Computers

The Jenga PC? Acer's Revo Build is a modular tower

The Jenga PC? Acer's Revo Buil...
The Acer Revo Build lets you create your own PC like a Lego tower
The Acer Revo Build lets you create your own PC like a Lego tower
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The Acer Revo Build lets you create your own PC like a Lego tower
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The Acer Revo Build lets you create your own PC like a Lego tower
The compact computer is just 4.92 inches square
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The compact computer is just 4.92 inches square
Extra blocks can add a bigger hard drive or better graphics processing
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Extra blocks can add a bigger hard drive or better graphics processing
Each PC is built on top of the same base unit
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Each PC is built on top of the same base unit

Google's Project Ara has shown us how a modular component approach can work with a smartphone, and now Acer is trying the same strategy with the compact PC. Its latest Revo Build machine can be customized and slotted together like a tower made of blocks, with each piece adding extra functionality or capacity.

One block is a 1TB hard drive, for example, while others include a wireless charging dock, a speaker unit, a dedicated Graphics Processor Unit (GPU), a projector and a microphone. All of these extra components fit on top of the core PC itself, which offers the essentials (RAM, CPU and so on), so you can build up a custom-made computer without any screwdrivers or technical know-how whatsoever. It's also possible to switch blocks between different Revo Build PCs.

The benefits of a modular approach are the same with computers as they are with smartphones. First of all, it lets you pick and choose components to match your exact specification and budget. Secondly, it makes upgrading or repairing a device much more straightforward. The only limiting factor is the range of blocks Acer decides to put out, and the manufacturer promises more are on the way soon.

Each PC is built on top of the same base unit
Each PC is built on top of the same base unit

In terms of size, it's very compact indeed: The base unit is just 4.92 inches square with a height of 2.2 inches (56 mm). Inside there's an Intel Celeron or Pentium processor and up to 8 GB of RAM. The base unit also offers three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, an SD card reader and the usual headphone and microphone jacks. Without the extra blocks, those are middling specs which would suit a home theater setup rather than a gaming rig.

If you're tempted with what Acer has to offer, the Revo Build goes on sale in October across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with prices starting at €199 (that's roughly US$225). China and US launches are expected soon after. Just note that we don't yet have pricing information for the blocks added on top of the base unit.

Razer was working on a similar concept but we haven't heard much about it in recent months, so it may well have been abandoned. If you're in the market for a cheap and easily upgradable home computer, there's more on the Revo Build at the source link below.

Source: Acer

6 comments
navmed
Brilliant! Now how does one component communicate with another? I don't see any connections. A video card would require quite a few connectors. It would be really cool if this (or something like it) became an open standard.
Ariane Li
Somehow this seems awfully similar to EzeeCube which we crowd funded on Indiegogo 15 months ago. Are there really no original ideas? Or the big squashing the small? https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ezeecube-the-first-expandable-smart-media-centre#/story Support us instead! We use pogo pins, magnetic, modular, stack... What a co-incidence [Ed. note: See our previous coverage of the EzeeCube at http://www.gizmag.com/ezeecube-private-home-media-cloud/32472/ ]
Pequod42
This is a great idea. But I am surprised that there is no module for memory. Leaving the memory inside the base unit deprives the composite of a very important kind of flexibility. I would hope, as well, that one can add more than one hard drive.
Racqia Dvorak
But PC parts are already modular.... just ask any PC enthusiast.
RelayerM31
It would be nice if computer OEMs got together and had a "stacker" spec. (Something like Olympus and Panasonic did so that their M4/3 cameras can share lenses.) This would be epic. Just agree on a standard size and a standard for connecting the modules. You'd think that at least the Taiwan based firms could get together on something like that.