The gaming tablet that notched two high profile awards at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas traces its lineage back to the desktop computer and continues to blur the distinction between tablets and PCs.
The Razer Edge is designed to bring the PC and console gaming experience to a Windows 8 tablet.
CNET gave the Razer Edge both its Best of Show and People’s Voice awards at CES, calling it “evolutionary computing” and saying that the device “succeeds in showing us where tablets, computing and even entertainment will be heading very soon.”
This marks the second turn in the CES spotlight for the gaming tablet made by Razer, a San Diego company that built its reputation on computer peripherals for PC gamers. Last year a prototype of the device, called “Project Fiona,” also garnered a CNET People’s Voice award.
“Games once played with a huge desktop PC can now be played anywhere,” said Intel’s Sam Gao who has been involved with “Project Fiona” since work began in fall 2011.
PC Gamers Demand High Performance
The touch-enabled tablet can play popular PC games such as “Call of Duty,” “Battlefield 3″ and “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.” Despite the portable form factor, the Razer Edge can deliver high-performance gaming, according to Jitesh Shah, an Intel engineer who worked on “Project Fiona.”
“The performance and gaming experience is like no other for a mobile device,” Shah said.
The key, according to Shah, was moving to the third-generation, 22-nanometer Intel Core processor, codenamed “Ivy Bridge,” from a 32nm platform used in the prototype.
“Going with 22nm improves performance and power simultaneously, and that’s not typical,” Shah said. “It’s usually more of a give-and-take thing, but here we have give-and-give. There’s no tradeoff.”
The move to a smaller microprocessor technology also resolved the cooling issue inherent to high-performance mobile gaming devices. “We overcame heat dissipation with 22nm,” Gao said. “If the cooling solution isn’t good, you feel it in your hands.”
The Razer Edge is expected to go on sale this quarter starting at $999. The two models of the 10.1-inch Windows 8 tablet have either an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor, Nvidia GT640M LE GPU, and a solid-state drive of 64GB to 256GB. With added peripherals, the modular device can be used not only in tablet mode, but also in keyboard dock or docking station mode and as a gamepad controller.