...though it will add a whole lot of gaming potential to a compatible Razer Blade PC, the usual caveats still apply.
There are plenty of stunning Ultrabooks on the market today but gamers still need to a rely on a two-machine setup. A thin-and-light laptop is fine for everyday work and travel, but when you're home and ready to game, a powerful desktop is a requisite for most.
The concept of being able to bring the Ultrabook home and attach it to a dock carrying more I/O and a proper graphics card makes implicit sense. Take, say, a Razer Blade Stealth, hook it up to Core v2 via a single Thunderbolt cable and hey presto, your ultra-portable 13.3in machine can now benefit from multiple monitors, gaming peripherals, wired Internet and a powerful graphics card of your choice.
Razer's implementation is sturdily built and looks tidy on a desk, and second-generation improvements allow for a slightly larger graphics card while alleviating the I/O connectivity issues that plagued the original. Welcome changes, and the plug-and-play nature makes it effortless to use, yet don't be in too much of a hurry to retire your desktop just yet.
External graphics enclosures haven't quite reached the mainstream and it's clear to see why. Core v2 is a pricey prospect at £470 sans graphics card, it isn't guaranteed to work with every Thunderbolt-enabled laptop, and though it will add a whole lot of gaming potential to a compatible Razer Blade PC, the usual caveats still apply. Don't expect performance to be on par with a desktop, be aware of a further hit if you choose not to use an external monitor, and invest in a pair of headphones to mask the maddening fan noise.
Bottom line: Razer's Core external graphics accessory continues to hold plenty of promise, but affordability and performance will need to improve if it is to widen its appeal beyond the die-hard enthusiast.
Straightforward to setup and use
USB and Ethernet hub works fine
Solid aluminium chassis
Too darn loud
Slower than a desktop
Pricey at £470 sans graphics card
The Core v2 external graphics enclosure is available to purchase direct from Razer.
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