Written by Jonathan Deesing
Tuesday at the International CES, Razer unveiled Project Christine—its newest product aimed at creating a fully modular high-end gaming PC. At first glance, it hardly looks like a PC at all, but each of its strange modular spokes is a computer component.A thermal cooling tower forms a backbone, which has a number of modules that snap in and out. The modules—roughly the size of a paperback book—represent various components of a computer such as its GPU or CPU.
Written by Jonathan Deesing
We’re in the midst of CES 2014’s gadget and computer hardware information avalanche and it’s starting to get a little difficult to separate the exciting announcements from the announcements we’ll forget about before the show’s over. For example, how do you feel about Razer’s announcement of Project Christine, a modular gaming PC? I mean, look at it. That doesn’t look like any PC I’ve ever seen. Where's the dust-clogged exhaust fans, the fire-hazardous tangle of cables, and the unsightly, space-inefficient case?
In 2013 Valve told us that it’s making a controller, an operating system, and is sanctioning PC manufacturers to create Steam Machines. The three-pronged campaign to put Steam in your living room, deliberately revealed ahead of the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, was the biggest PC gaming news of the year. It’s a move that establishes Valve as something that resembles a platform holder, something it’s been hesitant to do despite being the PC’s biggest online retailer.
Razer were busy teasing this device as Project Fiona a year ago. It re-emerged from the obscurity of Razer's R&D shroud this week at CES this week with a new name and some new moves. The ungainly handlebar controllers that we saw a year ago are detachable, the base unit can slot into a keyboard to turn it into a more conventional desktop unit, or you can carry it around and use it as you would any touchscreen tablet.
It's also quite powerful. An Intel Core i7 chip, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a solid state HDD and an NVIDIA GT 640M LE GPU should push decent framerates to the 10.1" 1366x768 screen. The downside? You'll need $1,299.99 to buy one. Razer are giving potential customers a chance to register interest on the Razer Edge site now alongside a video showing off the Edge in its various guises. Watch that and grab the full specs below.
To celebrate the launch of Firaxis' brilliant Earth defence strategy game, 2K Games have teamed up with Razer to give away an awesome gaming bundle to five lucky, talented and probably rather dashing PC Gamer readers.
Each winner will receive a copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown in an actual box, a Razer Lycosa keyboard and a Razer Imperator mouse, both of which, rather more obviously, also come in boxes. The keyboard is described on Razer's site as a "nexus of dominion", which sounds like the kind of thing that might come in handy when facing down a terrible extraterrestrial threat.
Over at PAX this weekend, Razer has been showing off a new version of its Blade laptop. Named the Blade R2 – for obvious reasons, and not to differentiate it from a disappointing Daywalker flick – it's externally identical to the original, but with updated insides and a lower price tag.
There's still no news on whether or not it will be available outside of the US, however.
Jumping joysticks! Hardware-maker Razer and MechWarrior Online developer Piranha Games are collaborating on a peripheral called the Razer Artemis. The prototype doesn’t have a listed price or ship date, but this may be the first time a (what’s likely to be) hundreds-of-dollars device will be sold for a free-to-play game.
In these days of equal opportunity and well enforced rights of access laws, it seems almost unforgivable that one group of gamers is still unconsciously discriminated against. But then, it wasn't until I'd worked with a particularly militant south-paw dep ed that even liberal'ole me came to realise just how few of our toys take left-handedness into account. This realisation grew stronger every time a right-handed mouse was thrown in my direction.
You've been able to get left-handed guitars, left-handed golf clubs, left-handed hammers and even left-handed pencils on almost every high street since 1968, but only Razer makes mice suited to the one in ten people for whom ergonomics is a backward science. And they only released their first DeathAdder lefty two years ago. Which is great for FPS player, but what about MMOers? Won't somebody think of them?
This really is a magical, hippy-dippy time for gaming, isn’t it? First, Tim Schafer rocks the world with a successfully crowdsourced project most major game publishers would be too afraid to touch, now executive producer Brian Fargo and members of the original Wasteland team have banded together on Kickstarter to produce a sequel, raising over $500K in just 24 hours. With less than a third of its $900K goal left to go, the Wasteland 2 project just got a big boost from an unexpected donor.
Crazy Euro-peripheral manufacturer Roccat has stumbled upon a great wheeze marketing wheeze: a teaser site which questions whether or not PC gaming is dead, along with a countdown to something which may 'save' it.
But, waitaminute. Haven't we seen exactly the same strategy from another keyboard and mouse pedlar not so long ago? Yes, I'm certain Roccat's new site rings a bell.
It's not simple, delightful, or even magical, but it is called Fiona, and Razer say that it will bring an "all new form factor" to PC gaming. The mystery product will be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012, which starts next Tuesday.
There's speculation that Project Fiona could be Razer Switchblade thingy, which was shown as a concept design at CES 2011. The keys on the Switchblade are supposed to act as windows to a second screen beneath, allowing the layout to change depending on the game you're playing. It also has a touch screen interface, and is teeny. Let this very serious man tell you all about it.
Razer recently announced that a pair of prototype Blades, the company's upcoming gaming laptop, were stolen in early November in a break-in that appears to have specifically targeted at the prototypes. Razer global marketing director Heathcliffe Hatcher told Kotaku that the thieves left most of the electronics in the office untouched, while the Blades vanished from different parts of the office.
Razer has made a public appeal on Facebook for the return of the laptops, an appeal that Razer told Kotaku was motivated by its need for the testing data from those prototypes.
Very very shiny. I'll admit, I was a little skeptical about Razer's viral marketing site, www.pcgamingisnotdead.com, but it turns out to have been worth hanging around for on this Friday afternoon before the bank holiday.
The big announcement is the Razer Blade, which is being billed as the “world's first gaming laptop”. I imagine Alienware, ASUS, MSI, and Dell might have something to day about that, but there you go.
The Blade, though, does look very nice. It has a 17inch screen, but is just two and a quarter centimetres deep, which earns it the right to the name at least. That makes it thinner than an equivalent MacBook Pro, although it's fractionally heavier at 3.2kg.
Inside, there's a 2.8GHz Core i7 processor with 8GB RAM and a 320GB hard drive. The graphics card is a bit disappointing – the NVIDIA GeForce GT555M it sports is OK, but may struggle to doi justice at the 1920x1080 resolution of the screen.
Razer has launched an online viral marketing campaign recently, ahead of a big announcement on Friday. It must be big - it's been backed up by a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal (Global Edition).
The campaign is based around the concept that "PC gaming is not dead". Something we could have told them for considerably less than they spent on the agency which designed the website to go along with it.
Gaming peripherals manufacturer Razer has unveiled a new range of kit branded with logos and artwork from EA's forthcoming Battlefield 3.
I say new, but the 'Collector's Edition Peripherals' are actually the existing BlackWidow keyboard, Imperator mouse, Onza controller and Scarab mousemat with new paint jobs themed around the shooter. Specs and performance will be the same as the (impressive) kit that's already out there.
You may have noticed these new fangled tablet things that appear to be quite popular in some circles. Mouse and keyboard makers Razer has been experimenting with the miniature charms of these ultraportables for some time now, first unveiling its concept gaming tablet, the Switchblade, back at CES in January.
The Switchblade is a clamshell design with a seven inch screen at the top and a tactile keyboard that adapts to whatever game you're playing with icons replacing the key symbols. Inside, there's WiFi and 3G connectivity, a discrete graphics card and an Intel Atom processor.
Razer, the peripherals company with a slight track record when it comes to mice, has hired the inventor of the 'mouse bungee' to its innovation team. With the result that it's next gaming accessory will be, um, the mouse bungee.
According to the press release, Ed Larkin invented a simple system for holding mouse cables out of the way while playing first person shooters back in the mid-1990s. I have to confess to possibly never having used one of his devices knowingly - although the very similar ones that were branded with Gamespy logos many years ago were possibly his, and Roccat recently released one which it called an Apuri desktop management system. Ed joined Razer at the end of last year, when a disturbingly similar press release was put out.
The real news is that the Razer Mouse Bungee is now available for 19.99 Euros or a similar number of dollars. It has three non-slip feet and lots of bungee.
Incidentally, I'll be meeting up with Razer next week to try out a load of their latest gear and pick up a Mouse Bungee and a Hydra motion sensor too. If you have any questions you'd like me to pose on your behalf, note them down below.
Rift developers Trion Worlds and hardware manufacturer Razer have teamed up to offer a competition to European PCG readers. The winner will get a digital copy of Rift (giftable if you already have one), a Razer Anansi keyboard, a Razer Naga SE Molten MMO gaming mouse, a Razer Goliathus mousemat and a Razer Carcharias headset.
The details, and pictures of all this lovely hardware, lurk within.