Xi3 Launches Miniature Modular Computer - InformationWeek

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11/11/2010
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Xi3 Launches Miniature Modular Computer

The 4-inch cube-like PC divides the motherboard into three separate modules, simplifying upgrading and networking, said Xi3.

Xi3 Modular Computer
(click image for larger view)
Xi3 Modular Computer

Taking a new approach to personal computing, Xi3 has unveiled its Xi3 Modular Computer, which resembles an aluminum cube, and targets home and office users.

The Xi3 Modular Computer's architecture divides the standard motherboard into three separate boards -- one that houses the processors and RAM and two additional I/O boards to handle all connectivity and input/output requirements, the Salt Lake City-based Xi3 said. All three of the boards can be removed, modified, and replaced.

The individual modules back each other up so that the computer has no single point of failure, the company said. Adding other modules for scalability is not a problem and a network-like environment can be easily created to increase the computer's processing capabilities as requirements change, according to Xi3. The modular design makes it easy for new external devices to be connected to the computer, Xi3 said.

The Xi3 Modular Computer measures less than 4 inches on each side and is powered by dual-core processors, but requires less than 20 watts to operate, the company said. The device's aluminum casing acts as a type of "heatsink," and the heat generated inside is lessened by its flow-through design and the way the processors have been placed, Xi3 said. Separate universal mount slides have been placed on three of the aluminum casing's external sides so that it is easy to mount it to almost anything, according to Xi3.

"We reject the concept that computers should have a useful life of only two to four years," said Jason A. Sullivan, president and CEO of Xi3, in a statement. "Instead we believe that computers should be upgradeable and updateable over and over and over again, and that's how we've designed the Xi3 Modular Computer, making it (potentially) the last computer you ever need to buy."

A companion product, the Z3RO (Zero) Module, connects to the Xi3 Modular Computer so that three additional workstations can be integrated.

The Xi3 Modular Computer will retail for under $1,000 and will be available in early 2011.

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