There’s still plenty of life left in my 2015 MacBook Pro. But sooner or later, I’ll ditch my computer in favor something new.
The nerd in me is wicked excited with the notion of using an ultra light laptop with an external graphics processor, for several reasons. I’ve always wanted to own a gaming laptop, but I could never justify the price, or the weight of one in my bag. Going with a computer that can connect to an external GPU means that I could invest in the laptop first, and then the GPU when I could afford it. And since the GPU for the rig is external, I wouldn’t be forced to carry around a heavy bastard of a computer with me every time I needed to take off on assignment. That said, I was hesitant to buy one without seeing how it’d perform, first and foremost, as a work machine. I really like the look of the Razer Blade Stealth: the laptop’s industrial design is what Apple might have come up with if their design department had a shred of edge or attitude. So, relying on the privilege of my position as a tech journalist, I asked Razer if I could borrow one.
They said yes.
I spent the past month working on Razer’s insanely well-built ultrabook. It was pimped out with 16GB of dual channel RAM, and an Intel Core i7 2.70Ghz processor. It’s zippy! But then, that’s in comparison to my daily driver: a three year old Core i5 with 8GB of RAM. The Razer Blade Stealth is an easy machine to fall in love with. It feels as solid built as any Apple laptop I’ve ever used. I’d argue that, subjectively, it feels better to pick up and carry than any other portable computer that I’ve handled. There’s something really satisfying about its weight. There’s a decent number of ports for connecting to legacy hardware, HDMI for using it with an external display and a USB C/thunderbolt port for charging it and, yes, connecting to an external GPU rig.
I found myself quickly getting attached to this thing, and hating myself for it. As I used it, I attempted to rationalize why I should buy it.
The usual suspects filled my head: I deserve nice things. It’d be good for my work. Gaming helps to manage some of my PTSD symptoms. Yadda yadda yadda. It’s a series of excuses that I feed myself, often. Buying new shit gives me a quick rush of endorphins. Consumerism and booze (especially where it concerns buying booze!) have long been my drugs of choice.
Last week, I made the decision to box the Razer Blade Stealth back up. This week, I ask Razer to send me a return shipping label. I need to get it out of the house as we’ll be traveling north to spend our summer in Canada soon. Shipping it back means one less thing that I don’t own will be in our RV home for customs to scrutinize when we cross the border. But more than this, I needed it out of my life. Using it made me feel too good, too quickly. When you’re an addict, of any kind, it’s easy to be roped into accepting the monkeys that long to cling to your back. A new computer. Too much drink. Both result in too little money on hand, for me at least. That I have a job that allows me access to all the shiny things in the world makes it that much worse. It’s a path that’s led me to some dark places in my past. I’ve no interest of going there again.
As for the rest of you, if you’re looking for a solid ultrabook that can handle work and some hella heavy gaming with the use of an external GPU, the Razer Blade Stealth is amazing. But until the computer I currently own dies or becomes too old to use, I’ll have to go without it.
An absurd and wonderful example of semantic satiation, starring the “Komputer Tutor” Kim Komando, best known for her bestselling 1990s instructional videos sold via infomericial. And in case you were wondering, Kim Komando is still at it!
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