If you look up the sentence “why are gaming PC so…” on Google, the search engine’s autocomplete suggest two queries as the most popular: “expensive” and “ugly”. While the first one is expected — it’s totally understandable to try and understand why a powerful PC costs more than the average one — the second one had me surprised. It tells us something quite interesting: people genuinely dislike the outrageous and brutalist designs that, for some reason and for over a decade, PC manufacturers think are the only aesthetics capable of conveying the power and speed of their high-perfomance products. While in the portable gaming PC realm you can find decent solutions that won’t make you look like a Fast and Furious die-hard fan (Asus’ ROG Zephyrus S, for example), gaming desktops still are, for the most part, bulky and ugly.
Razor’s new Tomahawk gaming PC is the first one of its ilk that tries to radically change this status quo. The diminutive desktop, introduced by the company at CES 2020, is based on a modular design that makes it easy to swap and upgrade components, while keeping the machine’s weight low for easier portability. Designed around Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element, the Tomahawk can be “equipped with up to an Intel® 9th Gen i9-9980HK 8-Core processor” delivering “faster performance for AAA game titles, content creation and streaming, while its NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 20 series graphics support a fully optimized ray-tracing experience”. In other words: still extremely powerful, but offers a completely different - and very opinionated - take on what a top gaming desktop should look like.
Razer itself understand that this design change could help market the Tomahawk to a wider number of professionals that have no intention whatsoever to use the PC as a gaming rig. The company generically refers to them as creators in the fields of photography, videography, and animation, but the group could be expanded to designers and architects, and in general to all the professionals who need machines that are both powerful and well designed. People who work in well designed studios where the usual monster PC with blinking LED lights and glowing cooling systems simply wouldn’t fit.
There’s just one thing that doesn’t really fit with Razer’s new design vision, though, and it’s the name. “Tomahawk” is reminiscent of war and combat, wether you’re thinking of the Native American handheld weapon, or the late-American airborne one. This is a machine of construction, though, not destruction: it would be better served by a name that really reflects its aesthetics and its positive nature.