Moving in lockstep with NVIDIA’s new RTX 30 laptop GPUs, Razer has announced that its Blade 15 and Pro 17 notebooks will support those new video cards. But there’s also another intriguing upgrade this year: high refresh rate Quad HD (1,440p, QHD) screens. That gives gamers a higher resolution choice than standard 1080p panels, but without jumping all the way to 4K, which is incredibly demanding for native rendering. Given that we’re still waiting for Intel’s more powerful 11th-gen H-series processors, both Razer notebooks will also ship with the current 10th gen H-series chips, maxing out with the 8-core i7-10875H.
The RTX 30 GPUs will be a healthy upgrade over NVIDIA RTX 20 Super GPUs, much like we saw with their desktop counterparts. It’ll be interesting to see how well they handle ray tracing too, as that was one of the more useful bonuses with NVIDIA’s Ampere architecture. The base Blade 15 is limited to the RTX 3060 or 3070, but the Advanced 15-inch model and the Blade Pro 17 can fit the powerful RTX 3080.
Now let’s talk about those new screens: the standard Blade 15 can be equipped with a 144Hz 1080p screen with a serviceable 8ms response time, and you can also upgrade to a faster 3ms Quad HD 165Hz display. The Blade 15 Advanced, meanwhile offers 360Hz 1080p at 2ms, 60Hz 4K OLED at 1ms and a 240Hz Quad HD screen. Notably, that QHD panel is the only one with NVIDIA G-SYNC and Advanced Optimus, which will help it smooth out gameplay and intelligently switch between integrated and dedicated GPUs. The Blade Pro 17, meanwhile, has a 360Hz 1080p 17.3-inch screen, 165Hz Quad HD and a 120Hz 4K panel (another first for Razer).
Design-wise, nothing has really changed for any of the Razer notebooks. They’ll still have the same sleek unibody cases and a plethora of ports, including USB-A, USB-C 3.2, Thunderbolt, HDMI 2.1 and Gigabit Ethernet. The Blade 15 Advanced and the Blade Pro 17 also have a built in SD card reader, something that’s becoming increasingly rare these days. Those machines can also be equipped with up to 32GB of DDR4, 2,933MHz RAM.
While these Razer Blade’s don’t really look that much different, the addition of QHD screens is a major change for gamers. Thus far, we’ve had to settle for lowly 1080p panels just to get higher refresh rates, but now you can get speed and a slight resolution bump. It’s also far easier to achieve high framerates at 1,440p compared to 4K, so you’ll actually be able to fill those screens with gaming action properly.
The Razer Blade 15 starts at $1,700, while the Blade Pro 17 goes for $2,300. Both systems will be available for preorder on Razer’s site on January 12th, and you’ll be able to find the Blade 15 in retailers on January 26th. The Blade 17 will hit stores later in the first quarter.