Storage, System Latency, And Audio Testing
The Razer Blade ships with a 500 GB 7,200 RPM hard drive, with a 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD for caching. This means you'll only see a 500 GB disk, though it'll hopefully run as fast as an SSD once the caching software learns your most frequently-accessed data. Of course, when you first access information not in the cache, performance will reflect that of a normal hard drive. As you can see below, the first time we copy a file, transfer speeds are a very pedestrian 46.1 MB/s.
Running a quick test with CrystalDiskMark, we see that the Lite-On 64 GB cache drive is very fast. We had hoped that running a single test might yield an indication of uncached speed, but this is obviously the SSD and not the hard drive.
Overall, the Blade's storage performance is good. If you play a lot of different games, it's possible that you won't have all of your latest levels loaded up in cache when you fire them up. This invariably leads to delays. But once they're cached, performance improves considerably. During any given week, I play two or three titles. And, in testing, I didn't run into any issues with performance or caching.
Audio fed to external amplifiers via the analog headphone jack sounded fine, and we had no issues connecting to digital receivers or televisions via HDMI. The analog output turned up no bothersome crackle or pops playing back music.
We listened to a few tunes through the headphone jack using several devices. Through the excellent-sounding and very sensitive Etymotic HF3 in-ear earphones, we heard no noise, and music playback sounded good. The slightly bass-heavy Bowers and Wilkins C5 in-ear earphones also sounded good. Listening through the very detailed and slightly bass-shy Shure SE425 in-ear earphones sound fine as well. Using the Blade's Dolby software, we bumped up the 32 Hz slider to give the Shures a little more low-end kick. Moving out of the ear to covering them, the 32 ohm Grado SR125s sounded good, too. Using the Sennheiser HD 600s, Razer's Blade R2, like most notebooks, runs out of juice trying to drive their difficult 300 ohm load.
Using the DPC Latency Checker, we found the Razer Blade R2 to have low overall system latency. This means that people working with multi-track audio should have no problems using this machine.