Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 6, 2014 - 10:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: razer, Cherry MX, cherry, mechanical keyboard
So Razer has a history of doing the unexpected. The peripheral manufacturer has branched out into other segments, including laptops, tablets, software, exercise equipment, and so forth. Their April Fools announcements are often hilarious but their real products sometimes feel as far-fetched, except that they release and apparently find an audience. If Project Christine comes out then it would be the best example, but Project Fiona and the Razer Blade seemed just as unlikely - and I've seen multiple Blades in the wild.
And yet it is their keyboard announcement which surprises me, today.
It turns out that Razer decided to design their own key switch modules, instead of ordering them off-the-shelf from ZF Electronics (Cherry). Razer will not manufacture these key modules, and they look enough like Cherry MX switches that I could guess who their third party manufacturer is, but they did push their own specifications. Razer claims that the main advantage is a higher actuation point, leading to less latency between when your finger starts moving, and when it has moved enough to activate the button.
Razer has developed two switches: "Green", which is their analogy of the Cherry MX Blue, and "Orange", which is analogous to the Cherry MX Brown. The former is clicky while the latter has a relatively silent bump.
The Green switches are available in the BlackWidow, BlackWidow Tournament, and BlackWidow (with the Orange switches in each Stealth variant). Some models will ship in late March with the rest shipping in April.
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2014 - 02:08 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Razer Edge, razer
If you have spent the last year eyeing the Razer Edge 64GB and Edge Pro 256GB gaming tablets, now might be your time to pounce. Amazon is knocking $300 (30%) off of the 64GB version as well as $350 (24%) off of the 256GB one. This puts their prices at $700 and $1100, respectively.
The tablets have fairly decent internals, considering their price points. Both contain the comination of Intel HD4000 integrated graphics backed by an NVIDIA GT 640M LE discrete GPU (albeit the Pro version seems to have an extra gigabyte of vRAM). The Pro includes a dual-core Core i7 CPU, with hyper-threading, while the non-pro includes an i5. The Pro has 8GB of RAM, and the non-pro has 4GB. I probably would have little use for this device but, then again, I am a desktop guy.
The accessories, such as the gaming controller case and the docking station, unfortunately seem to remain at full price. Since they seem to be a sizable "point" of the Edge, that could slightly sour this price reduction.
Like most Amazon deals, it is anyone's guess when or if prices will go back up.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2014 - 03:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: razer, Project Christine, Nabu, CES 2014, CES
Razer has a long history of announcing odd products at any given CES. Some of those products win prestigious awards such as Best of Show. A few of them also never see the light of day. This year, the company has two major announcements: a wristband computer called "Razer Nabu" and a modular computer concept called "Project Christine". The last one feels more like their April 1st announcements.
First: the wristband. The Razer Nabu (isn't it ironic that the god of wisdom and writing is a homonym of JarJar's home planet) is said to be somewhere between a Nike+ FuelBand and a smartwatch. Track the number of steps you take, calories you burned, floors you climbed by stairs, distance you traveled, hours you slept, and do some stuff with location data. They can sense one another, if someone nearby is also wearing theirs, and optionally share information. It is also expected to connect to Razer Comms at some point. It is unclear how many of these applications can be done directly with the device and how many require an Android or iOS smartphone nearby.
Razer is currently accepting requests from developers looking to purchase the device for $49 USD. That may or may not be the final consumer price for whenever it makes a real launch.
The other product is a little less, concrete.
Project Christine reminds me of that period where the tech world went nuts over the thought that Apple would design a modular Mac Pro. The thought is that you could swap modules in and out for upgrading purposes with peace of mind that you never need to open anything. Everything is external connections to black boxes. Razer seems to have taken that idea and run with it. Suffices to say, I am highly skeptical. I can think of about a dozen complications ranging from bandwidth to inventory to relative need compared to other solutions.
Sure, it looks cool, but just think about it (if it ends up being a legitimate project rather than a CES talking point). Are you really going to have Razer versions of every possible upgrade SKU? Would you really save anything over a custom solution or paying someone to do the technical work?
Interesting thought experiment, if nothing else, but I would be fairly shocked if we even see this mentioned again more than 8 months from now.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 02:41 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, valve, SteamOS, Steam Box, steam, razer, R9 290X, R9, R7, podcast, Naga, corsair, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #270 - 09/26/2013
Join us this week as we discuss AMDs new GPU lineup, SteamOS, the Steam Box, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman
Week in Review:
0:43:15 Happy 10th anniversary Hammer!
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Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 21, 2013 - 12:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: razer, Naga, Lefties
So, after a few years of regular use, I wore out my Razer Lachesis. I am a lefty who never sold out to the right-handed world of computer peripherals. Joysticks do not count, I am naturally right-handed with those for some reason... scissors too... but that is beside the point. Most of the mice out there, for me to use at least, are ambidextrous and thus symmetric.
The Razer Naga (2014) is the first truly left handed mouse that I have owned. These are my impressions over my first day of usage.
Being a left-handed mouse Razer decided that it would, by default, switch the left and right mouse buttons. This can be changed in the drivers by first assigning your right mouse button to a left mouse button and then assigning your left mouse button to a right mouse button. Not the other way around.
The reason for this user experience seems to be, since all changes in the driver are applied immediately (without "ok" or "apply" buttons), Razer did not want users to accidentally lose every left mouse button. Imagine fixing that problem without a left mouse button. I would have prefered the app to, instead, fire a popup telling users to bind something else to "left mouse button" before removing it. Greying out the box is confusing and users might think they cannot, ever, rebind that button. That is just a minor complaint.
A slightly bigger issue is how they included a tilt-wheel without allowing the drivers to bind ScrollLeft and ScrollRight events. This can easily be fixed with a Razer Synapse update but why was that not included at launch? They are aware of the problem, too, as their support pages suggest users bind scroll wheel tilt to keyboard left and right. A great alternative for web browsers, but will not work in Photoshop or word processors.
Yes, you can make a custom profile for each application to input whatever horizontally scrolls them; better yet, just let us bind left and right scroll commands. Do it Razer! Dooooo it!
Weird quirks in the drivers aside, I really like the mouse. Each of the buttons, both in the side and on the top, are crisp. The build quality is solid. The body is comfortable. My only (physical) complaint is that the mouse body tends to get quite warm if you hold it for a couple of hours. That is, it feels warmer than other mice I have used. Otherwise it is basically what I have been looking for over the last decade.
So many buttons to bind!
Introduction and externals
Razer maintains a distinct sense of style across their product line. Over the past decade and a half, Razer has carved a spot in the peripherals market catering to competitive gamers as well as developing wholly novel products for the gaming market. Razer has a catalog including standard peripherals and more arcane things such as mice with telephone-style keypads geared toward MMORPG players as well as motion sensing controllers employing magnetic fields to detect controller position.
The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth 2013 Edition comes out of the box ready for use without additional software provided or assembly required. The keyboard uses a standard layout with five macro keys attached in a column on the left of the board. Rather than dedicated media buttons, media and keyboard specific functions are accessed by pressing a combination of a function key located to the right of right alt and the function keys on the top row.
The headphone and microphone jack are present on the side of the keyboard.
Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2013 - 11:40 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: razer, Naga, Lefties
Update (8/9/2013 2:45AM): Apparently, without advertised on-mouse memory, it looks like you cannot use this mouse (or at least, the 12 buttons) on Linux or any other place Synapse 2.0 will not be useable. I guess, keep that in mind. Although, apparently, some people have been able to write their own drivers for the older Naga or remap keys based on device ID. Who knows, I would like to hear something from Razer about this, though.
I am going to share a bias with you: I favor my left hand.
I know. I know. I have been sinister. I have a hand in my wallet, that being my own left one, but I hope you can move past my mistakes in life. I also hope peripheral manufacturers will not. I hope manufacturers will instead continue to produce accessories which cater to my differences.
Imagine my surprised when I noticed the Razer Naga, recently refreshed for 2014, will be available in a left-handed model at launch? Now, imagine my surprise when I noticed that I, somehow, missed the left-handed version of the prior Razer Naga as well?
The Razer Naga is a mouse with many thumb buttons and is primarily designed for MMO and MOBA players for the binding of many commands. This year, each of the twelve thumb buttons will be based upon mechanical switches for increased durability and precision. Long-term readers, or those who click links in articles, would know that I enjoy mechanical keyboards.
It does seem somewhat odd, however, to have such high quality switches for your thumb buttons without also upgrading the left and right click. I have a history of mice which, near the end of their life, improperly report that their buttons are no longer being held down. This makes playing as the medic, where you need to hold fire while healing or ubering teammates, quite annoying when you abruptly stop providing invulnerability. As far as I can tell, the two main buttons are the typical variety for Razer and not mechanical.
Another feature: this is about the only, more than three button, mouse that I have found (and I have looked) with a tilt-wheel. For someone who uses Photoshop and other image editors on a regular basis, this is a big deal to me.
The new Razer Naga MMO gaming mouse is available now for $79.99 in both right-handed and left-handed configurations at launch.
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 12, 2013 - 08:47 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: E3, razer, blade, haswell, gtx 765m, geforce
With the launch of Intel's Haswell processor, accessory maker-turned notebook vendor Razer announced a pretty slick machine, the Blade. Based on a quad-core, 37 watt Core i7 Haswell CPU and a GeForce GTX 765M GPU, the Razer Blade packs a lot of punch.
It also includes 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, an mSATA SSD and integrates a 14-in 1600x900 display. The design of the unit looks very similar to that of the MacBook Pro but the black metal finish is really an attractive style change.
The embedded battery is fairly large at 70 Whr and Razer claims this will equate to a 6 hour battery life when operating non-gaming workloads. With a weight just barely creeping past 4 lbs, the Razer Blade is both portable and powerful it seems.
The price tag starts at $1799 so you won't be able to pick one of these up on the cheap, but for users like me that are willing to pay a bit more for performance and style in a slim chassis, the Blade seems like a very compelling option. There are a lot of questions left to answer on this notebook including the thermal concerns of packing that much high frequency silicon into a thin and light form factor. Does the unit get hot in bad places? Can the screen quality match the performance of Haswell + Kepler?
We are working with Razer to get a model in very soon to put it to the test and I am looking forward to answering if we have found the best gaming portable on the market.
Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2013 - 02:46 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: razer, Comms, Teamspeak, Ventrillo
The Steam overlay makes text communication easy between any combination of friends in game and out. Despite the popularity, just about every team has a voice over IP (VoIP) solution to coordinate within a match. Talking is simply superior to typing while simultaneously attempting to not get yourself killed, crashed, or otherwise not-winning. Teamspeak and Ventrillo are the two most popular solutions for clan voice communication; while both are free applications for clients, some uses require server license fees over and above the actual server cost itself.
Razer Comms is a free service, currently in beta, for text and audio chat. Using the overlay metaphor, the application tries to be very unobtrusive to the game it rests upon. The service apparently uses good-quality codecs, according to the little hear-say I overheard the last couple of days. They also advertise that the service, since it is not owned by the clans which use it, will hide each user's IP address. While there is very little you can do to someone by knowing their IP address, and most of that could be circumvented by powercycling your modem, it does have some limited advantages.
In terms of a business model, unless the service develops some way of gaining revenue, the only way I can rationalize Razer funding this project is boosting their brand power. Razer already has some level of infrastructure from their Synapse projects and it is possible that the company is willing to eat the loss with the expectation of increased hardware sales. If this service will continue to be both free and ad-free, I cannot see any other reason for Razer to bother besides: eat the loss, make gamers happy, and wait for them to want a new mouse or tablet.
I can also see a slim chance, a very very slim chance, that Razer hopes to contiuously expand this service into a full gaming platform as Valve did with Steam. A fun thought, but nothing I would actually expect at this point.
Razer Comms is currently only available for English Windows users, although other languages will arrive soon.
Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2013 - 06:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, gaming, razer, blackwidow ultimate
With a name like Razer Blackwidow Ultimate, this new mechanical keyboard has a lot to live up to. It comes with the Razer Synapse software familiar to many, which allows you to program the LED lights behind the keyboard for mood typing as well as programming up to 10 profiles with different keys and macro key settings. It has headset and microphone jacks for those not using a USB headset and USB-Passthrough for those that do. R&B Mods like the overall performance and look of the keyboard but were a bit taken aback by the $135 asking price. It also seems strange that Razer does not advertise the type of mechanical switch this keyboard uses.
"Mechanical keyboards are high demand these days as more and more people have realized how nice they are to game on with their quick response time and keys. Today we are going to review the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate mechanical keyboard, it will be tested in various situations and also see if it is better than the competition that we have tested in the past."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E.5 PC Keyboard @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Trigger (Cherry MX Green) Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Tweaktown
- Cooler Master CM Storm Trigger Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Cooler Master CM Storm Power-RX Hybrid Mouse Pad @ Tweaktown
- Mionix Naos 8200 Gaming Mouse @ Tweaktown
- Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M Gaming Mouse Review @ TechwareLabs
- Steelseries World of Warcraft Wireless Gaming mouse @ Rbmods
- Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse Review @ Hardware Secrets