Building your own PC rig used to involve a lot of rigamarole. You had to make sure your mobo was compatible with your case, all your components would play nice with your mobo, your power supply could handle the load, and that you were properly grounded while putting it all together so you wouldn’t fry everything with static electricity. Now, it’s as easy as stacking a bunch of coasters on top of one another. Acer just announced a little modular desktop computer, the Revo Build Mini PC, that starts out as a little 5x5x2-inch box running on a lower-end Intel Celeron or Pentium processor with integrated graphics. Also in the base brick are 8GB RAM, 32 gigs of solid-state storage, and plenty of I/O on the back and around the side of the unit: 3 USB ports, HDMI-out, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and an SD card slot.
But that’s literally just square one. From there, you stack pre-made blocks to cover your extra storage, power, graphics, and A/V needs—the RAM is upgraded by accessing the slot on the base unit itself. Each block magnetically snaps into another via little connectors on the top and bottom of each modular unit, and some of them even work as standalone units with other computers. For example, there are 1TB and 500GB storage bricks that have USB ports for use with other machines.
In addition to little bricks that have speakers and microphones and an optional GPU base unit that ups the system’s performance for video editors and gamers, the coolest add-on probably has to do with power. The “Wireless Power Bank” will keep the little desktop PC running when you’re away from outlets, so your dreams of bringing a desktop computer (and monitor and mouse and keyboard) to the beach and pounding out some spreadsheets are within reach.