Skip to main content

The Razer Core adds desktop-class graphics to Razer's slick new ultrabook

Razer's new Blade Stealth ultrabook may lack a little in the graphics department, but announced alongside it at CES 2016 is this: the Razer Core. This Thunderbolt-attached box brings desktop-class graphics power to your gaming experience on the laptop. In short, the Razer Core allows you to use a full sized, desktop graphics card with your Blade Stealth laptop.

It's not exactly portable (nor a new idea; Dell did the same in 2015 with their Alienware gaming line), but it's an interesting idea all the same. What you get in the Blade Stealth is one of the most powerful ultrabooks money can buy. It's slim, light and highly portable while still having options for a 4K display, but it lacks a dedicated GPU. Hook it up to the Razer Core at home and maybe even an external monitor or two and what you suddenly have is a powerful gaming PC. The best of both worlds.

The Razer Core connects with a single Thunderbolt 3 cable (using the same port as USB-C) for both power and data, and it can accommodate virtually any desktop AMD or NVIDIA graphics card available today. The aluminum housing opens with ease and it just takes a single screw to attach the graphics card. So if you want a GTX980ti for when you're gaming but a slim, powerful ultrabook for when you're on the road, here you are.

Additionally, the Razer Core adds four USB 3.0 ports and Ethernet — and it's a true plug-and-play accessory.

"Before today, gamers needed a portable system for everyday work and a separate desktop computer to power their PC games at the highest level possible," says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. "For the first time ever, there is no need for two separate systems. The Razer Blade Stealth offers the portability of an Ultrabook with the scalability to play hardcore games with desktop graphics performance thanks to the Razer Core. Furthermore, the Razer Blade Stealth starts at just $999 –which is significantly lower than any other comparable laptop in its class."

The difference between this and Dell's Alienware setup is small, but still noticeable. Dell's smallest offering is the Alienware 13, which is still an all-out gaming notebook. It's pretty thick, a little on the heavy side and isn't going to give much in the way of long battery life when you're on the go just want to use it as a laptop. Razer's setup gives you a high-end thin-and-light ultrabook for when you just need a laptop and a beefy gaming system when you're at home.

As of this moment pricing and availability has yet to be announced, but needless to say the Razer Core is an idea we're liking the sound of.

The Razer Blade Stealth makes a case to be the 'ultimate Ultrabook'

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

27 Comments
  • 980Ti needs powerful CPU for it's full potential to work. Ultrabook's CPUs' causes bottleneck to desktop class GPUs'. 
  • Even a GTX 970 will bring a never seen before performance to a 12 inch ultrabook.
  • It is still not a best practice. GTX 970 is a powerfull gpu needs a power gpu not a ultralow voltage cpus.
  • Regardless, it will still greatly expand the ultrabook's abilities and make it suitable for most gaming purposes. And the best CPU option for the Blade Stealth is pretty good anyway.
  • I agree, Alienware (even if i don't like them because of the "nerd style" design has the better concept with the HQ-series.
  • That's why theres dual gpu editions
  • Common hardware with other ultra book and laptop compatibility should be made possible
  • Razer said that this isn't limited to their ultrabook as it is your standard Thunderbolt 3 box. You can reuse this with other OPM laptops with more powerful CPUs or even the unlocked mobile Xeon CPUs.
  • Nice docking station :) If only you could connect any laptop/phone to it :).
  • Graphics Cards don't work that way
  • It does! I read it on totallytruefacts.net
  • I don't see why not, as long as you have the correct ports and drivers.
  • If I understand what I was told correctly, it will initially work with only the Razer Blade Stealth but they might eventually open it up to other devices with the correct port.
  • Per-Razer; they used all industry standards and will not be limiting it to their products only. The main part that may not work with other OEMs is hot-swap/plug and play since they had to customize the bios to allow it. Past that, it should work with any standard Thunderbolt 3 system provided you have functioning drivers.
  • Ah, that explains it. Thanks.
  • The problem with gaming laptops for gamers is that they are still stuck on 60Hz panels. Only few laptops offer more Hz. Of course you can overclock it but it's not ideal. I, at least, can't go back to a 60Hz refresh rate. I am in love with my BenQ 144Hz. People who did not try a 144Hz monitor please don't comment that there is no difference in games. It's redundant to start that talk.
  • no reason to buy a 144Hz monitor IF you are not a professional player playing for money cheers :-)
  • Yes, there is a reason if you have the moolah to splurge. Because, why not?
  • Higher refresh rate, assuming also higher fps, is a very good reason in itself. If you are one of those people who can enjoy a "cinematic" 30fps and less, then more power to you. Then again, 60Hz isn't too bad either. The bigger problem with gaming laptops IMO, is their general lack of purpose apart from very specific situations / requirements.
  • I've been using my gaming laptop for everything for nearly 3 years now. The only downside is the lack of proper upgradability. I got the best CPU it can handle. I could also get a GeForce GTX 980M for it if I really wanted, but even at the discounted price of $700, that's one expensive upgrade.
  • Yeah mxm is expensive & companies like dell have stopped supporting aftermarket upgrade(via eurocomm mxm cards)
  • Agreed. To be fair a laptop is for a specific situation, it targets the people who travel :)
  • Yeah, traveling is part of what I was hinting at :) That, and general "movability" / compactness requirements, but most gaming laptops aren't that portable in the first place and with an external graphics card even less so. In every other respect they tend to be worse than desktops half their price.
  • This situation is similar to SSD vs HDD in it's incipient phase. Everybody disagreed with SSD, now everybody embraces it. Same goes with the higher refresh rates. Once you go 120HZ+ you can't go back. And to the guys who mention the money that you spend on this, keep in mind that I replied to an article that mentiones an expensive product, so this is not for the fainted hearts :)
  • To be fair, the early SSD-models weren't as durable as they are today, nor as failure -safe.
  • .-DUPLICATE-
  • Really hope the Surface Pro 5 comes with something similar. Would be really awesome to have a portable and powerful Laptop/Tablet/Notepad on the go, and a zero compromise Desktop when docked...perhaps that could be done via the Surface Connect port, that way it'll be backwards compatible as far back as the Surface Pro 3, and that'll just be very generous of Microsoft.