It’s Element-ary Dear User, Intel Is Working To Compartmentalize Computer Components
Not Your Parent’s Daughterboard
Intel’s new Element is a conceptual product that came out of their NUC Compute Element design team which we might see for sale in the coming years. It is a system on an extremely large PCIe card powered by a BGA Xeon processor with a pair of SO-DIMM slots and two M.2 ports as well. On the back are several LAN connections, four USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port, and two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports. This would plug into a chassis and theoretically function as a complete system, in theory in a server room but possibly as a NUC style device as well.
The theory is that it is easier to replace a PCIe card than to swap out components and if a newer and more powerful Element SoC (not to be confused with the other SoC) was released your upgrade process would be as simple as it is to swap a GPU. The Inquirer has some links to the source material if you are curious about how this might work.
The idea behind such a device is that it'll eventually provide a way for hardware makers to create modular PC, whereby the Element is removable and can be swapped out for more powerful Elements in the future without the need for a PC's chassis and other bits to be replaced.