Tech

Lian Li's radical PC desk has a 30" transparent OLED screen on top

lain li dk-07 oled deskImage: Lian Li

I love desks that are also computers. The kind that let you shove the guts of a desktop under some tempered glass and watch your parts go brrrrrr right underneath your fingers. It just makes sense: If you’re building a computer that is essentially the opposite of portable, why not integrate it into the furniture you’re using for it at the same time? Transparent OLEDs do not make sense for any kind of practical application, but they’re perfect for this kind of glorious excess. Enter Lian Li, a PC case maker that’s no stranger to either desks or glorious excess.

Lian Li showed off some of its newest hardware in its Digital Expo videos yesterday, including a new collaboration with SFF specialist Dan Cases and a new Vision case designed for back-facing motherboard connections (the War on Cables continues!). But the showstopper is surely the new prototype for the company’s combination standing desk-PC case designs. These desks already have some pretty rad features, including options for dual chambers accommodating two PC builds at once, and electronic glass that can shift between clear and opaque. But the DK-07 outdoes them all by covering the PC components with a transparent OLED screen supplied by LG.

The 30-inch panel is plugged into the PC itself, essentially working as another monitor, with a non-screen space directly in front where you’d expect a keyboard and mouse to go. It’s flanked by an aluminum surface with a few extra goodies, like a wireless charger that pops up to reveal an outlet and USB ports, and even an integrated coaster with a cooler/heater for your drink. The case itself supports a massive array of fans and/or radiators, with enough space for the largest consumer components and a 340mm graphics card mounted for display with a riser cable.

Aesthetically, the DK-07 looks kind of rough compared to Lian Li’s earlier desks. The seamless glass top is now broken up into four distinct sections, with elements of the component area and frame now fully exposed. You can even see the big barrel of the charging station from the front, awkwardly sitting beneath the desktop surface. But this is still a prototype design, and if it comes to market, I would expect it to be more aesthetically finished. The integrated monitor mount is a nice touch — putting heavy monitors on the glass surface is why I can’t actually build one of these things for my own PC setup.

Is this in any way practical? Of course not! As I’ve said before, transparent screens are something that’s being willed into existence out of the minds of sci-fi movie props. There’s zero benefit to making a display where it’s harder to look at what’s on the screen because you’re also looking at what’s behind it. How telling that Lian Li showed off the desk with a video of waves that’s entirely decorative. But for this kind of over-the-top design, where aesthetically pleasing ridiculousness is the entire point, it makes sense. I hope Lian Li brings this to market, if only because I want to see what the folks at /r/battlestations make out of it.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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