Eleven months to the day we saw it at CES 2020, Razer is launching the Razer Tomahawk Gaming Desktop, a tiny PC in a 10-liter chassis powered by an Intel Compute Element with an Intel Core i9-9980HK. It's available for pre-order this month, exclusively on Razer's website.
There are two versions of the Tomahawk Gaming Desktop - one that pairs the Compute Unit with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition, while the other has an unpopulated PCIe x16 slot for you to bring your own GPU. But you'll pay a significant price for this form factor: The Tomahawk is $2,399.99 without a GPU or $3,199.99 with an RTX 3080, making it more expensive than many of the best gaming PCs.
That CPU is a bit long in the tooth, as it has been supplanted by 10th Gen Comet Lake H-series chips, though those never showed up in a Compute Unit. The Tiger Lake H-series processors haven't been released yet, and it's unclear if or when those will be in one of Intel's modules.
The two configurations are identical otherwise, with a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD paired with a 2TB HDD at 5,400 RPM. There's an additional M.2 slot if you want to add more storage. Additionally, the Tomahawk comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM installed in the Compute Unit, and a 750W PSU is preinstalled in the case.
|CPU||Intel Core i9-9980HK|
|GPU||None, or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD (5,400 RPM). extra PCIe NVMe slot|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6 (Intel AX200), Bluetooth 5.0|
|Size||24.2 x 19.2 x 1.5 inches (365 x 210 x 150 mm)|
|Price||$2,399.99 without GPU, $3,199.99 with RTX 3080|
The ports are largely what is on the Compute Unit, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a pair of Ethernet ports, four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0A and a headphone jack. What's on the GPU will depend if you get the RTX 3080 Founders Edition or bring your own. Notably, there don't appear to be any front panel ports.
Beyond the cooler on the Compute Unit and the GPU, there are two top-mounted 120 mm fans, pulling air in the side and expelling it through the top. While we saw the case with a glass side panel back at CES, it looks like they're going for aluminum with air holes instead.
Razer's case is tool-free. You can pull on a door to remove most of the parts on a sled from inside the case, should you want to make any upgrades.
It's been a fairly quiet year for Intel's Compute Element push. We reviewed the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Kit in the spring, but that's the only desktop we'd seen with Intel's new form factor actually release, despite multiple announcements at CES. That is, until now.
While Razer's case, at 10 liters, is larger than what Intel brought to the table itself, it allows for a wider variety of graphics cards, better cooling and more storage options. If you're someone with a small apartment or dorm room, it should still allow fairly powerful gaming in your space. (My ATX mid-tower has started to feel big since I've spent months in the same small apartment.) But it's unclear when the next Compute Element upgrade will come, and you can't replace the CPU otherwise.
If Intel puts out more of these Compute Units at a more regular cadence with more CPUs, machines like this one could be promising for those who are small on space or need to take computers otherwise. But as a challenger to ITX PCs, there's not as much upgradeability available right now.