The lights are on
The auto industry gets to fiddle around with concept designs all the time; it only seems fitting the PC industry should be able to do the same. Here's the scope on Razer's experimental modular PC: Project Christine.
Razer likes to bring concept designs to CES. Products like the Edge and the Blade both started out as concept pieces unveiled at previous CES shows, so it's possible that we'll see a retail version of Razer's newest wild child, Project Christine.
Upgrading a PC isn't hard, but it can be a spendy venture if you make a mistake, and the complexity of the parts often scares away many consumers who often choose to buy a pre-constructed box instead. Razer's new modular PC concept is designed to make upgrading a PC a breeze, which could save you money in the long run.
Project Christine features a simple PCI-Express backbone tower fitted with a series of ports for modular PC components. These modular units could be graphics cards, hard drives, Blu-ray players, or even touch screens that allow you to interface directly with your system and check PC metrics. The bottom of the system features a mineral oil reservoir, which silently liquid cools every other module in the unit.
The system's Lego-like design allows users to arrange their computer however they want. Feel like you need more graphical processing power or storage? Simply slot-in an additional graphics modules and add more storage by either swapping-out the existing storage drives or adding more modules.
During my demo of the system at CES, I got to test out how simply the modules slide in and out of the unit and how sturdy the system is built. Even the most technologically intimidated person could upgrade their PC if it featured a modular design like this one. And as new upgrades come to the market, such a PC could easily be upgraded without the fear of incompatibility or obsolescence. Of course, who will manufacture these modular parts and how much they might cost are still questions without answers.
“Project Christine is a new concept design that will revolutionize the way users view the traditional PC," said Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan, "This is the first gaming system that is able to keep pace with technology and could allow consumers to never buy another PC, or gaming system, again. We have a history of bringing incredibly innovative concept systems to market and it’s fair to say that Project Christine is a very exciting new prospect for future development.”
While Project Christine is certainly a cool looking unit, I do wonder if the system's modular design could affect its gaming performance. When it comes to gaming hardware, you traditionally want to keep your chips as close to each other as possible, but in a world where Sony can let us play PlayStation through the cloud (hopefully) without much of a hiccup, maybe a modular gaming PC isn't so crazy. I certainly love the system's design sense, so I hope I'll love its performance, if Razer actually ends up making this crazy thing.
Check out Razer's other CES offering, the Nabu smartband.
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