What Laptop (December '04)
In Brief: decent performance and great graphics from this sturdy desktop replacement
UK based laptop specialist, rockdirect, has maintained a good reputation for covering a wide range of consumer needs. Offering everything from gaming powerhouses, to entry-level models, the newest unit from the rockdirect labs is the Quaddra DTS (£1291 inc. VAT); a truly robust desktop replacement.
Built around a tried and tested rockdirect chassis, the Quaddra DTS makes no pretence to pass itself off a s a portable device. Strong, sturdy and, above all, big, this is a desktop replacement in the truest sense of the term that weights in at a hefty 4.4kg. Driven by a desktop Intel 3.2GHZ Pentium 4 processor, the system is clearly designed for power, ad packs a sufficient high-end specification, to ensure it proves a strong enough competitor to standard desktop machines.
In tests, the Quaddra DTS didn’t perform quite as well as would be expected. Ahieving a MobileMark 2002 score of 138, the rockdirect is adequate for standard office tasks, but we were hoping for more from such a well-specified system. In general use though, the Quaddra DTS easily managed to open and run applications with speed an ease. Regardless of the lacklustre benchmark results, few users will find much to complain about, for everyday desktop requirements.
Graphics benchmarks produced far more pleasing results, and showed plenty of promise for the Quaddra DTS as a gaming and multimedia machine. With graphics coming from and ATi Mobility Radeon 9700, it came as no surprise that our 3Dmark 2001 tests produced an impressive score of 9211; just shy of the 10000 standard expected from a gaming beast, and second highest in this test.
Audio performance proved just as competent, with a nice level of bass and treble bringing a degree of warmth to music and games, a feature that is sadly lacking from many laptops.
A particularly nice touch came from the 17-inch TFT screen, which dominates the laptop, and allows a great degree of visibility when running applications side-by-side. A native resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels delivers a clear, if not quite perfect, display, with good colours and deep levels of contrast.
Compatibility is more of a mixed bag with the Quaddra DTS. While the usual additions, such as PC Card slots and Firewire ports are al in place, a pretty standard feature of contemporary machines is conspicuously missing. On our test machine, we found no WiFi support; not even for the older 802.11b standard. The unit can clearly support such a feature, in the form of a Mini-PCI card, with rockkdirect offering it as an optional extra at £69 (inc. VAT).
In use, the Quaddra DTS provided a more than suitable replacement for a bulkier desktop PC format. The keyboard is strong and well laid-out, and all keys operated responsively. The touchpad and mouse buttons were equally comfortable to use, and achieved everything we asked of them with no trouble at all.
Though certainly not a great choice for a portable laptop. For a life spent sitting on a desk, the Quaddra DTS can more than pull its weight, and could well make you forget about your old tower system.
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