The “world’s thinnest gaming laptop” just got a big game-enhancing shot in the arm. Razer said it’s refreshed its Razer Blade with a beefy new GeForce GTX 970M and an Intel quad-core that’s almost 400MHz faster than last year’s model.
Externally, the 4.5-lb. Razer Blade doesn’t change much, but it’s the insides that matter the most for gaming performance. The GeForce GTX 970M is the big change. While it may seem just 100 points better than the previous version’s GeForce GTX 870M, it’s actually a sizeable upgrade.
The GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB of RAM is a Maxwell-based GPU, while the GeForce GTX 870 was a Kepler-based chip. That means the Razer Blade get the same goodness other 9-series parts get in Voxel-based illumination, dynamic super resolution and multi-frame samples anti-aliasing. The performance of the GeForce GTX 970M in the updated Razer Blade should let it easily outclass HP’s Omen, with its GeForce GTX 860M graphics card.
The new GPU also ostensibly runs cooler than the older version. Nvidia hasn’t published actual thermal specs, as it seems to vary depending on the notebook design. In this case, Razer has taken the dividends it saved from the cooler new GPU and put it toward a hotter CPU. Last year’s Razer Blade featured Intel’s Core i7 4702HQ rated at 37 watts and running with a base clock speed of 2.2GHz.
The refreshed Razer Blade gets an Intel Core i7 4720Q that’s rated at 47 watts and with a base clock of 2.6GHz. That’s a sizeable step up in thermals for such a thin laptop. To size up the old against the new, just click over to Intel’s ARK website, where I’ve set up a quick comparison between the two.
The rest of the Razer Blade seems untouched: It still has the same 14-inch, 3200×1800-pixel touch screen using IGZO technology. Prices of individual configurations weren’t announced, but Razer said it “starts” at $2,200.
Why this matters: Gaming laptops typically weigh more than the U.S.S. Enterprise and are almost as big. Razer’s constant push to make gaming laptops thinner and lighter while actually being able to play games is a welcome change for gamers on the go.
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One of founding fathers of hardcore tech reporting, Gordon has been covering PCs and components since 1998.