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AI hardware, PC gaming rig maker partner on powerful AI/ML laptop

Lambda, Razer take on Apple with Tensorbook for ML engineers

AI hardware company Lambda and PC gaming rig maker Razer are hoping to steal some thunder from Apple's M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro with a new laptop designed explicitly for machine learning engineers.

The two companies claimed their new 15.6-inch Lambda Tensorbook is the "world's most powerful laptop for deep learning." They said the notebook's 16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q GPU delivers up to four times faster model training performance than Apple's M1 Max processor with a 32-core GPU.

Stephen Balaban, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco, California-based Lambda, said the Tensorbook is meant to give ML engineers a dedicated GPU laptop so that they don't have to rely on remotely accessing a server, which can slow down development.

"When you're stuck SSHing into a remote server, you don't have any of your local data or code and even have a hard time demoing your model to colleagues. The Razer x Lambda Tensorbook solves this," he said. "It's pre-installed with PyTorch and TensorFlow and lets you quickly train and demo your models: all from a local GUI interface. No more SSH!"

With its $3,499 pricetag, the Tensorbook looks competitive when compared to the $4,299 price of the 16-inch MacBook Pro with a similar configuration. On top of the RTX 3080 GPU, the Tensorbook packs an eight-core Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, 64GB of DDR4 memory, 2TB of SSD storage and ports for Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 and HDMI 2.1 in a slim 4.4-pound aluminum chassis. The full specs are here.

While Irvine, California-based Razer has plenty of experience making high-performance gaming laptops, the real AI brains behind this device come from Lambda, which makes GPU-powered clusters and servers as well as deep learning workstations for AI researchers. Among the company's customers are MIT, Amazon, Caltech, the Los Alamos National Lab and insurer Anthem.

Lambda also provides its own GPU cloud services, and when combined with the Tensorbook's capabilities, the two can give "engineers all the software tools and compute performance they need to create, train, and test deep learning models locally," according to Lambda.

The Tensorbook runs on Ubuntu Linux, and is equipped with Lambda Stack, which makes aims to make it easy to stay up to date with the latest version of the TensorFlow, PyTorch and Keras frameworks as well as Nvidia's CUDA software. The laptop can also run Windows 10 Pro.

If you're the kind of person who wants technical support for Lambda's offerings, it will cost you extra.

Lambda is charging $349 for one year of priority technical support, which also includes a one-year warranty and accidental damage cover, and that goes up to $1,299 for three years of support. A basic one-year warranty comes free with the laptop, however. ®

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