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Quaddra Ti

PC Advisor (August '04)

There’s no other way to put it: the Quaddra Ti is simply the best notebook money can buy. But boy do you need a lot of money. It’s a no-holds-barred combination of the very best features and specifications on the market. In fact, it laughs in the face of budgetary requirements. Sadly, here at PC Advisor we have to factor in such mundane things when we test systems so the Quaddra Ti doesn’t get our unqualified approval. But for anyone with bottomless pockets, it comes highly recommended.

Rock’s Quaddra has exactly the same chassis as AJP’s D870P (opposite) and is laden with a similarly impressive feature set. This classy, black-and-silver home-entertainment model is designed to cope with anything you throw at it. The widescreen 17in TFT is the best notebook display we’ve seen for watching DVD’s, supporting a maximum resolution of 1,440 x 900.

There’s four card-reader slots supporting seven formats, a built-in video camera and the Sony DVD-RW DW-U54A drive - the best DVD writer ever to grace a notebook. Built-in network and Bluetooth support as well as superfast 802.11g Wi-Fi take care of connectivity.

In fact, the only area where the AJP D8700P genuinely beats the Rock Quaddra Ti is in terms of hard drive storage. That said, the Quaddra Ti’s 60GB is about par for our Power notebook chart.

Great graphics
Another brilliant addition to the Quaddra Ti is ATI’s 256MB Radeon 9700 Mobility graphics setup. This is the latest ATI graphics platform for notebooks, and its inclusion future proofs the Rock for next-generation gaming. We particularly enjoyed seeing the Radeon 9700 Mobility in action when combined with the clear 17in screen, and we got some impressive frame rates on our Quake III test - even at 1,600 x 1,200.

As a travelling companion the Quaddra Ti won’t satisfy. It’s too heavy to carry around and the processor isn’t equipped with mobile technology so battery life is minimal. We tested this model with MobileMark and it returned an average battery life of 100 minutes. Its forte is as a desktop-replacement system and here it excels, largely because Rock has packed the Quaddra Ti with sheer power.

Combining a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 processor with 1GB DDR RAM, the Quaddra returned a WorldBench 4 score of 127. This may not be much faster than other Power notebooks in our chart, but it’s good proof that the Quaddra Ti is commited to good performance.

At this price you would expect to see your investment protected by a solid guarantee, so we were pleased to note that Rock’s costly Quaddra Ti is covered by a generous three-year collect-and-return warranty.

When Rock’s technicians came up with the Quaddra Ti they probably knew it was a model built for wish fulfilment rather than common sense. We can but commend their bravado. This notebook is unlikely to be a huge seller but if you can afford it we’re green with envy.

The little things that matter
If you don’t know your onions when you decide to purchase a new notebook, it’s easy to miss some of the specifications that go towards making a model a worthy buy. Even semi-literate IT consumers can bypass some of the hidden specifications, but it’s the little extra’s that demonstrate how much manufacturers have out in to their models.

Take the Quaddra Ti, for example. We’ve listed the main specifications in the review, but take a closer look and you’ll see that this model is tweaked to perfection. While the 60Gb hard drive has an average amount of storage, the spindle speed is an impressive 7,200rpm (rotations per minute). Most notebook hard drives can only spin at 4,200rpm, meaning they can’t access data as quickly. Ditto the DDR memory, which has a bandwidth of 400MHz - currently the best available for notebook memory.

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Quaddra Ti - PC Advisor (Aug '04)

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