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Dell XCS modular concept PC

by Bob Crabtree on 6 July 2006, 12:23

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaf7i

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Designer Matthew Ritter has come up with a modular concept PC for Dell intended to make upgrading ultra-easy and fool-proof. The barrel-shaped system box accepts cartridge-mounted hard-discs and DVD burners, plus processors units that would normally sit on slot-in cards - graphics, PhysX, sound, whatever. 

Swapping components looks to be no harder than changing the tape in a VCR - and that should be welcomed, even by techies who get their rocks off doing tricky upgrades.

Dell XCS modular concept PCThe XCS can be free-standing or
located on a cradle (click for larger image)

The product is featured on Yanko Design's site. This says (none too elegantly):

The Dell XCS is the next evolution in desktop computing. By encapsulating the components and hiding the circuit boards from consumers, the fear and intimidation of upgrading a computer is eliminated. Each component is a modular and shaped so that it cannot be inserted into the wrong place. A number system was also developed to replace confusing specifications that are present on today's software.

However, anything that increases the per-unit cost of systems and peripherals - and this cartridge-mount idea certainly would do that - goes right against the over-riding market trend for peripherals to be ultra-cheap commodity products, like PCs that use them.

Clearly, peripheral makers and system builders might like things to be otherwise, but we have strong doubts that they'll get their wish.

And what also has to be in doubt is Dell's intention ever to bring the XCS (Extensible Computer System) to market when the company, arguably, is still a box-shifter at heart.

However, there are plenty of indicators that Dell is keen to get extra added value from what it sells, perhaps typified by its move into printers and the repeat revenue that now brings in from replacement cartridges.

More directly relevant, Dell now sells high-def TV sets (as well as HD monitors) and took a serious step into gaming machines with the XPS range. It also acquired Alienware in the spring and that further underlines its intention to get more cream from PC-system sales. And, for sure, the XCS fits in better with those kinds of products than Dell's usual flog-em-cheap systems.

So does the XCS appeal or have you reasons for believing it's not really a goer? Share your thoughts in the HEXUS.community.


HEXUS.community - discussion thread about this article
Yanko Design - Matthew Ritter's Dell XCS concept PC
HEXUS.gaming headline - Dell XPS at E3
Press release - Dell buys Alienware

HEXUS Forums :: 28 Comments

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Oooh now that I like a LOT :)

Easy to upgrade, looks very nice and futuristically styled.
But it's a Dell. If it's launched - you won't be able sell it, surely?

I like the design and actual concept itself as you could in theory have 2 systems in bits and just swap and change to and from the configurations when needed.

I.e - System 1 - SLI graphics, 2 x HDD's, Physx and X-FI modules
System 2 - 1 7900 GTX, 4 x HDD's, X-FI module and Dual DVB-T Tuner

Now that design looks like it would take what - 2 minutes at the most to swap and change the cartidges and change 1 PC to another design with a different OS as well :)
i personally think it looks terible. its just completely alien compared to anything else ive had to deal with in the past i guess
I think Asus recently gave details of a modular system, which was all rectuangular based.

This isn't really a new idea, as similar things in principal have existed since the early 80's…. It's just the styling can be more flexible now :)