CES 2011: Xi3 Modular Computer Extender

The modular computer company Xi3 already carried pretty powerful green credentials. After all, its Xi3 Modular Computer (the 5 Series model) requires an average of 20 watts or less to operate, even though it uses 64-bit x86 dual core processors running at 2.0GHz and claims to be able to launch Windows 7 Ultimate in less than 30 seconds. But at the Consumer Electronics Show, the company took energy-efficiency to a new level, showing off the Z3RO (pronounced, “zero”), a small device that allows up to three additional people to hook into the Modular Computer, further reducing energy consumption and cost per user.

Modular computer device, Xi3 Z3RO

image via Xi3

The idea, the company said in announcing the product, is to take advantage of the power of today’s processor, which are frequently just “idling along, barely being used.”

“For groups of up to four people doing basic computing – word processing, working on spreadsheets, surfing the Web or running business apps – the Xi3 Z3RO (coupled with an Xi3 Modular Computer) is a very affordable computing alternative that reduces energy consumption by 95 percent or more in most cases,” Jason A. Sullivan, president and CEO of Xi3, said in a statement.

The Z3RO measures 4.9375 X 3.625 X 1.6875 inches and weighs 11.52 ounces. Xi3 said it expects it to be available widely by the end of March, priced at about $350 per seat.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • David Politis

    Just to be clear, the Xi3 Z3RO requires less than 1Watt to operate, which means the energy consumption for 4 devices (one Xi3 Modular Computer with three Z3RO thin clients connected to it) drops to ~5Watts per computing seat. Pretty impressive, at least in my book.