Luxury computers

As its qualities are determined by the cutting edge of engineering rather than fashion or component cost, technology defines a competing system of value to traditional luxury. That hasn't stopped Bentley aiming for the old-school appeal with its curious clutch-style $20,000 laptop. Though about as powerful as a late-1990s toilet seat iBook, it even scooped the prestigious Microsoft Fashion PC Award.

You could even say that technology is a problem for makers of luxury goods. Compared to an iPhone, for example, a calculator-display $30,000 cellphone from Vertu has a serious credibility problem. One step removed from a Tomy Teletubbies Telephone sprayed with glue and rolled in diamonds, such designs tread a delicate balance between fashion and ridicule. By thoroughly concealing its functionality with creative design and ostentatious materials, however, Suissa computers' luxury desktop PCs aim to distract buyers from the spec sheet.

Makers of luxury computers have a choice to make: specs or sparkly stuff. The former invests in the diminishing returns of the aforementioned 'alternative' value system, which means maximal engineering at ostenstatious cost, doomed to rapid obsolescence. Boutique gaming PCs, where spending money on hardware is part and parcel of the enthusiast scene, are ground zero for this class of luxury item. What better example than the pure luxury PC above, which is named the Pure Luxury PC. Prices start about just shy of ten grand.

The other option is tradition; the luxuries of gold, mahogany and other artistic and material extravagances that even the most tech-illiterate consumer can appreciate. Here is the beautiful Moneual gold computer, jam-packed with features such as a Core 2 Duo processor, 6" display, and Windows Vista.


  1. I find the first computer quite beautiful, but I can’t imagine spending money on a computer that isn’t current even if I had that kind of money to burn. I don’t understand why they can’t put a good computer inside of a beautiful alligator case.

    1. Agreed! For example, this steampunk one:

  2. There’s part of me that wants to defend these machines by pointing out that most people who’d invest in these things aren’t power users, that the Vista/Core 2 Duo processor in that gold-plated obscenity up there would probably be more than adequate for sending emails and browsing the web.

    Then I remember that it’s 45,000 dollars and the notion of day-to-day practicality goes sailing out the window.

  3. Those are for lame rich people.  I mean, seriously, not one of them includes any shavings from a tyrannosaur fossil.   And all the COOL superrich people these days are getting tyrannosaur fossil shavings integrated in their gold and diamond encrusted iPads.  Sheesh.

    (edited to add: warning, there’s an autoplaying video on the linked page)

  4. the beautiful Moneual gold computer

    Beautiful?  It looks like a lipstick tube I’d expect to find in Loni Anderson’s purse circa 1978.

  5. Compared to an iPhone, for example, a calculator-display $30,000 cellphone from Vertu has a serious credibility problem.

    If rich people were concerned about “credibility” the world would look a lot different than it does.

  6. There’s something to be said for legitimately luxurious products (which most “luxury brands” don’t actually make). They’re beautiful to behold, and feel wonderful to use.

    But the thing about them is that they’re over-built, with expensive materials, for a reason: they’ll theoretically last a lifetime, and can be passed on to your children. One (who is rich) buys these things once, and doesn’t worry about replacing some cheap POS every couple years like us rubes do. For this reason, these items by definition can not be fashionable – it’s something you’re going to live with for a long time. Stylish – of course; fashionable – no.

    So – that’s the problem with this type of “luxury goods” in general. It’s not a true luxury item if it isn’t a stylish classic in terms of design. Some of these designs are not bad – the crocodile (or whatever) is pretty classic, and I think the Pure Luxury computer is pretty cool – it’s tapping into classic 60’s styles.

    Of course, the problem in the case of tech (and, I suppose, Rob’s main point here) is that technology changes so quickly that you simply can’t make “heirloom” technology purchases. I guess this is really the same thing as fashion, which changes almost as quickly as tech.

  7. When following the link in the article, Google Chrome tells me : 
    “ contains content from, a site known to distribute malware. Your computer might catch a virus if you visit this site.”

    So, as well as computers for the rich, they also do a good line in malware, which has probably now infected a bunch of boingboingers.
    If of course there really is any malware.

    1. Strange it should say that. We were hacked a number of years ago and our service provider took full responsibility for the incident. Since then the site was clean installed and checked once a month for any peculiarities of which none have been found. I just did a quick look around and there is no activity or files that should not be there.

  8. The Bentley laptop looks conveniently voluminous to hold the vomit you’ll eject when you see it in real life.

  9. I’m in the wrong racket.  Though the market is pretty small for these (Arab oil sheiks and Russian oligarchs, mostly, I assume), the mark-up must be outlandish.

  10. Though about as powerful as a late-1990s toilet seat iBook, it even scooped the prestigious Microsoft Fashion PC Award.

    Isn’t that kind of like scoring the Creationist Award for Biological Science?

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