Thursday, March 17th 2016

Razer Accepts Pre-orders for the Razer Core External Graphics Solution

Razer, a world leader in connected devices and software for gamers, today announced pricing, availability and compatibility of its 2016 "Best of CES" award-winning Razer Core. The device is the world's first plug-and-play Thunderbolt 3 external graphics enclosure that debuted earlier this year in tandem with the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, itself an official "Best PC" and "People's Choice" CES winner.

"Razer continues to innovate in the laptops category where big systems brands either cannot or will not," says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. "This time, in collaboration with industry leaders, we've created the world's first external graphics card solution of its kind, bringing the GPU power of a desktop PC to the latest Razer laptops, such as the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, through a single Thunderbolt 3 connection with plug-and-play convenience."
"All consumers, non-gamers and gamers alike, now can easily migrate from their Razer laptop for on-the-go performance to driving a full desktop experience using Razer Core, including enhanced graphics and simple connectivity to peripherals."

The graphics enclosure supports a single double-wide, full-length, PCI-Express x16 graphics card. Qualified AMD Radeon graphics cards are available for use with the Razer Core. At launch of the Razer Core, NVIDIA will support GeForce GTX GPUs, including the entire lineup of Maxwell GPUs, such as the best-selling GTX 970. The Razer Core will be compatible with Razer's latest systems including the Blade Stealth Ultrabook, and the new Razer Blade 14-inch gaming laptop in the near future.

The Razer Core will be available for pre-order starting today and will ship starting in April. The MSRP for Razer Core is $399 with the purchase of a compatible Razer notebook or $499 if purchased separately. Current registered owners of the Blade Stealth will receive the discounted price.

A single Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable provides ample bandwidth and is all it takes to connect compatible Razer systems with the Razer Core. With the Razer Blade Stealth, the Razer Core also provides power to the notebook, charging the internal battery. Whether a laptop user is interested in gaming or editing 4K video with external desktop graphics performance, Thunderbolt 3 is the all-in-one connection that can make it possible with select Razer systems like the Blade Stealth and Razer Core.

"Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps, creating one compact port that does it all," said Jason Ziller, director of Thunderbolt Marketing, Intel. "Thanks to technical collaboration between Intel, Razer and the Radeon Technologies group at AMD, Razer Core is the first plug-and-play external graphics solution that transforms the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook into a desktop-like gaming experience"

The Razer Blade Stealth and Razer Core are the first products to ship that support AMD XConnect technology, which when configured with a qualified Radeon graphics card ensures seamless switching between discrete and integrated Intel HD graphics for a true plug-and-play user experience.

"We believe powerful external GPUs are thrilling for gamers that have longed to connect serious gaming performance to an ultrathin notebook," said Ravi Gananathan, Director, MNC Graphics, AMD. "With the advent of AMD XConnect technology, that dream is a simple and intuitive reality. Together, the Razer Core and AMD XConnect for Radeon graphics are the ultimate intersection of performance, simplicity and design."

Physical installation of a graphics card into the Razer Core requires no tools. Its durable aluminum housing slides open elegantly, and a single included thumb-screw secures the graphics card in place. Razer's solution helps future-proof systems, as graphics cards are easily swappable as new components become available. Traditional laptop designs with fixed internal processors could not easily allow for upgrading graphics capabilities over time, if at all.

Bringing desktop-level graphics and display connectivity to a notebook is only part of this innovative solution from Razer. The Razer Core also contains four additional USB 3.0 ports and Ethernet connectivity, and it has two-zone lighting technology Powered by Razer Chroma. It is now easier than ever to transform a thin and light notebook into a complete desktop experience.

Razer Core can accommodate graphics cards that draw a maximum of 375 W and no larger than 12.20 inches x 5.98 inches x 1.73 inches (310 mm x 152 mm x 44 mm). Plug-and-play support varies according to graphics chipset and notebook model. Interested parties may go to the Razer website for full details. Compatible graphics cards are sold separately. More information about Razer Core is available at this page.

Qualified AMD Radeon graphics cards (AMD XConnect supported with Blade Stealth):
  • AMD Radeon R9 Fury
  • AMD Radeon R9 Nano
  • AMD Radeon R9 300 Series
  • AMD Radeon R9 290X
  • AMD Radeon R9 290
  • AMD Radeon R9 280
Supported NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards (at launch):
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750
Razer Core Specifications:
  • Connection to PC: Thunderbolt 3 using included 40 Gbps cable
  • GPU Support: graphics card sold separately
  • GPU Type: (1) double-wide, full-length PCI-Express x16 graphics card
  • GPU Max Dimensions: 12.20" x 5.98" x 1.73" (310 x 152 x 44 mm)
  • GPU Max Power Support: 375 W
  • Graphics Output: Based on capabilities of installed graphics card
  • Input & Output:
    o USB 3.0 x 4
    o Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000
    o Thunderbolt 3 (for connection to PC)
  • Lighting: Powered by Razer Chroma - 2 zones
  • Power Supply: 500 W
  • Approx. Dimensions: 4.13" (104.9 mm) wide x 13.38" (339.9 mm) deep x 8.6" (218.4 mm) high
  • Approx. Weight: 10.89 lbs. (4.94 kg)
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19 Comments on Razer Accepts Pre-orders for the Razer Core External Graphics Solution

#1
RCoon
Gaming Moderator
PAHAHAHAHAHA.

$500 for an enclosure with no included GPU. It's a tin box with an I/O board and a cheap PSU.
Posted on Reply
#3
Yukikaze
500$? Are they nuts?

Off a Thunderbolt2 port a DIY eGPU setup costs about 250$ (+Shipping):
1) Akitio Thunder2 enclosure, includes a Thunderbolt cable.
2) 25$ for 220W power brick to power it.
This covers any video card up to 75W (750Ti, GTX950 w/o 6-pin plug, R7 360 Green). Then you need a small mod to power a 6-pin or 8pin connector for more powerful GPUs, up to the wattage your power brick can provide.

And that is while buying a MAC-oriented (read: overpriced) peripheral for the enclosure!

500$? Seriously? I guess we'll just wait for someone to start the actual competition going. Razer is just trying to gouge the early adopters.
Posted on Reply
#4
the54thvoid
RCoon, post: 3432417, member: 104854"
PAHAHAHAHAHA.

$500 for an enclosure with no included GPU. It's a tin box with an I/O board and a cheap PSU.
Probably why Nvidia slipped it into drivers without fanfare (their mobility 980 is good enough and probably adds less cost to a laptop). Though I'm sure someone can do the maths for me...

On the flipside, AMD were all over the thing with their announcement as they have a lower profile in high end mobile GPU - which is really weird seeing how good Fiji is for size.

But yeah, Laptop with a good Maxwell or not so good laptop that still needs a BIOS to support the enclosure and the enclosure itself...

Niche to nowhere fast.
Posted on Reply
#5
Yukikaze
the54thvoid, post: 3432509, member: 79251"
not so good laptop that still needs a BIOS to support the enclosure and the enclosure itself...
Just a note on this: Thunderbolt (1, 2 or 3) enables any PCIe device to appear in the host's PCIe address space. It doesn't need special BIOS support for anything (caveat: You do need sufficient addressing space to remain free to accommodate an additional GPU, which not all laptops support out of the box, but it isn't specific to this, or any other, enclosure). This becomes evident when you consider that despite Intel's (Apple's?) opposition to the eGPU idea on Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt2 devices people have gotten them to work. The idea of a PnP eGPU has to do more with SW (GPU and Chipset/Thunderbolt) driver support than actual HW support. PCIe hotplug exists on Thunderbolt 1/2, but nVidia/AMD drivers go nuts (read: BSoD) if you just yank the cable out. Without SW awareness to the fact that a GPU can be pulled out of its "slot" this is equivalent of taking out a GPU from a desktop while it is running. While the PCIe slot might support hotplug, the machine will still BSoD to hell. It is still "hotpluggable" if you disable the device in the Device Manager and then yank it out, since this unloads the driver before the hot-unplug event.
Posted on Reply
#6
the54thvoid
Yukikaze, post: 3432519, member: 59617"
Just a note on this: Thunderbolt (1, 2 or 3) enables any PCIe device to appear in the host's PCIe address space. It doesn't need special BIOS support for anything (caveat: You do need sufficient addressing space to remain free to accommodate an additional GPU, which not all laptops support out of the box, but it isn't specific to this, or any other, enclosure). This becomes evident when you consider that despite Intel's (Apple's?) opposition to the eGPU idea on Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt2 devices people have gotten them to work. The idea of a PnP eGPU has to do more with SW (GPU and Chipset/Thunderbolt) driver support than actual HW support. PCIe hotplug exists on Thunderbolt 1/2, but nVidia/AMD drivers go nuts (read: BSoD) if you just yank the cable out. Without SW awareness to the fact that a GPU can be pulled out of its "slot" this is equivalent of taking out a GPU from a desktop while it is running. While the PCIe slot might support hotplug, the machine will still BSoD to hell. It is still "hotpluggable" if you disable the device in the Device Manager and then yank it out, since this unloads the driver before the hot-unplug event.
I was only going on what I read in some specs from Razer suggesting BIOS level implementation was required. Unless that's just PR bull to sell their Razer Blade laptop.
Posted on Reply
#7
arterius2
RCoon, post: 3432417, member: 104854"
PAHAHAHAHAHA.

$500 for an enclosure with no included GPU. It's a tin box with an I/O board and a cheap PSU.
No, I don't think its that funny, Razer products are sleek and elegant, as a designer I can tell they've spent some cash into R&D, no other products on the market are able to match the Razer right now in this aspect. I'd gladly shell out $500 for the enclosure as I have a normal job and, with the inflation and all 500$ is really nothing these-days, a weekend getaway cost even more than this but I can use this enclosure for years to come!. So this price point is actually pretty affordable, heck, I'll even take 2 of them for backup!
Posted on Reply
#8
Yukikaze
the54thvoid, post: 3432547, member: 79251"
I was only going on what I read in some specs from Razer suggesting BIOS level implementation was required. Unless that's just PR bull to sell their Razer Blade laptop.
They aren't entirely wrong here. There are laptops which are unable to accommodate the extra GPU. There are workarounds for them, for the most part, but to make it totally fool-proof, you might need some BIOS changes, a bootloader or a Windows Registry tweak (or all of the above). That said, most modern laptops can support this if you add BIOS support (even retroactively, to a model that is a couple of years old. An example was that Lenovo added a new BIOS to change the PCIe address space layout to accommodate eGPUs via Expresscard on their X230 series. By the way, that's what I call customer orientation!), so it isn't like you *need* the Razer Blade for this to work, unless the enclosure/laptop is doing something shady like blacklisting hosts and/or video cards by PCIe Device ID.

In the end Thunderbolt is a PCIe tunnel. Getting it work like the PCIe slot on a desktop is the easy part. It is the Plug-and-Play nature of peripherals for the mobile user that can be more complicated. It is trivial for an enthusiast to understand the nature of the beast and agree to some limitations. After all, we void our warranties half the time anyway and we're used to seeing BSoDs when we tweak things. The common end users expect plug-and-play and no issues to speak of.
Posted on Reply
#9
Yukikaze
arterius2, post: 3432559, member: 95561"
No, I don't think its that funny, Razer products are sleek and elegant, as a designer I can tell they've spent some cash into R&D, no other products on the market are able to match the Razer right now in this aspect. I'd gladly shell out $500 for the enclosure as I have a normal job and, with the inflation and all 500$ is really nothing these-days, a weekend getaway cost even more than this but I can use this enclosure for years to come!. So this price point is actually pretty affordable, heck, I'll even take 2 of them for backup!
You are obviously free to shell out 500$ for the enclosure and even take 2 for backup. But 500$ is not a small chunk of change and it that can be used better even in the case of computer hardware upgrades. The nature of the box itself is an I/O board, a PCIe slot, a power supply and an aluminum (or steel) chassis.

The TB3 controller chip costs less than 10$ for OEMs. Even if you assume that the PCB and slot assembly costs 50$ (it doesn't), the PSU costs 100$ (it doesn't, we're talking about a decent SFF 400-500W unit here, nothing more and nothing less, which can be bought at a consumer price of about 90$, tops) and the enclosure itself costs as much as a pretty high-end mITX case, or 100$ (it doesn't, it requires less materials and can be produced by pretty much any metal case manufacturer), then you come up at 260$ while paying more than consumer (!) prices on the parts.

Somebody is trying to make one hell of a margin here before the market is saturated with cheaper alternatives.
Posted on Reply
#10
PP Mguire
I'd much rather they just release their damn fancy webcam instead.
Posted on Reply
#11
phanbuey
On one hand this is an interesting solution (alienware doing something similar with their GFX amplifier), but on the other hand it kind of kills the whole portability point of the laptop. Most of the reason people get laptops for gaming is that A) they don't have the space for a desktop....

also gaming on a cramped keyboard/tiny screen... meh. I still think the 17" is the perfect size for a true gaming laptop.
Posted on Reply
#12
arterius2
phanbuey, post: 3432592, member: 45008"
On one hand this is an interesting solution (alienware doing something similar with their GFX amplifier), but on the other hand it kind of kills the whole portability point of the laptop. Most of the reason people get laptops for gaming is that A) they don't have the space for a desktop....

also gaming on a cramped keyboard/tiny screen... meh. I still think the 17" is the perfect size for a true gaming laptop.
You obviously never even read about the product before commenting. It gives people choices, now people can finally remove desktop out of the equation as previously people owned both to fill out portability and gaming needs, and it cuts down weight of the laptop when you are out (not gaming). And you can plug it in at night to turn it into a gaming madhouse. Also you can attach larger monitors to it if you find the laptop screen insufficient. In the end it's all about choices choices choices
Posted on Reply
#13
Prima.Vera
So let me get this straight. You also need an external monitor for this right? Or you can use the laptop display?
Posted on Reply
#14
arterius2
Prima.Vera, post: 3432708, member: 98685"
So let me get this straight. You also need an external monitor for this right? Or you can use the laptop display?
You can use the laptop display
Posted on Reply
#15
Xzibit
Gaming laptops require an outlet for them not to throttle, I would think this would be welcomed. Expensive but since your going to be tied to an outlet anyways to get the most out of your laptop this doesn't restrict you to a 250w brick.
Posted on Reply
#16
chlamchowder
On one hand this is a cool idea (laptop portability when you need it, better graphics when you don't).

On the other hand, the dock alone costs more than an AMD Nano or GTX 980. For the price of a dock, you might as well just build a desktop. I think it's a great concept that needs a much lower price tag.
Posted on Reply
#17
alucasa
You know, for that size..., I am pretty sure one can build a mini itx rig in that enclosure.
Posted on Reply
#18
phanbuey
arterius2, post: 3432605, member: 95561"
You obviously never even read about the product before commenting. It gives people choices, now people can finally remove desktop out of the equation as previously people owned both to fill out portability and gaming needs, and it cuts down weight of the laptop when you are out (not gaming). And you can plug it in at night to turn it into a gaming madhouse. Also you can attach larger monitors to it if you find the laptop screen insufficient. In the end it's all about choices choices choices
The amplifier is about the size of an SFF gaming desktop, and the laptop can't game by itself... so if you say, want to go over to a friend's house for a LAN party, you still have to lug that with you.

And no one wants to game on a 12"- 14" screen... so you also have to take your monitor, and most likely a decent keyboard and a mouse.... Also if you live in a dorm room or small apt, instead of having a 17" gaming laptop that you can put away into a drawer after, you have to have room for all of those peripherals.

At the end of the day this doesnt give you any more choices, because the footprint of all the stuff is almost equivalent to having a small gaming rig.... so whether you spend the $2000-$1700 bucks (without monitor etc etc) on that ultrathin notebook with a mobile CPU and a GFX amp + GFX card, or you just get a ultrathin notebook and a separate gaming rig, its really not that much difference in terms of 'choices'. You're still rooted to a desk, you still need space, and you still blew upwards of 2K.

If you go this route you're pretty much doing the same thing you had to do before.
Posted on Reply
#19
Caring1
They need to come out with an ITX case with attached screen, that negates the need for the laptop and external graphics, large monitor and other accessories.
Posted on Reply
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