Microsoft is mulling over a modular all-in-one PC that would let you easily replace and upgrade components.
This piece of info has emerged courtesy of a Microsoft patent which was initially filed last July, with one of the authors being Tim Escolin, a senior industrial designer working with the popular Surface range.
The idea is to have modular components which are like high-tech Lego bricks, with a computing module (containing memory, processor etc), accessory module and a display module featuring the screen on top.
Within these, you'd be able to easily swap the various elements (which would connect magnetically) including CPU, memory, graphics card, storage, battery, speakers, wireless connectivity, and even things like gesture recognition components.
Of course, as Venturebeat points out, any typical PC is "modular" in that you can upgrade or swap out all these elements anyway, but doing so isn't always an easy task for the less tech-savvy – particularly when it comes to elements like the processor (heatsink, fan, paste) and power supply (snaking cables) for example.
A truly modular PC would see an upgrade (or two) taking less than a minute, and it should be child's play to carry out (with no danger of frazzling components with static electricity, either).
This isn't a new idea in computing, mind. We've seen it in the past with efforts such as the Revo Build M1-601, although Microsoft's design is for a fully-fledged all-in-one. Whether it sees the light of day at all, however, is another matter – like all the tech giants, Redmond patents a lot of stuff, and most of it doesn't make it anywhere near the real world.
- For those in the now, the Surface Pro 4 is pretty great
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).