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Pegasus CT - PC Plus (Aug '03)

The Pegasus CT is the first laptop from Rock based on Intel’s impressive technology, but can it live up to the Intel sale sheet?

As Centrino continues to make an impact, more manufacturers are rolling out laptops based on Intel’s technology. The Pegasus CT is the first such machine from Rock, positioned alongside the Company’s existing P4-M-based Xeno, and P4-powered Quaddra models. With the entry-level Pegasus CT packing a 1.3GHz Pentium-M, 256MB RAM, and a 30GB HD, the new range steps up through 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz portables to a CT with a 16GHz chip, 512MB Ram and a 40GB HD.

This review model slots in £200 cheaper than the PCT-1.6, featuring the slightly slower 1.5GHz Pentium-M processor. Comparable to a 2GHz P4-M, the 1.5GHz chip has enough grunt to handle most business and multimedia applications you care to throw at it. With 512MB of RAM and a 40GB hard disk, it forms the heart of a solid specification. Want more? Up to 1GB of RAM can be fitted if required, while the HD can be boosted from the standard 40GB drive supplied here, up to 80GB.

With a 1MB L2 cache and the lower voltage/high - power Pentium-M, the Pegasus CT should deliver excellent all-round performance. Especially if its Centrino guts live up to their potential. In benchmarking tests with MobileMark 2002, it doesn’t disappoint, posting a score of 143. To put this number in perspective, Rock’s blue-tinged portable is a better-balanced system than some of the higher-end P4-M systems we’ve seen recently. It’s also on a par with the Asus M2N, thanks in no small part of battery life of over four hours and a MobileMark rating of 149.

Working faster for longer….

Measuring 315x275x25mm, the Pegasus CT is certainly portable. It’s also lightweight, tipping the scales at only 2.4kg. But despite its thin 25mm height, it still feels surprisingly chunky. This is a shame, because one of the biggest draws of a machine like the Pegasus CT is its ability to work faster for longer.

The 14.1 inch XGA TFT display (1,024x768) is undoubtedly crisp and clear, and there’s room for a combo QSI DVD/CD-RW drive on the right-hand side. We’ve come to expect two USB 2.0 ports as standard, but Rock go one better and incorporate three. A 4-pin Firewire, LAN and modem jacks, plus a single Type II PCMCIA interface complete the main features. And, of course, as a proud Centrino-badged laptop, the Pegasus CT comes with Intel’s Pro/Wireless 2100 chipset for 802.1Ib wireless networking.

But far from ‘Extreme’

If anything lets this machine down, it’s the graphics performance. True, laptops rarely impress under testing. They often ‘tolerate’ multimedia applications and games rather than running them with any enthusiasm. Using Intel’s 855GM board, Rock has opted for the unimpressive power that the integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2 chipset can provide. It’s a cheaper but less powerful option than a dedicated graphics processor such as the GEForce4 Go or Mobility Radeon. Consequently, it musters a poor 1,843 in 3Dmark 2001SE.

Running Windows XP Pro, the PCT-1.5 package also includes a copy of Ability Office 2002, Panda Antivirus software, and a leatherette carry case - a minimum suite to get you started. Alongside a row of CD control buttons on the slim front edge (complete with electric blue LEDs), its also worth noting that Rock has also added a 4-in-1 card reader, that can access data on MS, SM and SD/MMC flash media formats.

Despite the fact that it boots up with an ear-splitting beep and lacks the smooth style of some other laptops, the Pegasus CT proves a good mobile performer. Good basic speed is combined with a decent battery life, and 802.1lb for extended mobility. The combo DVD/CD-RW drive and flash card reader, complement this, giving it a multimedia edge in short: a good configuration, at a competitive price.

  MODEL: Pegasus CT 1.5
  FOR: Good system performance. A four hour battery life. 4-in-1 flash card reader.
  AGAINST: Chunky Design. Poor Graphics Performance.
  VALUE: 7/10
  FEATURES: 8/10
  OVERALL: 8/10



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More Pegasus CT Reviews:
PC Home (Sep '03)
• PC Plus (Aug '03)
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