It’s been ten years since Razer released its first Blade laptop, and they all came with Windows. That is not rather changes today — but a company called Lambda is now putting Ubuntu on a souped-up version of last year’s Razer Blade 15 Advanced with Razer’s full blessing, aiming to sell it to machine learning and artificial intelligence researchers.
It’s called the Razer x Lambda Tensor book, and the $3,500 machine is absolutely identical in most respects to a high-end version of last year’s laptop. It has an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, Nvidia RTX 3080 Max-Q graphics and 64GB of RAM under a 15.6-inch 165Hz 1440p display, all powered by an 80Wh battery in an identical size and shaped 4.45- pound chassis. It also has the same fast I/O, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a UHS-III SD card reader, and both Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
But the Tensorbook is silver instead of black, and comes with “the latest drivers and machine learning tools, including PyTorch, Tensorflow, CUDA, and cuDNN,” its own warranty, and — if you’re paying $4,099 and up — its own premium support team. . Lambda says it already supplies hardware to thousands of research groups and sells GPUs, servers and desktop workstations.
While Razer currently offers faster CPU, GPU, and displays in today’s Blade range, it’s not necessarily a bad deal if you like the design, given how pricey Razer’s laptops can be. But overall, we’ve found that Razer’s thin machines work fairly hot in our reviews, and the Blade in question was no exception, even with a quarter of the memory and a less powerful RTX 3060 GPU. Lambda’s FAQ page does not refer to heat as of today.
Lambda is clearly targeting these potential MacBook Pro buyers, and I’m not just saying that because of the silver tones. The primary hardware comparison the company touts is a 4x faster speed than Apple’s M1 Max in a 16-inch MacBook Pro when using TensorFlow.
Razer has teased better Linux support over the years, but the popular Linux computer news site Phoronix wrote in 2019 that those plans had apparently been shelved† Perhaps the recently renewed interest in Linux gaming powered by the Steam Deck will prompt Razer to consider Linux for its own core products as well.