ComputerWorld Features RESCUECOM in Article on Xi3

Xi3 Modular Computer Has Easily Replaceable Parts

XI3 announces easy-to-upgrade PC

COMPUTERWORLD
November 10, 2010

Startup XI3 announced a modular computer with components that it says can be easily repaired or upgraded, which could help users save money and keep up with changes in technology.

Startup XI3 announced a modular computer with components that it says can be easily repaired or upgraded, which could help users save money and keep up with changes in technology.

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 on XI3's website. 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.

But with fully equipped PCs available for less than $300, the $849 price could be considered expensive. A company spokesman did not immediately comment on the viability of XI3.

It takes a lot of work to put components together in such a small size, and a niche audience of technology enthusiasts could be interested in this product, said David Milman, CEO of computer repair firm Rescuecom.

A majority of PC buyers are not technical people and want to buy integrated PCs at low prices, he said. Many users are also technophobic and unwilling to mess around with components because of the complexity involved.

In some ways, the PC could be likened to Apple products, which are well-designed and carry a premium price, Milman said. The XI3 computer could also find an urban audience willing to pay more.

"If the machine is durable then they will be able to sell them in places where space is at a premium, like New York, Chicago or downtown Los Angeles," Milman said.

Google Reviews

Mina Kenevan
Mina Kenevan
in the last week
Been with rescuecom for over 7 years very happy with the service.
...Been with rescuecom for over 7 years very happy with the service. less
Justin Kaplan
Justin Kaplan
in the last week
Very unusual to have someone helping with my computer to go out of their way to help, doing some thi
...Very unusual to have someone helping with my computer to go out of their way to help, doing some things that I was hesitant to even ask. Excellent overall. less
Nikki Edwards
Nikki Edwards
a week ago
This was my first experience with Rescuecom. I got a tech named Roy.He was amazing! He was knowledge
...This was my first experience with Rescuecom. I got a tech named Roy.He was amazing! He was knowledgeable, patient, with excellent customer service skills. While fixing my machine, he built great rapport to avoid dead air. He was so detailed oriented that he even concluded that I wore glasses simply because my fonts were SLIGHTLY larger. He went above and beyond by ensuring that my virus infected machine was cleaned to perfection to include edge, IE, google chrome etc...I will request him every time. You should also! less
David Elderkin
David Elderkin
a week ago
Andrew was very nice, very professional, and funny (!). I enjoyed having him help me. and look forw
...Andrew was very nice, very professional, and funny (!). I enjoyed having him help me. and look forward to speaking with him again (not for a serious problem, i hope) less
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