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Quaddra DTS Pro

3D World (February '04)

Don’t be tied to your desktop, take it wherever you go

There’s portability and then there’s portability. Machines such as the IBM T40p (reviewed on page 84) offer an ultra-low weight, considerable battery life and compact size. You get a machine that you could comfortably carry around in a backpack all day, albeit at the expensive of ergonomics and performance. Then there’s the other type of laptop; the so-called ‘desktop replacement’ As the name indicates, these systems are not designed as a mobile alternative to your desktop PC, but as a replacement for it.

The Quaddra DTS Pro is probably one of the best examples of the breed. It has a massive 17-inch wide screen display, and runs at a resolution of 1440 x 900. It uses a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 processor, complete with Intel’s Hyper-Threading Technology. That means the processor is exceptionally good when it comes to multi-tasking, so while your rendering, you can still continue to use the computer. It also means that in applications that support it, the processor will act like two separate ones, producing up to 20 percent better performance. Of course, for serious work, you’ll also need lots of memory; the DTS comes with 1GB, which is adequate for most tasks.

For 3D users, the thing that sets this laptop apart from most of the competition is its Radeon Mobility 9600 Pro graphics accelerator. This accelerator offers excellent performance across both DirectX - and Open GL - accelerated applications and it’s the fastest laptop accelerator we’ve ever seen, leaving behind the FireGL 9000 and the entire NVIDEA Go family. In our benchmarks, the 9600 beat’s the FireGL 9000 in four out of six SPECviewperf 6.1.2 benchmarks (see the benchmarks table below for the figures). If you plan to work with a lot of lights, the Fire GL 9000 is a better choice; otherwise this is vastly superior. It comes with 128MB of dedicated RAM, so you don’t have to share system memory to unlock the machine’s maximum performance.

One of the disadvantages of a large screen is the amount of power that it consumes. Of course, there are power-saving measures that you can adopt, but in continuous use, the Quaddra’s batteries last barely one and a half hours. That’s long enough to make a presentation or watch a short movie, but for anything more protracted, you’re going to need to hook up to the mains, or carry spares. Weighing in at 3.6 kilos, the last thing you want to do is carry around extra batteries with you. Having said that, if you’re travelling by car and making presentations in an office, neither the short battery life nor the Quaddras’ weight will matter to you.

The unit includes a versatile DVD/CD writer so you can create DVDs away from your office. It also enables you to make backups of your work. And with thress USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port, this is a machine tailor-made for expansion. You can add external hard drives, video and still capture devices, camcorders and broadband modems, scanners and printers and more to your hearts’ content. To cap it all, it’s ideal for video conferencing on the move.

The Quaddra DTS Pro is a laptop for the connoisseur. It’s as fast as PC laptops get, with enough storage, memory and connectivity to ensure that it won’t limit your options. It’s both stylish and highly effective.

MODEL Rock Quaddra DTS Pro
PROS Powerful; and versatile. Excellent 3D performance. Highly expandable.
CONS A heavy hombre. Short battery life.


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All Quaddra DTS Pro reviews

Quaddra DTS Pro - Laptop Magazine (May '04)
Quaddra DTS Pro - 3D World (Feb '04)

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