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Thread: Razer Comes Up With An Interesting Modular PC

  1. #1
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    Default Razer Comes Up With An Interesting Modular PC

    Phoronix: Razer Comes Up With An Interesting Modular PC

    Razer, the company known for their gaming peripherals, announced at CES today their "Christine" project that is a PCI Express modular design. All components are individually packaged and allows anyone to easily assemble a PC...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTU2MzE

  2. #2
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    Hmm. Interesting idea, but it's not that revolutionary (it's already modular as it is, except for the tight coupling of the motherboard and processor family). This just makes it easier for regular users to swap things out. I'm also not sure how they're going to execute this, given that the motherboard part will need to be upgraded eventually due to new technologies (PCIe 4, DDR4 etc.), or what they will do with the aforementioned problem with GPU and motherboard integration.

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    as if the majority of pc building would be hard ... the only actual skilful part is putting the right ammount of termal paste on the cpu ... and that is mostly done for you already (at least with boxed coolers)

    skilful as in: needs more know-how than basic "put thing in slot that looks the same" which is essentially the same every toddler learns with stars, squares, and balls. Seriously, what could you mess up these days since there are no ambiguous ribbon cables any more (esp. if that side-identifying thingy is broken off) ... everything else just goes in exactly one way ...

  4. #4
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    Interesting, especially connecting RAM over PCIe. How does that work with both Intel and AMD CPUs having built-in memory controllers? That's like a NUMA setup, isn't it?

    And from the two circlular features in each "slot", it looks like the water cooling is shared between modules. That's the sort of thing military hardware has been doing for a while - plug in a module and it also connects into the cooling loop. This ain't going to be cheap.

  5. #5
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    I remember taking apart my SGI O2 Workstation. That's a pretty modular design and it's almost 20 years old. This is an interesting design, but from what I see you need to buy the modules Razer provides. That's not a lot of room for customization. It's probably just an idea to weasel some money from the lazy.

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    Quite inefficient and to expensive, I would think. If this is for the unskilled /untrained consumer and, as the website states, built for quad SLI they will have to start with 800W+ PSU, even if the consumer orders it with a simple GT640 videocard, just for the case he later decides to swap that card out for three GTX780.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vim_User View Post
    Quite inefficient and to expensive, I would think. If this is for the unskilled /untrained consumer and, as the website states, built for quad SLI they will have to start with 800W+ PSU, even if the consumer orders it with a simple GT640 videocard, just for the case he later decides to swap that card out for three GTX780.
    If this is built for the unskilled consumer, then they are not going to get very far with it. If the consumer is unskilled then he is probably not a hardcore gamer, so chances are he's not going to fork over a few thousand dollars for a gaming rig that will also chain him to Razer (I doubt "Factory overclocked components with liquid cooling" are user replaceable). If he IS a hardcore gamer, then he probably knows how to set up his own rigs and customize them per his needs, even if it involves liquid cooling rigs. And it really is easy to assemble a PC from scratch these days. I really can't see how they hope to market this. And when you get a new module, do you get the whole module package and trade-in the old one?

    I also can't imagine why a gamer would need RAID 5. So that levels load up in 18 instead of 20 seconds? Enormous DLC packages and patches? Archiving of epic headshot clips or monumental pwnage?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungManKlaus View Post
    as if the majority of pc building would be hard ... the only actual skilful part is putting the right ammount of termal paste on the cpu ... and that is mostly done for you already (at least with boxed coolers)

    skilful as in: needs more know-how than basic "put thing in slot that looks the same" which is essentially the same every toddler learns with stars, squares, and balls. Seriously, what could you mess up these days since there are no ambiguous ribbon cables any more (esp. if that side-identifying thingy is broken off) ... everything else just goes in exactly one way ...
    You'd be surprised what you could mess up. A friend of mine tried to build a PC a few weeks ago, and they not only forgot to install the CPU before installing the heatsink, they forgot to take off the plastic socket cover that has REMOVE written on it, and couldn't figure out why the heat sink wouldn't fit. They also used the wrong screws in several places which partially stripped the threads. One of their friends sorted out those issues but it still wouldn't boot, so they took it to me. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, everything was installed correctly, so I just pulled it apart and put it back together exactly the same and it started working (with a corrupt BIOS on first boot that had to restore from the backup BIOS).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigaplex View Post
    You'd be surprised what you could mess up. A friend of mine tried to build a PC a few weeks ago, and they not only forgot to install the CPU before installing the heatsink, they forgot to take off the plastic socket cover that has REMOVE written on it, and couldn't figure out why the heat sink wouldn't fit. They also used the wrong screws in several places which partially stripped the threads. One of their friends sorted out those issues but it still wouldn't boot, so they took it to me. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, everything was installed correctly, so I just pulled it apart and put it back together exactly the same and it started working (with a corrupt BIOS on first boot that had to restore from the backup BIOS).
    It definitely requires you to read the enclosed instruction manual. Unfortunately, as of late (as seen in games) people seem to have lost their skill at reading manuals... Of course, in some cases manuals don't exist (laptop disassembly, for instance) and that's a problem, but for regular boxed hardware it shouldn't be an issue.

  10. #10
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    It's an interesting idea at the very least.

    Large PCI Express backplane that you fit CPU and power supply modules into. Any hard drives that you attach probably end up with their own controllers built in to the HD module so that it works over PCI Express. GPUs over PCI Express. Pretty much everything over PCI Express.

    The question I've got is, is this capable of handling multiple CPUs in a NUMA-like architecture connected via PCI Express... Cause I could see someone wanting to build a dual/quad socket system with gobs of memory and a video card or two. From what it looks like, this thing has 14 expansion slots, which could end up being quite flexible.

    I'm not saying I'll be getting one, but I'll at least be interested to see the pricing/specs when they release it.

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