Razer has been pushing into all kinds of new niches lately, but before yesterday, it had yet to sell a full standalone desktop PC. Which is weird, given its position as the trend-setter of the PC gaming world. After a few years of making limited case designs, the Tomahawk is Razer’s first top-to-bottom desktop gaming PC.
Razer calls the design both SFF (which stands for “small form factor,” a la Shuttle) and modular, which are both true. The latter description comes because it’s based on Intel’s NUC 9 platform: it includes a Compute Element module that contains the processor, motherboard, and RAM all in one piece, and add on the graphics card to suit your needs. That makes the Tomahawk considerably less modular than, say, a standard ATX desktop PC, but upgrading in different “chunks” (NUC module, M.2 SSDs, graphics card) should be fairly easy. Access to the internals is granted via a nifty sliding rail system on the rear.
The NUC is based around a Core i9-9980HK, a powerful 8-core processor that’s a bit behind the cutting edge, because Intel hasn’t updated its Compute Element platform yet. The module includes two USB-C ports and four USB-A, plus an almost ancillary HDMI port, two Ethernet ports for hardwired networking, and a headphone jack on the rear. The rest of the I/O comes from the graphics card. The RGB-equipped case can handle a full-length card, and with its compact 750-watt power supply, it can keep it going, too. Generous venting on the side and rear keep the components cool. There’s a 512GB SSD drive and a 2TB hard disk in there, with an additional empty M.2 slot for extra storage. The setup uses 16GB of RAM (which should be upgradeable with laptop SO-DIMMs if you open up the Intel Compute Element), Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0.
But don’t expect the Tomahawk to be competitive in terms of price with home-built ITX gaming PCs, or even boutique offerings from other manufacturers, like the Corsair One. The base price for the tiny Tomahawk is $2400, and that doesn’t include a graphics card. If you want to add on the latest NVIDIA RTX 3080 instead of supplying your own, the price jumps up to $3640. Consider that, At the moment it’s “sold out” on Razer’s store, so it looks like the high price isn’t deterring the company’s biggest fans.