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CES 2020: Razer Tomahawk + Intel NUC 9 Extreme = tiny gaming glory

Razer Tomahawk
Razer Tomahawk (Image credit: Windows Central)

Razer Tomahawk

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

For years, Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) barebones PC systems have intrigued rig builders and those itching for small but powerful PCs. Still, the lack of serious graphics power kept them from being adopted by more hardcore audiences. That's about to change with the Razer Tomahawk due in the first half of 2020.

Based on Intel's latest NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element and Razer's polish for hardware and PC case design, the Tomahawk can be configured to a ridiculous level to satisfy any gamer – especially if desktop real estate is a concern.

The case itself, dubbed Razer Tomahawk N1, is built from an all-aluminum body that is flanked by tempered glass on both sides. Venting on the top with dual fans keeps airflow moving and core components cool even under heavy duress. It's very reminiscent of Razer's Core line of external GPUs (eGPU).

The NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element slides in and out of the Tomahawk N1 with a grab handle and requires no external hardware or tools for disassembly.

Hardware configuration is no joke, either. The Tomahawk can be arranged with up to a Core i9 processor, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU, one of our best graphics card picks. Razer also notes that the RAM and SSD modules of the NUC card are user-upgradable, as are the fans.

And since the GPU slides into the NUC like any proper ATX case, users can easily swap out their graphics card in just seconds.

No pricing for the Tomahawk was announced, but availability will be sometime in the first half of 2020. Razer is going to sell both prefabbed systems with the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element to end-users, but pros can also just by the Tomahawk N1 case if they want to go it alone.

Quick analysis

Razer Tomahawk

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

NUC's have always been exciting devices, especially when you compare them to the Apple Mac mini. But like many tiny systems, the poor graphics failed to win over the more pro audiences who had big ideas for such systems.

With the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element and Razer's finesse for clean, minimalist hardware, consumers can finally create weird and powerful tiny PCs that take up little space. Indeed, users can pair two together for heavy video loads, or even offloading game streaming from their primary PC.

Unfortunately, while such systems are going to be fascinating to watch, they likely won't be very cheap either. Still, it's at least now a fun space to watch as we're sure the builder community will do a lot with such systems.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

3 Comments
  • The biggest question I have is whether the "USB-C Passthrough" will be a true passthrough and will allow connecting say USB-C earphones to the device or whether it is just a power passthrough. I currently have a controller, but it blocks the solitary port on my phone and thus I have no ability to wire earphones to the device whilst using it. It'd be nice to have the ability to have audio whilst playing in public (as obviously wireless audio has unbelievably poor latency and having audio playing out loud is atrocious).
  • Looks pretty cool but will probably be way overpriced for me
  • Ugh this is something I'd be very interested in but you're probably right that it'll be way over priced