Computers

Xi3 modular computer to make global debut at CES 2011

Xi3 modular computer to make g...
The Xi3 Modular Computer features Dual Core processing power, a host of external connectivity ports, and splits the motherboard over three hot-swappable parts
The Xi3 Modular Computer features Dual Core processing power, a host of external connectivity ports, and splits the motherboard over three hot-swappable parts
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The Xi3 Modular Computer features Dual Core processing power, a host of external connectivity ports, and splits the motherboard over three hot-swappable parts
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The Xi3 Modular Computer features Dual Core processing power, a host of external connectivity ports, and splits the motherboard over three hot-swappable parts
The system comes with a AMD Athlon Dual Core processor, at up to 2.2GHz
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The system comes with a AMD Athlon Dual Core processor, at up to 2.2GHz
Size comparison -
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Size comparison -
Size comparison - the Xi3 divides the familiar motherboard into three distinct areas
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Size comparison - the Xi3 divides the familiar motherboard into three distinct areas
The Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable - and colorful
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The Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable - and colorful
The handy Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable
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The handy Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable
Digital render of the Xi3
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Digital render of the Xi3
Exploded diagram outlining the benefits of the Xi3 Modular Computer system
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Exploded diagram outlining the benefits of the Xi3 Modular Computer system
The Xi3's lightweight aluminum casing has mounting slides on three of its sides to cater for mounting on the back of a monitor or chaining together
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The Xi3's lightweight aluminum casing has mounting slides on three of its sides to cater for mounting on the back of a monitor or chaining together
There's half a dozen USB 2.0 ports to attach I/O peripherals, external storage and so on
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There's half a dozen USB 2.0 ports to attach I/O peripherals, external storage and so on
The Xi3 Modular Computer is 1080p high definition capable and can slot onto the back of a monitor via any of three sides
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The Xi3 Modular Computer is 1080p high definition capable and can slot onto the back of a monitor via any of three sides
The Xm3dia port - a new technology developed for the Xi3 system which is described by the company as "a powerful, feature-rich, bus system designed for limitless expansion."
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The Xm3dia port - a new technology developed for the Xi3 system which is described by the company as "a powerful, feature-rich, bus system designed for limitless expansion."
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There seems to be a different computer solution for every desktop and network problem – from home systems to home built machines to those that serve the business community. The Xi3 Corporation claims that its scalable, modular system offers a somewhat different approach to the rest of the field. Each palm-sized cube features interchangeable and adjustable boards for maximum adaptability, Dual Core processing power and low power consumption.

Built on an architecture developed by ISYS Technologies, the Xi3 Modular Computer system benefits from up to 2GB of DDR2 memory (with 4GB coming in the future), is full 1080p high definition capable, and sports USB 2.0, DVI, eSATA, Ethernet and audio ports. There's also something called the Xm3dia (pronounced "X media") port – a new technology developed for the Xi3 system which is described by the company as "a powerful, feature-rich, bus system designed for limitless expansion."

The handy Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable
The handy Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable

The 4 x 3.65 x 3.65-inch (101.6 x 92.8 x 92.8mm) unit combines a flow-through design and precise component placement to help dissipate heat blooms, and divides the familiar motherboard into three distinct areas. There's one for processors and memory, and the other two to take care of all the connectivity requirements. To maximize system adaptability and scalability, each board can be removed and upgraded or tailored to a specific setup – from a single low-power home computer right up to deployment in call center-type operations.

The basic configuration comes with 8GB of internal storage, but will work with various hard disk and solid state drive storage solutions if required. There are three AMD Athlon processor configurations on offer, running up to the Dual Core 3400E at 2.2GHz, and the Xi3 is Windows 7-friendly. Its lightweight aluminum casing has mounting slides on three of its sides to cater for mounting on the back of a monitor or chaining together.

The Xi3 Modular Computer is currently being made available in limited evaluation quantities and will start at US$849 for the basic configuration when it becomes available to a wider market base next year.

The Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable - and colorful
The Xi3 Modular Computer is scalable and adaptable - and colorful

The Consumer Electronics Association has just named the Xi3 Modular Computer an Innovations Award Winner in the Computer Hardware Category for CES 2011. Those wanting a closer look can visit the company's stand at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, where the Xi3 system will make its global debut.

View gallery - 12 images
5 comments
Mr Stiffy
What a crock of shit - $900 for a wee box... I\'ll bet it\'s gutless and at that price, I can get a 2 x better specced unit, at half the price - with bog stock \"any computer shop\" parts.
n3r0
@Mr Stiffy And you\'ll have to replace it when its outdated. With an Xi3, every time you need more processing power you just add another cube doubling your processing power. I think its a great idea even though its a little expensive.
Facebook User
n3r0,
That\'s what I first thought when I read the title of the article, but it seems the words modular and scalable refer to the various mother board setups. Think about it, what operating system would a truly modular, scalable home pc architecture run? Not windows, that\'s for sure.
Patrick Weddell
@n3r0: Expanding processing power by adding units to the system will inexorably lead to diminishing returns. Each time you add another unit, the gain in processing power will always be less than the sum of each unit\'s individual processing power. n*P< P(total) where n is the number of processors, and P is the processing power of an individual unit.
Charles Bosse
Too bad these come with old technology. These would be great with a cross of laptop archetecture i7 series chips and a custom linkable board capable of easy expansion.