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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Razer Core Derek Sullivan Rating: 4 out of 5

Razer Core review – how it works with the Razer Blade and Dell XPS 15

241 Comments

  1. Andrew

    August 25, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Does your review of the core change with the new announcement of the mobile graphics chips? Is this even worth it now given the minimal difference people are saying the mobile versions have?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 25, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Not really. If you’re looking for the thinnest and lightest experience on the go but also want to game at home, the Core makes total sense still. Currently, the thinnest and lightest laptop with the 1060 is still .7″ thick and 4 lbs. Some people will want lighter than that so they’ll be ditching the dGPU and will welcome an eGPU. If you’re into heavy laptops though, sure the Core makes no sense at all. Chances are you’ll be getting a 1070 or even a 1080, where the eGPU is practically a useless upgrade. As far as using the Core with a laptop with the 1060? – stay tuned for that. I’m currently testing an MSI GS73VR and am hopeful it will play nice with my Razer Core + 1080. I should have something to read in about a week.

      • Jeffrey

        November 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm

        Hey Derek,
        You mentioned in the article about hooking up your two QNIX monitors to the Core and overclocking it to 96hz. Currently, I only have the blade 2016 and even after trying multiple adapters the max I can get is an unstable 60hz on my QNIX (monitor will flicker and glitch out frequently). Could you provide a link perhaps or info on how you got the setup to work with the Razer Core? Thanks!

        • Derek Sullivan

          November 3, 2016 at 7:28 am

          Just so I'm not misunderstanding, are you trying to connect it directly to the Razer Blade or do you already have the Core and are trying to hook it up to your external GPU? If you're hooking it up to the Core, it should be no different of a setup as if it were a desktop.

          • Jeffrey

            January 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

            Sorry for the confusion, I meant trying to hook it up to my Razer Blade directly, not the Core. I haven't been able to get it to output 1440p at 60hz with the numerous cables that I've tried. Do you have any insight as to what cable could possibly work for hooking the QNIX to the Blade or anything else that might be wrong? Also, just out of curiosity, what cable did you use to hook it up with the Core?

            Thanks for the answer, it's good to know that if I get a Core then this problem should be fixed, but I'm trying to hold off til the prices go down as I don't need the extra juice just yet.

          • Derek Sullivan

            January 31, 2017 at 12:48 pm

            Ahh, yeah, that's a big problem. DVI-D requires an active converter in order to convert the signal. Even then, it only converts decently with Displayport. I have yet to see a Thunderbolt 3 or HDMI active cable that converts DVI-D and supports high DPI. That doesn't mean they don't exist – I just haven't seen them. To be quite honest, I'll probably never buy a DVI-D only monitor ever again because of the limitations I've had with it. It's great for desktops and eGPUs but it's such a pain to get connected with a laptop. It's not worth spending $100-200 on a conversion cable for barely adequate performance.

  2. Aref

    August 27, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Can you test it worth ASUS ROG G501VW since it has the same specs as the xps

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Sorry, I don’t have one of those to test.

      • Eduard Duluman

        October 25, 2016 at 9:47 am

        So sad. I would really like to see if my G501 works with this before I buy it.

  3. Chris

    August 29, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I think you’ve missed out the critical bit for us XPS 15 owners – that is, 4K gaming. If I were to get the Core, it’s to get 4K games running smoothly on my beautiful 4K display.

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Unfortunately, the XPS 15 doesn’t play well at all with the external GPU pushing the laptop display. I’ve never been able to identify if it’s a compatibility or bandwidth issue. It’s probably a little bit of both.

      Regardless, using only the internal display had mixed results for me, no matter the laptop I used. I think the only laptops that truly benefit are ultrabooks like the razer blade stealth, which have no gpu at all.

      • wakka992

        August 29, 2016 at 1:08 pm

        Hi Derek, thank you for your wonderful work.

        By saying that only ultrabook (without dedicated gpu) would truly benefit from this external gpu you mean that the Razer Core would works better with XPS 13 than XPS15?

        • Derek Sullivan

          August 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm

          I just mean it would benefit more, not necessarily would perform better. I’m still not even sure if the XPS 13 works with the Core though – nobody I know has confirmed it. And that’s only the case with Dell because there is definitely something wrong with the two way communication over Thunderbolt on Dell units. See the comments above between myself and Brett. We both got some crummy results using the laptop display only. But if it were the XPS 13 and we got those results, it would be a step up from integrated graphics.

          It might just be Dell because MSI laptops appear to work just as well as Razer’s. I haven’t tried HP yet, but I plan on having a workstation laptop to test out in the next few weeks. Bottom line is I wouldn’t buy the Core for Dell laptops unless you plan on using an external display only.

          • Takis

            November 15, 2016 at 10:40 am

            Hi Derek, many many thanks for your efforts, any chance that you have tried with the HP workstation you mentioned back in August?

          • Derek Sullivan

            November 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

            No sorry. i never got it in time and I no longer have the Core to test it with.

  4. Carlos junior

    September 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    How About 4K gaming test with razer core and 1080gtx? Does 4K gaming runs well?

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 2, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a 4k monitor to test it out. Sorry.

    • Mike

      September 2, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      It is not ideal. I tried two lower end 4K monitors. On older AAA games it was awesome. But most 2015 and 2016 AAA titles would stutter. I imagine a g-sync 4K monitor would work but only for a couple more release cycles and at 30 FPS.

      I purchased a Dell Ultrawide 34 and I have been very pleased. Perfect for me. Great screen space for work and plays games fantastically. The other option would be the Predator ultrawide but who has 1300 to blow.

  5. Carlos Junior

    September 2, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    If I want to play in my 78 inch Samsung uhd curved tv using razer core and 1080 gtx via hdmi out will I get sound and video out in the tv using 1080 gtx in the core together with my razer blade 2016?

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 2, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      I’m pretty sure all current video cards support audio out through hdmi. I haven’t personally tested it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    • Mike

      September 3, 2016 at 8:03 am

      I believe you will need to use a HDMI 2.0 cable to drive sound from the Core’s GPU to the TV.

  6. Dario

    September 4, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Mike maybe you can give me your opinion on this but how likely is it that hardware manufacturers will start making tablets with external GPU docks that can be used for docked or undocked VR headsets? This would essentially eliminate the need for a desktop or laptop industry right, or am I missing something?

    • Mike

      September 5, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Goodness… I think Derek would be a better person to answer the question but I happy to provide my opinion.

      I personally think slim and powerful laptops with EGPU and or other type of dock with peripherals is where things are heading. I wouldn’t see iOS or Android supporting a EGPU so only a Windows tablet would work. I can only speak for myself but I find windows tablets clumsy and tiresome.

      I have thought about buying the CPU and other parts to build a desktop but I will probably never pull the trigger. I just can’t justify it when I have a great setup with the Core.

      I think VR will split into two paths just like gaming has already. Low end fun experience on consoles and high end crazy real experience on PC.

      Personally I think full size tablets will turnout to be a trend with 8′ inch tablets becoming the standard tablet form. My iPad air 2 128gb and Sony Xperia Z4 could barely sell for $500 on craigslist. Not a scientific study but real world experience.

  7. Jonah

    September 11, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Hi Derek,
    Do you have any information on whether or not the razer core works with the hp spectre.

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 12, 2016 at 8:37 am

      I don’t think it does. I remember a couple people saying it didn’t work. Haven’t tested it myself though.

  8. Lesteph

    September 15, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Hi,

    Regarding the cache in system32/driverstore of all nv___ files,How do you managed to delete the files as It is own by the system which no allow me to delete these files?

    I got my core and should have a Strix 1080 by tomorrow, so trying to setting everything properly..

    Thanks for the help

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 18, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Why are you trying to delete them?

      • Steph

        September 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        For one user, after a restart the laptop loads the old drivers instead of the new ones.

        I got the solution. thanks

        • Derek Sullivan

          September 18, 2016 at 6:38 pm

          Ah, I see. Yeah, all I had to do was check that box in device manager that says to delete all the files when you uninstall. Glad you got it working.

  9. Geo Hogan

    September 17, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Just Recieved my Acer Predator X34, I currently have an Asus Zenbook Pro UX501VW with a Thunderbolt 3 connector. I would like to try this out in the very near future with a razr core and a gtx 1080. My only question is, Will Gsync pair up with the graphics card in the core, or will my system default to the nvidia optimus presets.

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 18, 2016 at 8:28 am

      It should. Optimus only applies to the laptop screen. All external displays are supposed to be driven by the GPU. In this case, the external GPU.

      • Geo Hogan

        September 18, 2016 at 7:01 pm

        Cool thanks man I appreciate the quick reply

  10. Steph

    September 17, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    My XPS 9550 (i7, 500SSD, RAM16, FHD) laptop is working with the core. Thanks for the thread.
    Few obs.
    Now the laptop has the fans always on, whatever is the temp of the cpu (33 c)
    The core seems to have the fans on as well whatever is the temp of the GPU. is that the case for everyone?
    I do have Throttlestop and it seems not able to see the Egpu (core).

    Before I set the core, XPS Fans was on only when CPU was getting hot. Since I hook the core they are always on whatever is the temp.

    Anyone have a solution ?

    The fans from the core are also always on . Anyone knows about that and if ther is plan for start them only if GPU needs cool air?

    • Geo Hogan

      September 18, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      This should be a simple fix in the bios.

      • Steph

        September 19, 2016 at 9:58 am

        Sure but the last bios is not as good as the older one for the core.

        • Geo Hogan

          September 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm

          What I recommend doing is staying on the most stable bios and requesting a bios unlcok for your laptop if there isn’t one already. This should unlock any hidden features such as fan controls. I recommend bios-mods.com.

    • simon richards

      January 16, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Steph,
      Did you ever sort out the fan noise on the core? I have the same probs!
      I have a ticket in with Razer, and will post up here if I hear anything useful.

  11. Julian Schneider

    September 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Derek,

    did you get the xps 15 to charge from the razer core?

    Regards
    Julian

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      No. I don’t think it’s possible.

      • Steph

        September 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm

        Seems possible to charge via the core the Razer Stealth but not the others laptops like Rzer blade or the XPS

        • Derek Sullivan

          September 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm

          That’s because the stealth uses it as a charging circuit primarily. I’m not aware of any quad core laptops with a charging circuit via USB type C. Their batteries are usually 18-20V, so it might be because of that.

          • Julian Schneider

            September 26, 2016 at 11:50 am

            Huh, thats interesting, the wd-15 (and the shitty out of production TB-15) Dell docks can charge a xps 15 battery over usb c, with up to 180W even.
            USB-C does allow up to 20V if I’m not mistaken

          • Derek Sullivan

            September 26, 2016 at 12:02 pm

            It does, but if it’s not the right voltage, it cannot charge. The voltage of the razer blade stealth adapter it’s different than the voltage of the razer blade 14. The core charges the stealth but not the blade 14. It’s the same reason. Dell docks work because they were designed to do so. The Core was only designed specifically for the Stealth.

          • Julian

            September 26, 2016 at 3:43 pm

            I wondering if it would be possible to design a dock that can charge all laptops that support it. Not sure if Dell is using the USB-C PD standard here.

          • Derek Sullivan

            September 26, 2016 at 3:50 pm

            Well for the hp z book series, they use a fused connector, which is a power adapter and a thunderbolt 3 connector together. I could have sworn Asus did something similar but I can’t find it.

  12. Jared

    September 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    After updating all of the DELL Thunderbolt drivers (and making sure to stay on 1.1.9) I’m getting an error message “this computer does not support eGPUs.”

    Anyone else encounter this? Any solutions?

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 19, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      That’s normal and it’s from updating the drivers. There’s no fix except to downgrade the drivers, which I haven’t done. It’s not really necessary because it still works fine – you just have to deal with the nagging notification every time you plug it in. I think they added it so you couldn’t complain it didn’t work for whatever reason.

      • Jared

        September 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm

        Thanks Derek. I’m getting inconsistent results with my Core and XPS15. Sometimes it’s recognized, sometimes on boot my cursor won’t show up. It’s only been recognized by the Synapse software once and that was prior to the Thunderbolt updates on Dell’s website (which could be the culprit?)

        If I want to see how it performs driving an external monitor vs driving the laptop display, how would I go about testing that? Is that using the GPU switcher?

        Thanks again and apologies for the questions.

        • Derek Sullivan

          September 19, 2016 at 2:47 pm

          The GPU switcher just tells the PC what GPU to use. So pick your GPU in the Core and then switch displays from the laptop to the external. The best way is to extend your displays and just turn off teh one you don’t want to test. Otherwise the iGPU tries to drive the laptop display.

          I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be booting with it. It’s a mixed bag with all these TB3 updates. I personally stuck with the combo I have above in the post and have never wanted to change it. There’s about a 0% chance Dell is going to intentionally try and fix issues with the Razer Core because it competes with their dock solutions, so I’m really skeptical with the updates.

    • Steph

      September 19, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Yes everybody. That means it’s working fine and Dell is upset

      • Gymnae

        September 23, 2016 at 4:53 am

        I like this :)

        For now I still have a working Desktop PC with a slowly aging R280x.

        But the future shall be eGPU gaming, until Grid computing is lag-free.
        Hence I will watch this space, hope for an increasing amount of TB3 full-size eGPU cases while reducing prices and make a purchase later in 2017

        Also hoping Dell won’t get in the way of this option by locking down through Firmware updates.

  13. Steph

    September 25, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    grumffff. eveything was working like a charm….until this night.
    This morning it seems I had some update installed last night (forgot to shut down the laptop).
    Now :
    1st I had the tb3 not working, throttlestop not working (not sure it is linked)and in device manager, I noticed yellow signal NVIDIA virtual audio device.

    I tryed to reversed the update via windows but if i have now the tb3 working I still have
    throttlestop not working
    in device manager, I noticed yellow signal NVIDIA virtual audio device.
    And when runing a game I got 30fps instead of 60 I used to have with the 1080 (I did have 60fps even with the 960m but hot and noisy)

    Any idea why this happens and what I should do?

  14. Luis Calderon

    October 22, 2016 at 11:09 am

    do you think I can use the XPS 15 9550 -i7/4K/16GB/512- + Razer Core set up to run Oculus Rift. I have just ordered the Rift and I'm debating if I should buy a desktop or try the XPS+CORE+1070 set up. Thanks for your help

    • ungeheier

      October 24, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Im running a Razer Blade 2016 + Core + Asus 1080 O8G with my HTV Vive. No issues here.

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 3, 2016 at 9:39 am

      If it were the Razer Blade or an MSI laptop, I'd say yes because they are all pretty much fully compatible. But because I've had some hiccups with the XPS 15, I can't really say for sure. It should work but I don't know if it'll be glitchy or not. I don't have an Oculus to test either.

  15. nedfr

    October 25, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Do you think we can get real benefits in Lightroom or all Cuda Adobe software with a setup like this :

    -Razer Blade Stealth v2
    -Razer Core
    -Nvidia 1080 or 1070

    I mean high end eGPU processing power with moderate CPU power.

    Thank you.

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 3, 2016 at 9:41 am

      IT should benefit for sure, but the CPU will probably be a bottleneck for batch processing and other CPU intensive tasks. I'm sure the program will run just fine though – it'll just process a little slower than if it was a quad core. 1080 and 1070 is probably overkill though unless you play games too.

  16. Lesteph

    November 8, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Hello,

    Not sure any link but since last win10 update my fps drop from 60 to 30/20 (xps 15 9550 with core).

    Any idea what could caused it and how to fix?

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 9, 2016 at 1:11 am

      Sorry, I have no clue what that could be about. If you figure it out, please let us know.

      • Lesteph

        November 9, 2016 at 6:49 pm

        No feed back?

        So far what i noticed is :
        some update.
        I downloaded the last driver for my core (1080 desktop) : …3 7570
        installed it but each time when i checked I find the version installed is …3 7290.

        I did the cleaning of nv files in driverstore before proceeding

        No idea where the version 3 7290 come from, not able to find out. seems win10 load this one instead each time.
        How can have the righ driver instaled?

        • Derek Sullivan

          November 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm

          Once you install the driver, I think the latest one gets installed almost immediately. You could try rolling back the driver.

          • Lesteph

            November 22, 2016 at 11:47 am

            It seems when you roll back win 10 anniversary it does not go well.

            So I finaly go for the anniversary and the drivers did not rolled back.

            Everything smoothy now.

  17. carlos

    November 10, 2016 at 11:52 am

    did anyone try razer core + 1080 using tv out via hdmi? Can it handle 4k gaming with a 4k tv using hdmi out?

  18. William Cheng

    November 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you so much for your thorough review and insightful comments. I too am very interested in this. I just ordered the new Macbook Pro (even though I was very disappointed in its choice of GPU). I run my MBP in Bootcamp with Windows 10 80% of the time (but its still the best built PC laptop ever). I'd love to know if this Razor Core will work with the newer Macbook Pro with all Thunderbolt 3 connections. It would be the best of all worlds if I can get a 1080 to work with my MacBook Pro in Bootcamp. Please consider trying to see if this could work when the MBPs become more widely available.

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 11, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      I really doubt this will work with the MBP. Unless Razer goes out of their way to make the Core compatible with their competitor, it's just not likely to happen. OS/X doesn't play well with non-authorized GPUs, let alone an external enclosure. I could be wrong, but I'd be willing to gamble a lot of money that it won't ever work.

      • William Cheng

        November 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        I don't think the Core would work in OS/X either. I was hoping that it could be compatible under Bootcamp – which is essentially a completely Windows 10 PC.

  19. Mike

    November 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Someone has tried in OSX and Windows in Bootcamp with the MBP and Razer Core. No luck.

    Apple could create a egpu or partner with a vendor to do so. Weird though… Much of the tech press and comments in threads have been negative about the MBP overall power. Specifically, the GPU being underwhelming. It would most likely be very expensive.

    Highly doubt they would partner with Razer though because they are direct competitors at the high end market.

    • William Cheng

      November 11, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      Yeah, I see what you mean, I was afraid of that. I would have bought a Razer if they made a 15.6" version.

      I'm still using my 2010 MBP and its still great! No other PC laptop I've ever owned (Sony VAIO, Acer, Asus) have survived 5yrs and been still useful.

      • William Cheng

        November 13, 2016 at 10:06 pm

        Has anyone heard of these guys?
        bizon-tech.com/

        They've been doing this since 2014 and seems like they're on their 3rd version. E-mailed their tech support and apparently its compatible in Bootcamp with Windows 10. I'd love to see a review similar to this one to see how well it works. BTW is there a GTX1080 card with a Thunderbolt 3 video connection?

  20. Alexander

    November 13, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Derek,

    Would you mind spending a few minutes to compile us a summarized step by step setup guide to achieve the setup you had? Which should minimize us other readers from making mistakes or missing steps.

    And on other note, I saw someone in Razer forums that he was able to get the whole setup running flawlessly even with the latest Dell 1.21 BIOS update. But he had to disable WiFi to do so. I'm asking this as I just got my XPS15, and I plan to do a clean install of Windows 10 Pro along with its drivers. Here's the link, last reply: insider.razerzone.com/index.php?threads/razer-core-dell-xps-15-9550-gtx-1080-problem.16339/

    Really appreciate you doing such a test for us. Thanks a bunch.

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 13, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Hello Alexander,

      I pretty much laid out what I did to get it to work in the "support for non-Razer laptop" section. Nothing really changed since I already had it working. All the bios and driver updates I did after the fact resulted in a still working system.

      It's safe to try what people on the forums are doing. My setup is a little out of date and I'm sure there is a better working solution now than when I originally wrote the article. You can always flash different bios versions to try different things. I moved on from the Core though so further testing on my end isn't possible.

      • Alexander

        November 16, 2016 at 12:16 am

        Alright sure, I'll give it a try then. But that has to wait as my unit died on me upon a few hours after I got it from Dell delivery. What a load of horse shit. It's like you bought a Ferrari and the engine died on you after a few hours the delivery guy handed the keys to you.

  21. Joey

    December 23, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Hey Derek,
    I'm considering a setup consisting of an all metal ultrabook + Enclosure + GTX 1080.

    Would you suggest I get the Razer Blade Stealth + Razer Core? I have asked around on Reddit and checked Amazon I haven't found any other kinds of enclosures.

    If you know of any that are compatible with the GTX 1080 could you suggest some to me so I can see all my options? They don't have to be Razer brand I simply want to see what the choices are.

    It would also make a pretty handy article if you guys made a comparison of all the enclosures and the type of graphics they can fix and power. I know of one enclosure that can fit a gtx 1060 but the voltage is too low to power it.

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 23, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      I honestly haven't looked into any of the other enclosures. I might start looking into them again in the future when I get my next ultrabook to review. Unfortunately I only have a 1080 though, so the options are pretty limited.

  22. Felipe

    December 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Hi Derek, thank you so much for your research on this.
    I am about to make the plunge for an eGPU for my specced out XPS 15. Razer Core or the Akitio Node are on my radar.

    However I read some new information that might interest you. The Dell XPS TB3 port is only 2x 3.0, 16GB/s bandwidth. Instead of the 4x 3.0, 40 GB/s bandwidth that is advertised.
    Is this consistent with your findings? I hope you can update the information here to include this. This may be why you have a significant performance hit between the Blade and the XPS 15 in your tests. Hopefull, it can be fixed with a BIOS update and it's not physically wired that way.
    I found this out from eGPU.io
    Link: https://egpu.io/forums/pc-setup/xps-15-9550-not-able-to-reach-40gbps-over-tb3/

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 25, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Wow, that's good to know. That certainly explains it. I'll go ahead and update the article. It really depends on how many PCI lanes they reserved for the TB3 controller. There's a chance it's wired that way and there's nothing that can be done. I can't even guess as to how to figure that out though. Thanks for the find!

      • Felipe

        January 9, 2017 at 10:22 pm

        It's been found that it is wired that way and no bios update can fix it. It is very unfortunate and a misadvertising of the XPS 15 9550.

  23. simon

    January 9, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Derek,
    This is quite literally the best article ever for someone like me, with an XPS with a 960m! Just the best.
    I did have one question if that is ok, which is this – do you have any idea if the more up to date BIOS updates work alright with the CORE or if we still need to roll back to 1.9 versions?

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 9, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      No sorry, I have no idea if the new ones will work. You might want to consult the forums though. I know there is a thread dedicated to using hte Core with non Razer laptops and there are quite a few there with an XPS 15.

      • simon

        January 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

        That's very kind of you to reply.
        I spoke to dell and the usual well meaning but unconvincing Indian assured me that updated drivers would make a difference and that their stuff is more stable/better now.
        So anyways they have a new BIOS which says 'stability fixes' and a new TB controller so I will let you know what happens. I know this is utterly selfish for me to waffle on as how many people are facing the same issue?
        If there is a specific forum you recommend that would be great.
        I've ordered a core and a 1080 so am hoping for the best.

  24. Phillip Roberts

    January 24, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Does the razer core boost the graphics in the laptop, or does it merely replace it?
    If I had a razer blade with a GTX 1060 and a razer core with a GTX 1080 would that equal 14GB of GPU VRAM?

    Thanks
    Phil

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      It replaces it. So there's very little benefit to having the Core with the newer Razer Blade 14" with the 1060, as it's not quite as much of a boost. Unless money is no object to you, that is. I actually sold my Core because of that.

      • Simon

        February 8, 2017 at 3:09 pm

        Hey Derek, it looks like you're still providing lots of thoughtful responses so I wanted to pick your brain a little given that I haven't had the opportunity to see the latest razers in the wild.

        As an average gamer who anticipates branching out into new games in the coming year, I have a bit of a crossroad infront of me. The new stealth and a refurbished blade (970M) are roughly the same in price. Presumably at some point down the line I will need a core to fulfill my gaming desires, are you tempted to lean one way or another on which system would have better longevity? Is the quad core and worse battery something I should weight more heavily to ensure good long-term performance?

        Thanks in advance for the response.

        • Derek Sullivan

          February 9, 2017 at 10:42 am

          If you're planning on playing newer games, the Stealth isn't really an option at all. It lacks a GPU so you'll NEED a Core in order to play them. On top of that, it's only a dual core so some of the more CPU intensive games will be crushed, even with the Core. Unless battery life is a major factor for you, I would go with the RB14. The battery life on the RB14 is actually pretty decent anyways – I got almost equivalent readings for both laptops. This is especially because of the price. I see Newegg has one for $1169, which is a steal. Just make sure you test it fully once you get it.

          • Simon

            February 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

            Thanks, that's a really good price. I'm in Canada though so apparently we get to pay a premium on newegg refurbs, itll be 1949CAD vs 1369USD. I think I'll still take the plunge, looks like a good deal. All the second hand razer's are asking more than newegg's 6700HQ price but only delivering a 4720HQ model which makes the decision pretty easy before even considering the futureproof option of thunderbolt 3.

            I'll likely grab the optional warranty but as far as testing goes. Are there programs you recommend I stress test it with other than just casual use? (e.g., recommended benchmark programs or memory tests etc?).

            Thanks again, appreciate all your reviews and responses. I've been mining a lot of your work it appears.

          • Derek Sullivan

            February 9, 2017 at 2:19 pm

            No problem! If you want, just run some of the benchmarks and compare them with what I got in my RB14 review. I mainly mean to test all the components, connections and keys though. In general, the CPU and GPU should work as designed – running the benchmarks is mainly testing the thermal paste and the fans. As long as your scores are reasonably close to mine, you're good to go.

          • Simon

            February 9, 2017 at 7:07 pm

            perfect, will do!

  25. Mike Jacobs

    February 27, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Thank you for the excellent guide! I have a Dell XPS 15 (9550) and decided to give the Razer Core a go. I bought the Razer Core and an NVidia GTX 1080. Before they arrived, I updated my bios to the latest version, 1.2.19, and all my drivers, and installed Synapse. There seem to be some new Thunderbolt options in the Dell BIOS menu–I enabled everything. I installed the graphics card and connected the Core to my Dell. It updated Synapse. I disabled the 960M, rebooted, and the new graphics card was working! So far, it's been amazing!

  26. Park Kang Sung

    March 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Hey Derek, Nice review!
    Can I please ask you a question? Would you recommend razer stealth (i7 6500u cpu) + razer core gtx 1070 combination for anyone who is aiming for higher or equivalent to 144 fps on overwatch, crysis 3, fallout 4, and battlefield on medium ~ high settings? I am planning to attach a BenQ 144hz 24 inch monitor to the Core. I am kinda concerned about the cpu of razer stealth since it is only a dual core cpu.

    Thanks !

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      I'm honestly not sure how well the stealth will do. Most of those games are GPU dependant, so they should be fine. I don't know if they'll hit 144 but they'll definitely be above 60. Fallout 4 is more CPU dependant than the rest but it's capped at 60 anyways.

      You might want to check through the Razer forum to see if anyone had any benchmarks with three 1070.

  27. Durdali

    March 20, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you for the excellent guide! Can I please ask you a question?

    I have a Dell XPS15(9560)-RazerCore-GTX1080-Asus PG279Q Monitör

    Are test results normal?

    Asus pg279q 2k monitör : Fire Strike : 13051 score
    Laptop display 4k : 8746 score

    When I click on thunderbolt icon Gives information but the gtx1080 works

    "! External GPUs are not supported by this computer."

    system features

    CPU: 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor(6M cache,up to3.8 GHz)
    Ram : 16GB DDR4-2400MHz; up to 32GB (additional memory sold separately)
    SSD : 1TB PCIe Solid State Drive
    Display : 15.6" 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touch display
    GPU : NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 21, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Yes, that's normal. As Doug mentioned in his review, the Tunderbolt 3 speeds are still not full speed like they are on other laptops.

  28. Aiden

    April 25, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Awesome review! But in the end would you recommend the core for the XPS 15? Aside from the slight performance drop did you get t going as easy as it would be with a Raze Blade?

    • Derek Sullivan

      April 25, 2017 at 8:45 am

      It was never as easy as with the Blade but I was able to get it to routinely work. Anytime there was a glitch, I was able to reboot and it would work fine. That was a year ago, though, and I have no idea if that's still the case. Dell still claims that the XPS 15 does not support eGPUs and they could easily have made their bios/drivers hinder the performance even more.

      I can't say for certain if I would recommend it still now. If you have the 960m version, there are some pretty nice benefits to using the core, especially if you want to play games on it. It's still a very expensive solution though and the selection for eGPUs hasn't improved as well as I had originally hoped. For the 960m, if you have the money and want the convenience, but are ok with a couple quirks and bugs, then I'd say go for it. But if you have the 1050 version, it's a solid no for me – I don't think the Core would be worth it at all. Even with a 1080 paired with the Core, the performance was only a little better than having a GTX 1060. That's certainly not much of an upgrade for $1000 in parts.

      It also doesn't help that Razer still hasn't fixed the bugs with the USB ports either. It's been over a year, so I'm guessing they have abandoned support or can't figure it out, which is very unfortunate considering they are still selling it. I'd be ok with an apology or an admission that this is a beta project and they'll fix it next time, but they have been completely silent about it from what I can tell. Speaking of it being a year now, there's also a chance they'll be coming out with a second gen version.

      • Aiden

        April 25, 2017 at 9:20 am

        Awesome. Good work! I think its the XPS display thats enticing everyone over the Blade.

      • Aledrus

        July 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm

        Hi Derek, I've been reading most of the replies and I also appreciate your entire article.

        I couldn't figure out what you're referring to in this line in your reply above:

        "It also doesn't help that Razer still hasn't fixed the bugs with the USB ports either. It's been over a year, so I'm guessing they have abandoned support or can't figure it out, which is very unfortunate considering they are still selling it."

        Are you referring to USB ports on the Razer Core or the Razer Blade?
        And "still selling it" – does this refer to the Core or the Blade?

        The reason I am asking is, the wife & I are trying to decide if we can lose her desktop completely. Currently using desktop (i5 + GTX 1060) and a notebook (i5 10" intel HD) and thinking of replacing both with a Razer Blade Stealth + Razer Core & reuse the GTX 1060.

        Hope you're still reading these replies.

        Aledrus

        • Derek Sullivan

          July 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm

          The USB ports on the core were pretty unreliable. At times, anything attached would blink in and out randomly. I could recreate it when putting the Ethernet under load. Something was definitely wrong with the drivers. I honestly don't know if they fixed it but there were a couple of dedicated forum threads about the issue, on NBR and Razerinsider. You might want to check there and see.

          If you can get away without the Core USB ports though, you'll be fine. I just attached a usb hub right next to the usb-c on the laptop, when I had mine.

          • Aledrus

            July 21, 2017 at 1:17 pm

            Thanks for your reply Derek.

            Ahh that is indeed dealbreaking. Really liked the "plug in one cable to dock" concept. Now there's going to be 2, and who knows maybe more..

            I'll search for the issue on those forums you've mentioned.

            Cheers

        • Zadillo

          July 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

          Razer never fixed the flaky USB ports issue with the Core.

          Since the Razer, there have been newer eGPU's released which are not only cheaper than the Core, but also have functional USB ports/etc. if that's what you're looking for. The Mantiz Venus is one that's worth looking at in particular. Also the new Aorus Gaming Box, which for $599 comes complete with a 1070 mini GPU (making this also one of the more portable solutions out there).

          • Aledrus

            July 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

            Thanks for the reply Zadillo.

            That Aorus Gaming Box does look like everything I need. But the appeal of the Razer Core is that it can also charge the laptop (Razer Blade Stealth only). That means just one cable to go into the laptop.

            But that is a great box. Thanks for showing it to me.

          • Zadillo

            July 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm

            Aledrus, the Aorus Gaming Box provides USB-C PD (see https://www.gigabyte.com/Graphics-Card/GV-N1070IXEB-8GD#kf ) so it will provide charging as well.

          • Zadillo

            July 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm

            Oh yeah, the Mantiz Venus will also charge.

  29. CookieyedGamer

    August 4, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Derek I'm wondering could ya help me I have just gotten a razer core for my 9550 and I'm not getting the thunderbolt approval to pop up so razer synapse wont update either but the weird this is that the core boots up the first time when pluged in and is being dected as 'base system device' in settings and as 'Thunderbolt (TM) Controler-1575' under system devices in the device manager. The interesting thing is that when I unplug it and reconcet the core wont boot up only again when its unplugged and repluged(I'm quite sure this would be resolved if I get the approval message tho).
    I'm quite sure I have all my drivers and bios upto date. Hope you Can help:)

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 4, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      The problem might be that your bios is up to date though. Officially, Dell is not supporting Thunderbolt 3 docks on their laptops and every bios(from my limited use) affected how well the port played with the Core. I haven't had it in quite some time, so I'm not up to date as to which bios is good and which isn't. Besides the bios mentioned in the post though, which is probably really old. It was old for me and that was over a year ago. Still, it might be worth a shot to try that version and rule it out.

      There are a couple threads on NBR you may want to check out as well, that deal with the XPS 15. There are a lot of XPS 15 users out there that want to use an external dock and struggled to do so because of Dell's choice to use a 1/2 speed TB3 connector.

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