Razer Blade 16 (2023) review: An Intel Core i9-13950HX + NVIDIA RTX 4090 powerhouse

Critique du Razer Blade 16 (2023) : Une centrale Intel Core i9-13950HX + NVIDIA RTX 4090

With the release of NVIDIA's RTX 40 series mobile GPUs, you can get desktop-like gaming performance in a portable form factor. The mobile GeForce RTX 4090 uses the AD104 die, which powers the desktop RTX 4080, in the same shader configuration. We're talking almost 10,000 FP32 cores on a laptop GPU. All this power comes with a hefty price tag of $4,399.

The Razer Blade 16 (2023) combines RTX 4090 mobility with Intel's Core i9-13950HX in a 15″ device that is rather compact and less bulky than its rivals. It weighs about 5 pounds, a tad more than its predecessor. It has the same overall build as older Razer Blades, supposedly with improved thermals and an improved vapor chamber. The GPU has a power envelope of 175W, about half that of the office-grade RTX 4080.

One of the most notable features of the Razer Blade 16 is its display. The Blade 16 fits a 16″ screen into a 15″ body. It supports two display modes, FHD+ at 240Hz and 4K+ at 120Hz, with an aspect ratio of 16:10. It covers the entire DCI-P3 color gamut with a peak brightness of 1000 nits. Plus, it comes with cutting-edge technologies including G-Sync, HDR1000, and less than 3ms response time.

Without further ado, let's move on to the performance, the CPU, the GPU, and of course, the game.

CPU Performance: Intel Core i9-13950HX in action

We'll start with the benchmark PC benchmark, PCMark 10. Interestingly, the Core i9-13950HX isn't as fast as we thought. It's just a bit faster than the Core i9-12800H and 12900HK, and even loses to the latter in terms of productivity.

In the more compute-intensive Cinebench test, the Core i9-13950HX beats its predecessor by around 20% and the Ryzen 9 6900HX by more than 2x. Single-threaded performance is much tighter, mainly due to core clocking, as both chips have the same core architecture.

Cinebench R23 sees the Core i9-13950HX performing much better than in R20. It manages to register a 40% lead over the 12900HX, beating the Ryzen 7 7840HS by 66%. Its single-threaded performance is slightly faster than the 12900HX, but significantly faster than the Ryzen chips.

GPU performance: The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Mobile sparks.

Moving on to GPU performance, the mobile GeForce RTX 4090 is the star of the show. It's massively faster than the previous fastest mobile GPU, matching the desktop RTX 3090 Ti in 3DMark.

The GeForce RTX 4080 mobile is slower than the RTX 4080 desktop (the same chip with higher power limits and clocks), but it has decent performance for a mobile SKU.

The RTX 4090 mobile is relatively slower in the DX12-based TimeSpy benchmark, performing on par with the RTX 3090 desktop but by a significant margin compared to the RTX 4080 DT. The RTX 4090 desktop is 77% faster than its mobile counterpart, recording a massive score of 35K points.

Gaming benchmarks: FHD+ QHD+ 4K+

Gaming performance typically combines a lightly threaded CPU and raw GPU. We ran a series of gaming benchmarks at 1080p, 1440p and 4K and obtained the following results:

4K, 1440p, 1080p

In Atomic Heart and The Callisto Protocol, the GPU severely limits performance. Thus, we see that the performance is approximately the same at all three resolutions.

4K, 1440p, 1080p

4K, 1440p, 1080p

We tested Cyberpunk 2077 and F1 2022 at the highest quality preset with ray-tracing enabled as well as FSR 2.0 “Quality”. The former fell short in 4K with an average of just 32 FPS, while the latter barely crossed the 60 FPS mark with an average of 79 and 91 FPS at 1440p and 1080p, respectively.

4K, 1440p, 1080p

4K, 1440p, 1080p

Hogwarts Legacy is a recent hit that just about everyone is playing. Unfortunately, the GeForce RTX 4090-mobile only manages an average of 39 FPS at 4K ultra (ray-traced at higher FSR 2 quality), with 1440p reaching a more playable 48 FPS.

4K, 1440p, 1080p

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is a better example, with the Razer Blade averaging 61 FPS at 4K, 108 FPS at 1440p, and 142 FPS at 1080p.

Thermal, power and throttling

In the 3DMark TimeSpy Extreme stress test, the GeForce RTX 4090 and Core i9-13950HX are brought to their knees with an average temperature of over 80C. This temperature persists for the duration of the benchmark, limiting core clocks and, therefore, performance.

The CPU maintains an average frequency of 2000 MHz, and the GPU runs between 1600 and 1700 MHz for most of the test.

We checked CPU power consumption in heavily threaded workloads like Cinebench R23 and got an average of 50-60W (case power). It's not particularly high, but temperatures still remain a concern.

GPU power consumption averaged 130W, which is well below the upper limit of 175W. In most games, the mobile GeForce RTX 4090 maintained an average core temperature of 70-72C, limiting throttling and maximizing graphics performance.

Bottom line: A solid gaming laptop with one caveat

The Razer Blade 16 is a powerful gaming laptop, crushing the competition in every segment. Unfortunately, it suffers from its share of design flaws. Processors, especially the CPU, heat up, reaching peaks of 100°C from time to time. The reason ? The reason ? The laptop does not have proper side vents, which limits the exhaust to the lower part of the chassis. The top end gets quite hot, and we noticed a lot of slowdown during extended gaming sessions, especially in ray-tracked titles. These flaws aren't expected from a $4,299 gaming monster, and Razer would do well to address the thermal issues of its 16″ console as soon as possible.