Razer upgrades Blades: new chips

Razer improves Blades: new chips, new displays, and a smidge of AI

You truly have to hand it to Razer for stretching a series of modest spec bumps across two separate releases and two separate weeks. Razer was so excited about the new display options on the Blade 16 and Blade 18 that it announced them on the 4th, and today, we have a few more details about what’s coming to both laptops this year, mostly of the spec sheet “number go up” type. There’s also a USB-C dock. Here we go.

The Blade 16 goes OLED and gets a small CPU bump

The biggest news for the Blade 16 is the previously announced 2560 x 1600 240Hz OLED panel. Razer spokesperson Will Powers told The Verge via email that the Blade 16 will also be available with the dual-mode mini-LED display we tried in 2023, which can run at either 4K/120Hz or 1600p/240Hz, and that the dual-mode display will now offer a local dimming option, togglable in software.

The Blade 16 is also getting a CPU bump from the 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13950HX to the 14th Gen (Raptor Lake) Core i9-14900HX. Intel hasn’t released specs for the new CPU yet, but leaked benchmarks suggest it’s pretty similar to the 13th Gen chip. The Blade 16 will continue to offer up to an RTX 4090 GPU with up to 175W total power draw.

The Blade 16 is available for preorder at Razer.com, starting at $2,999.99.

The Blade 14 is getting a very small CPU update, from the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS to the Ryzen 9 8945HS, which is essentially the same CPU but with better onboard AI processing. Razer says this can “boost AI workloads,” like Windows Studio or Copilot (its examples), which is probably true for workloads that can’t be offloaded to the GPU, but it feels less like the Blade 14 is meant for local LLM processing and more like Razer wants to offer the latest CPU and needs to find something to say about it.

The Blade 14’s 2560 x 1660 240Hz panel will now be Calman Verified, meaning it’s factory calibrated, along with the rest of the range. Otherwise, the Blade 14 stays mostly the same: it’s still customisable with up to an RTX 4070 GPU with up to 140W total power draw (115W base, 15W boost, per Razer). It’s available for preorder starting on January 23rd, 2024, probably for a more reasonable price than last year’s model.

Fuck it, we’re doing (Thunderbolt) 5 Blades

Razer is saying very little about the updated Blade 18 aside from the previously announced 4K 165Hz screen and the fact that it will include Thunderbolt 5, which will support 240W charging, 120Gbps data transfer, and up to 540Hz refresh rate video. That’s all the information Razer is giving; the rest has to wait until later in the year.

A new USB-C dock

Razer is also launching an 11-port USB-C dock with a metal case. It has Gigabit ethernet, HDMI 2.0, UHS-1 SD and microSD slots, a 3.5mm audio jack that supports 7.1 stereo sound, four USB-A ports, and two USB-C ports. The USB-C ports and two of the USB-A ports are USB 3.2, with 10Gbps transfer rates, and the other two USB-A ports are 2.0 (480Mbps). The dock will handle 85W power passthrough and 4K/60Hz display output via HDMI.

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