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.
That's undoubtedly true, but it remains to be seen whether a completely closed-off system like Project Christine is the correct answer.
Project Christine looks sleek, and the promise of perpetual upgrades is a beautiful fantasy, but this system only survives at Razer's whim. If — when? — Razer stops putting out new hardware for Project Christine, you're keeping whatever you've got.
And who knows what hardware Razer makes available? That's the problem with this design — the beggars can't be choosers philosophy.
Say the latest and greatest graphics card releases tomorrow, and I want to put it in my system — I can do that! I can swap in the new graphics card, install some drivers, and get right back to playing games and updating spreadsheets in high definition or whatever.
With Project Christine, you're stuck waiting for Razer to make that card available.
Now, Razer claims this won't be an issue. "The idea behind the concept is that users can customize what goes in it. When it is launched, users will have the ability to use the best GPU/CPU technology that is currently available," said Young Bae, Global Project Manager of Systems at Razer in a statement provided to PCWorld. All we can do is take Razer at its word, though.
If you're the person who has never built a PC and will never build a PC (or if you're coming from something even more closed down, like a Mac), that probably won't matter. You're probably not the type of person who's worried about open versus closed systems, or snagging the latest components. You just want to own a powerful computer that's easily upgradeable.
But if you are at all concerned with having control over your computer, you'd want to wait and see whether Project Christine is embraced by other hardware manufacturers — whether AMD and Nvidia release every card in a standard and Project Christine configuration, for instance — before you jump in.
And who knows — it's just a concept, so it may never release in the first place. Still, it's one of the most intriguing desktop ideas in a very long time.
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