Sep. 1, 2012 at 1:14 AM ET
If you own a serious gaming laptop then you know that the word "laptop" often seems … well … more than a little inaccurate. You’d have to be a giant to comfortably hold one of these powerful machines on your lap and you’d have to be The Hulk to carry most of them around for any length of time. (At my house we call our gaming laptop by the nickname “megatop”).
Razer (the gaming peripheral company that brought us the Star Wars keyboard -- see video below) has set out to change that.
Earlier this year it launched the Razer Blade, a dedicated gaming laptop designed to give players the power they need to run high end, graphics-intensive games as well as a lightweight form factor so they don't wind up at the chiropractor's office after lugging the machine around. And on Friday, at the Penny Arcade gaming expo in Seattle, the company unveiled a new, more powerful, less-expensive version of the Razer Blade.
I chatted with Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan about what he likes to call "the world's first true gaming laptop."
"We completely re-desigened the Razer Blade from the ground up," Tan said, explaining that, ever since Razer launched the first Blade, they've been listening closely to gamers about what they like ... and what they'd like improved. "The one thing that we heard from gamers is that they wanted more performance."
The new Razer Blade keeps the original’s 17.3-in. high-definition display (1920 x 1080), its .88 inch thick aluminum casing (which Razer boasts is less than half the thickness of traditional gaming laptops) as well as its sleek power supply and unique multi-touch Switchblade touchscreen.
But while the first Razer Blade sacrificed power to get portability, the new Razer Blade manages to flex a lot more muscle while still retaining its thin figure.
Rather than the 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor found in the first laptop, the new one features a brand new quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (the specifics of which have yet to be unveiled by Intel). The original Razer’s single 256 GB solid-state drive has been replaced by hybrid system with two drives -- a 64 GB solid-state drive and a 500 GB hard drive. Meanwhile, graphics are now handled by the high performance Nvidia GTX 660M GPU rather than the Nvidia GT555M GPU.
The new Razer Blade also has been given quieter fans, optimized speakers, an HDMI port and three USB 3.0 ports which can charge even when the system is off.
Tan said the whole system weighs in at 6.6 pounds which is less than a third of the weight of other gaming laptops. And its measurements are a svelte 16.81 inches wide by 10.9 inches deep by 0.88 inches high.
"Nobody has put that much performance into an ultra-thin chassis," Tan said. "We've done it."
The new Razer Blade is still going to hit your wallet pretty hard. It will run you $2,500 – but that’s $300 less than the original Blade.
Tan said the secret sauce to making the Razer Blade so much thinner and lighter than most dedicated gaming laptops lies in their focus on thermal engineering. Razer acquired a team of top-notch engineers from the now-defunct OQO computer hardware company (which specialized in handheld computers) and put them to work on the original Razer Blade laptop. And now, for the machine’s second iteration, the thermal system has been completely re-engineered.
Tan said they have come up with one of the most innovative thermal solutions in the industry – one that includes larger vents and specially designed heat pipes and allows more airflow to the laptop's high-end, hard-working components.
The new Razer Blade will be available for pre-order on Sept. 2 and is expected to arrive by the end of the month.
Check out Razer's new Blade in their video below. What do you think gamers – is this the laptop you’ve been waiting for?
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.