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Razer wants to make building your own gaming PC freaky-fast and easy

Supporting Intel's gaming NUC platform and full-size GPUs, the Razer Tomahawk will be available as a fully built desktop or a DIY chassis.

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Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read
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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Gaming desktops are usually either big and heavy full-size beasts, or else miniaturized boxes that lack the power to impress. And whether you buy a complete system or an empty chassis to fill with components, they're often on the fugly side.  Razer makes eye-catching laptops, so I wasn't surprised when I saw a sharp-looking little box called the Razer Tomahawk at Razer's Las Vegas demo suite here at CES 2020. But I was surprised that it was a full gaming desktop. Based on the size and shape, I'd assumed at first glance that this was an eGPU box, an external box just big enough for a graphics card and power supply, to hook up to an underpowered laptop or desktop.

But no, this was a full gaming desktop with an Intel Core i9 CPU and Nvidia RTX 2080 desktop graphics card. When I pulled the internal tray out from the back of the system via a handle (again, much like an eGPU box), the tray offered just enough room for a desktop GPU, a power supply and a compact Intel-specific unit containing a Core i9 (or Core i7) CPU, and the system's RAM (up to 64GB) and SSD storage. 

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

That Intel piece, part of that company's Next Unit of Computing platform, is called the NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element, and so far it's the only brain the Tomahawk is compatible with. But you'll still be able to get the system in two different forms. 

All the cool new gadgets at CES 2020

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It'll also be available as a fully built PC called the Razer Tomahawk gaming desktop. As a standalone chassis to build yourself, it'll be called the Tomahawk N1. Both should be available sometime in the first half of 2020. No prices yet, but a premium chassis can cost hundreds just on its own, so it's probably not on the inexpensive side. 

And if your tastes run more toward Razer's excellent gaming laptops, the 15-inch and 17-inch models are getting a new display option for a 300Hz-refresh-rate LCD screen. 

The best laptops from CES 2020

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Originally published earlier this week.