Tiny, upgradable system has three-story mobo


— 4:19 PM on November 11, 2010

Xi3 has announced an interesting machine for those who value a small form-factor and the ability to upgrade, but don't need a ton of computing power.

The press release from Xi3 neatly sums up some of the system's unique selling points:

Measuring less than 4-inches per side, powered by 64-bit x86 dual core processors, yet requiring an average of 20 Watts or less to operate, the Xi3 Modular computer is a small cube-like computer that is completely modular in nature. The Xi3 Modular Computer is supported by six issued U.S. patents and utilizes the Xi3 computer architecture which divides the classic motherboard into three separate boards

  •     One board that houses the processors and RAM, and
  •     Two additional I/O boards to handle all connectivity and input/output requirements.
Each Xi3 board can be quickly removed, modified and/or replaced.

Dividing the machine's motherboard into independent circuit boards is an intriguing idea and does open the door to some easy upgrades. Based on the existing hardware, I have a feeling the upgrading urge will strike sooner rather than later; the speediest configuration of this machine boasts a Athlon 64 4200+. Graphics duties are handled by a Radeon HD 3200 integrated GPU. And if you enjoy using a hard drive in your day-to-day computing, well, you'd better bring one—the spec sheet makes no mention of built-in storage.

Retail pricing has been set at $849, which might strike some as insanely, G4 Cube-esque overpriced a tad high, so it will be interesting to see how the system fares when it hits shelves in early 2011.

   
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