Take a look. Something written like this deserves the link and hits. Not that my linking helps its goog score at all.
Here’s the thing.
The new Razor laptop is pretty wonderful hardware. It’s really expensive, but it delivers the goods (except the lack of SSD). Price-value valuation is not part of this post, but I just want to highlight things:
1. The article talks about Apple. Articles about PC gaming and Apple in the same sentence is rarely worth reading because it’s a non-starter. So it talks about general computing. This is the SEO/eyeball grabbing part.
2. Mentioning Apple in this context is a little contentious, only because everybody who does PC gaming knows Macs are not first-choices in PC gaming. This is the troll part. Because the platform is non-starter for not only games, but hardware manufacturers too. I mean, does Apple even sell any hardware with user-upgradable video cards? Do people buy them? When’s the last time this guy looked at the benchmark on a Macbook Pro?
3. And it riffs off a new announcement and highlights that are a bit of an outlier. Curiosity makes news.
I’ve been shopping for a gaming laptop that is more suited for mobile lifestyle for a long time now. About a year, in fact. And there is no silver bullet. All I have are half-baked solutions, with the new Sony Z doing its best impression of a Tony Romo fumble holding the potentially winning field goal kick in 2007. Any Cowboys fans remember that? Where did it fail? The video card is now a dock. What the hell?
The Razor Blade is a nice try, but it is no cigar. Gaming on a 17″ 1080 screen is great. Making it weight less than 8 pounds is a good start but it is a showstopper. My Lenovo T510 weights less, and it’s already a drag trying to walk 15 minutes (at a brisk Manhattan pace) with it, on top of all my other things. Being only 0.88″ thick is wonderful, as that is the Achilles’s heel for Alienware. I can tell you if the M11x was not over an inch thick and also not ugly as sin I would have had one already. nVidia 555 is great, because it is now into high end proc territory; if you’re going to squeeze in a dedicated board you ought to go all the way as much as you can. The same applies to the i7 (although the gain in gaming between i7 and i5 is not worth the $200 price difference most of the time). And again, no SSD is a major problem only if you consider the price tag. The swichblade thing is neat but not going to make sales; on the other hand the keyboard layout is tops, so is the construction and design in general.
If Sony’s new Z had its Radeon proc inside the laptop, this Razor Blade would have been a non-starter. Instead now it’s going to not make the sales that it would have all because of it.
Back to the Gizmodo article. It makes a good point about platforms and PC gaming, but it also misses the point entirely about hardware. Again, no serious PC gamer uses a Mac for that purpose. Or a laptop for that matter. Does lack of platform (as per Carmack) take away some performance? Yeah, but not exaggerated like this. Windows and DirectX IS the platform. Intel and AMD serve the consumer segment just fine; not everyone wants a Porche for their car, so some of us are quite happy with our $450 APU-based laptops, because it does everything your iPad does and much more.
And the thing is, that is not where PC gamer is at. That’s where the general public is at. The PC is already dead and niche; no laptop form factors will save it. The hardware is not just a CPU/fps kind of game, but a user experience kind of game. By nature what distinguishes tablets from laptops is precisely the user experience. Good luck working at Gizmodo only with tablets. It’s not going to work not because of hardware restraints, but user workflow problems. Just like how people with mouse+keyboard still whip butts versus people using game pads at FPS games. That’s not going to change when the tablet meet in the middle with cheap laptops.