My top two gadgets from Wired's top ten gadgets of CES


My only concern with Razer’s project is the likelihood of proprietary components… however easy to assemble and upgrade PCs would be great!

Does anyone know if they are going to use open standards or allow third parties to make components?

More components to ship out to the client, more of an attack surface for the NSA’s TAO/ANT operations, no?

/The paranoid ARE out to get you.

But PCs are… already modular, no? If anything, Razer’s design seems less flexible.


PCs are already modular. Making everything have the same type of plug is unnecessary and I am going to assume also adds complexity.

Is pci-e really going to outlast the technology leaps in the coming year or two… or four? This has the same problems all existing PCs have today. Kind of feel like this is smoke and mirrors in a shiny box.


Agreed. Not ground breaking in any way, it is just a gimmicky case. Pc parts ARE modular.

That short throw projector though… oh my.


At this point it’s apparently just a concept. But even if it’s completely open, it’ll still be more expensive and more difficult to find parts than when upgrading a regular PC, so…

Let’s think of it as a gateway drug to modding your own PC.

This reminds me of the phoneblox concept that made the rounds recently, which actually reminded me of Handspring and how you could plug in various modules to create the PDA of your wildest early 90s dreams.

Agreed, it’s tempting.

However, you do have to repaint your walls white. And keep them clean.

And they’d need to be very, very flat.

The projector looked interesting, but I didn’t really want to go through the dog and pony show on Sony’s site. How much is it?

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Hmm, easily upgrade by just slotting in a new … CPU? I’ve heard this for years and yet it seems that everytime I buy a Slot-FOO that claims to be the new “long lived” standard that will allow an endless upgrade path, by the time I get to the point of wanting to upgrade the CPU, the slot design is dead.

Why would Razer be any different from this?

Christine reminds me of the Thermaltake Level 10 Case Except that that was huge and expensive, so you just bought a normal (mid-)tower like everyone else.

So how are any of those components being cooled? Airflow for tiny boxes is usually bad. Do they each have tiny buzzing fans? What about dust build up?

Sony says its Ultra HD movie machine will ship this year, but the company hasn’t announced any pricing yet. You should count on it being expensive.

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Back around 1989 we had a similar modular PC system in our office. Each module was the size of a thick book and had a large bus connector along the bottom on the left and right. The different modules - cpu board, floppy drive, hard drive etc. - connected to each other like books on a book shelf.

This is like Bladecenters and blade servers. Looks nice, but it isn’t.

Decoupling the hardware components is a step in the right direction. I believe it helps reveal the fact that operating systems do not have to be large and centralized as they are now. Each component can run whatever software is needed for it to best provide whatever services it can provide. I could have a computing component which ran Linux or any yet to be developed system and as long as there is a way to discover the capabilities of other components in the same domain then the UI component I’m running could connect the Linux component to any available storage unit in the domain which implements the required capabilities. This obviously scales but in ways which are dependent on the bandwidth requirements. Communications between components should be encrypted, of course, and each component should be secured against tampering (yes, i know, easier said than done).

The downside of projecting on a wall like that is the blacklevel sucks if there is any ambient light in the room at all. You end up needing blackout curtains just to watch TV. Even with the room totally dark, walls are not great projector screens, most people end up installing screens in the end, and screens aren’t cheap either.

Projector bulbs are historically priced at astronomical levels as well, although I don’t know about this projector in particular. Expect to pay $200 every 3000 hours of viewing time to replace the bulb.

You might as well replace ‘likelihood’ with ‘certainty’. They probably won’t use anything fundamentally proprietary (designing your own high speed bus and convincing, say, GPU or RAM manufacturers to use it would be so expensive as to defeat any possible benefits from lock in); but oddball custom mechanical connectors are your only option to build a system like this.

Desktop PCs are more or less wholly standardized (with the exception of the CPU/chipset interconnect, which is proprietary in Intel’s case and ‘standard’ with proprietary sauce in AMD’s; but is always used to connect the manufacturer’s CPU to the manufacturer’s chipset, so incompatibility is not terribly noticeable.); but a full PC incorporates quite a few different standardized connections, most not terribly amenable to ‘just replace magic module A with magic module B!’ type upgrades.

It’s a neat looking case; but it’s a hell of a lot of packaging to buy, and re-buy, in an effort to save ten minutes with a screwdriver…

Why do you hate Progress so much? Surely incremental advances in density are worth moving from 1U pizzaboxes that can be purchased from anyone and dumped into any rack to The Glorious Future, where you first pay $10-$20k for the enclosure, and commit yourself to buying all the following server, storage, and networking modules (and any enclosure management firmware license upgrades they feel like insulting you with) from the same vendor? Oh ye of little faith…

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