Skip Links

Razer's modular Project Christine makes building PCs as easy as building Legos

Razer's new Project Christine promises an end to snapping computer hardware together and wrangling cables. Also, it looks like a tree.

By Hayden Dingman, PC World
January 08, 2014 09:12 AM ET

PC World - It's a tree! It's a ribcage! It's...an incredibly modular desktop computer that allows users to easily swap in new components with minimal computer knowledge? And it's designed by Razer?

Wow.

Razer's calling the concept Project Christine, and promises to open up the full power of PC hardware even to those with no technical knowledge.

 
Project Christine (1)
PCWorld (US)
Razer's Project Christine
 

Each of the branches on this industrial tree is a discrete component--a CPU, a GPU, a hard drive, memory--that simply plugs into the central backbone. Once slotted in, Project Christine automatically syncs the newly added module through the magic of PCI-Express (the same bus that discrete graphics cards currently use).

As someone who has built and mucked around inside countless PCs, I'm not joking when I say this sounds like magic. The current model is basically: "find the correct inputs and outputs for dozens of tiny components, snap them all together, and pray nothing breaks."

Now let's compare this primitive, brutal method to Project Christine:

"Need more graphics processing power or storage? Easy--a user can slot-in additional graphics modules and add more storage by either swapping-out the existing storage drives or adding more modules," states Razer's announcement.

"Modules connected to the PCI-Express backbone can be added in any order or combination, featuring up to quad-SLI graphics, multiple SSD and RAID storage components, I/O and even power supplies, ensuring maximum flexibility," Razers continues.

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD Best of CES 2014: In Pictures | A complete list of stories from CES 2014 +

Each module contains a self-contained liquid-cooling system. Liquid cooling both keeps the system quiet (no more fan hum!) and, according to Razer, allows components to be factory overclocked without voiding warranties.

No need to wrangle cables. No scary "this motherboard is about to snap in half" moments when you need to replace your RAM.

And more importantly, no need to replace your entire system when you upgrade. Razer claims that as technology evolves, so will Project Christine's modules. Upgrading your system will be as easy as removing the old module (say, your graphics card) and slotting the new one in. Seamless.

"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," says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director.

Oh, and despite the fact that Razer wasn't on stage with Valve Monday night during the announcement of 14 new Steam Machines, Razer doesn't want to be left out. The company states that Project Christine will be able to run multiple operating systems--wink wink, nudge nudge.

One door opens, another closes

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Project Christine sounds like a dream, and I'm certainly impressed by the concept, but I'm also hesitant.

Razer pays lip-service to the openness of the PC platform in its announcement, but claims "only the most hardcore enthusiasts have been able to take advantage of this openness to build, customize, and continuously upgrade" due to the complexity of PC hardware.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

Our Commenting Policies
Latest News
rssRss Feed
View more Latest News