Pegasus Ti - What Laptop (Sep '04)
In brief: A clean-looking compact chassis that manages to disguise how powerful it really is.
rockdirect is a UK-based company that specialises in laptops, offering a range of machines from entry-level to gaming specific (for the latest Xtreme review see page 93).
The rockdirect Pegasus Ti (£1761 inc. VAT) is the latest addition to its desktop replacement range. The casing of the Pegasus Ti has a simple clean look that comprises black and silver toughened plastic. Build quality is satisfactory, but not as good as some of the other machines in this review group. Considering this is the most portable machine here, the protection behind the screen could have been better.
The system has a 15.4-inch widescreen display that supports a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. As you would expect from a laptop that is intended to be used as a desktop replacement, the graphics subsystem is at the top end of the market with an Ati Mobility Radeon 9700 and 128MB of dedicated VRAM. In this machine its test score sits narrowly above the average with 10187, and it will handle the latest DirectX 9 compliant games.
The basic design is proving a popular choice with manufacturers, as the same casing is also available from AJP and Evesham. That said, the Pegasus Ti is the first version of this chassis that we have seen fitted with Intel’s fastest Pentium M processor, the 755, which has a clock speed of 2GHz. The processor is supported by 1024MB DDR SDRAM and the laptop comes with a 60GB Hitachi hard drive that runs at a fast 7200rpm. Such a specification is more than capable of handling tasks previously restricted to a desktop PC. This was borne out by a MobileMark 2002 score of 232, the highest of the group. One reason why new mobile processors are gaining such high benchmarks is that they have a large amount of high-speed cache memory on-board (2MB in the Pentium M 755 chip), which speeds up data fetching. They are also very power-efficient, helping this machine to gain third place in the battery life tests with 174 minutes. At just less than three hours it won’t let you work all day away from mains power, but when combined with the 3kg weight = which is modest for a widescreen laptop - the Pegasus Ti is relatively portable.
Thanks also to the mobile processor, the Pegasus is a quiet machine, due to very little fan activity. We found that the fan would activate for no longer than a second whenever the system was taxed, such as when transferring large files.
The keyboard is of a good size with the keys well spaced. However, over prolonged use we found that they proved to be slow and unresponsive - quick touch typists will certainly be disappointed by the overall quality of the keyboard, this is Pegasus’s weakest feature. Speakers are located either side of the keyboard, with one on the bottom of the unit to give better bass. While playback is still tinny it seems that audio is something that manufacturers are at least trying to address. S/PDIF, min-FireWire, microphone and headphones sockets are located on the front of the case along with memory card reader that accepts SD/MMC and MJS-format cards.
The optical drive bay of the Pegasus feels as though it was designed for a try drive as opposed to the slot-loading DVD-RW/RAM drive that is fitted. This is because the drive bay is recessed, creating an overhang that can make slotting a disc in rather awkward. The drive itself proved quick and responsive, although it was quite noisy.
The rockdirect Pegasus Ti is a fast machine. It’s specifications and performance certainly tell a convincing story, and it’s the fastest machine in this group. However, the build quality wad a little below par and we didn’t like the unresponsive nature of the keyboard. It is early days for this chassis and we expect that these problems will be resolved, making this a powerful, compact package.