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Razer's Blade gaming laptop gets more power, still looks great

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Razer's not giving up in its quest to build the perfect laptop for gamers; today, the company announced an updated version of its 14-inch Razer Blade. Launching at Microsoft Stores on February 16th (you can place an order starting today), the new Blade starts at the same $2,199 as the model it's replacing. From the outside, things look more or less the same compared to what we saw in March of last year. The Razer Blade still houses its powerful silicon inside a nice aluminum chassis, and this revision sticks with the same, plenty sharp 3200 x 1800 multi-touch display as last time. It's light, it feels incredibly solid, and it's still one of the most capable Windows laptops on the market.

Changes start with the machine's memory. It now includes 16GB of RAM standard versus the 8GB from last year. Both the CPU and GPU have been bumped up to some of the latest offerings from Intel and Nvidia, respectively. The new Blade ships with a Core i7-4720HQ quad-core processor clocked at 2.6GHz — with turbo boost speeds up to 3.6GHz. And on the graphics end, Razer has chosen Nvidia's GeForce GTX 970M to do the heavy lifting for your gaming needs. The GTX 970M is based on Nvidia's Maxwell architecture, and early benchmarks show it'll handle most of what you throw at it just fine.

That's always been true of the Blade; you can crank the settings of most games up to ultra quality, but might need to dial things back a notch or two when running the absolute latest, bleeding-edge titles. Razer also says the Optimus Technology offered by the 970M, which automatically switches between integrated and dedicated graphics depending on how hard you're pushing the laptop, should help extend this Blade's battery life. We were disappointed by the laptop's endurance last year, so hopefully the company has put some work in here. But if all-day longevity is what you're after, better laptop choices most certainly exist. The Blade is made for consumers who want sheer power packed into a solidly built frame. And it looks like Razer is carrying that reputation forward — so long as you're willing to pay over two grand for it. If you are, this remains the best-looking gaming laptop that money can buy.