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Razer Switchblade Powered by Atom Z690

By - Source: Razer | B 30 comments

On Wednesday Razer revealed that its upcoming portable PC gaming device, the Razer Switchblade, will come packed with Intel's Atom Z960 processor clocked at 1.70 GHz. The company also added that key Chinese independent software vendors such as Tencent and ChangYou have pledged to support game optimization for the Switchblade User Interface.

"Intel is very excited to be working closely with Razer on the next generation of mobile handheld PC gaming," said Brad Graff, consumer marketing director, Netbook and Tablet Group, Intel. "The Razer Switchblade concept takes advantage of the Intel Atom processor, providing the performance needed to run 3D PC games in a small and light form factor to enable mobile gaming at significantly less power than a traditional laptop."

For the uninitiated, the Razer Switchblade is the company's answer to mobile PC gaming in a netbook form factor. The device made its first appearance at CES 2011 back in January, but at the time, it was shopped as a concept. As of this writing, it still appears to feature a multi-touch capable 7-inch display and a adaptive tactile keyboard that can be changed to suit different modes of gameplay.

"PC gaming on a truly mobile platform has not been possible before the Razer Switchblade," said Min-Liang Tan, CEO and Creative Director, Razer. "Our work with Intel allowed us to not only optimize the performance of the hardware on this concept device, but also lay the foundation for future products that will fully utilize the innovative technologies first developed on the Razer Switchblade concept."

According to the video seen below, the Switchblade is capable of playing a wide range of games including StarCraft 2, Quake Live, Left 4 Dead 2, World of Warcraft, AION and others. As Intel indicated, the Z690 is sufficient for desktop-style PC gaming on a portable device, offering 13-percent more processing power than its predecessor, the Z670 which is currently installed in the Fujitsu Lifebook TH40/D and other tablets.

Right now the specs outside the official Intel Atom CPU is unknown. Hands-on impressions stemming from CES 2011 said that the device ran Windows 7 with a custom Razer UI and featured a built-in webcam. Other tentative specs included a 128 GB SSD, Wi-Fi, 3G, a mini HDMI-output jack and a USB 3.0 port. At the time, the battery offered 4-6 hours of intensive gameplay.

Yet on Wednesday Razer still insisted that the gadget is a "concept," and has not provided a tentative release date or price. That said, we expect to hear more about this device in the coming months.

Razer Switchblade

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  • 19 Hide
    dalethepcman , July 27, 2011 11:13 PM
    Quote:
    the Switchblade is capable of playing a wide range of games including StarCraft 2, Quake Live, Left 4 Dead 2, World of Warcraft, AION and others.


    At a blazing average FPS of 12! If this company really wanted a portable gaming machine they should have made a fusion based system, or waited for Kal-El / win8.
  • 14 Hide
    warmon6 , July 28, 2011 12:38 AM
    atom and gaming? Are you sure those 2 things can go together? :lol: 
  • 11 Hide
    the_krasno , July 27, 2011 11:22 PM
    Still waiting on the graphics specs. But with atom... you would be better just buying a m11x from alienware.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    dalethepcman , July 27, 2011 11:13 PM
    Quote:
    the Switchblade is capable of playing a wide range of games including StarCraft 2, Quake Live, Left 4 Dead 2, World of Warcraft, AION and others.


    At a blazing average FPS of 12! If this company really wanted a portable gaming machine they should have made a fusion based system, or waited for Kal-El / win8.
  • 11 Hide
    the_krasno , July 27, 2011 11:22 PM
    Still waiting on the graphics specs. But with atom... you would be better just buying a m11x from alienware.
  • 10 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , July 27, 2011 11:34 PM
    Z960 or Z690? Come on, Toms...

    Anyways. I still can't see the point in not using an AMD C-50 (or an E-350) in this machine since it's MUCH more powerful.

    Just throw one of those in there (still don't need a heatsink at 9 W), a snap-on battery pack to the bottom, and you have a much more capable device.
  • 1 Hide
    jj463rd , July 27, 2011 11:52 PM
    I definitively like the adaptive keyboard.It's like the ikey infinity concept.(Each key can be changed into symbols,icons etc.).Very cool and I am quite interested.
  • 6 Hide
    liveonc , July 27, 2011 11:57 PM
    I'd rather be Robocop, feeling as cool as an 80's Swede, with a desktop PC powered by a UPS in my backpack, playing games on a touchscreen attached to my wrist! (I saw this guy in Bali) ;-)
  • 1 Hide
    molo9000 , July 28, 2011 12:09 AM
    Quote:
    mobile handheld PC gaming

    No, thank you.
    Even iOS/Android games are better entertainment than PC games on a 7" display with horrible controls.

    Why would you buy this thing unless you are a hopeless WoW addict?
    A Nintendo 3DS is cheaper, more portable and actually has controls and games designed for handheld gaming.
  • 14 Hide
    warmon6 , July 28, 2011 12:38 AM
    atom and gaming? Are you sure those 2 things can go together? :lol: 
  • 6 Hide
    jamie_1318 , July 28, 2011 12:47 AM
    13% better than previous Atom? really? That is somehow supposed to provide adequate processing power for "desktop-style PC Gaming"?

    Don't get me wrong though. I love the idea of the "tactile Response" keyboard, providing that they use it right. It could really reduce the amount of surface area required to get a good gaming experience, provided they use it well.

    The Atom might be sufficient for some very GPU intensive gaming, but there is no way that they will be able to run Starcraft II fluently on an Atom CPU.

    Pop an E-350, or a low TDP llano and this would look great.
  • 4 Hide
    palladin9479 , July 28, 2011 12:57 AM
    Yeah I'm laughing pretty hard here. Atom is perfectly fine for ultra lightweight devices, but gaming is something it completely sucks at. Should of used one of the AMD E series APU's. Their graphics system is sufficient to play games at the resolutions this device will be using.
  • 0 Hide
    jj463rd , July 28, 2011 1:14 AM
    palladin9479Yeah I'm laughing pretty hard here. Atom is perfectly fine for ultra lightweight devices, but gaming is something it completely sucks at. Should of used one of the AMD E series APU's. Their graphics system is sufficient to play games at the resolutions this device will be using.

    I checked at Passmark.Although the CPU (1.7 Ghz Atom Z690) isn't listed there (the Intel Atom Z670 @ 1.50GHz is there with a score of 294)the Z690 should perform at a level of about 333 in the Passmark score,The AMD E-240 has a score of 358 and the E-350 has a Passmark score of 731.
    The AMD C-50 has a Passmark score of 453 and the C-30 a score of 231.
    It's closest to the E-240 in terms of performance according to the Passmark scores.
    Probably TDP,especially cooling and power constraints limit it from using the much beefier AMD E-350 CPU .However it does apparently use ATI graphics don't know as of yet which graphics chip though but probably a pretty decent low powered version.
  • -1 Hide
    palladin9479 , July 28, 2011 1:47 AM
    Quote:
    I checked at Passmark.Although the CPU (1.7 Ghz Atom Z690) isn't listed there (the Intel Atom Z670 @ 1.50GHz is there with a score of 294)the Z690 should perform at a level of about 333 in the Passmark score,The AMD E-240 has a score of 358 and the E-350 has a Passmark score of 731.
    The AMD C-50 has a Passmark score of 453 and the C-30 a score of 231.
    It's closest to the E-240 in terms of performance according to the Passmark scores.
    Probably TDP,especially cooling and power constraints limit it from using the much beefier AMD E-350 CPU .However it does apparently use ATI graphics don't know as of yet which graphics chip though but probably a pretty decent low powered version.


    I suggest you read up on what an APU is. I'm not recommending it for the CPU potential but for the fact that the built in GPU is miles ahead of an IGA. If their using an Atom they are going to have to also use a discrete low-power GPU, if they used an AMD APU they wouldn't need to use a discrete GPU in their low power device.
  • 0 Hide
    jj463rd , July 28, 2011 2:29 AM
    palladin9479I suggest you read up on what an APU is. I'm not recommending it for the CPU potential but for the fact that the built in GPU is miles ahead of an IGA. If their using an Atom they are going to have to also use a discrete low-power GPU, if they used an AMD APU they wouldn't need to use a discrete GPU in their low power device.
    Yes, I already know about AMD's APU's.It's their choice as to why they decided on a Intel Atom.The E-240 or the C-50 would have been a good alternative.
  • 1 Hide
    RabidFace , July 28, 2011 2:47 AM
    "This guy [Razer CEO] could sell me air, and I would buy it."

    Credit to a YT commenter I saw a couple months back when I saw this video, still makes me laugh so hard because the CEO is so serious and could sell me anything ;) 

    But in all seriousness, I find it funny when people make fun of the Atom CPU because they obviously don't know what it can really do. Yes it's not in the same class as a desktop/laptop CPU, but if you pair an Atom CPU with decent onboard video, you can run a game at lower resolutions, low-medium texture settings and have a framerate that makes the game playable. Also, for a 7" screen, the max resolution is going to be about 1024x600, if it's 16/9 aspect ratio.

    So, I am holding all my judgements till it's actually released :)  You know Razer is going to make sure that most games are going to run on this thing :) 
  • -4 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , July 28, 2011 3:54 AM
    Saw Switchblade on Razer website long time ago and wondered what people will think of it... thanks, these comments give me an idea =) Don't know what to make of this device, myself... I won't underestimate Atom, I beat Morrowind on almost maxed out settings on my 900MHz Celeron powered netbook, and that's about equal to 1.6 GHz Atom. So a better Atom could probably play all these games that they claim it will play, in low resolution (who cares, it's a 7'' screen!) and low-average detail. However, I don't see the use of such a device... I'd rather get a tablet if I want to entertain myself on the go (Transformer), and spend the remaining money (Transformer is $500, and the Switchblade will cost more, since it has SSD and stuff....) to upgrade my desktop, where I can play all these games maxed out @ 1080p. Still, I'm sure the product will find its audience...
  • 0 Hide
    boiler1990 , July 28, 2011 12:01 PM
    That keyboard doesn't look comfortable to use...
  • 2 Hide
    theshonen8899 , July 28, 2011 2:31 PM
    I don't think Razer understands PC gamers despite working with them for so many years. The appeal of gaming on a PC is sitting at a desk with a keyboard, mouse, large monitor, and booming speakers. The Switchblade essentially turns all of this on its head and delivers a device with a tiny screen, keyboard with small keys, and a touchscreen for a mouse.

    If I want to game on the go, I would buy a PSP or Nintendo DS with games that were specifically designed for that platform. Why I would be this large device with the ambitious attempt to emulate PC gaming is beyond me.
  • 2 Hide
    flipt , July 28, 2011 3:52 PM
    I think it is neat, but it will come down to price and functionality. Razer is not known to release low cost products and I cannot imagine this device costing less than $900. At that price point or even $200 dollars cheaper in the $700 range, they are competing with low cost notebooks and tablets like the iPad. I wish them luck, but I have serious doubts about how successful this device really will be.

    As a last thought, I personally am not sure that I would trust Razer to release a bug free product and their customer support has been it or miss.
  • 0 Hide
    jryan388 , July 28, 2011 5:02 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    the Switchblade is capable of playing a wide range of games including StarCraft 2, Quake Live, Left 4 Dead 2, World of Warcraft, AION and others.


    At a blazing average FPS of 12! If this company really wanted a portable gaming machine they should have made a fusion based system, or waited for Kal-El / win8.



    Don't worry. At a resolution of 480x320, anything is possible.
  • 0 Hide
    cobra5000 , July 28, 2011 6:36 PM
    Seems to me with a screen that small, that your left hand could obscure the screen a bit. I could be wrong, I wish they showed video of someone while they were playing it. I like that they are pushing the boundaries here but it just seems that there are better alternatives right now.
  • -1 Hide
    superkillrobot , July 28, 2011 7:49 PM
    Quote:
    The company also added that key Chinese independent software vendors such as Tencent and ChangYou have pledged to support game optimization for the Switchblade User Interface.


    This is the most important part of this article. If the OS is optimized for gaming, the hardware requirements will be far lower, that's how consoles get away with with running current gen games at 1080p at stable framrates, with hardware 5-6 years old.
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