn't America, because they're born with a hatred of it. <br><br>Morally superior? When you don't believe in a Supreme Being of any kind it's really hard to be morally superior. After all, Communism is a godless doctrine, and the world leaders Liberals admire are either Communists or some type of dictator. Most Libs would apparently love to live under that system of oppression.<br><br>Capitalism, the Constitution, the Founding Fathers and the freedom to pursue your dreams and fulfill your potential. That's America. Liberals are not real Americans.
        bricar2
    • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

      @bricar2 & @frgough<br><br>And then you wonder why the rest of the world likes to mock Americans as politically infantile when you bring witless arguments like this into an other interesting discussion about the features of a cardboard box. But keep it up.... there is a whole industry based on repeating what Americans say. Look up Rick Mercer's "Talking to Americans" sometime. I'll bet you won't understand most of it.... but to any non-Americans out there.... you'll bust a gut laughing.
      snberk341
      • You know, I really don't give a hang what the

        rest of the world thinks of America. We're the free-est most prosperous people in the history of the world. I never listen to the criticisms of failures.
        frgough
      • That's the funny part.... you're not.

        @frgough That's part of the humour, is how many Americans are too self-absorbed to notice. Especially as they go around trying to "convert" the globe to a model that, to the rest of us, is so obviously flawed. And it is not "free-est". I wouldn't normally point out an error like that, but part of the American charm is the notion that you are also the most educated. I don't make that claim, I come from a nation of lumberjacks, miners, and farmers. That hasn't had a bank failure since the depression (the one in the 1920s), and whose banks are now snapping up the US ones. On behalf of our banks... Thanks!
        snberk341
      • @snberk

        I will grant we are rapidly losing our freedoms and prosperity. Because too many Americans take people like you seriously. But we're still the free-est people on the earth. Because, you see, freedom isn't being able to have sex or hit a bong in the middle of the street. It's something a bit more fundamental. The right to own property, keep the fruit of your labors, and practice your religious faith. So go ahead and continue thinking your bread and circuses are true freedom. We Americans will meanwhile try to salvage our nation from those who think like you.
        frgough
      • @frgough

        You mean the right to religious freedom... as long as you don't want to build a mosque nearly 3 blocks from Ground Zero?<br><br>The right to your home .... as long as a casino redevelopment in, iirc, Massachusetts doesn't want the land and the town expropriates it for "the common good?"<br><br>The freedom to travel .... as long as your name doesn't sound like one of the thousands on a secret list compiled by Homeland Security?<br><br>The right to go about your business freely and without fear of being stopped and questioned.... as long as you don't look like a foreigner in Arizona? Or, look like a foreigner within 100 miles of the <i>northern</i> border with Canada?<br><br>There are countries where the citizens are free to go about their business anywhere, form their religious centres wherever they want, travel freely, and own property without fear of a commercial entity using a local government to seize their property.
        snberk341
  • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

    My cats will likely use the cardboard edges as a scratching post.
    ZStoner
  • And could moisture effect the components inside

    if used in a slightly humid environment?

    What stops the cardboard from absorbing moisture from the air?
    Tim Cook
    • My dog

      @Mister Spock ...would contribute to the moisture first chance he got.
      Papa_Bill
  • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

    worst. idea. ever
    explodingwalrus
    • I'm all for recycling, preserving Earth's health, but

      @explodingwalrus This is an absolute travesty, it practically mocks the whole idea they claim to support.
      If you want eco-friendly, drop the pretty plastic doodads, stay with aluminum. It's 100% recyclable and it's relatively cheap to do so.
      Papa_Bill
  • Dust

    As cardboard ages, it releases dust; just ask anyone who works in a warehouse.

    Dust on inside of your computer-case...wonderful!
    trickytom3
  • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

    So the company "claims" it won't burst into flames. Might want to check with your insurance company before buying one of these things.
    aep528
    • RE: Brown box design: Recompute offers PCs built with cardboard cases

      @aep528

      Two words: fire retardants.
      webmaster@...