ULTRA FAST. ULTRA SMALL. ULTRA POWERFUL.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH JD.COM
Razer™, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced its all-new Razer Blade 15.6-inch gaming laptop featuring Intel’s latest processor. The new Razer Blade is the world’s smallest gaming laptop in its class, boasting more display area and performance features.
The Company also announced a strategic partnership with JD.com to accelerate Razer’s expansion in China.
The available 144 Hz refresh rate 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display of the new Razer Blade enhances gaming and entertainment viewing with full-frame fluid motion graphics and 100% sRGB color. Users can also step up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution with touch functionality and 100% Adobe™ RGB color support.
Each laptop display is individually custom calibrated in production for amazing color accuracy out-of-the-box.
Best-in-class 4.9 mm thin bezels flank the display, while retaining the ideal web camera placement at the top of the screen.
The world’s smallest 15.6-inch gaming laptop measures as little as 0.66-inches thin and with a minimal footprint for ultimate mobility.
The refined chassis is individually CNC milled from a single aluminum block to provide a sturdy yet compact design, and features a scratch resistant anodized black finish.
Managing heat without sacrificing performance in such a small form factor is no easy task, but Razer innovated by utilizing vapor chamber technology for the cooling solution instead of the traditional heat pipes found in most gaming laptops.
Beyond cooling the CPU and GPU, the vacuum-sealed vaporized liquid helps dissipate the heat generated from other components within the laptop.
Ultra-thin nanoparticle material and graphite-based server grade thermal interfaces reduce hot spots and facilitate heat transfer, while high-performance low-noise fans push air across dual heat exchanges with 0.1mm thin fins, quickly moving heat out of the chassis and away from the user.
The near bezel-less Razer Blade features the new 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H and is available with NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 10 Series graphics. The new Intel 6 core CPU eclipses its predecessor in throughput and responsiveness with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.1 GHz.
To drive fast frame rates users can choose either a GeForce GTX 1060 or GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, featuring Max-Q design for an optimized gaming experience.
For extreme multitasking, Razer also includes 16 GB of 2667MHz dual-channel system memory and fast PCIe SSD storage with configurations up to 512GB, with support for up to 32 GB of memory and up to 2 TB of storage.
“We are proud to have again stepped-up as an industry leader, taking laptop engineering to the next level to give gamers the performance they require and the mobility they desire,” says Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “We upgraded to Intel’s latest 6 core processor, used a fast 144Hz display driven by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 Series graphics, and set a new standard for power in the world’s smallest 15-inch gaming laptop.”
Other features of new Razer Blade, a large and clickable precision touchpad now provides more accuracy and improved gesture support. The new Razer Blade 15-inch laptop has been purpose-built for mega-tasking, able to handle intense gaming sessions and entertainment viewing, heavy design workloads, media production and general productivity. For a limited time, new Razer Blade owners can jump right in with access to $420 worth of games and software, including immersive VR titles such as Arizona Sunshine, popular games like Cuphead, and FL Studio Producer Edition, a professional music production suite from Image Line.
The anti-ghosting keyboard is powered by Razer Chroma and offers 16.8 million colors per key, customizable through Razer Synapse 3 software. New power management options are also available, including modes to boost graphics performance or maximize the run time of the built-in 80Wh battery. Sound is delivered through dual front-firing speakers and features Dolby Atmos for immersive audio.
Connectivity options includes the ability to output to up to three external displays via Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and Thunderbolt™ 3. Connect peripheral devices to the laptop with three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. For additional viewing comfort and desk organization, Razer has made available a new Chroma Laptop Stand featuring a light strip up front and 3-port USB hub in back. When taking the new Razer Blade on-the-go, Razer also has released a new 15.6″ Protective Sleeve made of durable, water resistant material with a slim profile design.
The Razer Blade family of laptops have represented the pinnacle of power, portability and industrial design since 2011, and this new Blade is no exception.
Razer also announced today the availability of its latest external graphics enclosure, the Razer Core X, with an MSRP of $299. The plug-and-play eGPU can deliver the latest desktop-quality graphics to Thunderbolt 3 capable PC and Macintosh laptops with external graphics (eGFX) support. As new graphics cards enter the market, they can be swapped in with ease.
STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH JD.COM IN CHINA
Today, Razer also announced a strategic collaboration with JD.com to further tap into the enormous opportunities in China. China continues to be the world’s top gaming market with the number of gamers expecting to exceed 1 billion by 2022.
As part of the strategic collaboration, all future Razer laptop products released in China will debut on JD.com. Leveraging Razer’s leading gamer lifestyle brand position in China and its unique understanding of gamers’ needs, alongside JD.com’s leading e-commerce expertise and advanced AI and big data technologies, the two companies seek to develop a compelling shopping experience for customers. The strategic collaboration also extends to omni-channel retail, covering Razer’s experience store in Shanghai, JD.com’s Retail Experience Shop and JD pop-up stores across China.
In addition, Razer and JD.com will take steps to further cultivate esports in China by pooling together Razer’s best-in-class and market leading position in esports with JD.com’s growing presence in esports.
Commenting on the collaboration with JD.com, Min-Liang Tan said, “We are incredibly excited to deepen our cooperation with JD.com as it will help further expand Razer’s presence in China. We look forward to working with JD.com to deliver immersive experiences to gamers and to take advantage of the massive opportunities in China.”
Tao Ren, General Manager of JD.com’s Laptops and Printers Department commented, “Integrating our advanced big data and AI technologies, membership program and omni-channel solutions with Razer’s hugely loyal gamer fan base and leading brand position, we are well-positioned to tap into China’s booming esports market.”
The new six-core Razer Blade 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop starts at US$1,899/ ¥16,999 and is available starting today from Razer.com and select retailers in the United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany, and China.
For more information, visit razer.com/blade.
About the RAZER BLADE 15.6″ Laptop
8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H Processor (6 Cores/12 Threads, 2.2 GHz/4.1 GHz)
15.6-inch IPS Full HD (1920 x 1080) matte up to 144Hz, individually color calibrated
15.6-inch IPS 4K (3840 x 2160) capacitive multi-touch, individually color calibrated
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 Max-Q Design
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 Max-Q Design
16GB Dual-Channel system memory (DDR4, 2667MHz), 32GB maximum support
Up to 512GB PCIe SSD, 2TB maximum support
Windows® 10 (64-bit)
Intel® Wireless-AC 9260 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 5
Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C) x 1
USB 3.1 port x 3 (SuperSpeed)
Mini Display Port 1.4 x 1
Anti-ghosting keyboard powered by Razer Chroma™
Razer Synapse 3 compatible
HDMI 2.0b audio and video output
Built-in front firing stereo speakers
3.5mm headphone/microphone combo port
Built-in webcam (1MP/720P) with array microphone
Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) security chip embedded
Compact 200W/230W power adapter
Built-in 80 Wh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery, NVIDIA® Optimus™ support
[GeForce GTX 1060] 0.66 in. / 16.8 mm (Height) x 14 in. / 355 mm (Width) x 9.3 in. / 235 mm (Depth)
[GeForce GTX 1070] 0.68 in. / 17.3 mm (Height) x 14 in. / 355 mm (Width) x 9.3 in. / 235 mm (Depth)
[Full HD] approx. 4.56 lbs. / 2.07 kg
[4K] approx. 4.73 lbs. / 2.15 kg
FHD(60Hz)/i7-8750H/GTX 1060/16GB/256GB – $1,899.99 / RMB16,999/ HK$15,699
FHD(144Hz)/i7-8750H/GTX 1060/16GB/512GB – $2,199.99 / RMB18,999/ HK$18,099
FHD(144Hz)/i7-8750H/GTX 1070/16GB/256GB – $2,399.99 / RMB20,599/ HK$ 19,699
FHD(144Hz)/i7-8750H/GTX 1070/16GB/512GB – $2,599.99 / RMB22,599/ HK$21,499
4K(Touch)/i7-8750H/GTX 1070/16GB/512GB* – $2,899.99
*select markets, coming soon
Airbus CEO urges trade war ceasefire, easing of COVID travel bans
By Tim Hepher
PARIS (Reuters) – The head of European planemaker Airbus called on Saturday for a “ceasefire” in a transatlantic trade war over aircraft subsidies, saying tit-for-tat tariffs on planes and other goods had aggravated damage from the COVID-19 crisis.
Washington progressively imposed import duties of 15% on Airbus jets from 2019 after a prolonged dispute at the World Trade Organization, and the EU responded with matching tariffs on Boeing jets a year later. Wine, whisky and other goods are also affected.
“This dispute, which is now an old dispute, has put us in a lose-lose situation,” Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in a radio interview.
“We have ended up in a situation where wisdom would normally dictate that we have a ceasefire and resolve this conflict,” he told France Inter.
Boeing was not immediately available for comment.
Brazil, which has waged separate battles with Canada over subsidies for smaller regional jets, on Thursday dropped its own complaint against Ottawa and called for a global peace deal between producing nations on support for aerospace.
Faury said the dispute with Boeing was particularly damaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has badly hit air travel and led to travel restrictions or border closures. He expressed particular concern about widening bans within Europe.
“We are extremely frustrated by the barriers that restrict personal movement and it is almost impossible today to travel in Europe by plane, even domestically,” he said.
“The priority no. 1 for countries in general is to reopen frontiers and allow people to travel on the basis of tests and then eventually vaccinations.”
The comments come as businesses increase pressure on governments to reopen economies as coronavirus vaccine roll-outs gather pace across Europe.
France has defended recently introduced border restrictions, saying they will help the government avoid a new lockdown and stay in force until at least the end of February.
Germany installed border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria last Sunday, drawing protest from Austria and concerns about supply-chain disruptions.
Berlin calls the move a temporary measure of last resort.
Poland said on Saturday it had not ruled out imposing restrictions at the country’s borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic due to rising COVID-19 cases.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
Why a predictable cold snap crippled the Texas power grid
By Tim McLaughlin and Stephanie Kelly
(Reuters) – As Texans cranked up their heaters early Monday to combat plunging temperatures, a record surge of electricity demand set off a disastrous chain reaction in the state’s power grid.
Wind turbines in the state’s northern Panhandle locked up. Natural gas plants shut down when frozen pipes and components shut off fuel flow. A South Texas nuclear reactor went dark after a five-foot section of uninsulated pipe seized up. Power outages quickly spread statewide – leaving millions shivering in their homes for days, with deadly consequences.
It could have been far worse: Before dawn on Monday, the state’s grid operator was “seconds and minutes” away from an uncontrolled blackout for its 26 million customers, its CEO has said. Such a collapse occurs when operators lose the ability to manage the crisis through rolling blackouts; in such cases, it can take weeks or months to fully restore power to customers.
Monday was one of the state’s coldest days in more than a century – but the unprecedented power crisis was hardly unpredictable after Texas had experienced a similar, though less severe, disruption during a 2011 cold snap. Still, Texas power producers failed to adequately winter-proof their systems. And the state’s grid operator underestimated its need for reserve power capacity before the crisis, then moved too slowly to tell utilities to institute rolling blackouts to protect against a grid meltdown, energy analysts, traders and economists said.
Early signs of trouble came long before the forced outages. Two days earlier, for example, the grid suddenly lost 539 megawatts (MW) of power, or enough electricity for nearly 108,000 homes, according to operational messages disclosed by the state’s primary grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
The crisis stemmed from a unique confluence of weaknesses in the state’s power system.
Texas is the only state in the continental United States with an independent and isolated grid. That allows the state to avoid federal regulation – but also severely limits its ability to draw emergency power from other grids. ERCOT also operates the only major U.S. grid that does not have a capacity market – a system that provides payments to operators to be on standby to supply power during severe weather events.
After more than 3 million ERCOT customers lost power in a February 2011 freeze, federal regulators recommended that ERCOT prepare for winter with the same urgency as it does the peak summer season. They also said that, while ERCOT’s reserve power capacity looked good on paper, it did not take into account that many generation units could get knocked offline by freezing weather.
“There were prior severe cold weather events in the Southwest in 1983, 1989, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2010,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corp staff summarized after investigating the state’s 2011 rolling blackouts. “Extensive generator failures overwhelmed ERCOT’s reserves, which eventually dropped below the level of safe operation.”
ERCOT spokeswoman Leslie Sopko did not comment in detail about the causes of the power crisis but said the grid’s leadership plans to re-evaluate the assumptions that go into its forecasts.
The freeze was easy to see coming, said Jay Apt, co-director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center.
“When I read that this was a black-swan event, I just have to wonder whether the folks who are saying that have been in this business long enough that they forgot everything, or just came into it,” Apt said. “People need to recognize that this sort of weather is pretty common.”
This week’s cold snap left 4.5 million ERCOT customers without power. More than 14.5 million Texans endured a related water-supply crisis as pipes froze and burst. About 65,000 customers remained without power as of Saturday afternoon, even as temperatures started to rise, according to website PowerOutage.US.
State health officials have linked more than two dozen deaths to the power crisis. Some died from hypothermia or possible carbon monoxide poisoning caused by portable generators running in basements and garages without enough ventilation. Officials say they suspect the death count will rise as more bodies are discovered.
THIN POWER RESERVE
In the central Texas city of Austin, the state capital, the minimum February temperature usually falls between 42 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit (5 to 9 degrees Celsius). This past week, temperatures fell as low as 6 degrees Fahrenheit (-14 degrees Celsius).
In November, ERCOT assured that the grid was prepared to handle such a dire scenario.
“We studied a range of potential risks under both normal and extreme conditions, and believe there is sufficient generation to adequately serve our customers,” said ERCOT’s manager of resource adequacy, Pete Warnken, in a report that month.
Warnken could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Under normal winter conditions, ERCOT forecast it would have about 16,200 MW of power reserves. But under extreme conditions, it predicted a reserve cushion of only about 1,350 MW. That assumed only 23,500 MW of generation outages. During the peak of this week’s crisis, more than 30,000 MW was forced off the grid.
Other U.S. grid operators maintain a capacity market to supply extra power in extreme conditions – paying operators on an ongoing basis, whether they produce power or not. Capacity market auctions determine, three years in advance, the price that power generators receive in exchange for being on emergency standby.
Instead, ERCOT relies on a wholesale electricity market, where free market pricing provides incentives for generators to provide daily power and to make investments to ensure reliability in peak periods, according to economists. The system relied on the theory that power plants should make high profits when energy demand and prices soar – providing them ample money to make investments in, for example, winterization. The Texas legislature restructured the state’s electric market in 1999.
Since 2010, ERCOT’s reserve margin – the buffer between generation capacity versus forecasted demand – has dropped to about 10% from about 20%. This has put pressure on generators during demand spikes, making the grid less flexible, according to North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a nonprofit regulator.
That thin margin for error set off alarms early Monday morning among energy traders and analysts as they watched a sudden drop in the electrical frequency of the Texas grid. One analyst compared it to watching the pulse of a hospital patient drop to life-threatening levels.
Too much of a drop is catastrophic because it would trigger automatic relay switches to disconnect power sources from the grid, setting off uncontrolled blackouts statewide. Dan Jones, an energy analyst at Monterey LLC, watched from his home office in Delaware as the grid’s frequency dropped quickly toward the point that would trigger the automatic shutdowns.
“If you’re not in control, and you are letting the equipment do it, that’s just chaos,” Jones said.
By Sunday afternoon about 3:15 p.m. (CST), ERCOT’s control room signaled it had run out of options to boost electric generation to match the soaring demand. Operators issued a warning that there was “no market solution” for the projected shortage, according to control room messages published by ERCOT on its website.
Adam Sinn, president of Houston-based energy trading firm Aspire Commodities, said ERCOT waited far too long to start telling utilities to cut customers’ power to guard against a grid meltdown. The problems, he said, were readily apparent several days before Monday.
“ERCOT was letting the system get weaker and weaker and weaker,” Sinn said in an interview. “I was thinking: Holy shit, what is this grid operator doing? He has to cut load.”
Sinn said he started texting his friends on Sunday night, warning them to expect widespread outages.
‘SECONDS AND MINUTES’
Early Monday morning, one of the largest sources of electricity in the state – the unit 1 reactor at the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station – stopped producing power after the small section of pipe froze in temperatures that averaged 17 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius). The grid lost access to 1,350 MW of nuclear power – enough to power about 270,000 homes – after automatic sensors detected the frozen pipe and protectively shut down the reactor, said Victor Dricks, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
About 2:30 a.m. (CST), the South Plains Electric Cooperative in Lubbock said it received a phone call from ERCOT to cut power to its customers. Inside the ERCOT control room, staff members scrambled to call utilities and cooperatives statewide to tell them to do the same, according to operational messages disclosed by the grid operator.
Three days later, ERCOT Chief Executive Bill Magness acknowledged that the grid operator had only narrowly avoided the calamity of uncontrolled blackouts.
“If we hadn’t taken action,” he said on Thursday, “it was seconds and minutes (away), given the amount of generation that was coming off the system at the same time that the demand was still going up.”
(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin and Stephanie Kelly; additional reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot)
UK could declare Brexit ‘water wars’ – The Telegraph
(Reuters) – Britain could restrict imports of European mineral water and several food products under retaliatory measures being considered by ministers over Brussels’ refusal to end its blockade on British shellfish, the Telegraph reported.
Senior government sources pointed to potential restrictions on the importing of mineral water and seed potatoes, the report said.
(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
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