Razer Cortex review

PC housekeeping for gamers

Razer Cortex

Our Verdict

Razer Cortex's most impressive feature (Game Booster) works well, but the software is bulked out with system optimization tools that only perform basic scans and offer limited opportunities for customization. It might help wring a few extra FPS out of your system, but we'd give the System Booster component a miss in favor of something more powerful.

For

  • Automatic optimization
  • Scheduled scans and cleaning
  • Clean, simple interface

Against

  • Includes unnecessary extras
  • Scan results lack detail

Razer Cortex is a free PC optimization tool from gaming peripheral maker Razer. Not only does it perform the usual housework (deleting temporary files, emptying the Recycle Bin, checking for broken registry entries and so on), it also suspends non-essential processes to free up RAM while you’re gaming.

It’s worth noting that when you install Razer Cortex, you’ll also have the option of installing two other tools: Razer SoftMiner and Razer Synapse. 

Razer SoftMiner is software for mining Razer Silver (which Razer is keen to point out isn’t a cryptocurrency). This can be redeemed against the company’s peripherals, games and vouchers, but you need to spend hundreds of days mining to earn something as large as a keyboard, and your PC will run slower while mining. 

Razer Synapse a hardware configuration tool for tasks like binding buttons, assigning macros, and adjusting your keyboard or mouse’s lighting.  If you own a Razer peripheral you probably already have it installed.

User experience

The first time you start Razer Cortex, you’ll be prompted to log in with Facebook, Google or Twitch, or create a new Razer account. However, if you’d prefer not to surrender your details, you can continue as a guest without registering.

Razer Cortex itself has three parts: Game Booster, System Booster and Game Deals. Game Booster frees up resources when you’re gaming and kicks in automatically when you run games from Origin, Steam or your desktop. System Booster works much like other PC optimization software like CCleaner, clearing out junk files, defragging drives and otherwise tidying up your system. Game Deals, as the name implies, provides a roundup of current deals on Steam, HumbleBundle, IndieGala and others

Razer Cortex

(Image credit: Razer)

Game Booster lets you choose how to optimize your PC’s gaming performance using a simple list of checkboxes. First are ‘specials’: tasks like disabling CPU sleep mode, turning off automatic updates, clearing the clipboard and clearing RAM. There’s nothing here that you couldn’t do yourself (and it’s questionable whether some options will have any noticeable impact on performance), but being able to toggle them all on and off with a single click is unquestionably convenient. 

You can also use Game Booster to end processes and services (much like you can with the task manager) though naturally you should only disable those you’re certain you don’t need.

System Booster looks very much like IObit Advanced SystemCare Free (one of our highest rated PC optimization tools), but is much simpler. It’s possible to drill through the scan results by clicking ‘View details’, but you don’t get the same level of detail, or reasons why you should consider removing the identified files.

Razer Cortex

(Image credit: Razer)

Once you’ve chosen what to remove, you can eliminate it all with a single click. It’s also possible to schedule scans and automate clean-ups if you delve into System Booster’s settings. Here, you can also choose whether to keep temporary files created within the last 24 hours, and to keep cookies from certain domains (handy if you don’t want to be logged out of your email or social media accounts).

System Booster can also defrag the games installed on your PC, which should in theory make them run faster. This option won’t be available if your games are on an SSD, which is good to see – SSDs don’t benefit from defragging, and attempting it can reduce their lifespan.

If you’re a gamer, Razer Cortex has some advantages over other PC optimization software – particularly the ability to suspend non-essential processes automatically to free up resources – but for general housekeeping we’re inclined to recommend a more straightforward cleanup tool without the gaming bells and whistles.

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