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Razer's modular Project Christine struggles to get OEM support

by Mark Tyson on 25 March 2014, 16:43

Tags: Razer

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacchv

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Razer unveiled its thought provoking Project Christine modular PC concept at the CES in January and late last week we had an update on its progress from concept to real world via an interview with CEO Min-Liang Tan. From what we hear it looks like the daringly different PC system is just a little bit too different for any major manufacturer to support by providing modules. A modular PC system lives or dies upon its choice of modules and so far trying to get OEM support has been a fruitless venture says Tan in an interview with Polygon.

The Project Christine design got a mixed reception from HEXUS readers, some of whom thought it was an interesting and stylish idea and others who thought it was just a way to get people to pay more for components for a system that is already modular enough. Razer's machine offered more than just PC components in neat boxes connected to a PCI-Express 'spine' however. Its cable-less mineral oil cooled and sealed modules would also be available on a subscription model with several tiers. For instance top level hardware replaced on 'gold subscriber' machines would trickle down to lower level folk as upgrades came around.

Back to the present day and in the few months following the CES show, third party manufacturer support hasn't been overwhelming for Razer. Tan slams the big OEMs for being entrenched in their commodity priced competition groove; "All they ask about is, 'How much money can I make out of this?' They're not interested in innovation at all." Without at a critical mass of support from several manufacturers Project Christine can't happen because swapping out modules to upgrade with just one or two suppliers is going to pale in comparison to the regular PC market.

Tan believes at least three big OEMs need to supply modules for the project to take off and slates the manufacturers for being bean counters and uninnovative. However it appears he has done the project no favours with his browbeating manner ("Don't you guys even want to innovate?") and lack of product forecasts and projections, telling the OEMs he wishes to court, in his own words "Look, we don't know".

In a recent related news piece Fast Company examined the ideas behind the acid green USB ports Razer claims to have spent $380,000 developing.



HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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I really don't see this as a product for the regular consumer

They should start this first with servers, data centers, and maybe even workstations. It would make much more sense because the subscription-based model means that companies need not worry on planning on upgrades to their machines.

But this for regular consumers just seems really expensive. When parts go cheap maybe the market would accept this type of product but till then, it might be a very long time before I get to see one in my room.
When I saw the first article about this I knew it was all a bit top-geary; ambitious but rubbish. It's a great concept, but doesn't take much thought for practical application to realise that it was never going to work.
Maybe a company like ASUS could pull it out of the bag as y'know, they have experience in manufacturing varieties of components and complete systems, not just a tablet and a laptop.
Kudos for trying, but save yourself a lot of trouble and leave it as a concept for now
I really don't see how they need OEMs for such a design, and especially as Intel and AMD want to move to system on chip designs. Also, they can create this system as Apple does with the Mac pro.

These membranes would be the best solution for workstation users that require laptops and generally connect to larger desplays at home or work. They can start by creating this as a dock to include gpu's and other internal desktop parts for laptops. Then they can add CPU's to the mix.
$380,000 just to make the USB ports green ! I at least thought they would have added a little extra speed for all that development.

Main Story: That system does seem a bit far fetched for regular consumers. Also I don't think they could sell it as 'IBM Compatible' if anyone still does that, perhaps i'm wrong though.
kinda happy this **** doesnt get any traction.