Apple and PC doomsayers like to talk an awful lot about the so-called post-PC era, but you know what? Desktops are far from dead, "they've just been boring," claims the developers of the Xi3 Modular Computer project. They want to change the way computers are built, serviced, and upgraded, but first they need to raise a quarter of a million dollars. Where else to try and do that other than Kickstarter
"One of the biggest problems with desktop computers is that they have to be replaced every few years. They’re also expensive to operate, have roughly the same specs, look like each other, etc., etc., etc. In other words, they’re expensive, boring, and extremely unfriendly to the planet. Not so with the award-winning Xi3 Modular Computer," the developers stated when kicking off their Kickstarter pitch.
The Xi3 is a cube-like machine about the size of a grapefruit (4.73 inches by 3.65 inches by 3.65 inches) and uses a patented tri-board architecture as a substitute for the traditional mobo as you know it. In doing so, the developers claim it's easier to repair, mod, and upgrade.
Already shipping is the company's X5A-5342 model, which consists of a dual-core x86 processor running at 1.8GHz with 2GB of RAM, 16GB-1TB of solid state storage, six USB 2.0 ports, and 2 eSATA ports. It's a fully functional computer that's small enough to hold with your hand, yet powerful enough to handle daily computing chores. The company's upcoming X5A-5342 is an entry level model that will include a dual-core 1.65GHz processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, 32GB-1TB of SSD storage, two USB 3.0 ports, four eSATA ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and a GbE LAN, What about gaming?
For power users and gamers, there's a second device the developers are introducing: the X7A Modular. This is a much more powerful system built with the same design philosophy, but with a quad-core processor clocked at 3.2GHz, integrated graphics with up to 384 share cores, 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and enough power to "handle graphics-rich computer games like Crysis 2 with ease." It will also be able to drive up to three high-definition monitors at the same time.
The biggest trick of all will delivering on these claims at the proposed price points, which are $500 for the X3A and under $1,000 for the X7A.