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 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 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.

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