Redefining gaming laptops.
When the Razer Blade was originally released earlier this year, it basically created a new market segment which, until now, was only touched upon with the slightest interest by major PC manufacturers.
When you tell people you have a gaming laptop it basically means a big, bulky notebook that is anything but portable. Of course, the more money you invest in it, the more monstrous the machine will be, coming close to their desktop counterparts. And yet for all their power, you get a machine that is noisy, gets very hot to touch and is pretty much never moved from that one spot on your desk where you first kept it. The idea of gaming notebooks being portable was laughable.
With the introduction of the Razer Blade we got a chance to see what portable gaming notebooks can look like. The first Blade wasn’t a powerhouse, but it was still plenty powerful, in a chassis that rivaled the MacBook Pro. Today I’ll be looking at the revised version of the Razer Blade, which while internally called Blade R2, is dubbed as the ‘New Razer Blade’.
So first of all the new Razer Blade sees a boost in pretty much all the components inside; more on that later. The chassis itself is redesigned with an improved cooling system that has separate paths for both the CPU and the GPU. Overall, though, the new Razer Blade looks the same as the original one released in Q2 this year, so let’s see what the newer, cooler and faster components bring to the table.
So what we have is an Intel Core i7-3632QM @ 2.2GHz (3.2GHz Boost) with 6MB L3 cache. This new Intel Core i7 mobile processor is made on a 22nm process rated at just 35W TDP. Next up is the Kepler based Nvidia GTX 660M 2GB GDDR5 (128-bit) with 384 CUDA cores. The basic clock speed is set at 835MHz (950MHz Boost) while the memory is running at 2500MHz. These two components alone not only provide a significant performance boost from the dual-core Core i7 and NVIDIA GT 555M of the first generation Blade, but also a much cooler platform as the entire Blade now draws 120W.
A slight shift comes in the form of a hybrid storage solution, with a 500GB 7200RPM Hitachi hard disk that uses a 64GB Lite-On SSD for caching frequently used data. Now some people may not be happy with what can be considered to be a “downgrade” from the 256GB solid state solution in the original Razer Blade; but after a week of usage I have to say that the hybrid solution is a nice compromise between keeping costs low and maintaining fast performance. Indeed Windows 7 boots up in just 14 seconds from a cold boot. Games like Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 load almost as fast as my SSD based desktop; a tad bit slower obviously, but nothing that you can’t ignore. The difference is usually 2 to 3 seconds at most between SSD and hybrid storage for loading heavy games like Guild Wars 2.
While the screen remains the ever impressive 17.3-inch LED, with matt finish, the implementation of the new processor and chipset has resulted in three USB 3.0 ports for the new Razer Blade, instead of just one in the old version.
Apart from that we get the green (obviously) colored backlight on the keyboard as well as the Switchblade UI, whose 1-inch screen also acts as a trackpad. All of this is packed in an impressively thin 0.88-inch anodized aluminum unibody that weighs 2.99 kgs. My only gripe with the body is that it’s a supreme fingerprint magnet. And cleaning it isn’t easy, even with the supplied microfiber cloth.
Speaking of which, you can have a look at our unboxing video to see what comes packed with the new Razer Blade.