If you think about it, all PCs are modular, except for maybe supercomputers and certain rackmount systems that we want no part of trying to lift. But Xi3 Corporation takes the concept to a whole new level.
Xi3's new Modular Computer (fitting name, eh?) has already picked up an Innovations Award in the Computer Hardware category for the 2011 International CES trade show, and for good reason. This diminutive, cube-like PC is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet surprisingly functional.
"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."
Say what? Each Xi3 board can be removed, modified, or replaced. CrunchGear pooh-poohs the concept, saying that this describes every PC in existence,and that's fair but this one measures less than 4 inches per side. Not only that, but there's a ton of connectivity options, including a pair of eSATA ports, six full power USB 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort, DVI-I (supports HDMI adapter), audio inputs, and more. There's even an external PCI Express port.
Current models include a choice between an Athlon 64 2000+ (1GHz), 3400e (1.8Ghz) or 4200+ (2.2GHz) processor along with 1GB/2GB/4GB of DDR2-667/800 memory.
These aren't cheap, though. Pricing starts at $850 and is available in limited supplies for evaluation and proof-of-concept purposes. General availability is expected for early 2011.