Although the personal computer has traditionally been one of the most open platforms in all of technology, due to technical complexities of PC hardware only experienced enthusiasts have been able to take advantage of this openness to build, customize and continuously upgrade their PC desktop systems. In an attempt to enable even unexperienced users to design and upgrade their PCs themselves, Razer on Tuesday introduced its all-new modular PC concept code-named Christine.
The concept of IBM PC-compatible systems has always relied on modular approach to hardware so to allow convenient configuration and reparability. However, not a lot of users can serve their PCs themselves since they need to know how to disassemble personal computers, plug and unplug gables and then install hardware properly (i.e., ensure compatibility between components, make sure there is enough power supply, and efficient cooling). With Razer’s project Christine, end-users will be able to customize, upgrade and tweak their PCs without additional technical assistance and without the fear of incompatibility or obsolescence.
Project Christine’s modular design allows users to easily build their PCs by allowing them to select and install modules on-the-fly, whether it is a microprocessor, graphics processing unit, or memory and storage configuration. The modularity of Project Christine make it perpetually customizable, offering plug-and-play upgradability as new and improved technology evolves, ostensibly eliminating the need to replace entire systems. Modules connected to the PCI Express backbone can be added in any order or combination, featuring up to quad-SLI multi-GPU graphics, multiple SSD and RAID storage components, I/O and even power supplies, ensuring maximum flexibility, according to Razer.
The cable-less design of each sealed module is entirely self-contained and features active liquid cooling and noise cancelation, which allows Razer to factory overclock components without voiding warranties, safely and quietly. The system also features a touch-screen LCD display that indicates control and maintenance information.
“Project Christine is a new concept design that will revolutionize the way users view the traditional PC. This is the first gaming system that is able to keep pace with technology and could allow consumers to never buy another PC, or gaming system, again. We have a history of bringing incredibly innovative concept systems to market and it’s fair to say that Project Christine is a very exciting new prospect for future development,” said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director.
The project Christine concept from Razer looks very promising from many points of view. While we do not know a lot about the architecture of Christine, it looks like it relies on industry standards in a proprietary implementations. This means that the modules may be available only from Razer itself, which means increased prices and limited choice. Besides, hardware these days changes form-factors and comes with exclusive new capabilities, which affects PCs on the platform level. Therefore, even fully-modular PCs will have their limits of upgrade-ability.