Razer Blade 2016 as a Mobile workstation for Creative professionals

Discussion in 'Systems' started by finnjaeger, Nov 4, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hi, I work in the film industry and I was waiting for the new Macbooks to come out to use as a mobile workstation for a whole bunch of different apps.
    Now, because apple delivered another facebook machine, I ordered the top op the Line Blade, (1tb QHD+).
    We also have a bunch of Desktop workstations, so this will only be used for on-set DIT work and when I have to work on the train or on location.

    If more people are interested, I will post my experiences and benchmarks here, just let me know what you want to get tested, I have a whole array of different computers to compare it to as well. I am especially interested in how it performs vs my Last-Gen rMBP (also top of the line) and my personal home Workstation (i7 8 core extreme and 4 GTX 980ti) .

    What I will test for sure:

    -HFS(any hiccups using HFS formated external drives?)
    -Davinci Resolve, especially transcoding large amounts of Alexa/Red footage to DNXHD120 for avid.
    -Shotput Pro
    -Adobe Premiere / AE
    -Thefoundry Nuke.
    -Blender (quick drafts with GPU Cycles should be AWESOME) Maybe also Octane.
    -Thunderbolt 10Gbit Ethernet card ( we have some from sonnet and pegasus as well as a usb-C to Thunderbolt2(mdp) adapter)
    -Thunderbolt Raid (pegasus raids, HFS formatted)
    -Thunderbolt Blackmagic card for playout to a reference monitor.

    I will also wait and see to get some kind of mobile Storage , something like a NVME Raid that is usb-C buspowered with at least 2Tb .

    Nuke will probably the one program I will use the most while on the road, I use a lot of GPU nodes all the time(especially Noise reduction and deflicker) so I should see a nice Perfomance bump compared to my rmbp..

    lets see if this is really the rMBP replacement I was hoping for...

    edit: I will also calibrate the screen and check it againgst our Class1 calibrated reference monitor as well as our Eizos.
  2. vetuu

    vetuu Member

    I'm traditionally a Mac guy but always like to have a dedicated rig setup for gaming.

    I've spent a week now experimenting with my new Blade as a creative workstation primarily for Adobe Illustrator and various development tools.

    My conclusion is that in a pinch the Blade will work just fine for both environments however the trackpad is a non-starter for me in terms of everyday use. Illustrator still doesn't seem to support 2-finger horizontal scrolling on Windows. Even after messing with the settings I was unable to get close to that silky responsive nature of the MacBook Pro touchpad. I also wasn't able to bring up Windows advanced trackpad settings which leads me to believe the hardware is also to blame as it doesn't seem to meet Windows standards. So if you are considering it just make sure you have a mouse handy.

    I also can't even begin to understand the point of a touchscreen on this device, wouldn't we all have benefited from an OLED instead?

    The battery life is a joke, even on max power saving mode you're really not going to get more than a few hours on a resource intensive application like Illustrator (I imagine the battery benechmarks using Premiere will be far worse). Can't hold this against Razer but if you're comparing Windows and Mac it's important to understand that Mac really shines under the hood with things like App Nap that saves considerable amounts of battery during working sessions.

    Now of course where the Razer really shines is performance. That 1060 will allow you to run graphics intensive software without blinking. So if you're plugged in with a mouse you can work to your hearts content. Unfortunately Adobe lets the community down with poor software full of memory leaks so I found myself restarting the application several times in a day to get the best performance. This is definitely true of the Mac version but not quite as pronounced.

    I've heard a lot of chatter about coilwhine and excessive fan usage. Personally I haven't found it to be much of an issue, if you hold it up to your ear you can indeed here the chatter but most people aren't going to notice. My fans only kick in on games and occasionally Chrome because that browser is all kinds of broken (I've actually switched to Edge which is incredibly performant). Yes the fans are loud (really loud) but that's the trade off for one of the best cooling jobs I've seen in a long time. Played WoW on max settings for 4 hours and didn't feel my hand warm up once (great job Razer!).

    So in summary, if you're a Mac person thinking about switching it's not necessarily going to be the hardware you take issue with but the software. Razer has done an excellent job with the new Blade but until Windows gets better I'd still rather leave working to my Mac and playing to my Razer.
  3. Hey, thank you for the feedback, i have been running windows and osx in tandem for years now and know what I am getting into.

    I am not planning on running on battery much, yea the touchscreen is a bummer and also the fact that they don´t state how good the different displays are regarding adobeRGB or sRGB colorspace reproduction, I just kinda hoped that the QHD would be a little bit better in this regard than the FHD.. Dont really care about the resolution.

    Touchpad will leave something to be desired but I am also not very happy with the force touchpad in my rMBP at ALL. I use my wacom tablet almost exclusively for input anyways so its not that big of a deal.
  4. RonnieBW_no_id

    RonnieBW_no_id New Member

    Hi! I'd be very interested to hear how it works for you, especially the display! Like you, I've been waiting for the new MBP as well and now am looking for an alternative as mobile workstation.

    Main use will be as a tethering machine on location and for Capture One and Photoshop. Editing won't be much of an issue, because there will be an external monitor and a tablet for that. Bad battery life I'll dodge by building a work case with an external battery.

    BUT I am really unsure about the display options! FHD seems fine resolution wise for 14". I really don't want a touch display because people pointing at the screen are already annoying enough without them messing up my stuff. Matte seems better on location as well. What keeps me from ordering is the lack of info regarding colorspace reproduction, because I am afraid that's where the QHD is better...

    Looking forward to hearing how it works for you!
  5. Ok, so i got the laptop in my hands now, here are my first thoughts on the transition from rMBP to the Blade.

    -Touchpad sucks, can not get used to the dedicated buttons.. meh.., need 2 hands to use it really..
    -Touchscreen more usefull than I thought while traveling, especially for scrolling on websites
    -its faster than the rMBP, for sure.
    -Nuke runs great, as does Davinci Resolve, wich gives me about 2x the speed of the rMBP on Resolve.
    -Fans are always on, I can always hear them, wich is a bummer, maybe fixable with a custom fan curve, well see.. my cpu runs at 30° on idle wich is 20°C LESS than my rMBP, also the mac usually hits 100°C in a matter of seconds after I hit render, the blade stays way cooler.

    But ok, the QHD+ Screen really sucks, QHD is totally unnecessary, I was just hoping for better color acuracy, but now I wish I would have choosen the FHD, the worst part is "Glowing" Blacks, something I have last seen on cheap TN panels, oh yea and there is a bigger difference between 15 and 14 inch than I thought, as soon as I open the Macbook everything looks ... nicer bigger and more true color, the macbook screen is in a different league... good thing I am not planing on doing any color critical work on my Blade.

    Also scaling in Windows 10 is just plain S***, OSX does a way better job. I have to set my screen resolution to 1920x1080 just so I can read things in certain programs(for example Nuke, but I Already know that from my desktion 4K monitor)
  6. ianhylands

    ianhylands New Member

    Thanks Finn, I've been seriously considering the Blade instead of the new MacBookAmateur but this sheds some new light on it. I shoot photo and video and would primarily be using Lightroom, Photoshop, and Resolve, and while it sounds like the computing ability is great I also need to have a high quality display. Glowing blacks don't work for me at all, it needs to be color accurate.

    I wonder if the 1920 x 1080 matte screen option is any better? Has anyone worked with one yet?

    Also a shitty touchpad is not really an option. I primarily use a wacom tablet, but when I need the touchpad (quick editing while traveling) I need it to work easily.

    Please keep us up to date on any fresh thoughts and experience with yours.
  7. Makyura

    Makyura Member

    Trust me, the "oh God this touchpad sucks" reaction is pretty common while going from dedicated buttons to just plain pad and back; just a matter of days and you'll get used to it; you can still use gestures to avoid the buttons btw, two fingers tap will work like a right click, single finger double tap works like left button.

    RB touchpad itself is the best you can find in a Windows PC.

    QHD screen is stuck at around 75% accuracy, FHD is close to 100% as far as I can remember (notebookreview hosts alot of discussion regarding this notebook and the displays haven't been refreshed in years).
  8. ianhylands

    ianhylands New Member

    Thanks Makyura!
  9. I knew I should have chooses the FHD panel, dammit!!

    Anyways, so far the performance is awesome, I am on a shoot right now and the Blade is doing all the File converting on set, transcoding ProRes 4444 3.5K from the Alexa mini at about 25fps and 2K from the "old" Alexa at about 40 fps when transcoding to DnxHD120 (MXF for avid) . So far so good, its more than twice the speed of my rMBP (GTX 750m), also smooth playback of 4444 Prores XQ 3.5K is totally possible in Resolve, even with 2-3 light Nodes.

    Here are the good things I learned:
    -Startec USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter works with the SxS Reader from Sonnet and with lacie TB Harddrives although I have to unplug and plug back in everytime I change a card. I am wondering if the Apple usb-c to TB2 adapter works with the Blade, I preordered one, so lets hope so. its smaller and way cheaper than the starttec

    - For some WEIRD reason, DUET does not work on the Blade, maybe because of the GPU switching?(Black screen on the iPad) Also it has a major Bug, once I install Duet, any recent INTEL software will just show a white screen, I can still press all the boxes but I have to guess where they are, I was bummed out yesterday when I could not set up my intel thunderbolt settings , took me an hour to uninstall duet to make it work. also Intel Driver update would show the same behaviour.

    - When you Plug in too many /to powerfull USB devices the Blade shuts off those ports until reboot, also the Keyboard is turned off (probably because its on the same USB controller) This should /could be fixed with software I think. Touchpad remains working.

    - Nuke 10 really does not scale on windows, can´t read anything at full res, have to manually switch to FHD resolution sadly, this works fine on OSX btw.

    - Resolve works well

    - 3 USB ports are awesome, no hubs anymore for connecting a Cardreader and 2 Drives for backup, great.

    -The Powerbrick is small. Like amazingly small for its power output , I had a Thinkpad W530 before the rMBP , its 170W powerbrick was HUUUGE.

    - had some weird issues of the laptop ejecting harddrives randomly yesterday, might be related to the Temperature (very cold). Or to the power I get from the Generator, have to watch it, never happened with my rMBP before. (I also have the rMBP on set as backup)

    - Temps are fine, it does not break a sweat

    - 14 Inch is a huge stepdown from my 15 rMBP, I wish the Blade was a 15 inch screen... I dont know why it HAS to be 16x9, games don´t car either.. I remeber my 14 inch Thinkpad T40, that was way bigger because 14 inch and 4:3.. maybe nexttime they release a 15 inch with a GTX1070, that would be baller.

    - Touchpad acceleration is just wrong, if I track really fast from left to right on my rMBP, I dont have to take my fingers off the trackpad to reach the other end of the screen, that doesnt work on the Blade,its just not as good, end of story. I much prefer the "nipple" from the thinkpad line... can also be fixed in software I think. Got a Mouse now (thanks to the 3rd usb port ;) so thats ok.

    - speakers are fine once you turn of all that dolby crap. watched a couple episodes of Dragon ball Super last night, didnt feel that different from my rMBP. (audiophiles will probably hate me for that comment right there, rightfully so)

    - The panel came preinstalled with a calibration profile, somehow that was totally off, dont know what whitepoint they where going for but it def wasn´t 6500K . calibrated with a real probe, looks.. ok... should not show that picture to the client or the director because they are so used to how a macbook screen looks like, they will just ask stupid questions.

    -I would love to find a way to wirelessly stream a fullscreen picture to my iPad just so the director /Client can see whats happening on my end in a "known" picture quality, might just build something using media center software at some point, I used Airplay on my Macbook for sharing a virtual second screen to a AppleTv connected to a 10 Inch mobile monitor that never really worked great at bigger sets though even tho I had a Ubiquity Accesspoint..

    - Looking for a reasonable priced MOBILE external monitor around 15 Inches that supports HDMI and SDI, can run on batteries and is Rec709...

    - The VCR guy was stunned by how fast the laptop was pushing out Proxys as well.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Sign In with Razer ID >

Don't have a Razer ID yet?
Get Razer ID >