On October 10th, 2020,
Razer held its highly-promoted conference event, Razercon 2020, where in true “con” fashion, they revealed the newest products joining the lineup for the upcoming year.
Among those, and most relevant to us of course, was their updated version of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 ultrabook, which is the lightest, most mobile laptop in Razer’s lineup, and this year, it seems the updates were surprisingly modest.
(Image courtesy of: Razer)
What’s new, then?
You know what? let’s just take a look at the full specs before we go any further
Specifications (Taken directly from Razer’s website)
- 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1165G7 Quad-Core Processor
- Windows 10 Home
- 13.3″ OLED Full HD Touch 60Hz
- w/ 4.9 mm slim side bezel
- NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q (4GB GDDR6 VRAM)
- 16GB dual-channel (fixed)
Upon first look, it may seem like not much has change, and while that’s SORT OF true, we do see some improvements that are definitely appreciated.
The biggest, most obvious upgrade is the inclusion of Intel’s latest 11th generation i7 G-processor, the i71165G7. This means better overall performance in every day tasks such as surfing the internet and other casual, CPU demanding tasks, as well as better gaming performance.
The other major upgrade Razer has promoted is that the 60Hz version of the Blade Stealth will include, for the first time, an OLED touch display, which should provide more vibrant and accurate colors, as well as touch-functionality. The same cannot be said, however, for the version of the Blade stealth that has a 120Hz display, which only benefits from the other upgrades mentioned here. Bummer.
One change that I found Razer did a poor job of publicizing is the fact that the new GTX 1650 TI (Max-Q) graphics card now boasts 4GBs of faster GDDR6 VRAM, which replaces the exact same card which had 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. As a result, your graphics card will be more power efficient, have higher transfer speeds and a higher capacity for large amounts of data.
In layman’s terms, this means the card will be able to do more demanding tasks faster and at lower power consumption numbers, which in turn produces less heat, which raises the bar in terms of the capabilities of the graphics card.
So what does this mean for us consumers?
Well like I mentioned, both the CPU and GPU of the system have been upgraded. This serves to future-proof the wonderful Blade Stealth for more demanding modern games, while also updating the general capabilities of the laptop as a work system/daily carry.
This all sounds great! But Bashar, didn’t you say the upgrades were “modest”?
Well, yes. That’s because they are.
Don’t get me wrong, Razer upgrading the CPU, while being a natural, inevitable next-step for the product, is a great boost in capabilities for the same base price of last year’s model.
The problem is, every other upgrade is sort of.. meh.
A nicer-looking screen is cool. Touch capabilities are.. yeah gamers LOOOOVE those (couldn’t care less personally). nothing too interesting so far..
We all know this thing is a beast for work, but we’re here to talk about how this thing will run games. That means talking about the GPU.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is marketed as the lightest gaming laptop with the highest performance. “The World’s First Ultrabook”, they say, and you know what, they might even be right.
But there’s one glaring mistake I believe Razer is making to keep the Stealth as thin and light as possible, which makes it hard for me to recommend to anyone.
The GTX 1650Ti (Max-Q) is a great-performing graphics processor and it has proved it with its immense popularity, but while it is very capable, it’s missing some of the most important features which are now standard in most concurrent Nvidia GPUs: RTX.
No, I’m not talking about fancy Ray Tracing to make your puddles shiny or whatever, I’m talking about the architecture that was built around these capabilities. Namely, that which includes the RT and Tensor Cores powering Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling 2.0, or DLSS 2.0 for short. I wrote an article just about this that I truly believe every gamer should inform themselves about.
In short, DLSS technology will allow the latest Nvidia graphics cards to run games at framerates and graphical presets well beyond the capabilities of their raw graphics power.
This technology, I predict, will result in the biggest boom in graphics processing performance EVER (and that’s not even a bold statement). Deep Learning is a type of technology that will inevitably evolve and improve over time without the need for the administrator (here, Nvidia) to do anything about it, and yet they will.
With every new iteration of their graphics cards, Nvidia has been including more capable “Tensor Cores”, at larger densities and numbers.
These processing cores are designed specifically to run Deep Learning models at a higher efficiency, which means DLSS will be even more effective, just from a hardware standpoint. This is f****** huge, people.
The problem here, however, is that the Blade Stealth 13, with its GTX (NOT RTX) 1650Ti, can’t even support DLSS at all.
So while any RTX laptop, even one with a 2060 Max-Q for example, a graphics card not THAT much more powerful than the Stealth’s GTX 1650Ti Max-Q, will run any game with DLSS support (of which many, many more are currently being developed) at a constantly improving rate as the DLSS model matures and evolves, the 1650Ti’s capabilities will always be.. just that.
TL; DR. Is it worth upgrading to the new version?
We all know this thing is a beast for work, but we’re here to talk about how this thing will run games.
Short answer is: Unless you don’t care about how your games run in 3 years, hell no. It’s not that they’ll run terribly, but there will simply be RTX cards breezing through any DLSS-supported game at much higher framerates without breaking a thermal sweat. This should have been the year the Razer Blade Stealth 13 gets the RTX treatment. Instead, it’s showing up late to the party dressed in last year’s cloth physics.