Xi3 Intros Easy-To-Upgrade Modular PC

Wednesday Xi3 Corporation announced the Xi3 Modular Computer, slated as the last computer you may ever need to buy. The bold statement is backed by six U.S. Patents and an award-winning design aimed to make upgrades super-easy for consumers.

The rig was showcased Tuesday night at the CES Unveiled@NY Showcase and Networking Reception and was named as an Innovations Award Winner in the Computer Hardware category for CES 2011. It sported a cube-like aluminum chassis measuring less than 4-inches per side, and a motherboard that was divided into three separate sections-- one section for the processors and RAM, and two sections handling all connectivity and input/output requirements.

"We reject the concept that computers should have a useful life of only two to four years," said Jason A. Sullivan, President and CEO of Xi3 Corporation. "Instead we believe that computers should be upgradeable and updateable over and over and over again, and that’s how we’ve designed the Xi3 Modular Computer, making it (potentially) the last computer you ever need to buy."

According to Xi3, the rig's aluminum casing serves as a heatsink, while the flow-through design and the placement of the 64-bit x86 processors combine to help mitigate and dissipate heat blooms inside the enclosure itself. Three of the external sides even play host to universal mounting slides, allowing users to mount the Xi3 Modular Computer to almost anything.

As for specific specs, the modular computer will feature an AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor (2000+, 3400e, 4200+), up to 2 GB DDR2 667/800 RAM (4 GB in later models), dual display support for 1080p DVI, VGA, HDMI, LVDS and DisplayPort, and 128 MB of side port memory. It also offers six USB ports, 2 SATA ports, Xi3p, PCIe 1x and more.

The Xi3 Modular Computer isn't expected to go retail until early 2011--currently the company is offering the rig for evaluation and proof-of-concept purposes. However when it finally reaches the market, consumers should expect to pay a base price somewhere around $850 USD. Based on the specs, three models will be available to consumers.

  • kelemvor4
    Ok but aren't all computers (except macs) upgradable and modular? If not, I better call eVGA and see if I can cancel my gtx 580 order ;)
  • amdwilliam1985
    Great idea in theory, but in reality how does it handle when Intel/AMD changes the socket type? example, socket 939 to AM2.
  • Hard Line
    interesting idea but not for ppl with high power requirements I can't see an i7 in that.. i don't think it could keep it cool enough
  • killerclick
    Cool but I think the market for upgradeable PCs will be dead soon, what with services like OnLive and cheap powerful hardware with electronic hardware upgrades. They'll just sell us sealed black boxes, maybe with the ability to change hard drives externally and that's it.
  • dman3k
    I looked at it. And it doesn't look too easy that you have to purchase proprietary parts from Xi3.
  • @kelemvor4

    if i understand this correct.... it's a modular motherboard, upgrade from USB3 to light-peak can be handled via simply swapping out the IO module, new CPU can be accommodated via swapping out the CPU module, sounds interesting, have to see it in practice to see if it's viable
  • gsacks
    Modular to a point. Like any PC, if you replace a main component, like the motherboard, you basically have a brand new PC as far as your operating system is concerned, which means all sorts of driver issues unless you re-install the OS. Not to mention that Windows will probably require re-activation, and if you have an OEM version, then MS may not be too keen on allowing that. Nice concept though, and it look pretty cool.
  • gorillateets
    This is retarded. Another gimmick for some idiot to buy. It's so tiny you could never do any high performance computing in this. Have they gotten with mobo manufacturers to change standardization? I couldn't even fit my 5870 in that case. What's the point here? And good obversation on drivers...Count me out. I'll stick with my mid tower.
  • tommysch
    My HAF-932 is modular and easy to upgrade.
  • Khimera2000
    It would be cool if you could slap multiple units together so you can have more moduals in one system.