Razer just unveiled the world’s first portable triple-display 4K gaming laptop at CES 2017. But is the world ready for Project Valerie?
Consoles have always been the more consumer-friendly option when it comes to playing video games at home. With their closed ecosystems and proprietary hardware, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are affordable, reliable and – above all – easy-to-use machines. They allow gamers to hop in with minimal fuss, safe in the knowledge that any game they buy for their console of choice will run right out of the box (or from download screen, as is increasingly becoming the case).
When it comes to seeing video games at their absolute best, however, it simply doesn’t get better than PC. Without the kind of hardware constraints that console gamers are forced to accept in the name of convenience, PC gamers are free to beef up their rigs as they see fit, ensuing that their games run at blistering speeds and with the highest resolution possible.
Another area where PC gamers have an advantage is the ability to play on multiple displays. No longer just a hallmark of graphic designers and professional video editors, more and more PC gamers are hooking their machines up to two or three monitors at a time, expanding their field of view and creating an incredible feeling of immersion in first-person games especially.
But what about those who prefer to play their games on a laptop rather than being stuck behind a desk? Enter Razer’s Project Valerie.
Unveiled at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Project Valerie is claimed to be the world’s first truly portable triple-display 4K gaming laptop. Boasting three 17-inch screens, each with a resolution of 11520 x 2160, the machine is seriously impressive to behold, even if it is a bit of desk-filler as it unfurls its collective 51 inches of screens. Because this is Razer, Valerie’s extra screens are hooked up to “an automated deployment mechanism”, meaning that they’ll fold out all on their own like some kind of laptop-shaped robot in disguise, begging to be filled with an all-out war in Battlefield 1 or a “quick” game of Civilisation VI.
Maintaining a solid frame-rate with a single 4K display is no mean feat, so with three to juggle all at once, Razer’s laptop has it work cut out for it. Thankfully, it’s packing the tools for the job, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card (nothing compared to Nvidia’s Titan X graphics cards, but the absolute top of the line as far as laptops go) backed up by an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, along with a hefty 32GB of RAM. Much more capable gaming PCs exist, of course, but for a laptop — and one that measures just 1.5 inches thick, no less — it’s an impressive feat of engineering.
Razer definitely deserves to be applauded for bringing something new to the table for this year’s CES, and there will doubtless be thousands of PC gamers already reaching for their credit cards even at this stage in the machine’s development, but the question remains whether Project Valerie will be able to keep up with the pack when it comes to running the latest releases in 4K at launch — a date that has not yet been announced. Those who have had the luxury of trying out the machine at CES 2017 report that the hardware holds up well running software that is currently available, but with game developers constantly demanding more and more from graphics chips especially, there’s a good chance that Valerie will be able to put in only a middling performance compared to single-screen gaming laptops. Will PC gamers be prepared to potentially sacrifice their frame-rates for the convenience of having a triple-display machine in their backpack? We’ll have to wait and see.