updated 12:50 pm EDT, Fri August 26, 2011
Razer Blade notebook has custom gaming overlay
Razer wrapped up its teaser run with word of its first-ever PC, the Blade. The gaming notebook has the 17-inch profile of a desktop replacement but is both inspired by the design of 17-inch MacBook Pro while beating it in key areas: at .88 inches thick and 6.97 pounds with an aluminum body, it's almost as light as Apple's system but is slightly thinner.
The design 'cheats' somewhat by skipping the optical drive and using just a 320GB, 7,200RPM hard drive, but makes up for it with higher graphics performance. NVIDIA's GeForce GT 555M gives it upper mid-range graphics with 2GB of memory. Intel's new, slightly upgraded 2.8GHz dual Core i7 and 8GB of RAM are fast enough to keep the graphics at peak capacity. It touts one each of HDMI and USB 3.0 along with a pair of USB 2.0 ports and gigabit Ethernet, and the 17-inch display outputs at a native 1080p without needing a custom order.
Razer's experience comes most into play by bringing the Switchblade concept's design to a shipping notebook. Much like Art Lebedev's Optimus Prime keyboard, ten of the keys have their own displays and can be customized for common game shortcuts. Below it, an LCD touchscreen can serve either as a multi-touch trackpad or as a status display when an external mouse is in action.
Battery life hasn't been mentioned, although the absence of an optical drive, a 60Whr battery, and use of NVIDIA's Optimus to switch to Intel graphics should put it above the frequently sub-par batteries on other gaming notebooks.
All of the extra features give the Blade a premium and will put it at $2,800, roughly $1,000 more than its Apple counterpart. North America should get the notebook sometime in the fall.