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Dell XPS 13 (9300) Review : Incredible Ultra-Light Laptop!

Dell XPS 13 (9300) Review : Incredible Ultra-Light Laptop!

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) features the first-ever InfinityEdge display with Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

Find out why we think it’s an incredible ultra-light laptop worthy of our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Featuring The InfinityEdge Display

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) continues the evolution of the XPS 13 line, with an ultra-light chassis built from machined aluminium and woven glass fibre, with Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

With the first-ever InfinityEdge display, the XPS 13 (9300) offers a 13.4-inch display in an 11-inch form factor, that fits neatly on an airplane’s seat tray.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Colour Options

Our unit comes in the Frost White colour with an Arctic White woven glass fibre palm rest.

Dell also offers the Platinum Silver colour option, with a Black carbon fiber palm rest.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Specifications + Options

Specifications XPS 13 9300
Display Size 13.4-inch
Display Options 4K touch screen (3840 x 2400)
Full HD touch screen (1920 x 1200)
Full HD non-touch (1920 x 1200)
Display Features WLED backlight
60 Hz refresh rate
500 nits max. brightness
35 ms response time
1200:1 contrast ratio
Colour Gamut 4K : 90% DCI-P3
Full HD : 100% sRGB
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home
CPU + GPU Options Intel Core i7-1065G7 + Iris Plus Graphics
Intel Core i5-1035G1 + UHD Graphics
Intel Core i3-1005G1 + UHD Graphics
Memory Options LPDDR4X-3733 (8 / 16 / 32 GB)
LPDDR4-3733 (4 GB)
Storage Options PCIe NVMe SSD (512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB)
Audio Realtek ALC3281-CG audio chip
2 x 2.5 watt speakers
Dual microphone array
3.5 mm audio jack
Wireless Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
Bluetooth 5.1
External Ports 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) ports
– with Power Delivery and DisplayPort
1 x 3.5 mm audio port
1 x microSD card slot
Camera HD webcam
Fingerprint Sensor Yes, capacitive 500 dpi sensor
Keyboard Backlit keyboard
19.05 x 18.05 mm key pitch
Touchpad 1300 x 722 pixel resolution
Battery 4-cell 52 Whr lithium-ion battery
Charger 45 watt USB Type C charger
Dimensions 296 mm wide
199 mm deep
14.8 mm thick
Weight 1.27 kg (touch screen)
1.20 kg (non-touch)

 

Unboxing The Dell XPS 13 (9300) Laptop

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) comes in a premium white cardboard box. Once you fully unbox it, you will find these items :

  • Dell XPS 13 (9300) laptop
  • Dell USB Type C to USB Type A dongle
  • 45 watt charger with integrated USB Type C cable
  • Power cord with localised plug
  • XPS 13 9300 Quick Start Guide + Safety and Regulatory Information

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Hands-On Experience!

This Dell XPS 13 (9300) is an eminently thin and light laptop. It offers a 13.4-inch display in an 11-inch form factor that weighs only 1.27 kg, and is less than 15 mm thick.

It easily fits into the smallest laptop bag, and even a large handbag. And when you can fly again, you will love how it fits onto the airplane’s seat tray!

Once you try it out, you will find it hard to go back to regular laptops – you will find them heavy and unwieldy!

Next Page > Dell XPS 13 (9300) : A Closer Look!

 

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Dell XPS 13 (9300) : A Closer Look!

13.4-inch Display In 11-Inch Form Factor

This Dell XPS 13 (9300) model comes with a 4K UHD+ touch display, with a resolution of 3840 x 2400 pixel, a colour gamut of 90% DCI-P3 and DisplayHDR 400 certification.

The incredibly high resolution and wide colour gamut allow your high resolution photos and HDR content to really pop.

Dell also offers a Full HD+ display, with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and 100% sRGB colour gamut; in both touch and non-touch options.

All three display options are 25% brighter at 500 nits, and are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6 against scratches and impact.

Cameras + Security

The thin bezel at the top conceals two cameras – a regular 720p webcam, and an infra-red camera for facial recognition.

So you can either unlock the XPS 13 using the IR camera and Windows Hello, or the fingerprint sensor, which integrated into the power button.

While its 720p webcam may be rather low in resolution, it uses a new 4-element lens for sharper image quality. It also supports temporal noise reduction to improve video quality in low-light conditions.

We hope that Dell would look at upgrading it to a 1080p camera, with a physical or electronics privacy shutter.

Performance

Our Dell XPS 13 (9300) is powered by the Intel Core i7-1065G7 – a 4-core, 8-thread processor with 8 MB of cache and built-in Iris Plus Graphics.

You can opt for a Core i5-1035G1 or the Core i3-1005G1, both of which come with integrated UHD Graphics.

A redesigned cooler keeps things cool, using a single heat pipe and evaporator design with dual condensers and GORE thermal insulation. The hot air is exhausted through the hinge at the back.

It can get a little toasty from the hot exhaust when you use it on your lap, especially if you’re doing compute-intensive tasks like rendering videos.

It also comes with 16 GB of dual-channel LPDDR4X memory running at 3733 MHz. The memory is soldered onto the motherboard and cannot be upgraded.

Our unit came with a 1 TB SK hynix PC611 PCIe NVMe SSD, but you can opt for a smaller 512 GB SSD, or a larger 2 TB SSD.

Ports

Due to its ultra-slim profile – 14.8 mm at its thickest point, the XPS 13 has very limited ports.

On the left side, you will find a microSD card reader; as well as a single Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) port, which supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort output

On the right side, you will find a 3.5 mm microphone and headphone combo port, with a second Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) port, which also supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort output.

You can plug the USB Type C charging cable into either Thunderbolt 3 port. But unless you are using it on-the-go, you really only have one free port to use.

The good news is Dell actually bundles the XPS 13 (9300) with a free USB Type C to USB Type A dongle, so you can use your USB Type A drives and devices (including cables) with it.

Keyboard + Touchpad

The Dell XPS (9300) comes an edge-to-edge keyboard, and a 17% larger touchpad for maximum working comfort.  The keyboard is backlit, and comes with larger key caps!

It definitely offers a far superior typing experience to the horrible butterfly switch keyboard used in Apple MacBook Pro laptops.

Connectivity

Our XPS 13 (9300) comes with the Killer AX1650 module, which offers Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with 2×2 antennas, and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.

It is much too thin to support a LAN port, but you can add LAN connectivity using a USB-C dongle.

Audio

The two long stripes on both sides of the XPS 13 are not cooling vents, but ports for its 2.5 watt stereo speakers, which are tuned with Waves MaxxAudio Pro.

Its 3.5 mm microphone / headphone combo jack is also optimised with the 360-degree Waves NX 3D virtual surround sound with head tracking.

Finally, its dual microphone array is powered by Waves MaxxVoice Pro, which supports VOIP and is Cortana Farfield-capable.

Next Page > XPS 13 (9300) Performance, Verdict + Award 

 

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Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Performance

Our Dell XPS 13 (9300) is powered by the 15-watt Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake) with 4 cores and 8 threads, and Iris Plus Graphics with 64 Execution Units.

It comes with 8 MB of cache, and has a 1.3 GHz base frequency that ramps up to 3.5 GHz during intensive tasks.

Our review sample came with 16 GB LPDDR4X-3733 dual-channel memory, and a 1 TB SK hynix PC611 PCIe NVMe SSD.

Work Performance : PCMark 10

The Intel Core i7-1065G7 is a 25 watt processor that can be configured to run at a lower TDP of 15 watt – to improve battery life and reduce thermal output.

At the full 25 watt TDP, it should deliver PCMark 10 scores in excess of 4700. It is obvious now that Dell configured it for the cooler 15 watt TDP. This is why benchmarks are important.

This makes the Dell XPS 13 (9300) about 7.6% slower than the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro, which uses the Intel Core i7-10510U processor.

Gaming Performance : 3DMark Time Spy

The integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics sounds powerful on paper – with 64 Execution Units – but it is only about as fast as the NVIDIA GeForce MX130 / GeForce 940MX.

So this is most definitely NOT a gaming laptop, although you should have no problem playing older games and games that are not 3D graphics-intensive like DOTA 2.

Battery Life : YouTube + Modern Office

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) comes with a 4-cell smart lithium-ion battery that is rated for 52 Whr.

Dell claims a battery life of up to 18 hours and 49 minutes with the Full HD+ display, and up to 12 hours and 13 minutes with the 4K UHD+ display.

In our general use, we have no problem working a full day on it without recharging, which makes it really convenient when travelling.

That said, we locked the brightness at 50% – higher than the average of 40% – to see how it performs in these worst-case scenarios :

YouTube Streaming

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) lasted 8 hours 15 minutes streaming YouTube videos in theatre mode using WiFi, before its battery dropped to 10%.

PCMark 10 : Modern Office

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) lasted 6 hours 36 minutes before it powered off while running the Modern Office benchmark.

Battery : Recharging Speed

Its 65 watt fast charger took about 52.5 minutes to hit the mid-point (55%), but 2 hours 23.5 minutes to fully recharge its battery from 10%.

Here are the times it takes to recharge from 10% :

  • 15% – 5 minutes 57 seconds
  • 20% – 11 minutes 53 seconds
  • 25% – 17 minutes 45 seconds
  • 30% – 23 minutes 22 seconds
  • 35% – 29 minutes 25 seconds
  • 40% – 35 minutes 8 seconds
  • 45% – 41 minutes 22 seconds
  • 50% – 46 minutes 56 seconds
  • 55% – 52 minutes 39 seconds
  • 60% – 58 minutes 27 seconds
  • 65% – 64 minutes 13 seconds
  • 70% – 70 minutes 15 seconds
  • 75% – 76 minutes
  • 80% – 81 minutes 58 seconds
  • 85% – 89 minutes 41 seconds
  • 90% – 100 minutes 50 seconds
  • 95% – 118 minutes 45 seconds
  • 100% – 143 minutes 20 seconds

This gives it a battery life : recharging time ratio of 3.45 : 1 for video streaming, and 2.76 : 1 for office work.

As a rule of thumb, you will need to recharge its battery about 22 minutes for every hour of battery life.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Verdict + Award

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) is a really great ultra-light laptop for people who are always on-the-go.

It packs serious processing power, memory and a huge SSD with the latest wireless connectivity built-in, in a very thin and light package.

It is less than 15 mm at its thickest point, and weighs less than 1.3 kg. But this is something you have to hold in your hand to actually get a feel of how much engineering went into the XPS 13.

Even the latest 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro, powered by the new Apple M1 SoC, is largerthicker at 15.6 mm and weighs more at 1.4 kg!

The extremely thin profile offers some challenges to first time users – limited physical ports. Yet the XPS 13 (9300) managed to squeeze in an extra microSD card reader over the new 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1).

Even so, you will have to live with just two USB Type C ports – one of which is not available when you recharge its battery. Fortunately, the XPS 13 (9300) comes with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connectivity.

Thankfully, Dell threw in a free USB-C to USB-A dongle, so at least you have ready access to your USB Type A drives and devices out-of-the-box.

Security-conscious users will love the fingerprint sensor and IR camera, which allows for easy and secure logins. However, the webcam lacks a physical shutter, and the lid clearance is too tight to safely use a third-party shutter.

As far as battery life is concerned, the XPS 13 (9300) will last more than full day’s work without recharging. After a while, you will get used to leaving the office without the charger!

All-in-all, the Dell XPS 13 (9300) is an engineering marvel that must be experienced to truly understand. If you want the very best Windows 10 ultra-light laptop money can buy, this should be right at the top of the list.

That is why we wholeheartedly award it our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank Dell for sending us this review unit, and making us part of the #DellInsideCircle

 

Recommended Reading

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First Look : 2021 MacBook Pro MagSafe 3 + SD Card Slot!

Exclusive on Tech ARP – the first look at the 2021 MacBook Pro ports, including a brand new MagSafe 3 port and an SD card slot!

Here is the first ever look at the MagSafe 3 connector, the SD card slot, and other ports that will ship with the 2021 MacBook Pro!

 

First Look : 2021 MacBook Pro MagSafe 3 + SD Card Slot!

Apple fans who miss the MagSafe port and the SD card reader in their MacBook laptops will have something to cheer for this year!

Apple will not only introduce a new MagSafe 3 connector in the upcoming 2021 MacBook Pro, they will also bring back the SD card slot!

New Apple MagSafe 3 Connector!

The new MagSafe 3 connector is bidirectional and has 5 pins, and will lock and detach magnetically like the previous two generations.

The MagSafe 3 connector is not compatible with older MacBook computers, and has a pill-shaped design with a thinner profile.

The MagSafe 3 port is located on the left side of the 2021 MBP, next to two Thunderbolt 3 (USB4) ports, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Ports on the left side of the 2021 Apple MBP | Copyright : Tech ARP (www.techarp.com)

Return Of The SD Card Reader!

We are also glad to report that Apple will (finally) bring back the SD card reader that many photographers LOVED, and bemoaned when Phil Schiller killed it in 2016.

Now that Schiller is out of Apple, it looks like it’s been resurrected for the 2021 MacBook Pro. Utility finally trumped cumbersome!

The SD card reader is located on the right side, together with a third Thunderbolt 3 (USB4) port and a HDMI 2.0 port.

Ports on the right side of the 2021 Apple MBP | Copyright : Tech ARP (www.techarp.com)

 

2021 Apple MacBook Pro : What Else Is New?

So what else is new in the 2021 MacBook Pro, other than MagSafe 3 and the resurrected SD card reader?

14-inch + 16-inch Models

There will be two 2021 MacBook Pro models – with 14-inch and 16-inch displays.

Apple M1X SoC

There will no longer be Intel CPU options, only the Apple M1X SoC.

Nothing much is known about the Apple M1X, other than it is a more powerful version of the M1 that has stunned many with its performance.

But rumours have it that it will have 12 processor cores, split into two performance clusters :

  • P Cluster (Performance) : 8 x Firestorm (?) cores
  • E Cluster (Efficient) : 4 x Icestorm (?) cores

It will have a more powerful GPU than Apple M1‘s 8-core GPU.

Memory

The Apple M1X will use the same unified memory design as the M1, built directly onto the package for near-instantaneous access.

However, it will offer larger memory options – 24 GB and 32 GB are possible – in addition to 16 GB currently available with the M1.

External Display Support

A big limitation of the Apple M1 is its support for just one external display of up to 6K resolution at 60 Hz.

The 2021 MacBook Pro will support at least two external displays, if not more, via its Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI ports.

OLED Touch Bar Gone!

Good riddance to the pointless OLED Touch Bar. That’s gone for the 2021 MacBook Pro models.

 

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The Samsung CJ791 – First Thunderbolt 3 QLED Curved Monitor!

At CES 2018, Samsung Electronics just expanded their signature curved display line-up with the new Samsung CJ791 monitor – the first QLED curved monitor to feature Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 connectivity! Let’s take a look at its key features!

 

The Samsung CJ791 Thunderbolt 3 QLED Curved Monitor

Through a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, users can link and dock their monitor and laptop without extensive wiring. The Thunderbolt 3 connection provides processing speeds of up to 40 Gigabits per second (Gbps). The Thunderbolt 3 interface also provides up to 85 watts of laptop charging power.

Ultra-Wide QHD Display

The Samsung CJ791 features a ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio, with a QHD resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels. All that is ensconced within a slim and narrow bezel design, that easily accommodates multi-display setups. Thanks to its height-adjustable tilt-capable stand, you can easily adjust the display for the best viewing experience.

Brilliant Display

The Samsung CJ791 features the latest Samsung QLED technology. It delivers a wide colour gamut – 125% of sRGB, which is great for those who work on graphics or videos.

1500R Curvature

The Samsung CJ791 has the industry’s sharpest 1500R curvature. Coupled with the wide 178-degree viewing angle, it delivers a more immersive experience to the user.

Game On!

It’s not all work and no play with the Samsung CJ791. It boasts a fast 4 ms response time, so you can game without distracting visual artifacts. It also comes with a Game Mode that dynamically adjusts gamma setting on-the-fly to optimise the colour and contrast of each frame.

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New WD G-Technology Drives With Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced upgrades to its award-winning G-Technology product lines, including the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectivity technologies. To be on display at BroadcastAsia 2017 for the first time, the upgrades optimize the speed and performance of these drives, meeting the growing needs of creative professionals who are capturing and transferring vast amounts of high-resolution content.

 

The New WD G-Technology Drives With Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C

Built for creative professionals, including videographers and digital photographers, who require storage solutions that keep up with their intensive data needs and creative applications, G-Technology’s upgraded devices offer complete, high-capacity workflow solutions that seamlessly integrate into the larger Thunderbolt 3 ecosystem.

All WD G-Technology storage solutions use HGST Ultrastar enterprise-class drives and are backed by an industry-leading 5-year limited warranty. G-Technology’s storage solutions come pre-formatted for Mac computers and can be easily reformatted for Windows computers with the G-Technology Windows Format Wizard.

 

WD G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt 3

The WD G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt 3 is designed for creative professionals in mind, with dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a USB-C port (supports USB 3.1 Gen 1). Users can conveniently daisy chain up to five additional devices, allowing them to stay connected to multiple drives and quickly move HD videos and 4K footage through a single connection.

With capacities up to 12TB, heavy workloads and mission-critical data users have peace of mind with the long-lasting reliability of the HGST Ultrastar 7200 RPM enterprise-class hard drive inside. It is available now at RM 3,900 / ~US$ 929 for 12TB and RM 3,410 / ~US$ 810 for 10TB .

 

WD G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3

The WD G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3 is a high-performance, removable dual-hard drive RAID 0, 1 or JBOD storage system that features Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 2, HDMI 2.0 ports. It also has the ability to plug in 4K 60 HDR displays and editing tools, allowing creative professionals to quickly access, browse, edit, and backup digital libraries.

Removeable HGST Ultrastar 7200 RPM enterprise-class drives allow flexibility and reliability that is suitable for the most demanding creative projects, including multi-stream HD, 2K, 4K, and HDR video workflows. It is available now at RM 9,750 / ~US$ 2,320 for 24TB.

 

WD G-SPEED Shuttle XL

The WD G-SPEED Shuttle XL with Thunderbolt 3 is able to handle demanding multi-stream workflows of 4K and beyond, both on location and in the studio. The G-SPEED Shuttle XL with Thunderbolt 3 offers hardware RAID 0, 1, 5, 6,10, and 50 configurations in an 8-bay transportable solution.

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Equipped with HGST Ultrastar enterprise-class hard disk drives for enhanced reliability and transfer rates up to 2000 MB/s, creative professionals have the ultimate storage solution for demanding video workflows and high-capacity storage. It is available now at RM 49,730 / ~US$ 11,840 for 96 TB.

The G-SPEED Shuttle XL with ev Series bay adapters is similar to the G-SPEED Shuttle XL with Thunderbolt 3. The integrated ev Series bay adapters improve workflow options and productivity by enabling cross-functionality with all ev Series drives.

Designed with two ev Series bay adapters for use with ev Series drive modules and ev Series readers, users can experience enhanced reliability coupled with fast transfer rates up to 1500 MB/s. It is available now at RM 38,030 / ~US$ 9,055 for 72 TB.

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Free GIGABYTE Thunderbolt 3 Upgrade

Taipei, 25 August 2016GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce today, a new collection of GIGABYTE Motherboards that have been certified for Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology. GIGABYTE is the leader in developing this technology as many devices in the market were created using GIGABYTE Motherboards as the golden sample.

Shortly after its release of the new designare and ultra gaming motherboards GIGABYTE is announcing that many of these newly released boards have Thunderbolt 3 technology available to the users. Updating the BIOS and a simple software upgrade is all that is required of users to enable this feature. With a 40 Gb/s bandwidth, along with its ability to transmit data, video, audio, and power all in one cable, Thunderbolt technology is highly sought after for its rapid transfer speeds and ability to simplify cables around the computer. Users are able to daisy-chain up to six devices per port with an additional monitor at the end.

 

Thunderbolt 3

Thunderbolt 3 utilizes a Type-C connector, this reversible connector is also capable of supporting the USB 3.1 protocol for future devices.

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In addition, GIGABYTE is also officially debuting the world’s first front panel Thunderbolt 3 drive bay. This bay can be installed in a 5.25” expansion slot and has support for Power Delivery 2.0, up to 100 watts. Users will also get the benefit of having USB 3.1 support in both Type-A as well as Type-C connections.

Lastly, for users whose motherboards do not support Thunderbolt 3 natively, GIGABYTE is also releasing an add-on card, the GC-ALPINE RIDGE. This card is compatible with many GIGABYTE motherboards that have an onboard thunderbolt connector enabling the board to support thunderbolt functionality.

All of these features and products will be available to the public by the beginning of September 2016, for more information on how to get your motherboard Thunderbolt enabled please check on the GIGABYTE website.

 

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Razer Core Pre-Orders Start Today

IRVINE, Calif. – Razer today announced pricing, availability and compatibility of its 2016 “Best of CES” award-winning Razer Core. The device is the world’s first plug-and-play Thunderbolt 3 external graphics enclosure that debuted earlier this year in tandem with the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, itself an official “Best PC” and “People’s Choice” CES winner.

“Razer continues to innovate in the laptops category where big systems brands either cannot or will not,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “This time, in collaboration with industry leaders, we’ve created the world’s first external graphics card solution of its kind, bringing the GPU power of a desktop PC to the latest Razer laptops, such as the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, through a single Thunderbolt 3 connection with plug-and-play convenience.”

“All consumers, non-gamers and gamers alike, now can easily migrate from their Razer laptop for on-the-go performance to driving a full desktop experience using Razer Core, including enhanced graphics and simple connectivity to peripherals.”

The graphics enclosure supports a single double-wide, full-length, PCI-Express x16 graphics card. Qualified AMD Radeon graphics cards are available for use with the Razer Core. At launch of the Razer Core, NVIDIA will support GeForce GTX GPUs, including the entire lineup of Maxwell GPUs, such as the best-selling GTX 970. The Razer Core will be compatible with Razer’s latest systems including the Blade Stealth Ultrabook, and the new Razer Blade 14-inch gaming laptop in the near future.

The Razer Core will be available for pre-order starting today and will ship starting in April. The MSRP for Razer Core is $399 with the purchase of a compatible Razer notebook or $499 if purchased separately. Current registered owners of the Blade Stealth will receive the discounted price.

A single Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable provides ample bandwidth and is all it takes to connect compatible Razer systems with the Razer Core. With the Razer Blade Stealth, the Razer Core also provides power to the notebook, charging the internal battery. Whether a laptop user is interested in gaming or editing 4K video with external desktop graphics performance, Thunderbolt 3 is the all-in-one connection that can make it possible with select Razer systems like the Blade Stealth and Razer Core.

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“Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps, creating one compact port that does it all,” said Jason Ziller, director of Thunderbolt Marketing, Intel. “Thanks to technical collaboration between Intel, Razer and the Radeon Technologies group at AMD, Razer Core is the first plug-and-play external graphics solution that transforms the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook into a desktop-like gaming experience”

The Razer Blade Stealth and Razer Core are the first products to ship that support AMD XConnect technology, which when configured with a qualified Radeon graphics card ensures seamless switching between discrete and integrated Intel HD graphics for a true plug-and-play user experience.

“We believe powerful external GPUs are thrilling for gamers that have longed to connect serious gaming performance to an ultrathin notebook,” said Ravi Gananathan, Director, MNC Graphics, AMD. “With the advent of AMD XConnect technology, that dream is a simple and intuitive reality. Together, the Razer Core and AMD XConnect for Radeon graphics are the ultimate intersection of performance, simplicity and design.”

Physical installation of a graphics card into the Razer Core requires no tools. Its durable aluminum housing slides open elegantly, and a single included thumb-screw secures the graphics card in place. Razer’s solution helps future-proof systems, as graphics cards are easily swappable as new components become available. Traditional laptop designs with fixed internal processors could not easily allow for upgrading graphics capabilities over time, if at all.

Bringing desktop-level graphics and display connectivity to a notebook is only part of this innovative solution from Razer. The Razer Core also contains four additional USB 3.0 ports and Ethernet connectivity, and it has two-zone lighting technology Powered by Razer Chroma. It is now easier than ever to transform a thin and light notebook into a complete desktop experience.

Razer Core can accommodate graphics cards that draw a maximum of 375 W and no larger than 12.20 inches x 5.98 inches x 1.73 inches (310 mm x 152 mm x 44 mm). Plug-and-play support varies according to graphics chipset and notebook model. Interested parties may go to the Razer website for full details. Compatible graphics cards are sold separately.

Qualified AMD Radeon graphics cards (AMD XConnect supported with Blade Stealth):

  • AMD Radeon  R9 Fury
  • AMD Radeon  R9 Nano
  • AMD Radeon  R9 300 Series
  • AMD Radeon  R9 300 Series
  • AMD Radeon  R9 290
  • AMD Radeon R9 280

Supported NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards (at launch):

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750

Compatible Razer notebook models:

  • Razer Blade Stealth
  • Razer Blade (w/ Thunderbolt 3) in the near future

 

Razer Core Price & Availability

U.S. $399 – when purchased with compatible Razer notebook
U.S. $499
Razerzone.com – Pre-order March 16th, shipping in April

 

Razer Core Specifications

Connection to PC: Thunderbolt 3 using included 40 Gbps cable

GPU Support: graphics card sold separately

  • GPU Type: (1) double-wide, full-length PCI-Express x16 graphics card
  • GPU Max Dimensions: 12.20” x 5.98” x 1.73” (310 x 152 x 44 mm)
  • GPU Max Power Support: 375 W
  • Graphics Output: Based on capabilities of installed graphics card

Input & Output:

  • USB 3.0 x 4
  • Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000
  • Thunderbolt 3 (for connection to PC)

Lighting: Powered by Razer Chroma – 2 zones

Power Supply: 500 W

Approx. Dimensions: 4.13” (104.9 mm) wide x 13.38” (339.9 mm) deep x 8.6” (218.4 mm) high

Approx. Weight: 10.89 lbs. (4.94 kg)

 

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AMD XConnect Technology Revealed

March 10, 2016 – AMD today announced the AMD XConnect Technology. What is the AMD XConnect Technology? It is basically an external graphics card solution for notebooks. It allows you to pair a desktop-class AMD Radeon graphics card with a compatible notebook using Thunderbolt 3. Let’s take a look!

 

The Problem

Traditionally, PC gamers have to choose between gaming performance or portability, sacrificing one for the other. Never having their cake and eating it too.

The AMD XConnect Technology aims to bridge that gap, offering the best of both worlds. Who wouldn’t want to work with an ultra-thin, ultra-light notebook, but go back to desktop gaming with the same notebook?

With AMD XConnect Technology, that is now possible.

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Introducing AMD XConnect Technology

The AMD XConnect Technology allows a compatible notebook, or even a 2-in-1 device, with Thunderbolt 3 connect to an external GPU enclosure configured with AMD Radeon R9 300 or AMD Radeon R9 Fury series GPUs. It’s a simple plug and play experience – you can connect and disconnect from the external graphics card enclosure at any time.

“AMD XConnect technology is representative of the Radeon Technologies Group’s on-going commitment to gamers. With the introduction of our user-friendly plug-and-play external GPU solution, gamers no longer need to sacrifice portability for powerful performance in notebook gaming,” said Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “As innovators paving the way with an ingenious external GPU solution for notebooks, we look forward to creating a thriving ecosystem of notebooks enabled with AMD XConnect technology in collaboration with leading manufacturers.”

The AMD XConnect Technology is a collaboration between the AMD Radeon Technologies Group, Razer and the Intel Thunderbolt group.

Next Page > The First Compatible Notebook, Performance, Additional Information

 

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The First Notebook Ready For AMD XConnect

AMD also revealed the first ultra-thin notebook to support AMD XConnect – the new Razer Blade Stealth, together with the Razer Core external GPU enclosure. The Razer Core can be equipped with a Radeon R9 300 series GPU to allow gamers to enjoy desktop-like gaming performance on their ultra-thin Razer Blade Stealth notebook!

“The Razer Blade Stealth was developed as the ultimate Ultrabook for work on-the-go, additionally capable of transforming into a desktop gaming environment when connected to Razer Core, thanks in part to remarkable contributions from AMD,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer CEO and cofounder. “The collaboration and development between Razer and AMD for users with Radeon R9 300 Series graphics in the Razer Core helped us realize the world’s first Thunderbolt 3 plug-and-play external graphics solution. A single Thunderbolt 3 connection now provides power and data between the Blade Stealth and Core, and other peripherals can connect to the Razer Core’s USB ports to provide a desktop-class gaming experience.”

To unleash the AMD XConnect Technology, the Razer Blade Stealth must be connected to the Razer Core eGFX enclosure using Intel Thunderbolt 3, and use an AMD XConnect-compatible driver (Radeon Software 16.2.2 or better). You can game directly on the Razer Blade Stealth’s high-resolution IGZO screen, or connect to an external monitor.

 

“Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40Gb/s, creating one compact port that does it all,” said Jason Ziller, Director of Thunderbolt Marketing, Intel. “Thanks to technical collaboration with the Radeon Technologies group at AMD, desktop Radeon graphics cards are now validated for use with Thunderbolt 3. AMD’s new XConnect technology brings effortless plug-and-play support and a convenient management interface to notebooks and 2-in-1s with the Thunderbolt 3 external graphics solution configured with a powerful Radeon R9 300 Series GPU.”

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Performance Level : Desktop

Here is AMD’s showcase benchmark – based on a Razer Core powered by the AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card.

This allows the Razer Blade Stealth to deliver frame rates (at 1440p resolution) in excess of  70 fps! This is nothing special for a desktop gaming PC, but it is phenomenal on a notebook.

 

Additional Information

The eGFX enclosure must be powered by an AMD Radeon graphics card that supports AMD XConnect. AMD plans to expand the list of Radeon GPUs that can support the AMD XConnect Technology. This will enable gamers to upgrade their eGFX enclosures beyond the Radeon R9 300 series GPUs.

Not all notebooks or 2-in-1s support AMD XConnect technology, and not all external graphics (eGFX) enclosures are compatible with AMD XConnect. The base system’s software package and BIOS must be configured to support AMD XConnect. Both the system and eGFX enclosure must have a Thunderbolt 3 port.

 

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