Peripherals specialist turned PC manufacturer Razer has unveiled a concept design for a modular gaming PC, dubbed project Christine, which offers plug-and-play configuration without the requirement for technical knowledge.
Designed for gamers who want a custom PC but who lack the knowledge to shove a PCI Express card in the right way round, the Christine concept system uses a central pillar to which component modules are connected across a proprietary PCI Express backplane. Each module is self-contained and liquid-cooled - full-immersion oil cooling, according to Razer - and contains the components most commonly upgraded: graphics cards, storage devices, and - interestingly - even the system's power supply. A dual-slot module containing a touch-screen interface is also suggested as a potential accessory. The CPU, however, would remain in the central pillar - meaning upgrading that component is off-limits without a screwdriver and considerable patience.
'Project Christine is a new concept design that will revolutionise the way users view the traditional PC,
' crowed Razer co-founder and chief executive Ming-Liang Tan at the concept's unveiling during Razer's CES presentation. 'This is the first gaming system that is able to keep pace with technology and could allow consumers to never buy another PC, or gaming system, again. We have a history of bringing incredibly innovative concept systems to market and it’s fair to say that Project Christine is a very exciting new prospect for future development.
While all the technology described by Razer for Project Christine exists, it's far from ready for commercialisation: pod-based, liquid-cooled systems are currently limited to data centre use where their extreme cost and the complexities involved in ensuring a given module can be detached from the system without draining the entire cooling loop or risking a leak are less of a concern. Bringing the price of such a system down to the level where gamers could purchase it won't be easy.
Razer has not suggested when - or if - it will bring Project Christine to market, but has released a teaser video espousing its various advantages over traditional PC designs.