Razer's Blade Stealth and Core V2 step to the cutting edge


Razer sells three models of gaming laptops. The Blade Pro is the largest and most powerful, and the original Blade retains much of its power while trimming the fat. The Blade family's smallest member is the Blade Stealth, a 13.3" ultra-portable machine that, on its own, wouldn't seem to qualify for the gaming purpose Razer's hardware usually serves. It's meant to be paired with the Razer Core external GPU dock, and both devices are getting an update today.

The big news is, of course, about the Blade Stealth. It's getting upgraded with one of Intel's eighth-gen quad-core mobile processors. The specific chip in question is a Core i7-8550U, and it starts out at 1.8 GHz and can Turbo all the way to 4 GHz if thermals and power allow. Memory and storage in the new Blade Stealth hang tough at 16GB of LPDDR3 and 512GB of PCIe SSD.

In fact, most of the rest of the machine stays the same as the previous version. That's fine, because the Blade Stealth's 3200x1800 IGZO touchscreen is surely one of the finer displays in this size class. The laptop's milled aluminum chassis is barely over a half-inch thickĀ (1.4 cm) and it weighs just under 3 lbs (1.36 kg). It doesn't have a ton of connectivity, but a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, and a Thunderbolt 3 port should probably serve most users' needs.

That Thunderbolt 3.0 port is really intended for the Core V2 external GPU dock. The new Razer Core V2 may not look like a huge change from the previous version, but Razer says that it uses dual Thunderbolt 3 controllers inside. One of those controllers is dedicated to moving graphics data around, and the other is meant specifically for USB and Ethernet traffic. Four USB 3.0 ports and an RJ-45 jack for Gigabit Ethernet comprise the connections for "other devices." We're still determining whether this dual-controller architecture provides an actual boost to host-to-device bandwidth or whether it simply reduces contention between peripheral and graphics bandwidth within a controller, but the approach seems to be novel.

Internally, the new Core has been restructured to make more room for graphics cards that are taller than the expansion slot. It can still provide up to 375W of power to whatever graphics card you put in it, and Razer claims it has redesigned cooling hardware that should be quieter than the older model.

If you've a need for a premium ultrabook and you dig the black-and-green Razer aesthetic, Razer says the upgraded Blade Stealth is available for order now from its site for $1700. If you like, you can also have the Blade Stealth in Gunmetal Grey. Either way, the Core V2 will run you another $500 when it hits the Razer Store sometime soon. Keep in mind you'll still need to provide the graphics card for it, too.

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