SAN FRANCISCO – Razer raised eyebrows at CES when it revealed the Razer Blade Stealth and the Razer Core: a sleek gaming laptop, and an external GPU housing, respectively. On its own, the Blade Stealth is a gorgeous notebook, but plug it into the Core with a single wire, and it becomes a gaming powerhouse. Now, the company has provided a price and release date for the Core: $499 on its own, $399 when purchased with a Razer laptop, and will ship in April.
Razer announced the pricing details during the Game Developers' Conference 2016, although the bulk of information about the device still comes from the company's CES presentation in January. The Core is compatible with both the Razer Blade Stealth ($1,200) and the Razer Blade ($2,000), and can connect to either via a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cable. Pre-orders for the device begin today (Mar. 16), and early adopters should start receiving the devices within a month.
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While the Core does not come with a graphics card, it is open to a wide variety of them. AMD owners can plug in the Fury, Nano, 300 Series, 290X, 290 and 280 from the company's Radeon R9 line. Nvidia enthusiasts can play with the GeForce GTX Titan X, 980 Ti, 980, 970, 960, 950, 750 Ti and 750. On their own, the Razer Blade and Blade Stealth possess only integrated graphics, so the systems' gameplay performance will depend almost entirely upon what kind of GPU you install in the Core.
For those who are thinking of picking up a Core, it sounds like it could add quite a bit of functionality to a Razer laptop. The device measures 13.4 x 8.6 x 4.1 inches, and weighs 10.9 pounds, making it a bit smaller than most gaming desktops. The housing comes equipped with four USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port, Chroma lighting and a Thunderbolt 3 connection for a laptop.
Tom's Guide went hands-on with the Core at CES, and found it to be an impressive bit of machinery. On the other hand, if you want to use it as a gaming system, you'll need to dish out at least $1,600 before you even factor in a graphics card.