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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  • Cutebone - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    "I'd also like to see an optional SSD-only configuratoin"

    Thanks for the write-up...wish I had $2,500 to spare...
  • robmuld - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    I wish they offered a 16:10 option. Also, a proper navigation keys (PgUp/Dn and Home/End) section on the keyboard. This has sadly disappeared from most mobile keyboards nowadays, whereas it was more common years ago.
  • andykins - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    Great notebook and great review. I'm really glad you decided to dump PCMark7. I totally ignored the benchmarks from that suite in every review; I actually have no idea why Anandtech includes them, they're totally useless really.

    I have to say, I think if I had that amount of money to spend I would rather get a rMBP. If money was no object, however, I'd get both! ^^ But it begs the question why you didn't include rMBP (running Win7) in the results when you have a machine at hand? :)
  • Camacho - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    Why is the Macbook "A different story entirely"? It is pretty much the same damn hardware as the Blade with a slightly slower GPU (GT 650m) and slightly faster CPU at base and all core clock. Blade beats it on single thread by 100MHz. @ 3.4GHz AND is cheaper. Plus it has your IPS display. Just wondering as you can just install Windows on the Mac. IPS laptop display is as fast as anything I have seen in a portable so not sure what the Razer guy was on about. ???.
  • Camacho - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    I was wrong the Macbook Pro has a faster CPU on all counts.
  • will54 - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    Actually the Macbook has a faster GPU at there stock clocks since for some reason the MBP has a 165 mhz higher clock speed than other GDDR5 650M's. Not sure why they didn't just go with the GTX 660M.
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    Because it's an OS X-based 15" machine that plays in a completely different size and weight class? You wouldn't compare a Porsche 911 and a Mercedes S-class just because they cost roughly the same and have a similar amount of power, right - same principle applies here.
  • andykins - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    I disagree, Vivek. Maybe I am isolated case but I would very much like to see it compared to the rMBP. After all, the Razer is compared to laptops that weigh 3lb (50%+) heavier.
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    I dunno, there's just a huge difference between a 4.5lb 15" system and a 6.5lb 17" system in terms of form factor. Add in OS X, and I felt like they were different enough that they wouldn't be cross shopped much. M17x, on the other hand, is probably the biggest competitor for the Blade. The rMBP to me is an amazing system but I can't see a valid comparison. I guess maybe if you wanted the closest thing to the Blade in a 15" form factor, get an rMBP?
  • Flunk - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - link

    It's a shame they don't make a 15" version of this. 17", no matter how thin is just too big to be reasonably portable. Heck, I would buy a 15" version of this at the same price. There really isn't much in that market space right now.

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