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Razer Project Christine: Modular Gaming PC Business

By - Source: Razer Press Release | B 23 comments

Razer is making a modular gaming PC.

Valve Software and Nvidia aren't the only ones trying to transform the PC gaming scene; Razer is jumping on the bandwagon as well thanks to Project Christine. The company promises that Project Christine will be the most modular gaming system ever, that it will change how users will view PCs from here on out.

According to Razer, this modular setup eliminates the technical know-how, allowing anyone to put a gaming rig together. And as new upgrades come to the market, owners can easily and quickly upgrade the same rig without additional technical assistance or fears of obsoleteness and incompatibility.

We've seen something like this before with Xi3's Piston and its other small form factor modular PCs. However, Razer's take on the modular design appears to be a bit deeper, allowing novice customers to replace the CPU, the GPU, the memory, the storage and more.

Need more storage and graphics power? Simply insert additional modules, or swap the old ones out. The PCI-Express architecture of Project Christine automatically syncs components.

"The modularity of Project Christine make it perpetually customizable, offering plug-and-play upgradability as new and improved technology evolves, ostensibly eliminating the need to replace entire systems," Razer's press release reports. "Modules connected to the PCI-Express backbone can be added in any order or combination, featuring up to quad-SLI graphics, multiple SSD and RAID storage components, I/O and even power supplies, ensuring maximum flexibility."

Razer explains that each sealed module is entirely self-contained and features active noise cancellation and liquid cooling. This aspect allows Razer to factory overclock components without voiding warranties. The system also comes packed with a touch-based LCD screen that indicates control and maintenance information, as well as the ability to run two different operating systems.

When asked about a set of minimum hardware specs, a Razer rep told Tom's that the company is currently looking at all types of components. The project is still a concept, so pricing was out of the question as well. However, here's a neat twist: there may be a tiered subscription system that will send new components to subscribers when they're released.  

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  • 4 Hide
    leo2kp , January 8, 2014 5:19 AM
    Limited to people who want a unique looking PC, have no ambition of building one themselves, and don't care about the make/model of their upgrades.
  • -4 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 8, 2014 5:25 AM
    This is obviously capable of installing SteamOS like every other PC ever made, so why aren't Tom's spamming us with the "Steam Machine" moniker that they seem to be tagging on every other gaming PC in the news? Oversight? Or has the cheque not cleared yet?
  • 3 Hide
    Murissokah , January 8, 2014 5:27 AM
    It's a really innovative design once you get past the fact that it looks a lot like a Thermaltake Level 10 case. Other than that... good luck finding enough people willing to spend big bucks on a PC and not interested in learning how to assemble it.
  • Display all 23 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    Spencer Castillo , January 8, 2014 5:31 AM
    you know its not really that hard to build a pc. Even if its modular im sure this product will be very expensive when this will go out. And how do you address step up in technology like the next usb standard, new PCIE or SATA version or perhaps an upgraded thunderbolt connection?
  • 1 Hide
    Morbus , January 8, 2014 5:46 AM
    I don't find that there's really any need for full upgrades on the traditional PC other than when compatibilities are an issue.*This concept certainly makes it easier to upgrade, but the price premium is way too much. Unless, of course, they market this towards the uneducated user, who doesn't even know PCs can be upgrade, and then it may work. But for a gamer, I don't think the current upgrade process of a PC is enough of a bother to justify the price difference.It certainly looks cool.*The reason I don't think full upgrades are needed beyond the cases where compatibility is an issue, is that if you have a 4 year old computer, you can upgrade just the CPU and the motherboard, or just the RAM, just the storage, just the PSU, just the graphics card. Full upgrades only come for CPU/Motherboard/RAM when you're using an old socket and an old RAM type. If you have an old VGA card you can live with the IGP of a newer CPU so even the VGA doesn't need to be upgraded in those cases!
  • 4 Hide
    quilciri , January 8, 2014 6:00 AM
    Hey, inept rich people! look what we've got for you!
  • 9 Hide
    biohazrdfear , January 8, 2014 6:12 AM
    I've seen products (not like this), taking the modular design and throwing around a few ideas. Anyone seen the Razer Blade series? Those laptops (even though they are very thin) are way over priced. This thing is going to be expensive. So expensive that I'm even less interested in Razer than what I was before. Kill me with fire, but I don't even like their mice.
  • 3 Hide
    therogerwilco , January 8, 2014 6:25 AM
    I'm sorry Razer, but until you increase your warranties and QA on products, count me out.I've gone through 3 mice, 2 keyboards, all but 1 failed within several months of the warranty (1 freaking year for 100+$ keyboards?! Then 2 years for another 100+$ mouse)Sorry Razer, but you've taken enough of my money.
  • 2 Hide
    salgado18 , January 8, 2014 6:27 AM
    I think you guys are missing the point. We all know how to build computers, so it's easy for us, but allowing the process to be idiot-proof can make custom pc builds (those with good graphics cards, memory, ssds, etc) very accessible to the general public, increasing high-end components sales, generating interest from software and game developers in powerfull hardware, and taking the whole system forward. I agree that it looks weird, and will probably be damn expensive, but if the concept makes pcs less of a black art to common people, I guess everyone can benefit from it. Heck, choosing the right motherboard or a psu is hard even for tech-savvy nowadays.
  • -1 Hide
    biohazrdfear , January 8, 2014 6:31 AM
    @salgadoIts a great idea, and I caught that much at least. But the price will be insane, and the modular parts will be insanely priced, too. If someone has deep pockets, or a fetish for the color green, then by all means...get it. But its not worth it. I would advise someone to get a custom PC built at a local computer shop.
  • 1 Hide
    icemunk , January 8, 2014 6:48 AM
    Sounds good for people who want an easy to upgradable system without technical knowledge, but the trade-off will be pricier components.
  • 0 Hide
    xomm , January 8, 2014 7:19 AM
    My first thought was: It'd be cool if we could put our own components in the chassis, and then slot them in without having to buy from Razer.
    Then I realized that this obviously isn't marketed towards me.

    It's just another case of enticing people to spend more money so they have to do less work.
  • 0 Hide
    tmarks11 , January 8, 2014 7:41 AM
    Those who can afford this can also afford to just buy a brand new computer every year, and have tech support handle file migration.This interested in building their own computers would of course want to crack every individual component open, and replace the piece inside instead of buying the (very expensive) replacement module at a 2-3x price premium. And that will be a huge PIA compared to the normal PC cases which we buy with an eye toward easy upgrades.Cool looking. Dead in the Water. DIW.
  • 1 Hide
    ddpruitt , January 8, 2014 7:54 AM
    I like this idea. Hopefully it'll bring around more people to PC gaming. This should also help out with the modular laptop and modular smartphones. It might be a niche market but if some if the benefits trickle down from PCs to laptops on down it'll be helpful for those of us to build all sorts of machines.
  • 3 Hide
    Krazeee , January 8, 2014 8:46 AM
    Apart from everyone hating Razer (Which I have no problem with), I'm just thinking about the issues with this.

    1. It is mineral cooled.OMFG K00L. Not cool. People think that if they stick a system under mineral oil it magically cools it to amazing temperatures. This is true but only for ~an hour under load until the heat gets trapped in the water. At this point, people create methods of circulating the liquid (oil) and find a way to cool it which IS NOT easy.

    Razer is mineral cooling those little black boxes? How will they circulate and cool the oil? To me, It seems like a hard task

    2. Doesn't this look like the thermaltake Level 10? That ugly yet cool thing. Yeah yeah, we got over that a while ago.

    3. Seems like Apple and Razer share investors. They both make nice looking products (idontagreebutwhatever) and they innovate but their innovations hold back the consumer mentally. Ever since all these apple gizmos kids aren't really learning. They know how to use the easy ipad or macbook but when it comes to anything else, they are stuck. All these things to make stuff easier which hinders critical thinking for people. (Iphone, Ipad, <--- My grandparents use them)

    4. Everybody mentioned the price, yeah. We know. Let's just ignore this and look at more indepth issues above though.

    4.5. This is made for the "average person"? Average people don't have $3k+ to spend on a system. And they likely DON'T want to upgrade their parts for $500 a piece.

    Bottomline: Razer shouldn't innovate. It's cute but I'd prefer they begin making computer cases, NOT computer systems. Modular design? Doesn't appeal to me. BUT I really like the middle system that is basically cable control. This also connects all the parts with PCI-Express which makes me wonder where we'll see bottlenecks within the bus.
  • 1 Hide
    mrmotion , January 8, 2014 9:13 AM
    Innovative. I like it or at least the concept. Remember it is just a concept. As for circulation of coolant, look at the picture and notice the .5" (or close to) ports on each side of the connector. That whole center peice as well as holding plumbing and wiring, could also be a reservoir. It has some serious potential. Even if they have to change the front of it to be a 480mm radiator, they still have potential to do what they want. Try not to be short sited.
  • 0 Hide
    Barantos1 , January 8, 2014 10:21 AM
    This is the future of the PC I was awaiting when a modular pc would come out, I am just disappointed it is Razer setting the bar. This idea is perfect for novice computer users as instead of having to buy a new rig every couple of years they can just purchaes a part, snap it in with ease and continue to enjoy their machine. I mean really how often do you need to upgrade a power supply if you have a good one? I look forward to a move towards this so we can also get a game requirement rating scale.
  • 0 Hide
    Krazeee , January 8, 2014 11:04 AM
    Quote:
    This is the future of the PC I was awaiting when a modular pc would come out, I am just disappointed it is Razer setting the bar. This idea is perfect for novice computer users as instead of having to buy a new rig every couple of years they can just purchaes a part, snap it in with ease and continue to enjoy their machine. I mean really how often do you need to upgrade a power supply if you have a good one? I look forward to a move towards this so we can also get a game requirement rating scale.


    Just because you can remove a module doesn't mean a new CPU is going to be compatible with an older system.
  • 1 Hide
    XGrabMyY , January 8, 2014 7:58 PM
    "Modular"How is it anymore modular than a modern PC? I can plug in a new GPU with one thumb screw and two power cables, or slide in a HDD to my wrack with zero screws and 2 cables. What a bunch of asinine garbage.
  • 0 Hide
    Vladraconis , January 13, 2014 1:09 AM
    As XGrabMyY stated, every PC on the planet is modular as hell. You can change the motherboard, CPU, GPU, sound card, network card, storage devices, optical devices, you name it. This project is not any more "modular" than any other PC. The "much modular" catch phrase is a publicity fluke, with no real truth behind it. But yes, it is, theoretically, more user-friendly, and way easier to replace. But this is ease-of-access, not modular.I would have expected Tom's to know this, and point it out. Shame for not doing this, Tom's.
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