Quaddra XT Pro
PC Pro (October '04)
Although it uses a very similar chassis
to the Mesh, the Rock is quite a different system. It
uses a SiS645 chipset instead of the Mesh’s SiS648.
This runs on a 533MHz bus, which gives the CPU a speed
of 3.06GHz. Mesh’s runs on an 800MHz bus, which
is why the CPU has a marginally slower clock speed.
The Quaddra outperformed the Mesh in our 2D benchmarks
- 1.48 against 1.30. However, tables were turned
in 3D. With an older Radeon 9000 core in place, the
Rock was about 25 per cent slower in both games, managing
34fps in Unreal Tournament 2004, but only 15fps in Halo.
As you’d expect, the 15in TFT is identical to
Mesh’s. Again, it lacks a certain amount of sharpness
but we appreciate the high brightness. It doesn’t
have the kudos of HPs widescreen TFT, but the 1,400x1,050
resolution means the desktop area is much bigger than
the XGA screens on show.
The two machines are tied again when it comes to built-in
storage. Both have a 60GB hard disk, and they share
identical DVD writers, namely a dual-format unit from
Sony This isn’t quite as fast as the Acer’s
Lite-On at dealing with CDs, but they’re all equal
on the various DVD formats.
Where the Rock really slips behind the Mesh is at networking.
The Quaddra doesn’t support gigabit Ethernet,
but more importantly it doesn’t have wireless
LAN, despite the misleading switch on the front of the
system. Instead of the media card reader, Rock has installed
a floppy disk drive, which won’t be used by many
Both machines share the same connectivity with USB 2
and FireWire ports. The Rock benefits from a third USB
port, as one isn’t used for wireless LAN. There’s
also the webcam above the screen for video conferencing
or instant messaging.
In use, the Rock ran noticeably hotter and noisier than
the Mesh. The wristrest became uncomfortably hot even
on fairly basic tasks, such as word processing. When
the fan kicks in, it’s very noisy and obtrusive
- certainly a distraction when you’re trying
to do some work. Although it’s faster in 2 D tasks,
in most other areas the Rock fell behind the standard
set by Mesh. Given that they’re the same price,
it’s only the three-year collect-and-return warranty
and pre-loaded anti-virus software that make the Rock
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