Notebookcheck

Razer Blade Pro 2015 Notebook Review

Allen Ngo, 05/14/2015

Needs sharpening. The 17.3-inch Razer Blade Pro has not seen a major revision since its reveal in 2011 and its age is starting to show. Is the attractive razor-thin form factor and unique Switchblade interface enough to convince the hardcore gaming crowd?

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Razer needs no introduction in the gaming world. The company's wide-reaching sponsorship of major gaming events and tournaments has made its green logo as recognizable as Nvidia's. Style and performance are essentially Razer's mantra and the latest Blade Pro refresh is perhaps its best example yet.

The 2015 Blade Pro improves upon last year's model with faster internals. The Core i7-4700HQ and GTX 860M have both been bumped up to a Core i7-4720HQ and GTX 960M, respectively, while the 1080p display and signature Switchblade remains unchanged. It's worth noting that core features are not configurable; The CPU, GPU, and display are set in stone while there are a handful of SSD and secondary HDD options. Let's find out how well this Razer performs in the increasingly competitive ultrathin gaming market.

Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M - 4096 MB, Core: 1097 MHz, Memory: 5010 MHz, 345.09, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR3L 800 MHz, Dual-Channel, 11-11-11-28
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, AU Optronics ID: AUO219D, Name: B173HW02 V1, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
Storage
Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP, 256 GB 
, Secondary: 500 GB HGST HTS545050A7E680
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22.4 x 427 x 277 ( = 0.88 x 16.81 x 10.91 in)
Battery
74 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: front-facing 2 MP
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Razer Comms, Razer Synapse, Intel RST, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
3.07 kg ( = 108.29 oz / 6.77 pounds), Power Supply: 455 g ( = 16.05 oz / 1 pounds)
Price
3900 Euro

 

Case

The chassis is identical in material and design to the smaller Blade 14. Its sleek and smooth matte dark gray surfaces, rounded corners and edges, and minimalist appearance is as MacBook Pro-like as you can get. There really are no major negatives from a design point-of-view, which is probably why Razer has yet to introduce a complete redesign since its debut in 2011. We can say, however, that the Blade Pro openly displays its ventilation grilles whereas other ultrathins more cleverly hide them for a cleaner look, such as on the MacBook Pro and Asus G501.

In terms of quality, the aluminum case is better than most 17-inch ultrathin gaming models. Edges and corners are tough and very resistant to pressure and twists. Spots that are normally weak on larger notebooks, such as the centers of the keyboard and outer lid, are much firmer on the Blade Pro with only slight warping when pressed down. The display itself is more rigid than its thin profile would otherwise suggest while its single-bar hinge holds firmly up to its maximum ~135 degree angle. We're glad to have seen that the excellent workmanship from the Blade 14 has translated so well to a 17-inch form factor.

Compared to other superthin 17-inch gaming models, the MSI GS70 is thinner than our Razer by 0.4 mm while the Gigabyte P37X is thicker by 0.1 mm. The differences are almost insignificant to the end-user at such small levels, though this means Razer can no longer claim "World's thinnest" in its marketing. Despite this, the Blade Pro is quite hefty at just over 3 kg compared to the GS70 (2.7 kg) and P37X (2.9 kg). When compared to more "proper" 17-inch gaming notebooks like the Alienware 17 and Asus G751, the Blade Pro can be under half as thick and 1 kg lighter.

Connectivity

There will always be sacrifices made to available ports when looking at ultrathin form factors and the Blade Pro is no different. With that said, the Razer could have carried more as we're still a bit disappointed to not see DisplayPort, additional line-in options, or even a card reader. Competing utrathin models have more built-in options including additional USB ports, VGA, or dual DisplayPort as is the case with the MSI GS70. Right-handed users will enjoy the fact that all ports are relegated to the left edge of the notebook.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Left: AC adapter, RJ-45, HDMI-out, 3x USB 3.0
Left: AC adapter, RJ-45, HDMI-out, 3x USB 3.0
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Right: Kensington Lock
Right: Kensington Lock

Communication

WiDi, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 are provided by an Intel Dual Band 7260 half-mini PCIe module. The 2x2 (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) card is capable of transfer rates up to a theoretical 867 Mbps with 802.11ac, but is otherwise limited to the usual 300 Mbps on an 802.11n network. There are no Atheros Killer options for Gigabit WLAN as opposed to the MSI GS70.

GPS and WWAN features are absent as expected from a dedicated gaming notebook.

Accessories

Razer is a bit more stingy on included accessories compared to other manufacturers. This means no cleaning cloth, protective cases, and adapters or dongles. It's a bit a of a letdown especially since we just came back from reviewing the accessory-heavy Asus G501. Of course, Razer themselves sell branded accessories that are generic across their platforms.

Maintenance

Similar to the smaller 14-inch model, the bottom panel is held in place by about a dozen small Torx screws. Almost all components are integrated including the GPU and RAM as opposed to the standard MXM 3.0b and SODIMM slots common on thicker barebones. The mSATA and SATA III slots are available for swapping drives as needed.

Warranty

The standard Razer warranty is one year from date of purchase or two years with an extended coverage. Warranty options aren't as broad as say from Dell or Lenovo and certainly not as community-driven as those from Asus ROG.

Input Devices

Keyboard

It's hard to fathom that the Chiclet keyboard (27.5 x 11 cm) is almost identical in both size and layout to that of the Blade 14 despite the larger footprint of the Blade Pro. It is a compromise to make room for the Switchblade, so don't expect a better typing experience here if you find the keyboard to be too small on the 14-inch model. The keys are relatively quiet, but are a bit on the light side with shallow travel. This is especially true for the Arrow keys, which are halved in size and uncomfortable to use. Thicker models like the Asus G751 and Eurocom X8 have firmer keys and feedback overall.

The Synapse software is a bright spot for the keyboard as it offers plenty of customization, recordings, and macro options geared towards gamers. We find it very easy to use and far ahead of similar software in competing MSI or Aorus models.

Keyboard size can be a bit small for larger hands
Keyboard size can be a bit small for larger hands

Touchpad

The big attention grabber for the Blade Pro is its Switchblade UI. This 4.05-inch 800 x 480 resolution display doubles as a multi-touch touchpad with customizable macro keys and can check email, browse the Internet, play Youtube videos, and do much more. The TN panel offers a measured brightness of 192 nits. We won't bother going into detail about its specifications and features as Razer already gives a pretty good rundown.

The take-home message on the Switchblade is that it is high on potential with flat execution. Many of its built-in features like Twitter, Facebook, Internet browser, and Gmail run infinitely smoother on your existing smartphone. Videos especially play at choppy frame rates on the Switchblade. Its other main feature runs game-related Apps for displaying additional icons, movesets, and real-time game data. Supported games are sparse and the usefulness of these auxiliary keys and information will depend on the game and application. Some are actually quite handy, such as Windows 8 shortcuts and the music player, but the browser-related apps are quite poor and unresponsive. If used as standard Macro keys, the Switchblade is at a disadvantage as other gaming systems like Alienware and Aorus tend to have Macro keys nearer the left side of the keyboard for faster access.

As a standard touchpad, the Switchblade is poor. Its glossy surface results in an irregular glide (very similar to the Aorus models) and its two small click keys feel cheap with shallow travel and unsatisfying feedback. Imagine using your squeaky clean window as a touchpad and you'll have a good idea of how it feels to use the Switchblade. Fortunately, gamers are expected to use their own external mice when gaming and the Switchblade is adequate for simple navigation should an external mouse be unavailable.

Homescreen with customizable icons
Homescreen with customizable icons
Some apps are quite useful, such as this Arrow/NumPad feature...
Some apps are quite useful, such as this Arrow/NumPad feature...
... while others are in need of updates
... while others are in need of updates

Display

The 17.3-inch matte 1080p TN panel is the only option so far on the Blade Pro. There are no touchscreen, IPS, glass, or UHD options as are available on the smaller Blade 14. This may be disappointing to some users, but one can also argue that such features are inconsequential to gaming. Subjectively, image quality is clean with no major backlight bleeding. Text and images are certainly not as crisp compared to the 4K versions of the MSI GS60 and Asus G501 and the screen-door effect is apparent when looking up-close. Then again, there are currently no 17-inch 3K or 4K panels in wide circulation. Color temperature is also overly cool out-of-the-box. A quick search for the B173HW02 V1 panel name reveals a number of 17.3-inch gaming models that also sport the same display, including the Asus G750JM and Aorus X7 v2.

Display brightness is very good and more than sufficient for comfortable indoor gaming. Unfortunately, the display falters in other areas such as color accuracy and contrast as shown in our table below. We called this particular panel "second-rate" in our Aorus X7 v2 review and it stays true here, especially for the price range.

286.6
cd/m²
281.1
cd/m²
273.6
cd/m²
312.4
cd/m²
315.5
cd/m²
282.7
cd/m²
305.6
cd/m²
311.7
cd/m²
285.7
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 315.5 cd/m² Average: 295 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 315.5 cd/m²
Contrast: 384:1 (Black: 0.822 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 12.21 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 13.4 | - Ø
59% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.39
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
MSI GS70-2QE16SR51
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
Gigabyte P37X
GeForce GTX 980M, 4720HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-128L9M (RAID 0)
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Aorus X7 Pro
GeForce GTX 970M SLI, 4870HQ, 2x Lite-On LMT-256L9M (RAID 0)
Asus G751JY-T7009H
GeForce GTX 980M, 4710HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
Screen
28%
20%
26%
20%
27%
Brightness295249
-16%
347
18%
326
11%
283
-4%
326
11%
Brightness Distribution8784
-3%
91
5%
90
3%
82
-6%
93
7%
Black Level *0.8220.28
66%
0.734
11%
0.409
50%
0.54
34%
0.47
43%
Contrast384896
133%
493
28%
848
121%
589
53%
700
82%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *12.2111.19
8%
2.81
77%
6.81
44%
3.79
69%
3.95
68%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *13.44.57
66%
1.92
86%
7.27
46%
2.35
82%
3.36
75%
Gamma *2.392.382.212.42.372.46
CCT1953014550
-25%
6384
-67%
7546
-61%
6775
-65%
5961
-69%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)5955
-7%
57.95
-2%
57
-3%
58
-2%
56
-5%

* ... smaller is better

Discussion

Color coverage is 80 percent and 59 percent of sRGB and AdobeRGB standards, respectively. This is better than budget TN panels where 60 percent and 40 percent coverage are more common and more or less similar to current competing 17-inch gaming models. Gamut is 95 to 99 percent identical to the MSI GS70, Asus G751, and Gigabyte P37X. This has little significance for gaming purposes and is more applicable to graphics designers.

vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. Asus G751
vs. Asus G751
vs. MSI GS70
vs. MSI GS70
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB

Further display analyses with a spectrophotometer reveal poor colors and grayscale. Color temperature needs to be turned down and colors tend to become less accurate the lower the saturation level. A quick display calibration alleviates these problems considerably as RGB balance, grayscale, and colors become more accurate across the board.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration

Outdoor visibility is average at best as larger displays require more powerful lighting for comfortable use. Glare is fortunately not an issue on the matte display, but the backlight is simply too weak to prevent washed out colors and text on a bright overcast or sunny day.

Viewing angles are good for a TN panel. We imagine that Razer opted for faster response times over the benefits of IPS, which is an about face as most newer gaming models are sporting IPS panels as standard including Razer's own Blade 14. Colors are stable here when viewing from the sides and generally from the top, while they will degrade quickly when viewing from the bottom.

Outdoors on overcast day
Outdoors on overcast day
TN panel viewing angles
TN panel viewing angles

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.4 GHz for all active cores
Turbo Boost up to 3.4 GHz for all active cores

The current and only configuration for the 2015 model houses a Core i7-4720HQ with GTX 960M graphics. This 47 W CPU in particular is very common amongst gaming notebooks with the more extreme MX models reserved for Eurocom and other thick barebones. The i7-4720HQ runs at its rated 2.6 GHz base speed up to 3.4 and 3.6 GHz Turbo Boost depending on the number of active cores. When idling, the Haswell and Maxwell cores will run at 800 MHz and 135/202.5 MHz core/memory, respectively, to conserve power. Optimus is supported with the integrated HD 4600 GPU for additional power savings.

Like its smaller 14-inch sibling, all RAM modules are soldered onto the board with no end-user upgradeability. The base dual-channel PC3-12800 16 GB RAM is luckily sufficient for gaming needs.

Processor

CPU performance according to synthetic benchmarks is in the same ballpark as other notebooks sporting an identical processor. In single-core benchmarks like CineBench and Super Pi, the Blade Pro lies very close to the average scores expected from an i7-4720HQ. In contrast, performance in benchmarks requiring sustained multi-core operations like CineBench R15 multi-core and wPrime is slower than the average i7-4720HQ as the Blade Pro is unable to maintain a high multi-core Turbo Boost for extended periods. This can be observed in our stress test below as well.

Raw performance is about 10 to 20 percent slower than the extreme i7-4940XM and just barely above that of the i7-4710HQ. For more technical information and benchmarks on the Core i7-4720HQ, see our dedicated page here.

CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15 64-bit
CineBench R15 64-bit
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6783 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
24149 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
6964 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6813
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
18287
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5141
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
60.74 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.51 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.59 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
102 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
597 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
139 Points
Help
Cinebench R11.5
OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
60.74 fps ∼50%
Alienware 15
60.14 fps ∼49% -1%
Asus G501JW
62.49 fps ∼51% +3%
Eurocom X8
74.91 fps ∼61% +23%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
6.51 Points ∼37%
Alienware 15
7.04 Points ∼40% +8%
Asus G501JW
6.5 Points ∼37% 0%
One M73-2N, Ivy Bridge
7.15 Points ∼41% +10%
Eurocom X8
7.64 Points ∼43% +17%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
1.59 Points ∼74%
Alienware 15
1.56 Points ∼72% -2%
Asus G501JW
1.42 Points ∼66% -11%
One M73-2N, Ivy Bridge
1.59 Points ∼74% 0%
Eurocom X8
1.77 Points ∼82% +11%
Cinebench R15
OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
102 fps ∼65%
Alienware 15
99.16 fps ∼63% -3%
Asus G501JW
80.63 fps ∼51% -21%
Eurocom X8
128.85 fps ∼82% +26%
Ref. Match 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
99.6 % ∼100%
Asus G501JW
99.6 % ∼100% 0%
Eurocom X8
99.6 % ∼100% 0%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
597 Points ∼39%
Alienware 15
647 Points ∼42% +8%
Asus G501JW
491 Points ∼32% -18%
Eurocom X8
708 Points ∼46% +19%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
139 Points ∼76%
Alienware 15
140 Points ∼77% +1%
Asus G501JW
134 Points ∼74% -4%
Eurocom X8
157 Points ∼86% +13%
wPrime 2.0x
32m (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
7.611 s * ∼2%
Asus G501JW
7.546 s * ∼2% +1%
One M73-2N, Ivy Bridge
7.348 s * ∼1% +3%
Eurocom X8
7.004 s * ∼1% +8%
1024m (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
262.199 s * ∼3%
Asus G501JW
260 s * ∼3% +1%
One M73-2N, Ivy Bridge
245 s * ∼3% +7%
Eurocom X8
218.553 s * ∼3% +17%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
562.178 Seconds * ∼2%
Asus G501JW
561.691 Seconds * ∼2% -0%
Eurocom X8
491.477 Seconds * ∼2% +13%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 1 (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
149.9 fps ∼71%
Alienware 15
150 fps ∼71% 0%
Asus G501JW
143.47 fps ∼68% -4%
One M73-2N, Ivy Bridge
159.37 fps ∼76% +6%
Eurocom X8
167.43 fps ∼80% +12%
Pass 2 (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
35.81 fps ∼26%
Alienware 15
39.5 fps ∼29% +10%
Asus G501JW
35.67 fps ∼26% 0%
One M73-2N, Ivy Bridge
39.23 fps ∼29% +10%
Eurocom X8
42.9 fps ∼31% +20%

Legend

 
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015 Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
 
Alienware 15 Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 128GB
 
Asus G501JW Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
 
One M73-2N, Ivy Bridge Intel Core i7-3840QM, Intel HD Graphics 4000,
 
Eurocom X8 Intel Core i7-4940MX, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI, Samsung SSD 840 EVO 120GB mSATA

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks place the Blade Pro alongside other high-end gaming notebooks like the Eurocom X3 and Schenker XMG A505. This is no doubt due to the powerful components and the dedicated SSD. For comparison, our record PCMark 7 holder is the Eurocom X8 with its SLI GTX 980M at 7272 points while our Blade Pro clocks in at 6049 points. Subjectively, OS navigation and applications both run and open smoothly with almost no delays.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 7 Score
6049 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3741 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4528 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4448 points
Help

Storage Devices

Dual drives are supported via a primary mSATA drive and secondary 2.5-inch SATA III drive. Models are configurable from as low as 128 GB up to 512 GB. Our test model features a 256 GB Samsung PM851 primary with a 500 GB Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680 for additional storage space. It's recommended to stick with 7 mm drives in order to be certain that the new drive will fit in the tight space available. Secondary storage is especially important for gaming notebooks and is thus a common feature for most models on the market. However, it's a little odd to see no RAID support for a high-end gaming notebook such as this.

Transfer rates according to CrystalDiskMark are as expected from a Samsung PM851. Performance is similar to other SATA III SSDs, though sequential write rates are a little low at 265 MB/s. Samsung's own SSD 840 EVO has sequential write rates much closer to its read rates at just above 500 MB/s. Meanwhile, the Hitachi HDD performs well with a transfer rate of 86 MB/s according to HD Tune. This is good for a 5400 RPM drive where speeds can be as low as 75 MB/s for cheaper models.

CDM Samsung SSD
CDM Samsung SSD
CDM Hitachi HDD
CDM Hitachi HDD
HD Tune Samsung SSD
HD Tune Samsung SSD
HD Tune Hitachi HDD
HD Tune Hitachi HDD

GPU Performance

Synthetic graphics benchmarks rank the GTX 960M in our Blade Pro slightly above average compared to other systems with the same GPU. This is due to the Blade Pro's good performance when under gaming loads as clock speeds do not drop dramatically from thermal or power limitations. Contrast this with the Asus G501, which is unable to maintain a constant GPU Boost under similar loads.

For more technical details and benchmarks of the GTX 960M, see our dedicated GPU page here.

3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark 06 Standard
25997 points
3DMark 11 Performance
5692 points
3DMark (2013) Ice Storm Standard Score
105900 points
3DMark (2013) Cloud Gate Standard Score
16363 points
3DMark (2013) Fire Strike Standard Score
4094 points
3DMark (2013) Fire Strike Extreme Score
2041 points
Help

Gaming Performance

As the GTX 960M is simply a rebrand of the GTX 860M, users can expect just slightly higher performance compared to mainstream gaming notebooks of yesteryear. The performance gap between it and the lower GTX 950M is roughly 30 percent compared to 15 to 20 percent against last year's GTX 860M. However, the gap is even larger when compared to the GTX 970M as even Razer's own Blade 14 outperforms the larger Blade Pro by 50 to 60 percent on high graphics settings. Nonetheless, most of today's titles will be playable on Ultra 1080p settings at 30 FPS, though the GTX 960M will start to buckle on more demanding games.

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2
Metro: Last Light
Metro: Last Light
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
low med. high ultra
Sleeping Dogs (2012) 93.124.3fps
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 62.636fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 113.250.8fps
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 127.855.1fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 12046.8fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 61.932.2fps
Thief (2014) 54.128.3fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 40.131fps
Ryse: Son of Rome (2014) 30.528.2fps
F1 2014 (2014) 11394fps
Tomb Raider
1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
226.7 fps ∼36%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Schenker M505
131.4 fps ∼23%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
113.2 fps ∼22%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
97 fps ∼19% -14%
Schenker M505
71.9 fps ∼14% -36%
Razer Blade 14 2015
187.4 fps ∼37% +66%
Gigabyte P37X
243.6 fps ∼48% +115%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
50.8 fps ∼18%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
44 fps ∼16% -13%
Schenker M505
33.7 fps ∼12% -34%
Razer Blade 14 2015
80.4 fps ∼29% +58%
Gigabyte P37X
103.7 fps ∼37% +104%
Sleeping Dogs
1366x768 High Preset AA:High (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
93.1 fps ∼46%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
70 fps ∼34% -25%
Razer Blade 14 2015
124.4 fps ∼61% +34%
Gigabyte P37X
139.6 fps ∼68% +50%
1920x1080 Extreme Preset AA:Extreme (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
24.3 fps ∼22%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
20 fps ∼18% -18%
Razer Blade 14 2015
45 fps ∼41% +85%
Gigabyte P37X
57.6 fps ∼53% +137%
Guild Wars 2
1366x768 Best Appearance Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
62.6 fps ∼68%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
48 fps ∼52% -23%
Razer Blade 14 2015
67.2 fps ∼73% +7%
Gigabyte P37X
65.2 fps ∼71% +4%
1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
36 fps ∼46%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
34 fps ∼43% -6%
Razer Blade 14 2015
50.2 fps ∼64% +39%
Gigabyte P37X
57.1 fps ∼73% +59%
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
1366x768 High AA:on (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
127.8 fps ∼75%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
97 fps ∼57% -24%
Razer Blade 14 2015
108.6 fps ∼63% -15%
Gigabyte P37X
127.4 fps ∼74% 0%
1920x1080 Ultra / Extreme AA:on (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
55.1 fps ∼31%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
56 fps ∼32% +2%
Razer Blade 14 2015
79.4 fps ∼45% +44%
Gigabyte P37X
82.2 fps ∼47% +49%
BioShock Infinite
1280x720 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
134.4 fps ∼40%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
99.9 fps ∼35%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
120 fps ∼41%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
102 fps ∼35% -15%
Schenker M505
86.1 fps ∼30% -28%
Razer Blade 14 2015
147.4 fps ∼51% +23%
Gigabyte P37X
173.7 fps ∼60% +45%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
46.8 fps ∼26%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
41 fps ∼23% -12%
Schenker M505
29.6 fps ∼16% -37%
Razer Blade 14 2015
71.4 fps ∼39% +53%
Gigabyte P37X
90.9 fps ∼50% +94%
Metro: Last Light
1024x768 Low (DX10) AF:4x (sort by value)
Schenker M505
61 fps ∼36%
1366x768 Medium (DX10) AF:4x (sort by value)
Schenker M505
59.2 fps ∼36%
1366x768 High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
61.9 fps ∼39%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
52 fps ∼33% -16%
Schenker M505
42.1 fps ∼26% -32%
Razer Blade 14 2015
89.8 fps ∼56% +45%
Gigabyte P37X
98.45 fps ∼62% +59%
1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
32.2 fps ∼23%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
28 fps ∼20% -13%
Schenker M505
22.4 fps ∼16% -30%
Razer Blade 14 2015
51.2 fps ∼37% +59%
Gigabyte P37X
63.2 fps ∼45% +96%
Thief
1024x768 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
64.1 fps ∼46%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Schenker M505
49.4 fps ∼37%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
54.1 fps ∼41%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
43 fps ∼33% -21%
Schenker M505
40.4 fps ∼31% -25%
Razer Blade 14 2015
71.1 fps ∼54% +31%
Gigabyte P37X
81.6 fps ∼62% +51%
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
28.3 fps ∼25%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
24 fps ∼21% -15%
Schenker M505
19.3 fps ∼17% -32%
Razer Blade 14 2015
45.1 fps ∼40% +59%
Gigabyte P37X
59.2 fps ∼52% +109%
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
1280x720 Lowest Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
85.4 fps ∼32%
1344x756 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
54.1 fps ∼26%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
40.1 fps ∼22%
Schenker M505
27.9 fps ∼15% -30%
Razer Blade 14 2015
66.8 fps ∼36% +67%
Gigabyte P37X
86.5 fps ∼46% +116%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset (HD Package) (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
31 fps ∼19%
Schenker M505
17 fps ∼11% -45%
Razer Blade 14 2015
49 fps ∼30% +58%
Gigabyte P37X
66.8 fps ∼42% +115%
Ryse: Son of Rome
1024x768 Low Texture Res. + Low Graphics Quality (Rest Off/Disabled) AF:2x (sort by value)
Schenker M505
52.2 fps ∼38%
1366x768 Medium Texture Res. + Normal Graphics Quality (Rest Off/Disabled) AF:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
47 fps ∼39%
Schenker M505
42.5 fps ∼35%
1920x1080 High Texture Res. + High Graphics Quality (Rest Off/Disabled) AF:8x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
30.5 fps ∼27%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
23 fps ∼21% -25%
Schenker M505
21.1 fps ∼19% -31%
Razer Blade 14 2015
50.3 fps ∼45% +65%
Gigabyte P37X
63.1 fps ∼57% +107%
1920x1080 Very High Texture Res. + High Graphics Quality (Motion Blur & Temporal AA On, Rest Off/Disabled) AF:8x (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
28.2 fps ∼27%
Schenker M505
19.8 fps ∼19% -30%
Razer Blade 14 2015
47.5 fps ∼46% +68%
Gigabyte P37X
60.2 fps ∼58% +113%
F1 2014
1024x768 Ultra Low Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
116 fps ∼86%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Schenker M505
89 fps ∼67%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
113 fps ∼85%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
96 fps ∼72% -15%
Schenker M505
82 fps ∼62% -27%
Razer Blade 14 2015
110 fps ∼83% -3%
Gigabyte P37X
115 fps ∼86% +2%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
94 fps ∼78%
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS
77 fps ∼64% -18%
Schenker M505
69 fps ∼58% -27%
Razer Blade 14 2015
93 fps ∼78% -1%
Gigabyte P37X
96 fps ∼80% +2%

Legend

 
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015 Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
 
Lenovo Y70 DU004HUS Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
 
Schenker M505 Intel Core i5-4210M, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
 
Razer Blade 14 2015 Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
 
Gigabyte P37X Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 2x Lite-On LMT-128L9M (RAID 0)

Stress Test

We stress the Blade Pro with synthetic benchmarks to observe for any throttling or stability issues. With only Prime95 active, the CPU can be seen running at its rated 3.4 GHz maximum before falling to a steady 2.8 GHz in a matter of seconds when CPU temperature reaches ~85 C. While this is still 200 MHz above its base clock speed, it reveals a weaker Turbo Boost than what the Core i7-4720HQ is capable of. Core temperature holds steady at the 75 to 80 C range.

With only FurMark active, the dGPU will start as high as 1110 MHz before steadily dropping to a steady 1084 MHz according to GPU-Z. While this is a bit less than the 1097 MHz base speed, the Blade Pro does quite well as it never dips below 1084 MHz even under these extreme stress conditions. This is compared to the Asus G501, which can frequently dip to the 800 MHz range when running the same benchmark. GPU temperature plateaus at about 80 C.

When under both Prime95 and FurMark stress simultaneously, the Blade Pro holds up quite well with no major throttling issues. The Nvidia core remains steady at 1084 MHz while the CPU drops just a hair to 2.7 GHz. CPU and GPU temperatures are firmly in the 80 to 85 C range.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Maximum stress
Maximum stress

For more realistic gaming stress conditions, we run Unigine Heaven 4.0 and observe for any discrepancies in performance. The Blade Pro runs well under pressure from both Prime95 and FurMark, so we expect it to do even better under Unigine Heaven. This is exactly the case as both the CPU and GPU run consistently at higher Boost speeds. The GPU in particular runs at a constant 1201 MHz throughout the run, while the CPU can be as high as 3.6 GHz for brief periods depending on the demand.

Throttling under gaming stress is a non-issue. To test this, we run the Metro: Last Light benchmark consecutively ten times in a row to compare average frame rates between each run. If heavy throttling should occur, we should see declining frame rates after each run. This fortunately does not happen on the Razer as the average frame rate on run #1 is identical to run #10. For comparison, the Gigabyte P34W experiences a notable decline in performance under the same benchmarking conditions.

Running on battery power will reduce CPU performance significantly while the GPU is unaffected. A quick 3DMark 11 run on batteries results in Physics and Graphics scores of 5669 and 5546 points, respectively, compared to 8016 and 5397 points when connected to an AC adapter. This is because the processor core drops to only 1.7 GHz if not connected to mains in favor of preserving GPU performance. It's an uncommon feature as most notebooks normally reduce both CPU and GPU clock speeds with no bias.

Unigine Heaven stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Metro: Last Light run #1
Metro: Last Light run #1
Metro: Last Light run #10
Metro: Last Light run #10

Emissions

System Noise

The dual 50 mm fans are always active, but very quiet when on on the Power Saver profile. Thus, any browsing, email, or word processing tasks are best done in Power Saver if noise is an issue. Fan noise will periodically increase to the 33 dB(A) range if on the Balanced profile with active dGPU. It's worth noting that the individual fans can operate independently; A high GPU load will cause the right side of the notebook to become louder while a high CPU load will affect the left side.

The system can be as loud as 46 dB(A) if under maximum CPU and GPU stress, which is a common range for Ultrabooks and much less than the GS70 or P37X where their maximums can reach over 50 dB(A). Under more typical gaming conditions, however, the Blade Pro will run in the 38 to 42 dB(A) range. This makes the Razer more similar to the Asus G501 rather than the noisier models from MSI and Gigabyte.

Noise Level

Idle
30.6 / 30.7 / 32.6 dB(A)
Load
38.8 / 46.2 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Surface temperatures when idling on Power Saver are low with no obvious hot spots. When under high stress for extended periods, we were able to record temperatures as high as 45 C. Luckily, much of the excess heat is on the bottom of the notebook and towards the rear. The temperature gradient is relatively smooth because of the symmetrical fans and heat pipes as opposed to systems with only a single fan, such as the older MSI GT70 or GT60. The WASD, palm rests, and touchpad areas will be warm for potentially sweaty palms.

Compared to other 17-inch ultrathins, the Blade Pro runs slightly cooler. The Acer V17 Nitro is better at concentrating its waste heat around a single quadrant as it avoids the use of long heat pipes, while the MSI GS70, Gigabyte P37X, and Aorus X7 Pro run much warmer than our Razer with surface temperatures easily reaching over 50 C. These latter models do sport faster GPUs with higher TDP, however, so the Razer is at a temperature advantage largely because of its GPU power disadvantage.

Max. Load
 39.4 °C44.6 °C42.6 °C 
 36.6 °C41.2 °C35.2 °C 
 30.8 °C31.8 °C32.4 °C 
Maximum: 44.6 °C
Average: 37.2 °C
42.4 °C45.2 °C43.4 °C
38.8 °C43 °C40.8 °C
33.4 °C35.8 °C34.2 °C
Maximum: 45.2 °C
Average: 39.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  59 °C | Room Temperature 18 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

The stereo speakers provide good sound for the size, though the lack of a subwoofer results in a shallow range that could have really benefited from additional bass. Larger gaming notebooks have the luxury of potentially larger speakers and dedicated subwoofers for more depth. For what it's worth, the speakers here are clear and loud with no static at high volume settings.

The Dolby Digital Plus software has the usual equalizer and preset settings. Available options aren't as deep as the Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 solution found on certain Clevo models. 7.1 Surround is supported through HDMI like on most multimedia notebooks.

Battery Life

The non-removable 74 Wh Li-Ion polymer battery is standard size for 17-inch gaming notebooks. Certain models have even larger capacities such as the 96 Wh modules in the Alienware 17 and Asus G501.

Runtimes are very good on the Blade Pro with a high maximum of 8.5 hours on Power Saver and the lowest brightness setting. Users can expect a more realistic 4 hour runtime on the Balanced profile and a ~150 nit brightness (setting 5/10), but this should be notably longer if on Power Saver mode instead. Note that gaming performance and system noise will decrease further if battery capacity is 30 percent or less. This feature can be toggled in the Intel Graphics Properties menu.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 33min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
4h 11min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 16min
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015MSI GS70-2QE16SR51Gigabyte P37XAcer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TWAorus X7 ProAsus G751JY-T7009H
Battery Runtime
-30%
1%
-19%
-26%
-18%
Reader / Idle513308
-40%
332
-35%
178
-65%
272
-47%
Load7661
-20%
110
45%
86
13%
85
12%
WiFi v1.3251237
-6%
204
-19%
WiFi211220

Pro

+ Excellent case quality
+ Very thin with a solid weight and feel
+ No GPU throttling
+ Switchblade is handy in certain situations
+ Not as loud as competing ultrathin gaming notebooks
+ Good battery life

Cons

- Limited software support and updates for Switchblade
- Limited to GTX 960M only
- Inaccurate colors and grayscale out-of-the-box
- Small keyboard for a 17-inch notebook
- No DisplayPort or card reader
- No IPS or UHD options
- No RAID support

Verdict

In review: Razer Blade Pro 17 2015. Test model provided by Razer US
In review: Razer Blade Pro 17 2015. Test model provided by Razer US

As a concept, we love the Razer Blade Pro. It's a laser-focused gaming notebook with hardware, style, and performance front and center. The metal chassis is surprisingly still excellent after all these years and more rigid than the competition. Meanwhile, GPU performance doesn't buckle under stress as may happen on other gaming notebooks with thermal or power issues.

But for every positive there is an odd negative that has us wondering why these problems have yet to be addressed. Ports and connections (no SD reader or dual video-out) are less than what competing models offer. The GPU option is a lowly GTX 960M when we know that the Blade Pro is capable of much more. Even the 14-inch Blade 14 performs spectacularly with a more powerful GTX 970M. The Switchblade is fun and novel, but it is a poor touchpad and ultimately feels like a smartphone from 2007 in dire need of an upgrade. We can imagine a potential Switchblade 2.0 being more useful and much faster with haptic feedback in the future.

The TN display itself is good, though we can't help but to expect more from this price range. Colors and grayscale are poor out-of-the-box and we recommend a calibration for the best possible picture. High-end resellers like Eurocom offer pre-calibration options and we would like to see the same from Razer.

With no higher GPU option available for now, the smaller and much more powerful Blade 14 is an easier and better recommendation for those looking to own a Razer system.

For a starting price of $2100, we want a gaming notebook with long legs and lasting performance. While we have no doubt that the Blade Pro hardware is of top quality, the GTX 960M and aging Switchblade will have a tougher time in the long run. With no higher GPU option available for now, the smaller and much more powerful Blade 14 is an easier and better recommendation for those looking to own a Razer system. Here's hoping that a redesign is in the works for the Blade Pro.

Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015 - 05/13/2015 v4(old)
Allen Ngo

Chassis
86 / 98 → 88%
Keyboard
76%
Pointing Device
76%
Connectivity
54 / 81 → 67%
Weight
84 / 66 → 100%
Battery
82%
Display
76%
Games Performance
90%
Application Performance
92%
Temperature
84 / 95 → 88%
Noise
82 / 90 → 91%
Audio
74%
Average
80%
81%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Razer Blade Pro 2015 Notebook Review
Allen Ngo, 2015-05-14 (Update: 2015-05-15)