Razer debuts new triple-screened laptop as its latest CES innovation – ExtremeTech
Razer has established a reputation for building crazy, out-there CES inventions that sometimes ship (but mostly don’t). The Razer Switchblade (for handheld mobile gaming) debuted at CES 2011, the Razer Edge (a gaming tablet) actually did ship in 2013, and Project Christine (a custom PC system with modular components and liquid cooling) never materialized beyond the prototype phase. Now the company is demonstrating Project Valkyrie — a three-screened laptop with 17-inch displays and 4K panels.
Multi-screen laptops are nothing new — Lenovo had a W700ds with dual screens back in 2008 and I’m certain it wasn’t the first company to take a shot at the idea. But Razer has gone all-out on this one, with 4K displays, multiple 17-inch panels, and a GTX 1080 packed in to power the entire system. You won’t be playing any surround games in 4K that way, at least not any graphically intense titles; as powerful as the GTX 1080 is, it’s nowhere near enough to drive 24.9 megapixels of screen at once. Still, 5760×1080 would be no problem, and Razer says the entire system is compatible with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, despite the unusual monitor configuration.
All three displays use Sharp’s IGZO technology to cut power consumption, and the system tips the scales at 12 pounds. On the one hand, that’s more “transportable” than portable. But on the other, you aren’t going to build a desktop that can deliver this kind of configuration in the same weight class.
Other features include a Core i7-6700 quad-core CPU, 32GB of DDR4, a low-profile mechanical keyboard, Razer’s Chroma lighting system, and a trackpad sitting alongside the keyboard (that seems to be the hip new feature to add these days). There’s no word on battery life; with three 4K displays to power, it’s not even clear putting a battery in this system makes any sense, beyond giving it a few minutes of hibernation time while you sprint between outlets. That’s a bit of a joke — I’m sure the rig has some kind of battery — but given that desktop replacement systems typically have trouble pushing much past two hours, tossing two more displays on this thing will have a significant impact on how much time you actually get to use it.
There are also questions about longevity and repair. If one of the panels goes bad, how easy would it be to swap them out? What would Razer charge for that kind of work? Is the laptop light enough to use for hang-gliding if all three displays are extended and affixed to some kind of frame?
Everything aside, it’s not hard to see some use cases for this kind of product. A triple-wide workstation might go over well with 3D graphics designers or workstation users who want this kind of transportability in a more mobile form factor than your average tower. It’s a niche product, but smart niche products that address user needs can still be quite popular, even if they don’t appeal to a large group of people. Whether Razer will bring it to market is a different story, since the company has historically focused on consumers rather than business professionals, and the multi-monitor case for 4K surround might appeal more to people working in CAD/CAM than in gaming.