Razer Blade Stealth + Core V2
Gaming Laptop and External GPU Solution
Link: Razer Blade Stealth
, Razer Core V2
Portability when it comes to gaming laptops is a trade-off, where you often need to sacrifice size, battery life, and weight for power. Take any one of the many current gaming laptops out there featuring in-built NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPUs - these are often the sort of laptops that you simply can’t fit inside a normal sized backpack. In the end it all comes down to portability, where the idea is to have a desktop-like piece of kit that you can just as easily move from one table to the next or take on the road. At its core the Razer Blade Stealth is not a gaming laptop, but its small form-factor means its light, powerful, and perfect for traveling.
When coupled with the Thunderbolt-powered Razer Core V2 though, it can transform into a powerful desktop solution after simply plugging in a single cable.
Under the Lid
The Razer Core V2 is an external desktop graphics enclosure, which means it can house a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 and thanks to additional USB-ports and the video output capabilities of the GPU – it can sit there on a desk like a mini-PC connected to a display as well as a keyboard and mouse. And then come to life when connected via USB-C to the Razer Blade Stealth. The plug-and-play nature of the setup means no rebooting, no troubleshooting, just the simple first-time driver setup for display and you’re good to go. The connection via USB-C also charges the Razer Blade Stealth, so you’re only ever using a single power slot, and the entire unit will power down when not in use.
It’s the sort of combination that feels modern in execution, the ultimate setup for those looking for a single solution without sacrificing the additional GPU power than comes with a full-sized desktop card. Where everything outside of raw graphics is handled by the Razer Blade Stealth. Which in and of itself is quite an impressive laptop.
Razer Blade Stealth
Processor: Intel Core™ i7-8550U Processor with Hyper Threading 1.8 GHz / 4.0 GHz (Base/Turbo)
Display: IGZO 16:9 aspect ratio, with LED backlight (3200 x 1800
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory: 16GB LPDDR3-2133MHz
Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe M.2)
OS: Windows 10
Interfaces: Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), USB 3.0 port x2 (SuperSpeed), Multi-point touchscreen interface, HDMI 2.0a audio and video output, 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo port
Outside of the somewhat slow memory, the Razer Blade Stealth offers exceptional performance, a great screen, in a small light-weight and compact package. The CPU is one the best out there in terms of Intel designs best suited for gaming and productivity, and the multi-touch screen is bright, colourful, with brilliant contrast and clarity. And with the 256 GB model costing AU$2,399.95 it’s not overly expensive.
But factoring in the cost of the Core V2 at AU$719.95 and then a GPU on top of that – say the excellent GALAX GeForce GTX 1070 Ti EX-SNPR White – plus a larger screen and peripherals, and the cost for the Razer Blade Stealth + Core V2 solution errs on the side of extravagant. It only begins to make sense if you’re in the market for both a desktop and a gaming laptop.
It’s here where the addition of the Core V2 begins to showcase just what it can do thanks to the Thunderbolt connection. As the Razer Blade Stealth, due to its compact design, comes packed with Intel UHD Graphics 620 game performance is a bit of a mixed bag. As an integrated graphics solution, it’s only suitable for less intensive games or pick-up-and-play titles in the MOBA genre. Certainly, capable to an extent with something like Overwatch, but it’s a trade-off where you need to disable advanced visual effects to find the sweet spot between looking good and a decent enough frame-rate.
In the test unit we were supplied by Razer, the Core V2 was equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition. And so, when we ran two separate 3DMark Firestrike benchmark tests the difference was more than noticeable. It was huge.
The most impressive aspect of running separate tests and then firing up different games to see the difference was that we were able to do so by simply plugging in the Core V2 and then unplugging to see the difference. Take Overwatch for example. Even at the native resolution of 3200 x 1800 the GeForce GTX 1080 was able to push that at mostly max detail with no problem. Thanks to the portability of the Core V2 and Razer Blade Stealth we were then able to connect it to our 4K LG OLED display for even more impressive results. Really though what you get with this setup, the difference that is in terms of game performance, comes down to the GPU. A separate purchase that can quite easily end up being one of the most expensive parts of the whole setup.
Bridging the gap between desktop performance on an actual desk and a small light-weight but powerful laptop, the Razer Blade Stealth + Core V2 combo is in many ways the “ultimate” setup. The ideal situation where you can come home plug-in your laptop and watch it transform into an all-powerful gaming beast. The only issue with it all comes down to pricing, because once you factor in all the extra peripherals and the GPU you need to power it all – this ultimate setup doesn’t come cheap. But yeah, Thunderbolt is impressive tech, and this is the sort of hardware that we couldn’t help but become enamored with.