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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  • Zmokin - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    Well, I've had mine for four days now so let me tell you my impressions.

    For something this expensive you tend to second guess yourself, especially with all the nay-sayers out there. Although there are a few nagging issues (see below), so far I'm still happy with my purchase.

    Keep in mind I'm upgrading from a four year old laptop so my experience will probably be different from yours.


    Despite some other reviews, The sound is loud enough (for me) to play music in a small room or for gaming and sounds reasonably good for a laptop. I'm not an audio expert so others may disagree.

    The screen looks great to me. It's not washed out, doesn't fade much from the side or when I change the angle of the screen. No complaints.

    - It is taking me a bit to get used to the touchpad location, but it's not such an annoyance as to make a big deal about it.

    - Storage space. Plenty for me. I have all my music (20 gigs), lots of photos, four games, ms office, adobe suite, slew of other programs for work and all my data and I still have plenty of space left over (almost half). I'm not sure what else I would put on there except more games, but it definitely is better than the 256gb alone. I have no idea what all folks put on that they need terabytes of storage on a laptop, but more power to them - I'm satisfied.


    - Awesome looks! Took it to work and everyone wanted to check it out just from the initial looks - hadn't even turned it on yet! Once the switchblade came on with all the pics and stuff - it was all over, everyone was just drooling.

    - boot up speed is fast (for me anyway), around 20 secs or so. There is a lot of stuff being loaded in the msconfig startup list, some of that might be eliminated. Maybe someone more knowledgable could tell us what isn't really needed to help make it boot even faster.

    - Overall weight and size of course. My backpack thanks me for replacing my old 17" Gateway! And so does my back itself. The power brick (can't really call it that anymore) is so small for so much power.


    - Fingerprints! Everywhere! On the cover, on the palm rest, on the keys - it's disgusting. It looks like I just ate some fried chicken and didn't bother to wash my hands before picking up and playing with the laptop. And yes, I did wash my hands before handling it! I find myself cleaning it continuously, especially before taking it out in public since it distracts from the beauty of the beast. The worst part is that they don't come off easily. You really have to clean it as opposed to just simply wiping them off like other laptops I've had.

    - Heat after long/heavy game playing. Could fry an egg on the surface. Played GW2 for four hours with everything on high minus anti-alias. Game played pretty smooth without hiccups or stuttering the whole time.

    However.... I noticed the palm rest under the switchblade ui was getting really hot, and I mean really hot.

    So I started feeling around. Right above the power button, it was so hot that I would have burned my hand if I would have kept it there.

    So I did an informal temp measure just to see for myself if I was imagining it.

    I emphasize informal since all I had was a standard home thermometer. I placed the tip on the palm rest and it quickly rose over 100F and then settled at 105.4F.

    When I placed the tip above the power button, it rose to 110F and then just went to 'H' because my poor thermometer wouldn't read any higher (humans would probably be dead at that level!).

    That said, reading Vivek's article, it sounds like this is normal. Still a little worrisome.

    - Switchblade is good/bad. Good because it looks really neat and can be functional and versatile. I can see the potential.

    However, it only works if you are connected to the Internet! WTH! As soon as I lose connection or if I'm in an area with no wifi, everything disappears and it is just a trackpad - even the buttons above the touchpad are all blank. I can't even turn it into a numpad which I think would be the least it could do. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but so far I haven't figured out how to download the profiles so that I can use the switchblade without being connected to the Internet. Dumb in my opinion.

    Also, I tried to configure my own buttons across the top to add the simple functions of home, end, del, etc. to work along with the trackpad. Couldn't do it. In order to reassign the keys, you have to press the key you want to reassign it to. Since there is no home key to press, I couldn't assign it to the blank key. I found a way around by switching to their built in numpad, pressing the home key, but there is no way to assign the icon for it. They should offer a list of keys (especially those missing from the keyboard) to choose from and their corresponding icons to make this easier.

    Overall I'm still happy, but the few things I mentioned do distract from the overall experience.
  • Zmokin - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    Here is a post from someone who opened the case (voiding the warranty) and installed new SSDs.

    With pictures:


    (The link goes to the forum page so you may have to wander down the posts to find it.)
  • karasaj - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    If Razer took out the switchblade UI and made a 15 inch version etc. it would be very compelling... even more portable than this one is. As it is, this is pretty cool. I would definitely like one of these if I ever got into a situation where I wasn't traveling/transporting my laptop every day.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - link

    I think this laptop is something different. It is expensive for the innards you get, but it is slim, quiet, still powerful and does things a little different. The switch from full SSD to chaching is a shame though.
    What I would like to see in R3 of The Razer Blade: Make the Switchblade a 4.5-5" screen with 720p resolution, give us a Tegra3/Exynos Quad/Krait Quad/whatever based SoC with a full Android/Linux version and have the run on the small screen or if we chose to use this on the go just for internet, give it out on the big screen in 1080p and save tons of battery. That would be pretty neat.
  • jed22281 - Saturday, October 6, 2012 - link

    So putting aside the unique aspects of this device, how does the rMBP stack up against this purely for Gaming?*
    Does the better GPU mean much better perf. at the same res. for both, or does the rMBP's CPU make that moot?
    Can you till play many games (full settings or near) at the RMBP's native res. & get an acceptable frame-rate?
    Anyone played with both a fair bit????

    *note I have license for Win 7 & can dual-boot so that's not an issue.
  • jed22281 - Saturday, October 6, 2012 - link

    "Can you till play many games (full settings or near) at the RMBP's native res. & get an acceptable frame-rate?"

    In hindsight, I realize the silliness in that statement....
    One cool adv with the rMBP, would be that one can always buy an external thunderbolt GPU later for much more serious gaming, right?
    I recall there being some on the market or coming, are there any decent ones out there nowadays?
  • themiracle - Sunday, October 7, 2012 - link

    Why Anand didnt review the envy 17 3D, it has a similar design to this one, but has better display, and a slightly better GPU\CPU, it the fastest laptop ive ever used, it has two problems out of the box, but o well, wth, maybe you can make a review
    Envy 17 3D 3290nr
  • tariq3877 - Monday, January 7, 2013 - link

    - I understand ALienware are expensive but they have good after sales value too.
    - I understand These other systems may have a slim Chassis but the thing that matters is the GPU on board or Slot-IN, as i used to do GPU REBALLING i can say it matters a lot.
    - Best machines according to repair point of view are Acers.
    - Worst machines with 90% heat and GPU failling problems are HP.
  • raok7 - Thursday, September 5, 2013 - link

    well this looks great and will be one of the best product!!!!!!!!!

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