Razer Core V2


PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - NICK ROSS

Want to turn an ultraportable lap­top into a full-pow­ered min­ing or gam­ing rig? Then check out Razer’s Core v2. This graph­ics-card-en­clo­sure-cum­dock­ing sta­tion is su­per solid, con­sist­ing of two, well-ven­ti­lated slabs of metal which slide apart to al­low for the easy in­ser­tion of a full-sized, desk­top graph­ics card. Even the longer, wider va­ri­eties like the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti are com­pat­i­ble. The in­te­rior com­part­ment, which holds the elec­tron­ics, is un­locked with a gra­tu­itously-large lever that gives ev­ery­thing a sense of black­smith-hewn so­lid­ity. All con­nec­tions are tool­less and plug­ging in a card is in­tu­itive and takes sec­onds.

A ket­tle lead pro­vides power to a built-in 500W PSU but al­most ev­ery­thing else passes through the Thun­der­Bolt 3 ca­ble (note that the bun­dled one is very short). It will work with any de­vice that is Thun­der­Bolt 3 com­pat­i­ble AND sup­ports the as­so­ci­ated ex­ter­nal graph­ics stan­dard, plus has had all rel­e­vant firmware and BIOSes up­dated. The graph­ics driv­ers come with ex­ist­ing AMD-and-Nvidia pack­ages, while plug­ging it in will ac­ti­vate a lap­top’s Thun­der­boltrecog­ni­tion sys­tem, which you only need to en­able once. We tested with Razer’s own lap­tops and ev­ery­thing just worked when we plugged the ca­ble in. Im­pres­sive. The con­nec­tion also trans­mits up to 65W of power, so it can si­mul­ta­ne­ously charge your lap­top.

But what of per­for­mance? Razer rec­om­mends us­ing an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor for op­ti­mal per­for­mance as loop­ing back to your lap­top’s own screen gen­er­ates lag. The re­sults are in­ter­est­ing. A Razer Blade Pro lap­top with in­te­grated GTX 1060 graph­ics scored 5,124 (24fps) in a Full HD Fire Strike Ex­treme 3DMark test. The same test us­ing a Razer Blade Stealth Ultraportable plus Core v2 (with a desk­top GTX 1060 card) on an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor was just one per cent slower. In a straight Fire Strike test, the Blade Pro lap­top scored 9,656 (50fps). This dropped to 45fps us­ing the Core v2 and Stealth on an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor and 43fps when us­ing the Stealth’s own dis­play. Ul­ti­mately, while there can some­times be slight drop in fram­er­ate, gain­ing the abil­ity to play the lat­est games on an ultraportable is trans­for­ma­tive. (sadly, you can’t cre­ate an SLI con­nec­tion us­ing Thun­der­bolt 3 – PCIe only).

We also mined cryp­tocur­rency, which pun­ishes GPUs and makes gam­ing lap­tops (plus, in some cases, desk­tops) over­heat and slow down. Here the open hous­ing of the Core v2 meant that min­ing per­for­mance was max­imised thanks to the well­ven­ti­lated sides! How­ever, the many air-vents mean that dust is an is­sue and there’s no muf­fling of your graph­ics card’s fan – which can get noisy.

Other fea­tures in­clude a four-port USB 3 hub and Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net – so it can act as a straight dock­ing sta­tion. It is lit up with Razer’s RGB sys­tem which can be con­trolled and cus­tomised with its Sy­napse soft­ware.

Weigh­ing 5.5KG, the Core v2 isn’t par­tic­u­larly-por­ta­ble and you should cover it up when not in use to avoid dust. None­the­less, we loved how it trans­formed an ultraportable into a gam­ing rig so if you can af­ford the whop­ping $600 price tag it’s a great buy.

“The con­nec­tion can si­mul­ta­ne­ously charge your lap­top”


Fits sin­gle dou­ble-wide, full-length, PCI-Ex­press x16 graph­ics card • GPU max power sup­port: 375 watts (in­ter­nal PSU 500 Watts) • USB 3.0 X 4, Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net 10/100/1000, Thun­der­bolt 3 (for con­nec­tion to PC)

$600 • www.razer.com

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