Razer Announces Easy-To-Upgrade Project Christine

My PCs' names are DarkLord (with sporty pink background!) and Sir Face. What are yours?

Razer’s latest bit of PC mad science might look like an alien ribcage, but it aspires to big things. For those of us who worship at The Impossibly Tall Altar Of Horace, building a PC is a routine task, but those who’ve yet to realize the stars in the sky are merely his universe-nourishing teats aren’t as keen on it. There are cards and motherboards and cooling systems and cases and wires. Sure, the process might be easier than ever, but it’s still not the sort of thing you see grandmothers doing in place of jigsaw puzzles (well, except for really, really cool grandmas). With Project Christine, Razer wants to make PC upgrades simple for everyone. But also, you know, probably proprietary.

On the upside, upgrading components is as simple as slotting in new bar-shaped modules. But of course, that means Razer probably has final say on all of it. Here’s the basic idea:

“Project Christine’s modular design allows users to easily build their PCs by allowing them to select and install modules on-the-fly, whether it’s a CPU, GPU, or memory and storage configuration. The PCI-Express architecture of Project Christine automatically syncs components. 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.”

“The modularity of Project Christine make it perpetually customizable, offering plug-and-play upgradability as new and improved technology evolves, ostensibly eliminating the need to replace entire systems. 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.”

I’m all for allowing people to upgrade at their leisure. That definitely takes away some of the hassle that forms a spiky gate around PC gaming’s community, no question. Problem is, one of the nice parts about customization – the ability to select components, sniff out the best prices, and do things on our own terms – kinda goes out the window here. Simplicity and convenience come at a price, and as ever, it’s a slice of freedom.

Price, manufacturing partnerships, and things of the like have yet to be hammered out. Right now, Project Christine is more a concept than anything else. If the idea gains traction, Razer will begin manufacturing necessary components sometime this year. What do you think? Do you want to see some meat on these unsettlingly glowy bones?


  1. Jumwa says:

    After dealing with their absurd mouse drivers the notion of trusting them with anything so complex as a whole PC strikes me as ridiculously funny.

    • Roritharr says:

      If only it would be possible to upvote your comment.

    • Suopis says:

      Owner of Deathadder Lefthanded edition. Drivers are the worst thing that can happen to a consumer. Razer – never again.

      Wholeheartedly agree with you sir.

    • kaffis says:

      This echoes my first thought when I saw this news: “But.. then I’m stuck with Razer…” Pass, thanks. Though, if they find a market for it, more power to them. It’s not like ignoring Alienware’s existence makes my life worse. This will probably be the same kind of thing.

      • Jumwa says:

        Thankfully Logitech has a very nice line of gaming peripherals out to rescue us. The G-series has yet to let me down.

        I’m not the type to begrudge the existence of products I don’t care for, and I do hope for the sake of those people who buy this that they manage to get their act together significantly.

        • Continuity says:

          Well thats a question of taste, I wouldn’t touch a logitec mouse with a barge pole, they just don’t suit me, however razer mice have been serving me well for… I don’t even know how long, at least a decade.

          • Jumwa says:

            I do not have a problem with Razer mice, I have a problem with the ludicrous drivers the things require.

    • Leb says:

      having never used a Razr product – what’s so crappy about their drivers?

      I have a steel series set personally (mouse, keyboard, headset) – and other than the keyboard using outdated software optimized for windows vista (zboard) I haven’t had any problems with the USB sound driver or mouse drivers.

      • Jumwa says:

        Someone laid it out below, but basically: it’s a big clunky piece of software that insists on being connected to the internet so it can relay data back to the company about you. Yes, you log in to their companies servers for your mouse to work.

        The updates popup mid-gaming session, force-minimizing your game, as hard to believe as that sounds, and then demand you do a restart to initialize.

        It’s the height of absurdity for a mouse driver.

        • Severn2j says:

          I’ve been using a Razer Deathadder for around a year now and I’ve never installed a driver for it, I didnt even know it had one other than the standard windows mouse driver..

          Have I been doing it wrong?

        • Summermute says:

          I have had a Razer Krait for about four years, it’s never let me down and I’ve never had any driver issues. It came with a driver disk, (which is optional to install), that controls the on the fly DPI adjustment, but that’s it.

    • Lord Byte says:

      My GOD indeed! I was glad my Razor mouse malfunctioned so I could turn it in and get a freaking refund! I was pretty okay until they started forcing mandatory reboots in the middle of gaming, about once a month (and sometimes more…) Who the fuck still needs to reboot a pc for a freaking mouse driver!

      • Jumwa says:

        Right there with you on that one. I was thankful my mouse gave out on me (for the fourth time) shortly after those ridiculous new drivers came along. I have a friend who is just anxiously awaiting the day his fails on him so he can justify the expense of a new gaming mouse as well.

        • Jimmy says:

          I don’t understood why these mice are ‘failing’. Are you swinging them around the room, bashing furniture? I have three intellimouse (3.0 and two 1.1As) from late 90s early 00s which work even if they look a bit mouldy… I also have a Logitech G400 which requires no drivers, but that cable does looks weak and built to last 12-24 mths….

          • Jumwa says:

            None of my Logitech stuff has ever given out on me, but both my partner and I have had issue with Razer products just deteriorating in function over time and dying (and three cases of them being defective out of the box). And no, it is not due to user neglect or misuse. I am about the most anal person ever when it comes to using my own things with care, and it could be a decade after I bought it that people will still mistake an item for new.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            Back in the days of mechanical mice I went through a couple, maybe one every three or four years. The small sensor wheels tracking the ball inside them easy broke or jammed from dust and dirt.
            I’ve since only bought one optical mouse, a Logitech MX518 almost 10 years ago and It’s still 100% functional today. I’ve still got all of my old keyboards stashed away somewhere, all of them were fully working last time I used them.

            My brother on the other hand, used to be an avid CS player. With anger issues. He had to get a new keyboard and mouse every other month. He even kicked dents in his computer cases.
            Perhaps something like that’s related to the issue with randomly breaking peripherals? ;)

    • Mr Coot says:

      Yes indeed, driver issues have turned me from loving Razer peripherals to vowing never to buy another one. I finally moved to Synapse from legacy drivers in order to get my Nostromo to work reliably – and resent utterly having to log on to their website in order for my hardware to work properly (retain its settings correctly). Screw them and screw their greedy grabby ploy to be part of Big Data.

      • Jumwa says:

        My heart goes out to you, luckily my Razer mouse died a premature death a few months after they instituted these ridiculous new drivers, so I bailed on Razer, never to return. In place of a Nostromo I use a Logitech G13, and I love the thing. The idea of playing games with WASD instead of my joystick seems archaic to me now.

    • PlaneShift says:

      Well, tanks to Apple creating the iPhone, I am now a proud user of a Samsung Galaxy.

      If the concept proves interesting, maybe we can see new defaults for computer upgrading coming directly from processors, video cards and motherboards manufacturers. Lets just hope it does not turn into a mess of no defaults at all.

    • Ztox says:

      When did all of this happen? I’ve been using Razer products on and off for 8-9 years. I’m currently using a Mamba and a Blackwidow Ultimate and have never had any issues at all.
      I am a massive Razer fan but as I’m thinking of getting Qpad stuff next I’d like to think I’m not too biased ^_^

      • Max.I.Candy says:

        Same here. I’m on my 3rd Naga, as well as mouse pads and such, and dont have issues.
        I have Razer Synapse 2.0 but Its always logged out/never online, and I unistalled Razercore….no problems.

  2. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Hmm sounds (and looks) like a more fleshed-out Thermaltake Level 10

    link to maximumpc.com

  3. geldonyetich says:

    Excellent, now I can forget everything I know about building PCs and replace merely half if it with the knowledge needed to afford Razer products.

  4. mukuste says:

    Why do gaming PCs invariably have to be butt-ugly. I can’t imagine anyone over the age of 16 wanting to have that thing under their desk.

    • Lonestar1771 says:

      Why do people invariably think that something that spends most of it’s time under a desk need to look cool? If it works, then who cares what it looks like.

      • Badger says:

        Well I think that if a car runs fine it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Many people think that the looks of a car is significant if not more important than performance. For me, I take pride in my PC which makes me want to spend time and money on making it look good rather than just a black box.

        • DarkFenix says:

          If I kept my car under my desk I probably wouldn’t care what it looked like either.

      • P.Funk says:

        That would be all fine and dandy if it were a featureless golem of industrious utility. But its not, this is instead a gaudy and vulgar tribute to bad taste.

        Even if you only bought it for its function, its designed to make a statement about style and taste, and even if you reject that statement, those who see it will assume that you take it for your own. I’m not usually one who cares what people think, but I also don’t want to have to apologize for how ugly my computer is everytime I try to talk about how functional it is.

        Really people, if this monster were just about functional modular computer use would it look like this? Its a hot rod for lazy people who wished they owned something as good as what people who build them for themselves have.

        • dsch says:

          That would be all fine and dandy if it were a featureless golem of industrious utility. But its not, this is instead a gaudy and vulgar tribute to bad taste.


    • thedosbox says:

      Why do gaming PCs invariably have to be butt-ugly.

      Um, they don’t. There are plenty of minimalist cases available, it’s just that the “boutique” builders seem to think that so-called “cool” looking cases sell more. And given that they’re dealing with a crowd that doesn’t build their own, they might be right.

      • mukuste says:

        I love how people who are not willing to invest the time to build their own PC are always treated as lesser beings here and elsewhere.

        I don’t build my own… please, I just want an elegant and simple looking PC… or just make it look BORING if it has to. Just not this freak show of PC cases.

        • thedosbox says:

          I love how people who are not willing to invest the time to build their own PC are always treated as lesser beings here and elsewhere.

          I think you’re reading your own biases into what was said. Boutique builders have gone the garish route because that’s what their customers (i.e. people who don’t build their own) buy. It’s not like they’re the only choice available to you – most computer shops will happily build a system using your own choice of components. Yes, they’ll charge you a fee to do so, but that’s the price of not being willing to “invest the time” yourself.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      To be honest, my first reaction was, “Christ, that thing looks awesome”. Maybe I’m juvenile but I’m not someone who generally likes flashy lazer beam pimped gamer PC’s and I was immediatly wowed by the design.

      It might be a bit too noticable to really be taken serious with it under your desk but saying that it’s butt ugly hurts me inside… It’s just very unique

      I would never buy it though… It takes away a lot of the benefit of building your own PC but the concept is promising

      • mukuste says:

        Well, I guessed I judged a bit too soon then! To me it falls exactly into that category of PCs trying to hard to look cool (see also Alienware et al.) Give me sleek and minimalistic over laser shows and neon excesses any day.

      • The Random One says:

        I’m on my cell phone, so the pic is tiny and low-res as hell, but when l laid eyes on it I didn’t think it was an actual photo of the product, but rather that RPS had jokingly illustrated the article with a picture of several Xbox Ones strapped together with a rubber belt.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      Minus the overdone green lighting, what is a modular PC that you plug in components like cartridges in an SNES supposed to look like?

    • emilyTK says:

      Way over 16 here. And it looks pretty cool to me.

  5. Geeman says:

    That press release features an amusing misuse of “ostensibly.” Or perhaps some PR flak had a moment of honesty?

  6. Mbaya says:

    This is something myself and some friends have talked about in the past, only I had hoped it’d be more of an industry standard in simplifying the PC rather than one company having the end say on what goes in those little black boxes – but it’s a start.

    Personally, I suffer from pretty severe OCD – this leaves me unable to root around the gubbins of my rig to upgrade or even perform maintenance/troubleshoot, so if I do decide to say, stick a few extra gigs of RAM in or upgrade my graphics card it falls to a member of my family (who are less tech savvy but certainly more capable than I am) to do the dirty work. This sort of solution would be hugely beneficial to me from that point of view – while it’s still the same basic task (put graphics card in space for graphics card!), it’s far simpler and with less concern of damaging anything.

    It’s not a problem a lot of people will have and I think many, many PC gamers will be confident (and able) enough to build their own rigs that they wouldn’t see any need for this…but for me, if the price was right, this could potentially make things a fair bit easier.

    Also, my PC’s are called Baldric and SkyNot – sadly, with no pink in sight.

  7. coppernaut says:

    Easy to upgrade, hell to clean.

    • Leb says:

      Huh. They are watercooled modules, not a single piece of that thing would need to be cleaned

      • gwathdring says:

        Some people don’t like dust and dirt on their stuff for reasons unrelated to PC cooling fans.

      • coppernaut says:

        Referring to the exterior of the case, with all the odd tree like design, not the inside. Dust happens at my house.

  8. BarryK says:

    There should be some sort of award for the most insane vanity projects at CES each year.

  9. Snargelfargen says:


    Sure, a PC that can only be upgraded using expensive proprietary components does sound “easy”. Right up to when the product line is discontinued and you’re stuck with a bunch of useless computer components with obsolete tat welded to the boards instead of a SATA connection.

    Having 8 seperate surfaces to dust is also wonderfully inconvenient.

  10. db1331 says:

    I do not understand how someone could care enough about games to play them on PC, yet not care enough about PCs to build their own. If you can match shapes and colors, you can build a PC.

    • BarryK says:

      Yeah people for some reason, as soon as this thing was unveiled, completely forgot that PC’s are already pretty much modular.

      • Badger says:

        Right?! With pcpartpicker its literally just mix and match.

      • Reapy says:

        I like more of the easy to install bits.

        My first PC I built resulted in a sweaty 45 minutes trying to close the processor heat sink lock, except the damn arm wouldn’t close down. In hindsight, what I had done was have the lock arm in the total open position to the left, when it had to be partial open before I put the heat sink on. Meanwhile I’m worried about breaking parts I can’t replace easily, smearing around the thermal paste as I jiggled and reset the thing trying to get it locked on.

        I finally thought I just had to apply some muscle and ended up bending the clip on the heat sink, thinking I had basically bricked my PC before I even got it running the first time. Then I had to figure out where to quickly get more thermal paste RIGHT NOW so I could use the thing.

        Anyway it wasn’t a pleasant experience, and while later PC’s have gone better with their clips and what not, it still is a concern I’m about to thrash 400 dollars with the wrong move during the construction process.

        Also with the power thing…my last PC I followed the arstechinca hotrod machine and on my power source I ended up short one of the 2×2 power plugs for the motherboard.. it wanted 2 of those side by side, but I only had one left over, but it turned on without it, I wasn’t quite sure what went wrong there or if I needed it. Eventually I bought a bigger power supply and made sure I had enough connections that I needed, but again, that is just one of countless things that can go wrong while building your pc.

        I would love to see a more standardized modular thing. They are popular with the NAS style machines where you can slot in hard drives, why not extend that concept to the rest of the PC? Ultimately you do just need standard things in slots, but it really is a wired mass of confusion in there if you are like me and really only open it up every 4 years or so, because chances are nothing ever looks the same the next time around.

        • frightlever says:

          I’ve been building or re-building my own PCs for… um… 15 years? Up until the mid 2000s you could go wrong, mismatching RAM or finding random incompatibilities between components and the information just wasn’t that easy to get. Now it’s like putting Lego together.

          I echo what was said above – PCs are already modular, more so that this concept which is fucked first time somebody changes socket or brings out a faster expansion bus.

          Isn’t this just another of Razer’s crazy ideas to re-invent PC gaming that’ll never actually happen? Remember the Razer Switchblade?

        • John Connor says:

          You should try actually reading the manuals of the things you put together.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      To be fair, there’s lots of people that care to get a driving licence, but few dare do anything more complicated than adding extra oil.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I thought the answer to that one was pretty obvious—the care bar for gaming is pretty low, and even if you care a moderate amount you may still rather just put up with having to uninstall a handful of shovelware and have the job done than have to do it yourself, no matter how possible it is.

    • wwwhhattt says:

      For me it’s a mix of the convenience of being able to move my laptop where I want it (assuming laptops are harder to build), having a fairly loose definition of playable, and being very, very lazy. Originally I got this thing so that games wouldn’t be able to distract me from coursework, but then World of Goo happened.

    • mukuste says:

      How can you not understand that? Playing a game and building a PC are two completely unrelated activities. Hell, I’m a pretty good programmer, but I just have no desire to deal with hardware.

      And your last assertion is definitely wrong. Whenever I read horror stories about thermal pastes and motherboards about to crack while you insert the CPU, I’m reminded that I don’t particularly want to worry about breaking a €300 part I just bought.

  11. Radiant says:

    I can do all of these things simply by opening my pc case.

    • bglamb says:

      You can get free upgrades to the latest hardware with a monthly subscription? That must be an exceptionally good case you have.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Do you actually know what the word FREE means?

        How can it be free if you are paying a fee in perpetuity? How exactly is that FREE?.. PLEASE TELL ME, I want to make all my long term payments FREE too.

        • misterT0AST says:

          It’s simple. The products themselves are “free”, because the payments you do do not depend on the actual cost of these items, but on a fixed canon. There’s no need to be so bitter just because a simple word is not being used properly, in a context that’s completely understandable nonetheless.

          • gwathdring says:

            There may be no need, but that particular form of bitterness is an Internet specialty. :\

          • Dozer says:

            I’ll give you a free cappuccino if you join my Coffee Club. It’s FREE to be a member after you’ve paid the $6 joining fee! and you are free to leave the club at any time – and if you then decide to rejoin, you’ll get ANOTHER free cappuccino after paying the joining fee. FREE coffee forever!

            Oh i hope this doesn’t get me blacklisted by the spambot-killer-bot.

        • bglamb says:

          Jeez, what a pedant.

          Do you also go around shouting “Free calls to landlines? It’s not free if I’m paying for a phone contract!” and “Buy one get one free? It’s not free if I’m buying one!” or “Free delivery??!?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN FREE DELIVERY, I’M PAYING FOR THE ITEM AREN’T I?!?!?! DIE IN A FIRE!”

  12. Badger says:

    I think that the PC industry is actually very approachable. With sites like pcpartpicker.com and reddit, building a PC is an option for more people than in previous years. Projects like this cater to people who think they aren’t capable of building a PC but have the money to shell out for one, similar to ibuypower and alienware. If someone wants to invest their money in something that is not sustainable (and in my opinion ugly as hell) then go ahead, but I think that building your own is definitely not as much of a hastle as it has been and way easier for the masses.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      They aren’t even necessary either though.. Log in to ANY tech forum and you’ll have a whole roomful of guys willing to fully spec you, provide prices AND a full guide on assembly.. or at the very least buy the parts and pay ‘some dude’ 20 bucks to put it together.. I’d happily make $20 for an hour (probably less than an hour) of pc assembly.

  13. Tiberius says:

    Did you talk to them about their idea of selling the tower with a subscription model? They through out the idea of buying the tower and then pitching in an undefined amount of money on a routine basis. They would then send you replacements for broken hardware or upgrades for outdated components, all covered under the sub. It sounds surprisingly enticing, ensuring that PC users would never have to worry about upgrades ever again.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      That doesn’t sound enticing to me at all.. trying to make PC’s into a service rather than a purchase? OUR GAMING SITUATION WORKED OUT JUST GREAT DIDN’T IT? :<

      JUST NO!!!!!

    • Snargelfargen says:

      A subscription seems completely unnecessary. A quality new gaming computer built today will last around 6 years, with one GPU replacement.

      At the current rate, only graphics cards need switching every 3 years. CPU development is stagnating. The i5 2500k (which is what, 3 or 4 years old?) can still max everything at 1080p. RAM use has also stalled, no games use more than 8GB, and by the time 16GB is finally necessary, we’ll already be moving on to DDR4 RAM and a completely new generation of chipsets.

      The only other things needing replacement are PSUs after 5 years or so and hard drives, but what are the chances that storage will be covered?

  14. LionsPhil says:

    (Fuck this comment system sideways with a barge pole.)

    Oh good, it can run for a few years until the backbone becomes the limiting component and you need to buy a new one and a new set of modules for it.

    You know, just like a motherboard with an obsolete CPU slot, obsolete GPU slot, and an obsolete version of UltraDMA—wait, no, sorry—SATA.

    Props to them for reinventing an idea Atari had in the early ’80s. Although honestly I think Atari’s “bus bar” concepts looked better. They sketched quite a few. (Yes, I’m sure Atari were beaten to it as well.)

    • Dinger says:

      The problem Atari had, and indeed Amiga with the exposed bus for all kinds of mayhem, was that the modular design meant separate rf certification for each module. Instead of one Faraday cage, you need many, and each ones needs to be send to the lab. If it goes in the case, it’s someone else’s problem.

    • P.Funk says:

      maybe I’ve been watching too much Mad Men lately, but I love the look of those sketches. Wish my whole world had that texture to it.

  15. Enfuego says:

    After my inner 10 year-old went “NEAT-O!”, my inner maid went “damn, what a pain in the ass to dust.”

    Edit: Coppernaut beat me to it.

  16. Tiax says:

    Seriously, they really expect this to work ?

  17. strangeloup says:

    Razer (along with Alienware and any other companies that specialise in gaming PCs/mice/other guff) seem to have truly mastered the art of spectacularly hideous design. I’m not sure if their design team is all trapped in the baddest part of the 1990s or if they’re trying to appeal to some hopefully-imaginary 15-year-old demographic.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      I think the product LOOKS amazing.. so cool, especially with the small screen (yes, yes.. it’s just bling).. it’s the execution of the HW and what will ultimately be daylight robbery amount to buy I find to be utterly unattractive.

  18. Wulfram says:

    As someone who gets stressed out opening up my computer, this sort of thing is attractive to me. I’d certainly be willing to pay a premium for easy upgradability

    But not in a proprietary format and not at the price-point they’re talking about

    (And I think it looks cool. Probably too cool to not feel silly in my house, but still cool.)

  19. Text_Fish says:

    Interested to see how cooling works.

  20. Erinduck says:

    Good. Fuck building computers. Parting out a computer and assembling it is only slightly less of a hassle than it was a decade ago. I’d gladly pay a premium to just have to plug some modules in to an easy to reach space with no need to deal with wires or hooking up case IOs or dealing with fan connections or any of the other mess. Will this be more expensive? Sure. Do I care? Fuck no because it’d at least be easy.

  21. Geebs says:

    Hi! I’m a Mac user, and even I think this is dumb.

  22. Techne says:

    Been trying to remember what this reminded me of (case not concept), finally got it:link to uk.thermaltake.com years old and still £200!

  23. Muzman says:

    It’s a nice enough idea. But don’t we need to hit some sort of physical interface performance plateau before this can be done properly? The damn CPU socket changes every year. There’ll be a new graphics card interface soon enough. Some sort of generic bridging thing is only going to slow it down, surely? (can’t imagine how else they’d do it anyway). It might be a marginal performance hit these days, but the thought of losing a few cycles is going to annoy a lot of people. Maybe it’s not really aimed at such folks though.

  24. Shadowcat says:

    Cue promotional video backed by “Bad to the Bone”, yes?

    (Later, the computer murders you, but it just looks like an awful accident.)

  25. dsch says:

    Who the hell is Christine?

    • TWChristine says:


      • Gap Gen says:

        Made me smile.

        Also now if this fails we shall blame you personally.

        • TWChristine says:

          (Picture of Reggie Fils-Aime) My body is ready to do this for PC gaming! Although, judging by most of the comments so far regarding Razer, I wonder if I should buy a pair of those glasses with the big nose and mustache. Just in case.

  26. Kyber says:

    Maybe Razer or someone else could set up a business where you send any PC part to them and for a small fee they install it in a Project Christine module and send it back?

  27. Mctittles says:

    I don’t see how this will work well. Part of a pc running as fast as possible deals with the distance of board connections between components for the best timing. I would think having the CPU and graphics cards in the positions shown on the video would slow things down considerably.

  28. Leb says:

    where’s the slot for the vibrating fleshlight?

  29. racccoon says:

    I like the idea of being able to take out one thing at a time! but, I can really do that anyway with very little difficulty. Un do a few screws here and there, pop it out, place the new one back and when I put them back I put every screw that’s left behind and not over needed in the bin. lol. works a treat! :)

  30. gwathdring says:

    I have no interest in this contraption for a number of reasons, but I’m quite surprised at how little empathy exists in this comment thread for folks who don’t like building PCs. As someone who doesn’t mind building PCs, knows a lot about both software and hardware tech and a lot about computer technical support on the OS/software side … I still totally understand why people wouldn’t want to go anywhere near building their own computer but would still want a high-end, upgradeable gaming PC.

    Building a PC involves trusting yourself with very expensive components that, no matter what people who do it tell you, are very easily damaged. It does not require extreme skill to avoid something going wrong, but it requires a lot of work, a lot of time, and a fair bit of knowledge and research that can be quite cumbersome and taxing for a lot of people. There’s a reason we pay people to fix our cars, computers, and houses rather than learn how to be able to serve every one of our own technical labor needs. We have other things to be doing–be it luxury or labor.

    The question is how much of a premium does that convenience cost compared to the much more common route of buying, for example, a mid-to-long-term-spec Dell XPS and putting up with some of it’s idiosyncrasies for the 4-10 years of it’s gaming life, and will enough people be interested in paying that premium … and putting up with all of the idiosyncrasies of this creature.

    • Zekiel says:

      Thanks for this comment! I fall into the category of people who are enthusiastic gamers but are scared of building their own PC. I lack manual dexterity and what would be termed “practical” skills. So the prospect of spending £400 on components then trying to plug them together and potentially damaging one of them – or just being left with something that doesn’t work with no idea why – is profoundly scary. The idea of finding some random guy to put it together for me doesn’t really appeal either! Either way you’re potentially left with a non-functional computer and no way to fix it apart from spending hours on tech forums talking to people who assume a higher level of knowledge than I have. I just don’t have the money to risk on that, nor do I want to risk the time and frustration. On the other hand I am wiling to spend 25% more to get a company to pre-build a PC who will provide a warranty so I have peace of mind I can return it if it doesn’t work in the first year or so.

      I don’t appreciate how much scorn is poured on people like me. If you are comfortable building a PC that’s brilliant – you get to save money. Why do you also need to make people like me feel inadequate?

      • gwathdring says:


        It’s a combination of an empathy thing and a privilege thing. Not all hobbyists and do-it-yourself-ers are smug and condescending to people without their bravery/stupidity/skillset … but some people lack (or don’t exercise) the empathy to realize that something seeming easy and obvious to them doesn’t make it easy and obvious to other people.

        Without proper application of theory of mind, they just see something they find easy and obvious, see other people unwilling or unable to do it, and assume something is wrong with those other people. Even then, though, the pro-social attitude would be to act as a missionary and a teacher, trying to help those who haven’t seen the way that is easy and obvious rather than getting snide or angry at them and assuming it’s because they are incapable or lazy. That attitude can have negative consequences but it is at least generally pro-social.

        I guess it might also be that some of them do it almost as a defense mechanism. A sort of social territoriality, defending the specialness of their position and their in-group by attacking and debasing anyone who doesn’t fit in the group. This reaffirms their specialness. It’s sad, because simply being proud of yourself can also reaffirm your bravery/stupidity/skillset that allows you to do things other people can’t without requiring you to tear down others. Elevating yourself vs. lowering others to achieve the same relative height.

        Building on the social territoriality idea, defending your in-group and elevating those within it or debasing those outside of it becomes a badge of courage that confirms your status and dedication to other members of the in-group. Maybe that’s part of it! Self-elevating leaves you open to criticism and hierarchical struggle from within the in-group so you leave positive building to in-group communication (similarly, the assumption is that out-group folks don’t respect your group hierarchy since they are part of some other hierarchy and thus don’t respect your positive achievement). Those combined pressures make it more sensible to attack out-group folks with negative assessment rather than build yourself up with positive assessment.

        Of course, once you consider someone to be part of your in-group, you need to be careful when you knock them down a peg. You don’t want to violate in-group hierarchy and you do genuinely care both about status of the in-group and about general cooperation to maintain the viability of the group as a social organism. Once you’ve decided someone is part of your in-group, then, you become interested in bragging and other forms of positive buildup–except when you engage in competition.

        This is all, of course, complicated by no one being part of but a single group and different group associations being more or less at play at any given moment.

        And as I opened with, some people just lack empathy. In any case, people are fascinating and it’s fun to think about social dynamics in detail. :D

        • Zekiel says:

          That’s an impressively detailed set of thoughts!

          By the way I realised my post might imply I thought everyone who builds their own PC looks down on those who don’t – that’s certainly not the case (as you demonstrated).

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I built my first in the end of the 90’s when I were 13. I had no previous experience or internet access.
      I got all my parts scavenged from friends and a few from a local computer store. I asked some “nerd” friends and just experimented and I somehow got a cheap, working Pentium 90. No sorcery involved.

      Nowadays it’s easier than ever. It’s not harder than assembling Ikea furniture. There are lots of horror stories but it’s actually pretty hard to accidentally break components as you assemble, or just extremely unlucky. Read the manuals, especially in the motherboard manual. :)

  31. Whelp says:

    I’ve been building PCs since the early ’90s, but I’ve always wondered if somebody would ever make something like this. Very cool idea.

    Too bad it’s made by Razer, so it’s likely gonna be overpriced crap.

  32. Megakoresh says:

    Right. Razer. The only thing Razer associates with for me is hugely ridiculously, blasphemously overbloated prices. There’s NO WAY this will ever be a good value product. Not from them.

  33. Dozer says:

    +1 to the ‘but PCs are already modular, wtf?’ chorus from me. I have a lot of sympathy for people who, for some reason, get nervous about clipping together fragile components valued at $hundreds then plugging it into the mains – but is society so broken that these people don’t have more confident techy friend they can call on for help?

    • Erinduck says:

      Why should they have to? Why should their friends do that for them in the first place? Why not make a product that does that?

  34. wodin says:

    The only hassle I had when building PC’s and I hated doing it was getting the fan onto the CPU..apart from that no bother..