A couple of days ago, Acer announced the stupendously stupid (but we really want one anyway) Predator 21X – an 8kg, 21″, ultra-widescreen, dual GTX 1080-SLI toting behemoth of a “laptop” – at the IGX 2016 event in Germany.
Razer, not to be outdone, had a couple of announcements of their own at PAX West 2016, over in Seattle.
First up, there’s an enhancement to the svelte Razer Blade Stealth, Razer’s go anywhere, MacBook-killing Ultrabook. Razer has swapped the processor in the upgraded Razer Blade Stealth for a Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7500U – still a low-voltage mobile CPU, but the pick of the litter right now – which also includes a jump up to the Intel HD 620 graphics chipset. This change at the heart of the upgraded Razer Blade Stealth should also see battery life improve, to a guideline nine hours, but as ever with battery life your mileage may vary.
They still haven’t been able to include a discrete GPU in the upgraded Razer Blade Stealth however – meaning you’ll still need to shell out for a Razer Core and desktop graphics card for “proper” gaming on your Stealth – which is where the upgraded Razer Blade comes in.
The Razer Blade 14″ gaming laptop has already seen an upgrade in 2016, including a QHD screen and the latest (at the time) Intel Core i7 processors and Nvidia mobile graphics cards, but the announcement and subsequent rollout of Nvidia’s 10-series GPUs – including the GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080 – was always going to have an impact on the mobile marketplace.
In a change from Nvidia’s previous mobile strategy (of offering lower-powered M-versions of their core products) the big green graphics machine has instead opted for leveraging the improvements in Pascal’s thermal profile, and offering full desktop-class chipsets to OEMs and laptop manufacturers. While some of the larger laptops on the market have jumped straight in with the GTX 1080 and 1070, the smaller chassis (and therefore reduced cooling capability) of Razer’s flagship means that the GTX 1060 is the sensible option in the upgraded Razer Blade.
There’s also the choice of either a QHD touch display for those of us who don’t mind grubby fingermarks on their screen, or a standard 1080p display for gamers who prioritise frame rates over pixel density.
The GTX 1060 graphics card in the upgraded Razer Blade is also the 6GB version – a slower, cheaper variant with only 3GB of VRAM is available in the desktop models, which will presumably make its way onto lower-end gaming laptops at some point – which makes the upgraded Razer Blade a fully-fledged VR laptop, without the need to add on the additional Razer Core graphics dock (and an additional desktop card).
The upgraded Razer Blade Stealth is on sale from today in the US direct from the Razer store; we’re still waiting for the UK/European release date of the previous Stealth model, never mind this new and improved model.
The upgraded Razer Blade is available to pre-order today in the US, and is expected to ship next month; again, we’re still waiting to get our hands on the previous 2016 version in Europe, never mind this latest iteration.