Quaddra XT - Computer Shopper (Sep '03)

Rock’s latest notebook is certainly a formidable offering. With Intel’s top-of-the-range Pentium 4 3GHz processor, Bluetooth support and a webcam, it has plenty of power and features. For those that need to produce offline copies of their work on the move, a 24-speed (24X) CD writer is built in.

The 3GHz processor is a desktop component and as such requires more cooling than a mobile chip. This makes the notebook slightly noisy when the extra fan kicks in but this model is still thinner and lighter than previous 3GHz notebooks we’ve seen, such as the Alienware Are-51m (What’s new, July 2003). The use of a desktop processor also diminishes battery life because it draws significantly more power than it’s mobile counterpart.

Bluetooth technology is built into the chassis for the wireless communication with phones, PDA’s and other suitably equipped devices. This is particularly useful for accessing email via a GPRS mobile phone.

The ATI Radeon Mobility 9000 graphics chipset played its parting achieving a 3DMark2001 SE score of 6,697 and a 3Dmark03 score 1,013: enough power for most games. Performance is equally impressive for Windows applications, with an overall score of 228 in SYSmark2002 benchmark. Internet content creating was clocked at 347, while office productivity was rated at 150. These ratings are about the best you can get today from a notebook, although they fall below what you would expect form a desktop PC with a similar specification.

USB2 and wired LAN are both supported, and although the lack of wireless 802.11b networking is unfortunate, this can be added with a PC Card for a little extra. One PC Card slot is available with a floppy drive just below. The built in webcam sits above the 15.1” LCD screen, housed in the usual featureless plastic surround. The camera angle and focus is fixed, which limits the camera to be used only when you’re sat directly in front of the notebook.

At 3.5 Kg this probably isn’t a notebook you’d want to carry at all times but it certainly isn’t as heavy as other 3GHz notebooks we’ve seen, which have weighed up to 4.5Kg. Its dimensions are also reasonable given the power within.

This is an impressive notebook at a reasonable price. For those looking for a portable desktop replacement with serious power, this is a good bet. To get such a level of performance and extras just three months ago would have cost more than £2000.

  Extremely small and light for such a powerful model.
  No Wireless networking built in.

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