Thursday, May 30, 2013

Razer reveals the Blade Pro and 14-inch Blade gaming laptops (update: $999 Pro for indie game devs)


DNP  Razer reveals two new Blades Pro and 14inch versions

Razer promised it was aiming to iterate its Blade gaming laptop on a yearly basis, and despite the company's recent focus on tablets, it appears to be keeping its word. Today, a mere eight months after releasing the second-gen Blade, Razer unveiled two new members of the Blade family: the 17-inch Blade Pro and its 14-inch sibling. As you might expect, the Pro tops its elders with new silicon and storage options. It's exchanging third-gen Intel Ivy Bridge silicon for a fourth-gen Haswell chip and upgrading from an NVIDIA GTX 660M to a GTX 765M GPU. Oh, and Razer's nixed the HDD options from the big Blade's menu -- the Pro packs a 128GB SSD standard, with optional upgrades to 256 or 512GB. That new hardware is evidently smaller than what it's replacing: though the Pro shares the same size chassis as its predecessor, it packs a 74Wh battery (the older Blade has a 60Wh cell). Other than that, the Blade Pro comes with Razer's Switchblade interface, a trio of USB 3.0 ports, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a 1920 x 1080 display, just like the prior Blade.

Meanwhile, the new 14-inch Blade will come with mostly the same hardware as the Pro, meaning it's got a Haswell chip and GTX 756M graphics along with a buffet of SSD choices. Those components are stuffed inside a chassis that measures 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.66 inches, and weighs 4.13 pounds. Naturally, given its smaller size, it lacks the Switchblade LCD and buttons, has a 1.3 megapixel webcam (as opposed to the Pro's 2 megapixel unit) and a 14-inch 1600 x 900 display. And, despite its relatively svelte dimensions (for a portable gaming rig), the baby Blade still has a 70Wh battery inside. The Pro starts at $2,299, or $200 less than prior Blades and the 14-inch model will set you back a minimum of $1,799. Each will be available in North America in Q2, with a worldwide rollout of the Pro coming sometime later this year.

Update: Good news, Indie game developers! Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan just announced that those devs with a successfully funded Kickstarter can get a new Blade Pro for just $999.

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