The XI3 Modular Computer, a mini-desktop shaped like a cube, can be upgraded by swapping an old board with a new one with the latest technologies, said Aaron Rowsell, chief operating officer at XI3, which is based in Salt Lake City. The PC was shown during a Consumer Electronics Show preview in New York on Tuesday.
The computer has separate customized mini-boards, including a processing board with the CPU, graphics processor and RAM, and a separate connectivity board with video, input and USB connectivity. If a user wants to upgrade a CPU or GPU, the old processing board can be swapped with a new one. Similarly, users can swap the connectivity board to add new display ports or upgrade from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0, Rowsell said.
The PC design is a step away from traditional PC designs in which all components were put on one board. Rowsell said boards based on AMD or Intel CPUs can only be swapped with boards with specific components from the same companies.
The PC's starting price is US$849, which does not include the keyboard, mouse or display. Prices for replacement boards have not yet been set, Rowsell said. For storage, the PC is available with integrated flash storage, or external hard drives can be attached to the system. The computer can be ordered . The PC will start shipping early next year, Rowsell said.
The PC is currently available only with AMD's Athlon processors and includes an integrated graphics processor that can play back full 1080p high-definition video. The PC's boards have up to six USB slots and also can have DVI (digital visual interface), HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) and VGA ports to connect external monitors.