Second generation Razer Blade laptop announced at PAX Prime with GTX 660M, unannounced Core i7 CPU

The 17-inch behemoths that call themselves gaming notebooks are traditionally quite large, trading extreme performance for substantial bulk. These machines routinely flirt with double digit weigh-ins, and flaunt meaty 1.5-plus inch bezels. They represent a unwieldy reality in portable power that most gamers have learned to expect. Not Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, however -- he's still chasing the dream: thin, powerful and sleek. Tan caught up with us this week to brief us on the next generation Razer Blade, a rig that still boldly claims to be the "world's first true gaming laptop."

Razer's first laptop hit shelves earlier this year, packing a 2.8GHz Core i7-2650M CPU and a GeForce GT 555M GPU into a svelte 0.8-inch aluminum shell. Tan explained that the rig's attractive hull hadn't changed much, but its internals sure have. "The Blade was our first laptop, and we've taken feedback really seriously since then," the CEO told us. "We've been listening to gamers and made a chart of all the pros to keep, and all the cons to address. Every single one of them." That chart eventually mapped out the refreshed rig's internals, which include an unannounced Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive and 64GB of fast-booting solid state storage. All this comes in the same aluminum shell as the first Blade, of course, sporting a 17.3-inch high definition display and the firm's exclusive multitouch LCD Switchblade interface. Tan says the new build addresses some of our own complaints too, noting that the sticky hinge that plagued our review unit has been tweaked to bend to a lighter touch. The machine's internal speakers have been upgraded as well, and are said to be 250% louder with no distortion.

The new Blade's sharpened specs will come with a price cut, ringing in at a penny under $2,500 -- and gamers who picked up its predecessor (which will be getting its own price cut, to $2,299), we were told, can snag one for $500 less. Pre-orders are slated to start on September 2nd, and should ship within 30 days. The new laptop is being unveiled for the first time at PAX Prime this weekend. Not in Seattle for Labor Day? Check out the official press release after the break.

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The Beauty is Now the Beast

The new Razer Blade unveiled at PAX Prime Features even more incredible performance, true portability and new apps for Switchblade User Interface

SEATTLE, Wash. (PAX Prime) – Aug. 31, 2012 –Razer™, the world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, unveiled the next generation of the world's first true gaming laptop, the Razer Blade. The Razer Blade raised the bar on portable gaming laptops, pushing performance limits without compromising on its ultra-thin form factor. The new Razer Blade will be available for pre-order for $2,499 on Sept. 2 and begin shipping to consumers in North America on Sept. 30, 2012.

"The all-new Razer Blade is built to defy all conventions; it is incredibly powerful and yet amazingly thin," said Min-Liang Tan, Razer Chief Executive Officer. "The Blade features the next generation of Intel® quad core processors combined with powerful NVIDIA® GTX class graphics chips and the fastest RAM available, resulting in a machine that is insanely powerful."

The original Razer Blade's thermal system was completely re-engineered and built from custom-crafted parts with larger vents and specially designed heat pipes that allow more airflow to the unit's extreme components. With one of the most innovative thermal solutions in the industry, the new Razer Blade incorporates a tremendous amount of power and performance in an ultra-thin form factor.

The new Razer Blade is only 0.88 inches thick, less than half the thickness of traditional gaming laptops of comparable performance. Combined with an ultra-slim power supply, the entire system weighs less than seven pounds, less than a third of the weight of other gaming laptops, making it the lowest profile, lightest gaming laptop of its class.

PC gamers will now be able to experience today's most graphics-intensive games at phenomenal frame rates on the new Razer Blade's remarkable 17.3-in. high-definition display. The machine's new hybrid drive solution delivers data up to three times faster than traditional hard drives, with double the storage space. Additional features include quieter fans, optimized speakers, and three USB 3.0 ports with charging capabilities even when the system is switched off. .

The most striking and innovative feature of the Razer Blade remains its multi-award-winning Switchblade User Interface (UI). The unique integrated LCD display/multi-touch panel and 10 dynamic adaptive tactile keys put commands and control functions within fingertip reach. The Switchblade UI features a growing list of applications designed specifically for gaming by Razer's in-house software engineers as well as by Razer's active community of users. These apps allow users to browse the web for in-game guides, watch online videos, stay connected within their social networks, and take advantage of an expanding list of dedicated gaming apps without ever having to leave a game.

"With the new Razer Blade, we set out to design something truly phenomenal with extreme performance for gamers in an ultra-thin form factor," said Min. "The design and hardware advancements, combined with our revolutionary user interface, make the new Razer Blade, without doubt, the very best gaming laptop we've ever designed. The Beauty is now the Beast."

Watch the "Razer Blade: The Beauty is Now the Beast" video at www.razerzone.com/blade

About the Razer Blade gaming laptop

The new Razer Blade is a 17-in. gaming laptop that delivers incredible performance and a revolutionary user interface in a sleek, portable form factor. It features a fast Intel® Core™ i7 processor and a high-performance NVIDIA GeForce® graphics processor within in a lightweight aluminum chassis. The revolutionary Switchblade User Interface, located next to the Blade's full-size keyboard, was designed by Razer from the ground up to enhance gaming experiences and provide more control at the gamer's fingertips. The Switchblade features 10 adaptive tactile keys and a multi-touch LCD panel that can also
display in-game information. And at just 0.88 inches thin and weighing a mere 6.6lbs, the Razer Blade is the world's first true gaming laptop.

Future platform with 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ Processor

NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 660M with NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology
2GB Dedicated GDDR5 Video Memory

8GB 1600 MHz DDR3 Memory

17.3-in. LED Backlit Display (1920x1080)

500GB 7200RPM HDD (Primary Storage)

64GB SATA III SSD with NVELO Dataplex™ Software (Cache Acceleration)

Wireless Network 802.11 A/G/N + BT4.0

16.81" (Width) x 10.9" (Depth) x 0.88" (Height); 6.6lbs (Weight)

Engadget Podcast 308: IFA Edition - 08.31.2012