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Quaddra DTS - Computer Arts (Dec '03)

Looking for a versatile, powerful and portable desktop solution for all your digital design ad video editing needs? Then look no further - here’s a laptop that’s as hard as its name.

While its rival may boast bigger or better individual features - be it nicer cases, faster 3D cards or built-in TV tuners - The Rock DTS, wrapped up in its pleasing silver livery, still manages to outstrip them all. Here, at last, is a laptop that truly earns the moniker ‘desktop replacement’.

First off, there’s the impressive processor, a 3.06GHz Pentium 4, which uses Hyperthreading technology with supported apps to significantly improve performance. Hyperthreading enables the CPU to act as two ‘virtual’ processors, each of which can then act independently. This technology proves invaluable when running multiple apps, enabling you to, say, render video or a 3D model in the background while simultaneously working on another app.

The hard drive, too, proves to be a winner. The fastest on test, its speed was onlt bettered by its counterpart on the otherwise lacklustre P20. The DTS also provided the fastest 3D benchmark performance, while the raw CPU tests rated it top of all the Pentium-based laptops.

Of course, if you plan to use laptop for any 3D work, decent 3D accelerator is a must. Here, too, the DTS has the advantage, using the Mobility Radeon 9000 accelerator, a powerful high-end card that significantly outperforms the P20’s already nippy NVIDIA processor. And by carrying its own dedicated graphics memory, it avoids consuming RAM vital for running your apps, unlike lower-end chips.

Sadly, the gorgeous 17-inch screen, running at a WXGA+ resolution of 1440 x 900, had a predictable impact on battery life - in this case, we squeezed out just one hour 24 minutes with no power management. Turn all power management features on and the screen brightness down, though, and you can extend that figure significantly. Mind you, this is only fine for working on non-creative projects. If you’re designing, editing video or 3D modelling, you’ll want full brightness to maintain good colour fidelity.

In terms of RAM capacity, 512MB from the off seems rather mean - 1GB would’ve been better. Still, the generous 80GB hard drive more than makes up for it; if you’re doing video editing, you’re going to have plenty of room to spare.

A complete creative and entertainment solution, the Rock DTS also comes with a built -in Webcam, DVD/CD writer and great sound - it’s the only laptop in our Group Test that boasts its own five-speaker system, complete with sub-woofer! For us, though, the icing on the cake has to be Rock’s three-year collect-and-return warranty. Considering the fact that new screens can cost around £500, this service adds several hundred pounds to the value of the laptop and makes it considerably good value for money.

  VERDICT: 4.5/5
    It’s amazing that you can get a laptop this attractive, this powerful and this big for under £2000. You literally can throw your desktop PC in the bin and do everything on the DTS.

 

 

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