What Laptop (September '03)
Rockdirect’s Quaddra DTS (£1644 Inc. VAT)
is appealing to look at. The case is large for a laptop,
but that’s because there’s an impressive
17-inch widescreen display packed inside.
The styling does a good job of disguising the laptop’s
bulk, and it still looks portable, given its 395 x 275
x 35mm dimensions. At 4.3kg it’s certainly not
a machine you’d want to carry regularly, but it’s
okay for occasional short trips away from your desk.
Powering the machine is a 3.06GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor
with 512MB of DDR SDRAM. The first question this brings
to mind for a laptop is cooling. Fast desktop processors
generate a lot of heat, and the large fan vents under
the case are evidence of this. In a smaller laptop the
fan noise would be excessive, but with the processor
and large screen requiring so much power, we felt this
to be a acceptable trade-off. Users who want a quiet
laptop should beware.
Under test with MobileMark 2002, the system scored
147. This shows there is plenty of power to handle demanding
tasks. There’s also reasonable battery life for
such a large machine, since the Quaddra DTS scored,
under test, an average of 126 minutes.
An ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics adapter drives
the screen at 1440 x 900 pixels, and it has 654Mb of
it’s own video memory. The adapter scored 6926
using 3D Mark 20001, making this machine a good choice
for gamers, at least by current standards. The screen
is clear, and text and icons are comfortable to read,
although the panel has a poor range of brightness.
Overall, the build quality of the chassis impressed
us, and seemed strong enough for the extra-wide form
factor. The extra protection behind the large TFT panel
was particularly pleasing.
Such a wide machine affords a full size keyboard and
separate number pad, and there’s room at the sides
for stereo speakers. The number pad means the alphabetic
section is unavoidably offset to the left, but the keyboard
is firm and comfortable to type on and doesn’t
get excessively warm, as do some Desktop Replacement
A three-spindle design gives good storage options,
with an 80Gb Fujitsu hard drive, a Teac DVD/CD-RW combination
drive on the left (DVDR-RW option for £175 inc.
VAT), and a floppy disk drive. As you’d expect,
the large case also provides plenty of connectivity,
including infra red, PS/2 parallel, serial, and a single
Type II PC Card slot. There are also the latest connection
types, with one mini-FireWire and three USB ports. A
minor gripe with the latter is that the two on the case’s
rear were mounted upside down so that devices with LED’s,
such as memory keys, would face the desktop.
A camera is mounted into the lid, and Bluetooth or
WLAN modules can be optionally fitted and controlled
using the on/off switch on the chassis’ front.
There’s a slot underneath the right-hand side
of the chassis that can accommodate some other interesting
options, including a TV Tuner or 6-in-1 Flash Card reader.
Our unit’s specification included a sub-woofer
module that worked well. Prior to fitting, which can
be a bit fiddly, the sound was as we expected for a
laptop: clear but thin and reedy. However, after fitting
the Sub-Woofer, we were impressed by the remarkably
good sound and reasonably strong bass and good volume.
Our only complaint was of a faint clicking noise from
the left stereo speaker before and after fitting the
Sub-Woofer, which was only noticeable in a quiet room.
It’s fair to mention here that our machine was
a pre-production unit, so this may be remedied before
Whether it’s to be used in the office or as a
larger gaming and entertainment machine, the Rockdirect
Quaddra DTS is an excellent example of just how successfully
a laptop can replace a desktop PC.
||Rock Quaddra DTS
|| A Desktop Replacement machine that is worthy
of the space and the name
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