$380,000 spent designing one tiny part of a laptop


I was expecting to read about how they’d come up with something truly novel with the port, maybe it saves space, or has a better connection to your device, but it seems (unless I misread the article) that they spent almost 400K because they wanted it to be lime green (a very specific lime green, but still…)

I’ll stick with Apple for now.


Dan Nosowitz sees, in a very expensive gaming laptop, the hand of Jobs

There’s got to be a better way of saying that.


Obtaining any desired color, in any desired plastic, HAS to be a matter of simple engineering these days. Roll 3D6 under your intelligence to determine whether you believe it actually cost that much for this specific item… and remember that most of us have intelligence of at least 16 and some are approaching 18/00.

(Maybe it cost that much to convince a plant to clean its equipment, reload with the preferred color, do a production run, clean again and reload with their usual stock, but that’s a very different matter.)


Can you think of one?


Oh Rob, you blow-hard.


Did anyone actually read the article?

The Razer Blade’s ports are a specific shade of acid green, the same shade as the company’s logo and keyboard backlighting. To get the right shade of green in the plastic for the USB ports required a lot of trial and error; this is something nobody’s ever made before, so it wasn’t as simple as just delivering an order. “We wanted to get the specific acid green that we really liked, which means [this color of plastic] could only be used for our purposes. We’re the only people in the world that use that hue,” says Min.

It became much more complicated a task than anyone realized, for the simple reason that nobody had bothered to do this before. “We had to send people to the factory to make sure the color mix is perfect, we had to do quality control to make sure the color wouldn’t change over time,” says Min. He actually sent three of his top engineers out to Taiwan, the location of the factory that was producing the Blade. “They spent Christmas and New Year’s at the factory just to get the color just right for us,” he says. Then Min himself flew out to the factory to double-check.

$380k just to make the USB port green? Christ, what an asshole.


that’s the worst kind of job, i prefer the kind that starts with the letter B.


OK - does this means they spent $380K just to get a damn plastic part the right color? If so they got fucked by the factory. Or did they spend like $30K getting the color right and the factory set up, and then bought $350K worth of USB ports?


A Ballmer job? No thanks.


Fast Co Design’s Dan Nosowitz sees, in a very expensive gaming laptop, the hand of Jobs:

Kinda wonder what the consensus would have been if Steve Jobs had done the same.

But yeah…seems kinda lame that they had to make the frickin’ USB ports match the green on the rest of the case, and were willing to blow anything that close to half a million to get it exactly right, when it looks like it’s just a USB port with a custom color.

But, TBH, having spent way too many years repairing Macs in that transition period between the last of the beige Macs, and the first of the gumdrop iMacs, G4s, on up through the G5s…I gotta tell ya, while Apple hardware tends to be great, there are some things with Apple gear that, at least back then, just make you go “WTF?” I hope whoever decided to put the PSU so close to the flyback transformer on the old G3 iMacs, and the later eMacs, got demoted to janitor; or worse, sent packing and got a job at Dell.

I guess what I’m getting at is that the Cult of Apple can be weird and annoying. They’re one of the better computer companies out there, though, yeah.

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But Jeff, the color mix had to be perfect!

oh god, i’m going to have nightmares from that image combined with this subject. you win. thanks a lot. :slight_smile:

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You know, as someone who writes branding guidelines as part of my job I can actually sympathize with that kind of obsession.

Hmm - that’s nice - but can I get it in cornflower blue?

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Cripes, I doubt the USB consortium spent that much designing the connector in the first place, or they wouldn’t have wound up with a symmetrical plug that somehow invariably tries to go in the wrong way first.


Several things.

  1. Steve Jobs’ obsessive demands for particular design constraints never related to something as simple as colour, except in the case of him demanding that the factory was white like the shrink-o cam room in Willy Wonka… and that wasn’t the product, it was the thing making the product.

  2. People who think it’s trivial getting a particular colour or process done as per your requests in China or much of asia: you clearly don’t know anyone who gets things manufactured in China. A friend who gets things produced there has to literally go and watch them to make sure they do exactly as he’s asked and then even when they’ve got it right they do something dodgy like put his product in their “we make this” factory showroom, despite his express instructions not to, so people don’t steal their designs.

  3. The 380k to spend on a thing that gamernerds will notice and like, but will add next to nothing to the laptop otherwise, is a big fat waste of cash. Stick a black one in there… done. No way would their sales have differed much with black ports instead of green, until now that they’ve been written up on fast co and BB… nice work on the guerrilla marketing there Razer! That being said, the 380k figure would also likely include all the wages and travel costs they spent on working on this thing. Their staff were at the factory over xmas and new year so i’m guessing they got a pretty sweet deal out of it.

  4. I question you this Razer: Why the hell didn’t you invest in translucent inserts for the usb ports and rely on the internal green lighting to illuminate them? Colour reproduction issues go out the window and you’d actually have something useful that differentiates your product from the market: glowing USB ports.

  5. Yes, Razer, you can hire me and give me awesome computers.



“I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?”


Man… I agree somewhat but have always been a bit peeved by this argument, since you can see the tab things in the port and easily figure out which way it goes.

PS: there is actually a standard of-sorts but some manufacturers are mean and just do whatever they want. Usually the ports are set up so the little square “holes” in the USB plug are facing up when you insert the plug. If the port is vertically aligned, the little holes usually have to be on your left-hand-side.

An icon is not a product and he was talking about it not matching the original, not about it not being the right design choice.