LAS VEGAS—Razer’s Project Valerie—a gaming laptop with three 4K displays—is one of the most ambitious products I’ve seen at CES.
I visited Razer’s suite at the show to check it out, and though I had been briefed on it previously, seeing it in person is still enough to draw a laugh of appreciation. The two additional displays outstretch from the main panel in resplendent fashion, complete with downward-facing LEDs that illuminate the surface below. Between the three screens, the laptop boasts an unheard of 12K resolution.
While it’s clearly early in development (and indeed, may never hit the market as a consumer product given the audacity and cost involved), it’s still quite impressive to see in action.
The laptop is roughly as thick as two Razer Blade Pro units stacked together, with most of that space behind the display. The extra screens fold into that space when traveling or not in use. In the ideal, fully functioning model, the arms holding these screens would automatically expand and retract to show or hide the screens. The unit on hand did not have this functionality, so I could only see it in its fully open state.
The point of Project Valerie is to provide an on-the-go desktop experience, whether for gaming or design. Multiple monitors make gaming more immersive and give creatives more room to design and use multiple programs.
I was skeptical that a laptop—particularly one still not as big as many heavy-duty gaming systems, at that—could play games smoothly at 12K resolution? But somehow, I was able to play several minutes of Battlefield 1 at full resolution smoothly, with really no hiccups, and it looked fantastic. The system got very hot (to the point of some discomfort on the WASD keys) and it was loud, but it was definitely running smoothly, which was pretty incredible in itself.
How? Razer is keeping specs under wraps for now, but I was told it would make use of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 card. That’s unsurprising, since it’s the best single card you can currently put in a laptop. But even in desktops, depending on the game and settings, a GTX 1080 can struggle to maintain consistent FPS at 4K on one screen.
That led me to think there must be dual cards in SLI in Project Valerie, but Razer seemed to imply just one, and I can’t see how it would fit two in roughly the same base as the Blade Pro, which runs one. Granted, it did get extremely hot, so it’s possible it did so without optimizing air flow at this stage of development. Something is obviously going on under the hood regarding the components, but it remains a mystery for now.
What we do have is an extremely cool, if impractical new product design. Its bulk makes using it in a public space seem counterintuitive, though in theory you can leave the other screens folded inside the body if you don’t have room. It’s early days, and Project Valerie may very well never come to consumers in this form, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the design ends up in other products or concepts down the line.