In years past, Razer was that new kid on the block at CES, coming up with the crazy ideas that gave us an idea of what the future could look like. In 2014 they shocked us with Project Christine, a truly plug and play modular PC using mineral oil housed components. In 2017, we glimpsed a portable triple screen solution for laptops with Project Valerie, something that is almost a reality now with portable screens and new folding laptops, and last year we got the more muted Project Linda which used your Razer phone as a touch pad and second screen by docking it in a concept Razer Blade. And that shows us the direction that Razer is moving in: more realistic and less cool, but not likely concepts.
But that’s not to say that these ideas are not possible. Project Linda has come to pass with various manufacturers turning the touchpad into second screens when you need it. Project Valerie has also come to pass with the availability of 1080p and 4k portable screens that use Thunderbolt 3 ports to power them and project an image. There are now also two screen laptops which Asus showcased at CES 2020.
Speaking of Project Christine, while not quite what we saw back in 2014, Razer will be the first to market with a truly modular system built of Intel’s new NUC Compute Element form factor in the Razer Tomahawk.
The Tomahawk is basically an enclosure, looking very much like Razer’s own external GPU enclosure, that features a daughter board and space for an SFX power supply in which you can plug two PCI-E cards into, to build a PC. It is a completely tool-less design and you can build your system in under 30 seconds. Seriously just watch this video below.
The Tomahawk allows you to choose your NUC Compute Element, from a fully specced model with up to an Intel Core I9-9850H, SODIMM Memory – I’m not sure on capacity but would assume up to 32GBs, and nvme storage, sadly only PCI-E Gen 3 for now. Basically, Intel realized what we all should have, that we can convert laptop motherboards and all the components into a single module that you can plug into a power supply.
Add in the graphics card of your choice, of course an RTX 2080Ti, and you have an insanely powerful desktop in a case that is only 10 litres! Pricing and release date for the Tomahawk as well as the Compute Elements is not yet known, but I expect the full system to be on the pricey side given the convenience.
The use case for something like this is varied, from new users wanting to start learning how to build a system, to those without the time to build a full system, to businesses wanting small systems that are easy to maintain and upgrade. The possibilities are endless.
Razer Sila 5G Router
With 5G becoming the new standard for connectivity, Razer has decided to jump into the game with the Sila Router. You can use this as a normal in-home router, but it also has the ability to access a 5G network, and with the built in battery, can act as a mobile hotspot… you know, for those times when you want to host a LAN party in an area without a hard-line connection.
To be realistic, I can see the 5G connectivity as being a useful fail over solution when your hard-line goes down, or in SA when Eskom decides to load shed!
With the imminent introduction of Microsoft’s Project X-Cloud and hopefully the expansion of mobile support for Google Stadia to phones other than the Nexus line, proper controls are going to become more and more popular. While you can buy a Bluetooth controller for your phone or use a Dualshock 4 or Xbox controller with your phone, that still requires you to set the phone down. A controller that attaches to your phone already exists in the form of Razer’s own Junglecat, but the problem is that it doesn’t have a wide range of phone compatibility.
Enter the Kishi. Using the same adjustable form to attach the two ends to the sides of your phone, meaning it can attach to any number of models, the controller looks comfortable and very, very usable in all sorts of games. Even if you don’t subscribe to any of the streaming services, it will surely improve your game in PUBG.
Razer eRacing Simulator
Think the Acer Predator Thronos, but for racing sims, and you will have this product. In collaboration with Vesaro, Simpit, Fanatec, and Synthesis VR, the simulator is made for the serious racing fanatic with an unlimited budget or, more likely, the eRacing scene that is oddly nowhere near as popular a sport as Fortnite or LoL.
The player will be ensconced in the obligatory racing seat and surrounded by an immersive 202-degree, 128 inch projector system. With racing wheel, pedals and gear shifter made by Fanatec, you know you are getting the best quality racing gear available. The exact system specs running all this is not yet known and we will likely only see this in a competition, but it is an exciting piece of equipment and reminds us that Razer can still do crazy.