Xi3 goes the crowdfunding route for future X3A, X7A modular PCs

Xi3 has been one of the more inventive PC builders in the field, designing its Modular Computers in the belief that small, more upgradable desktops are the way of the future. The company is planning two new systems to further that dream, the X3A and X7A, but it wants our help: it's running a Kickstarter funding drive until October 28th to assist the development and garner some early adopters. Put down $503 or $603 and you'll get the entry-level X3A, a dual-core 1.65GHz (likely AMD E-450-based) PC with 4GB of RAM, a 32GB SSD and either Linux or Windows installed; splurge with $1,103 or more and you'll get the more performance-driven X7A, which jumps to a quad-core chip with a 3.2GHz peak speed, a Windows-loaded 64GB SSD and faster graphics. Assuming Xi3 makes its target, we should see the X3A and X7A arrive in January and February respectively, with Kickstarter supporters beating the larger herd by a week. Even existing owners are accounted for through a Primary I/O Board upgrade, due before the end of this year, that carries more Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports. Crowdfunding is an unusual approach to buying that next PC, without the certainties of shopping at an online store -- but we're also dealing with an unusual PC from the get-go.

Update: Xi3 has put out full details of both the X3A and X7A through an official release three days later, which you'll find after the break. As part of the move, it's slashing the base price of the original X5A design to $499.



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Xi3 Corporation Hits Critical Mass-Unveils Two New Xi3 Modular Computers (the X7A and X3A Models) and Slashes the Price on its Existing X5A-5342 Xi3 Modular Computer

SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Xi3 Corporation today unveiled two new Xi3® Modular™ Computers (the X7A Modular Computer and the X3A Modular Computer).

"Xi3 Modular Computers are designed from the ground up as the computers for the Post-PC Era"
Additionally, the company announced today it has slashed the starting price of its award-winning X5A-5342 Xi3 Modular Computer to $499 from $899.

This news release provides additional product details about the X7A and X3A Modular Computers, both of which were initially disclosed by the company via a Kickstarter project launched by Xi3 three days ago. Xi3's Kickstarter project ("Xi3: Help us Usher in the Post-PC Era") allows Kickstarter Fans and Followers to learn about Xi3's plans for two new Xi3 Modular Computers, while also allowing them to place pre-orders now for X7A Modular Computers and X3A Modular Computers. Additionally, backers of Xi3's Kickstarter project who place a pre-order Pledge for the X7A or X3A will receive their new Xi3 Modular Computer up to two weeks prior to General Availability and will also earn the right to pre-order future Xi3 products for early delivery as well.

"Xi3 Modular Computers are designed from the ground up as the computers for the Post-PC Era," said Jason A. Sullivan, founder and President and CEO of Xi3. "The idea of single-use PCs that have limited useful lives is not only archaic, but it's wasteful and expensive. By contrast, the tri-board design of Xi3 Modular Computers makes it possible to have computers that can be regularly and easily upgraded and modified. And with our newest Xi3 Modular Computers, we're now ready to enter a new era as we expand into the realms of performance computing and low-cost entry-level computing."

X7A Modular Computer Unveiled (for Power Users, Gamers and Engineers)

Xi3's new X7A Modular Computer is designed specifically for gamers, engineers and power users. Housed in the standard Xi3 chassis that measures 4.27x3.656x3.656-inches, the X7A Modular Computer packs a real wallop, especially for a machine roughly the size of a grapefruit that draws a mere 40Watts of power.

The X7A Modular Computer is available with up to

* A quad-core 64-bit, x86-based 32nm processor running at up to 3.2GHz (with 4MB of Level2 Cache),
* An integrated graphics processor (GPU) containing up to 384 programmable graphics cores (or shaders),
* 4GB-8GB of DDR3 RAM,
* 64GB-1TB of internal solid-state SSD storage (with up to 12Gbps throughput speeds),
Three display ports providing maximum resolution of 4096x2160 (including 1 DisplayPort v1.2 and * 2 Mini-DisplayPorts v1.2),
* Four eSATAp 3.0 ports,
* Four USB 3.0 ports,
* Four USB 2.0 ports,
* 1Gb Ethernet port, and
* Three audio ports (1 input and 2 outputs: 1 copper and 1 optical).

Designed to be used as a standalone machine or in clustered configurations, the X7A will run any x86-based Operating System, including Windows 8 and lower, Linux, UNIX, etc. Prices for quad-core versions of the X7A Modular Computer will begin at $1,100, with General Availability starting in February 2013.

X3A Modular Computer Unveiled (for Low-Cost Basic Computing Use)

By contrast, Xi3's X3A Modular Computer is designed for basic computer use, including home and office environments. The X3A Modular Computer is available with up to

* A dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor running at up to 1.65GHz (with 2MB of Level2 Cache),
* An integrated graphics processor (GPU) containing 80 programmable graphics cores (or shaders),
* 4GB of DDR3 RAM,
* 32GB-1TB of internal solid-state SSD storage (with up to 12Gbps throughput speeds),
* Two display ports providing maximum resolution of 2560x1600 (including 1 HDMI/DisplayPort v1.2 and 1 Mini-DisplayPort v1.2),
* Four eSATAp 3.0 ports,
* Two USB 3.0 ports,
* Four USB 2.0 ports,
* 1Gb Ethernet port, and
* Three audio ports (1 input and 2 outputs: 1 copper and 1 optical).

X3A Modular Computers operate at 18Watts of power and will run any x86-based Operating System, including Windows 8 and lower, Linux, UNIX, etc. Prices for dual-core versions of the X3A Modular Computer will begin at $499, with General Availability starting in January 2013.

Starting Price for the X5A-5342 Model Xi3 Modular Computer Dropped to $499

The very first Xi3 Modular Computer (the X5A-5342 model) was introduced by the company in January 2011 at the International CES trade show held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Shipments of the X5A-5342 began later that year and it is now found in use around the world within national and local governmental agencies and departments, educational institutions, large corporations, small businesses and by individual consumers.

Given the pending release of the new X7A and X3A Modular Computers, as well as the forthcoming release of the company's Xi3 microSERV3R™, Xi3 has decided to significantly reduce the starting price point of the X5A-5342 model Xi3 Modular Computer to $499 from $899 effective immediately.

The X5A-5342 model Xi3 Modular Computer runs any x86-based Operating System at 20Watts of power. It is available with up to

* A dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor running at up to 1.8GHz (with 1MB of Level2 Cache),
* An integrated graphics processor (GPU),
* 2GB of DDR2 RAM,
* 16GB-1TB of internal solid-state SSD storage,
* Two monitor ports providing maximum resolution of 2560x1600 (including 1 with DVI-DL + VGA / DVI-DL + DP / VGA + DP support, and 1 with DP/DVI support, HDMI optional),
* Two eSATAp 2.5 ports,
* Six USB 2.0 ports,
* 1Gb Ethernet port, and
* Three audio ports.

Significant Benefits of Xi3 Modular Computers Summarized

Each Xi3 Modular Computer

* Qualifies as a small form factor computer and is housed in a chassis roughly the size of a softball (4.27x3.656x3.656-inches),
* Uses significantly less electricity than other computers with similar specs, often as little as one-tenth the power (40Watts for the X7A, 20Watts for the X5A-5342, and 18Watts for the X3A),
* Uses the patented tri-board design of the Xi3 Computer Architecture, and therefore
* Can be easily updated, upgraded, modified and/or repaired by simply replacing one of the three existing boards inside an Xi3 Modular Computer for a new one.