Razer core v2 external graphics enclosure review

The Razer Chip Core V2 ($499.99) is a refinement on the original bộ vi xử lý Core, the first Thunderbolt 3-based graphics enclosure. The lachạy thử version, which we"re reviewing here, is similar, but has more headroom for larger graphics cards. If you"re interested in turning your sllặng ultraportable laptop (likely a Razer Blade Stealth) into a capable gaming rig when you"re at your desk, the Core V2 is a sleek, elegant, easy-to-use solution.

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Why an External Graphics Amplifier?

The concept of an external graphics enclosure is straightforward: The same thin và light máy tính xách tay you tote for work and travel can be transformed inlớn a robust gaming machine by slotting a desktop graphics card into lớn the Chip Core và connecting it lớn your máy vi tính. When you"re ready khổng lồ roll again, you simply disconnect the laptop & go.


The V2 is compatible with a wide range of graphics cards, but it only works with Razer laptops out of the box. Adding a high-over card is, of course, a potentially pricey proposition, even more so than usual right now given the graphics card shortage caused by cryptocurrency mining. Still, it may cost less than building or buying a gaming desktop.


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That said, there are other costs to consider. First, there"s the máy vi tính, which will almost definitely be a Razer Blade Stealth for compatibility sake. Technically, because it uses universal USB-C, the bộ vi xử lý Core V2 should work with PCs from other manufacturers. Razer"s stance is that it"s up to lớn other PC makers to lớn make it compatible, though, because the hardware functionality needs to lớn be enabled at the BIOS cấp độ. There are some workarounds & hacks out there, but for the best experience, you should probably use a Razer máy tính with the Chip Core.

Alienware offers a similar product (we last reviewed the 2015 version) và it"s built khổng lồ work with Alienware laptops, so this is not an issue unique to Razer. The non-Razer laptops I tried with the Vi xử lý Core V2 produced an error message stating the USB-C device was not recognized. There are some non-Razer laptops with proper lane tư vấn, but it"s not information OEMs make readily available.


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If you"re considering buying a máy tính, the good news is that the Stealth is one of the best ultraportables available. Cost isn"t the only factor, either: Gaming laptops are more or less stuông xã with the components they have sầu when you purchase them, & graphics cards are one of the components that becomes outdated most easily. An external graphics amplifier allows you khổng lồ upgrade the thẻ when the time comes, rather than toss out the whole system & start over.

There"s one other cost khổng lồ take into lớn consideration: You"ll likely want a large monitor for when you"re plugged in at home. The Stealth line"s screens are quite brilliant (Razer sent along a QHD+ Mã Sản Phẩm for testing the Vi xử lý Core V2), but at 12.5 or 13.3 inches, they"re not ikhuyễn mãi giảm giá for gaming. Connecting to a monitor is relatively simple with this setup: Link the Chip Core V2 to lớn a máy tính, then plug in the external monitor via the video-out ports.

Vi xử lý Core Competencies

The Chip Core V2 is a plain blaông xã rectangle, but the corners và edges are curved, resulting in an elegant look. The front panel features a vertical grille, which continues along the top panel, only visible through a cutout in the center. The right side is fully closed with a Razer hình ảnh, while the left side has a grated window through which you can view the graphics thẻ.


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That window is lit by the casing through customizable lighting along the bottom edge that shines up onto lớn the installed card. It adds flair without going over the top, and you can make the lighting stay static, rotate through colors, and more with Razer"s Synapse software. The machined aluminum body toàn thân measures 8.6 by 4.13 by 13.38 inches (HWD), so its desk footprint is relatively small.

Other than a place lớn sit, the Chip Core V2 just needs a power supply và powered cables, both of which are built inkhổng lồ the case, along with additional fans to lớn help the card run cool and quiet (which it did in our testing). A collapsible handle on the rear panel allows lets you easily slide the internal chamber out of the box. On this slide-out tray is where you"ll find the PCIe slot to lớn install the card, the PCIe cables (routed cleanly with enough slachồng to attach to the thẻ easily), và the power supply.

The supply is a sllặng 500W box, enough to lớn power nearly any graphics thẻ available. Of course, with the current shortage, acquiring a high-kết thúc thẻ is tough, but we"ll assume you can get one or you already own one. The Core V2 supports a large number of double-wide, PCIe x16 graphics cards with a maximum power draw of 375W. The product page includes a danh mục of compatible cards, ranging from Nvidia"s GeForce GTX Titan X down lớn the GTX 750, & on the AMD side, from the Radeon 500 Series down to lớn the R9 285.

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On the Vi xử lý Core V2"s rear panel, along with the USB-C port, are four USB 3.0 ports & an Ethernet jack, letting you add wired internet to lớn a máy tính that may not have sầu a jack of its own. It"s also worth noting that when the Vi xử lý Core is plugged into a power outlet, it will charge the laptop khổng lồ which it"s connected.

Cinch of a Setup

Installing a graphics card is easy. Simply remove sầu the bracket screw by h&, push the card inkhổng lồ the single available slot, put the screw bachồng through the card"s bracket hole, and plug in the PCIe cables. The biggest struggle is lining up the screw hole once the card is in.


I used a GTX 1070 Ti for testing, & it didn"t naturally line up on its own, so I had to push the thẻ bachồng with one h& & work the screw in a confined space with the other. It wasn"t a huge hurdle, và isn"t something you have to lớn vì often once the thẻ is in for what will probably be a long time, but it did stand out as a bit of a challenge compared with the rest of the process. To remove a thẻ, you just unplug the PCIe cables, unscrew the bracket, and push on a lever along the bottom that releases the thẻ from the slot.


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Once you"re done, the whole tray slides baông xã into lớn the main cage easily & clicks securely when it"s fully in place. From there, you simply connect the bộ vi xử lý Core khổng lồ the máy tính xách tay via the included USB-C cable, then plug it inkhổng lồ an outlet. The first time I used the bộ vi xử lý Core with the Stealth máy tính xách tay, I had to navigate to lớn display adapters in Windows" device manager và update the drivers lớn make the box show up as the graphics thẻ. I used the automatic driver binhphap.vnrch và install function, và it mix itself up in just minutes. From then on, it showed up properly as a GTX 1070 Ti in the display adapter menu. It took us less than 30 minutes for first-time thiết lập.

Worth noting: While I was setting the bộ vi xử lý Core V2 up for photography, I learned that it doesn"t work unless it"s locked bachồng inkhổng lồ the case—the lighting shuts off & the card disconnects. Even though it"s still connected with the same cables, an internal switch is tracking whether the tray is in place.

A Notable Boost

When connected to lớn the Vi xử lý Core V2, 3 chiều và gaming performance on the Stealth is lượt thích night và day compared with the laptop"s integrated graphics, which simply aren"t capable of smooth frame rates. The laptop"s components include a speedy Hãng Intel bộ vi xử lý Core i7-8550U processor & 16GB of memory, but the graphics thẻ does the heavy lifting for gaming.


On the Heaven and Valley gaming tests across several resolutions at Ultra-chất lượng settings, the bộ vi xử lý Core V2 and 1070 Ti took the frame rate from single digits khổng lồ more than 30fps (frames per second), just as you"d hope. In HD, the 1070 Ti posted 85fps on Heaven and 91fps on Valley. At the more demanding QHD (2,560-by-1,440) resolution, the frame rates dropped khổng lồ 51fps và 58fps, which is still solid. At QHD+, the native sầu resolution for the Stealth (admittedly a bit high for gaming with this card generally), the results were more modest at 37fps và 44fps.

These frame rates, particularly at HD và QHD, are plenty for gaming, and it"s neat to lớn see them pumped out by such a small, sllặng laptop. That said, the benchmark numbers vì chưng appear to lớn drag behind a 1070 Ti installed in a standard desktop thiết lập. Whether this is due lớn a speed loss that comes from running through USB-C or the laptop"s hardware as opposed lớn a more fully equipped desktop is unclear, but the card performed more in line with a 1070 than a 1070 Ti. Direct comparisons are difficult given the varying components, but the takeaway is that it isn"t quite the same as a 1070 Ti running on a desktop.

An Elegant, but Niche Solution

It"s not a perfect system, but the bộ vi xử lý Core V2 succeeds as an easy-to-use graphics solution for a portable máy vi tính. Unfortunately, without a DIY fix, that portable máy tính xách tay needs to be a Razer Blade Stealth, which limits its usefulness for many potential buyers. If you are a Stealth owner và don"t have sầu a gaming system or are looking lớn upgrade, this could be a solution. The cost can add up, but there"s something streamlined about having the same thin máy vi tính you use for general or professional computing be your gaming system at trang chính. It"s not a thiết đặt that will suit everyone, but if you"re interested in the concept and it checks your requirement boxes, the execution is top notch.


Razer Vi xử lý Core V2


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Bottom Line: If you want to lớn turn your ultraportable laptop inlớn a powerful gaming rig, the Razer Chip Core V2 external graphics enclosure is a well designed và accessible solution.

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Matthew Buzzi is a junior analyst on the Hardware team at binhphap.vn. Matthew graduated from Iomãng cầu College with a degree in Mass Communications/Journalism. He interned for a college semester at Kotaku, writing about gaming. He has written about công nghệ và video game news, as well as hardware và gaming Reviews. In his không lấy phí time, he likes khổng lồ go out with friends, watch & discuss sports, play video games, read too much Twitter, và obsessively manage any fantasy sports leagues he"s involved in.

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