With the Lenovo Razer Edition PC, two companies launch a gaming hardware partnership

Razer brings the gaming cachet. Lenovo brings the money and manufacturing means. This could be a good thing.

Perhaps fearing its own computers didn't emit enough eye-searing green, Lenovo showed up at DreamHack in Jönköping, Sweden, on Friday to announce it's partnering with Razer on a new line of gaming hardware—desktops, laptops, peripherals, you name it.

The pair unveiled a prototype of their first “Lenovo Razer Edition” product, a gaming desktop expected to launch in Q1 2016. Here's another product render:

Lenovo Y Series Razer Edition

(Click to expand)

The prototype looks pretty similar to the chassis used in Lenovo's Y900 gaming desktop, though—as expected—decked out with Razer-green lighting on the front. The weird rainbow shadow at the bottom presumably indicates the presence of Razer's Chroma lighting and software (i.e. 16.8-million-color RGB lighting).

No specs as of yet, though given it looks like the same chassis as the Y900 I assume we'll see similar internal components. The Y900 is a pretty standard desktop make, with support for up to two graphics cards. Zooming in on the prototype render, it looks like there are, indeed, dual Nvidia cards socked inside. Lenovo's Victor Rios told me Razer has a hand in choosing both internal and peripheral components, so there's a chance it'll come packaged with Razer peripherals, such as a mouse or keyboard. Expect more details at CES in January.

Why this matters: For now, we just have a partnership announcement. It's an unexpected but (probably) smart move for Lenovo, which, despite a strong presence in “mainstream” computing, lacks cachet within the gaming niche. See also: Why Dell bought and maintains the Alienware brand despite the fact it could easily pump out Dell-branded gaming PCs if it wanted.

Razer brings much-needed gaming cachet

“We want to move beyond just the mainstream, and we think partnering with Razer and getting some of that unique DNA we can start to reach up more into the performance and enthusiast space,” said Rios when I spoke to him last week.

Lenovo Y Series Razer Edition

But Razer might be the bigger winner here. With its Blade laptop and the Project Christine prototype from a few years back, it's clear Razer wants to expand beyond its gaming peripheral roots and into full-on PCs. This partnership lets Razer “make PCs” without, you know, making PCs. Lenovo can do most of the heavy lifting.

Or as Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan puts it in this press release, “Lenovo is the world’s #1 PC maker. Razer is the world’s #1 gaming lifestyle brand.” Well put.

(Side note: Razer did confirm the Blade line will continue to exist, independent of its work with Lenovo.)

In addition to the desktop specs, I anticipate a few other announcements at CES—even if it ends up mostly being “Lenovo computers with Razer's branding and RGB lighting,” a la the ongoing relationship between MSI and SteelSeries. From Lenovo's perspective (via Rios), the partnership is “open-ended.”

We'll see what the future holds, though I can pretty much guarantee one thing: A lot of green and black.

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Hayden Dingman

PC World (US online)
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