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75-Minute Heat Run

Razer's Second-Generation Blade Notebook Review: Focusing On The Z
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Razer recently sent us its second-gen Blade, complete with a Core i7-3632QM quad-core CPU and GeForce GTX 660M. Eight gigabytes of memory, a 500 GB hard drive, and an SSD cache round out this 17" gaming notebook. Would you believe it's less than 1" thick?

Throughout our testing, it became clear that the Blade wasn't throttling or slowing down. This is great for gamers, but in a machine this thin, we were left wondering if heat would become an issue. After all of the other tests and measurements on the system were done, we wanted to see what it'd do under an extended heavy load. Our assumption was that it'd throttle eventually. We even thought our testing might break the notebook or its adapter.

We placed the Blade on a flat desk with a laminate surface, leaving plenty of space around and above it. Then, we made sure the power cord was tilted up, not blocking the left air vent. In a room at a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit, we fired up our logger, fully loaded the CPU with Prime95, and pegged the graphics module with FurMark. The Blade ran under that load until temperatures stabilized, about 75 minutes later.

Using an infrared heat gun able to track emissivity, we measured the temperature of the Blade before and after the run.

The CPU and GPU are located in the top section of the Blade’s chassis, near the power button, while the hard drive is in the bottom-right corner below the Switchblade UI.

Naturally, CPU temperatures spike during the first couple of minutes. The chipset, which is close to the middle of the machine, and the hard drive maintain a similar temperature. Since the CPU is likely coupled to the chassis, all of the other components slowly heat up between the 5- and 20-minute mark as the chassis warms.

Between minutes 48 and 61, we lifted the machine to take measurements from its bottom panels. As you can see, the temperature of the chipset and hard drive both drop. That has no effect on the processor temperature, but it does show you might benefit from a vented laptop pad. 

At minute 72, we inadvertently covered the exhaust from the CPU fan. It only took a few seconds for the processor to crest 100 degrees Celsius and pull the clock rate down from 2.9 to 2.2 GHz. Once the temperature dropped, the CPU ramped back up to 2.9 GHz. Although we didn't log it, the GPU never exceeded 90 degrees.

Throughout testing, we noted that the power adapter was pulling more than its rated 125 W. For the entire 75-minute run, Razer's Blade pulled between 155 and 165 W.

The above image shows the machine’s temperatures at the beginning of the run in normal office usage.

After 75 minutes of fully taxing the CPU and GPU, temperatures were, of course, higher.

The image above shows the power adapter during normal office usage. 

And here are the temperatures at the end of the 75-minute heat run.

Overall, the Blade did well. While there were some warm spots on the top of the machine, none were too hot to touch. We also found it interesting that the area surrounding the WASD keys stayed cooler than the rest of the keyboard. The underside was too hot to have directly on your lap, and even briefly blocking the air vents causes the heat to spike. As long as you have some kind of laptop board or cooling pad, you should be fine under the greatest of duress. 

The power adapter got hotter, but you could still pick it up without an issue. Generally, 140 degrees Fahrenheit is considered too hot to hold for more than a few seconds. And while the brick did break into the 130s, normal gaming temperatures hover under 110 degrees.

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  • 11 Hide
    Pyree , March 24, 2013 11:49 PM
    g-unit1111I very badly need to get a new laptop but this one is way too rich for my blood. I would definitely consider this if it were about $1K less.

    Lenovo Y580/Y500 GT650m SLI
  • 10 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , March 24, 2013 10:26 PM
    Wow, this is a very thorough review! Great work!

    This notebook has looked into almost every possible detail. I was particularly impressed that in the heat run, the "WASD" key area was cooler than the rest. This bespeaks extreme attention to details.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    ShadyHamster , March 24, 2013 10:12 PM
    Having all the I/O on the left isn't such a bad idea, keeps the right side clear so cables don't get in the way if you use a mouse close to your laptop like i do.
  • 10 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , March 24, 2013 10:26 PM
    Wow, this is a very thorough review! Great work!

    This notebook has looked into almost every possible detail. I was particularly impressed that in the heat run, the "WASD" key area was cooler than the rest. This bespeaks extreme attention to details.
  • 5 Hide
    Chairman Ray , March 24, 2013 10:45 PM
    This is an amazing system. Great job by Razer! I won't be buying it due to the steep price tag, but definitely going to recommend it to those who are willing to pay for the best.
  • 5 Hide
    xpeh , March 24, 2013 11:10 PM
    While the price is steep, this laptop is definitely one of the best looking gaming laptops I've ever seen.
  • 2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , March 24, 2013 11:47 PM
    I very badly need to get a new laptop but this one is way too rich for my blood. I would definitely consider this if it were about $1K less.
  • 11 Hide
    Pyree , March 24, 2013 11:49 PM
    g-unit1111I very badly need to get a new laptop but this one is way too rich for my blood. I would definitely consider this if it were about $1K less.

    Lenovo Y580/Y500 GT650m SLI
  • 4 Hide
    slomo4sho , March 25, 2013 1:32 AM
    xpehWhile the price is steep, this laptop is definitely one of the best looking gaming laptops I've ever seen.

    IMO having a $1000 gaming desktop and spending $500-600 on a laptop when Haswell comes out is probably much more economical for the occasional gaming on a laptop paired with a sold desktop to enjoy the higher quality graphics. Even at $2500, this laptop can't even keep up with the $500 budget gaming build from last month.
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , March 25, 2013 2:47 AM
    nice review. :) 
    my real amusement came from the apu-powered laptop's performance, though. it bottlenecked the discreet gpu so badly.... :D 
  • 4 Hide
    corvak , March 25, 2013 4:06 AM
    Gaming laptops have never been priced in a range that makes them worth buying for me. They don't really have enough battery life to really take advantage of portability, and the price/performance is in a whole other league if you compare it to any desktop build.

    Even buying a cheap laptop for travel use alongside a gaming desktop is likely to come in cheaper than many of these.
  • -1 Hide
    Goose_Nipples , March 25, 2013 5:28 AM
    ARMY'S KA-Bar?!?!?!?! Hooooooold up my friend. Devil dog here who's jimmies have most assuredly been rustled.
  • -1 Hide
    Cryio , March 25, 2013 5:47 AM
    Was it just me or did I actually see Battlefield 3 perform BETTER than Black Ops 2, on max settings (albest FXAA+4xMSAA vs 8xMSAA). The f**c CoD...
  • 1 Hide
    oatmeal25 , March 25, 2013 6:00 AM
    This laptop is not for me. I care more about performance than style.

    The Lenovo Y580 WAS a great affordable option (a third to half the cost of Razer's model) with similar performance to this system. Sadly is was recently discontinued and replaced by the inferior Y500.
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 25, 2013 6:07 AM
    Um, couldn't I get a Lenovo Y580 for the same hardware config? Or a Sager NP 9130 for around $1300 with less weight?
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , March 25, 2013 6:15 AM
    Quote:
    Was it just me or did I actually see Battlefield 3 perform BETTER than Black Ops 2, on max settings (albest FXAA+4xMSAA vs 8xMSAA). The f**c CoD...

    i think it's because the bf3 bench was the single player campaign which is gpu bound - the 7970m gpu performs less restricted by the apu.. irc tom's cod bop ii review didn't have cpu benchmarks. i didn't know that it was more cpu bound. that's why the msi gx60's performance looks so pathetic - which in turn gives the impression of bf3 performing better than cod bop ii.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , March 25, 2013 6:22 AM
    slomo4shoIMO having a $1000 gaming desktop and spending $500-600 on a laptop when Haswell comes out is probably much more economical for the occasional gaming on a laptop paired with a sold desktop to enjoy the higher quality graphics. Even at $2500, this laptop can't even keep up with the $500 budget gaming build from last month.


    Although I agree with what you say about the costs, to be fair, you can get $1500 or so laptops that compete with the last low-end SBM system (which was $600, not $500) in gaming performance. For example, a $1450 configuration of one of Clevo's laptops get's a quad-core i7 3640QM (a little better than the one in this Razer) and a Radeon 7970M (much, much faster than GTX 660M).
  • 0 Hide
    gxpbecker , March 25, 2013 6:42 AM
    Nifty, but yes you can get a MSI with a bit more power
    The GT60 comes with the same CPU but with 660m, 670mx, 675x and 680m/mx for 1500 - 1900 range. For gaming laptops those are my fav. Now the size/weight are not comparable LOL

    Wife is running a GT60 with the 670mx and it takes everything beautifully. Very surprised at how cool it runs even after a few hours in GW2 lol
  • 0 Hide
    dscudella , March 25, 2013 7:07 AM
    I couldn't live without a 10 key on my laptop. Something I've gotten used to.
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , March 25, 2013 7:31 AM
    The Razor has come a long way. When the first version came out I was going to buy but it had tooo many limitations for the price. Much of this has been cleared up. Unfortunately, I probably won't be shopping for another game laptop for a while since I bought the M17X and while huge compared to this, it is still performance wise a superior machine and highly expandable with more ports than the Razor can offer.
  • 4 Hide
    zyzeast , March 25, 2013 7:40 AM
    I just spend less than half that much on a 15" 1080P MSI GT60 with a GTX 675M video card and same CPU, yea it's thicker but as awesome as this thing is, it's not worth the price tag.
  • 3 Hide
    bokeh , March 25, 2013 8:20 AM
    Quote:
    Um, couldn't I get a Lenovo Y580 for the same hardware config? Or a Sager NP 9130 for around $1300 with less weight?


    Both the Lenovo and Sager have 15.6" displays and are much more traditional designs. The Blade is Razer's statement on how a gaming notebook can be engineered and built. You get a lot of features and much more style than the Lenovo or Sager. There is nothing wrong with choosing any of those 3 machines if they suit your needs and budget. What computer you ultimately choose will depend on what matters to you. My goal is not to help sell a system. My goal is to help the readers of Tom's Hardware make well informed decisions.

    If there is something out there that you want to see reviewed, feel free to send me a PM.
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