Razer Blade (late 2012) - Design Changes

I was a huge fan of the Blade’s design, so I’m perfectly alright with it carrying over mostly untouched. It’s just better looking and better built than a vast majority of other 17” gaming notebooks out there. I’ve used the 17” Ultrabook term before to describe the Blade, and it still applies—it’s got the form factor and design detailing (and the price) that we’ve come to expect from Ultrabook class PCs.

The anodized aluminum unibody is as gorgeous as ever. I spent about a thousand words describing it last time around, and that page of my review perfectly sums up the exterior of the new Blade as well. This is one of the most striking notebook designs to hit the market in recent years. I’ve always loved the detailing on the Blade, from the uniformly green accents (including the USB 3.0 ports) to the two ridges on the back, which interestingly enough, were apparently inspired by the styling of Japanese samurai swords. It’s clean and elegant, but still makes a powerful visual statement. There are few systems out there with the awe factor of the Blade—it’s beautiful and menacing, all at once.

But with that said, there are some changes, predominantly at the bottom of the system. The venting has been changed considerably, with larger vents on the bottom—still the beautiful machined slots with polished aluminum edges and a lighter metal mesh, just with more surface area covered—as well as raised feet in the rear of the system.

This serves two purposes, the obvious one being improved heat dissipation from the bottom of the system due to the presence of significantly more air and airflow underneath. To aid in this, Razer has put in a secondary set of vents on the edge of the underside, next to the raised feet. The other is that adding a space there has allowed Razer to move the CPU heatpipe there, underneath the heatsink. Previously, the copper heatpipe went through the heatsink, impeding airflow, so the change brings about a much freer breathing cooling system.

Every bit of thermal headroom helps with a system as thin as the Blade, and the new thermal design has allowed Razer to add 10-12 watts to the system while still having it run cooler than before. Razer has also changed the fans it used, after complaints from us and others about the noise of the fan when it spooled up, so it’s quieter as well.

The raised feet also give the Blade an ergonomic tilt when set on a flat surface. Of course, it also adds thickness to Razer’s claimed 0.88” height figure, which appears to cover only the body. Including the feet, the Blade is probably closer to 1-1.05” thick.

Introducing the new Razer Blade Razer Blade (late 2012) - Thermal Design
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  • davos555 - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    As one of the 10% of left handed people, I couldn't use this. I much prefer the trackpad in the middle, as I draw with my left hand (use my finger) and click with the right hand. I couldn't use it comfortably where it is on this.
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    And I'm a righty, but I tend to mouse lefty when I'm not gaming to even the wear and tear on my wrists. Heck, at work I use my left hand almost exclusively. That trackpad just isn't a viable solution for me. :-\
  • adityav - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    Its a problem for left handers like me. I am willing to buy this but that trackpad position won't work for me.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    As we all know, that was the first and only black laptop before this.

    Kidding, but I don't see much similarity beside that, I don't have to repeat that the chicklet keyboard isn't unique to the MB either.
  • tbutler - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    The 'form over function' slam is really irritating. This is a *laptop.* The entire point is being able to tote it around. (If desktop space is limited, an AIO or SFF will still give you more bang for the buck than a laptop if you're not going to be carrying it around.)

    Therefore, size and weight are FUNCTIONAL issues. Not fashion. Size/weight vs performance is still a valid discussion, but it's a choice between two different kinds of functionality - not form over function.

    By the same token, case materials are a functional issue. Logo stickers, sculpted flanges, all that crap is form - but a solid metal build vs the kind of cheap plastic described in yesterday's Clevo review will definitely affect the laptop's operation. Again, goes back to portability; a well-built case is going to hold up better under the wear and tear portable systems experience, and do a better job of protecting the internal components.
  • Octopilion - Friday, October 5, 2012 - link

    Your argument is pointless mac book pros don't even have these specs and cost about the same price and there's a ton of sheep buying them
  • CaptainDoug - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    I just wish that there was some way to just install the OS on the Msata and then have my hard drive for anything else. I really don't get caching. I get it, but it's lame. For me, this second revision makes it a much more serious contender but I think I'd still choose the HP ENVY 17t-3200 series. You get a msata port + 2x2.5" drives. The 7850M is only slightly worse than the 660M and it has amazing sound. True it is 1.28" thick instead of .88" but it's also $1000 less and comes with a blu-ray drive. I totally understand why someone would want this though. I'm not bashing on this laptop at all, it's just not everything i want. If the Razer Blade R2 was somehow user upgradeable/configurable, that's another story. 16GB of ram, and replacable hard drives isn't too much to ask is it? That being said, if I had money to blow, I'd get this for the coolness factor over the HP Envy.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    I wish Razer would offer a build with a 256GB mSATA SSD with the OS and apps, and then provide a 750GB/1TB HDD for mass storage. (Or just leave the 2.5" bay open and let users add something on their own if they need more storage.) I'd also be far happier with a traditional touchpad and save the money that it costs to put the Switchblade into the laptop.
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    If you're willing to get intimate with the DataPlex software, you can theoretically uninstall it and set up the mSATA SSD as the boot/application drive. I'm not sure why Razer didn't go that route with it, I guess it was just cheaper for them to give a smaller caching drive?
  • s2kpacifist - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    This looks like a great second entry into the gaming laptop market, but I really wish if they had a 15" flavor of the Blade, sans Switchblade. Hell, maybe even a 17" version without the switchblade touchpad. The reason? Any serious gamer will undoubtedly be using high dpi mouse for the game they are playing. The whole concept of the Switchblade is innovative, but it's probably adding some unnecessary cost and features most gamers can do without. The buttons are okay, but until Razer can get the trackpad screen to out-do what most modern smartphones can do in terms of responsiveness, browsing experience, and dpi/resolution, I think Razer can do much better without Switchblade .

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