What Laptop Magazine (February
Rockdirect serve up a combination of reliability and
power in a familiar style.
Made from toughened plastic,rather than
magnesium alloy, the Sigma is well constructed.
rockdirect ’s Sigma range of laptops is the company
’s entry-level offering and manages to mix processing
power and storage into a chassis that offers a number
of appealing features. The Sigma Di (£1056 inc.VAT)
shares a chassis design with two other laptops in this
review, the sdIT Benton and the Viglen Dossier,and has
proven to be a popular chassis for the past 18 months.
While the chassis is beginning to show its age in terms
of design, its connectivity options and performance
are still impressive. Made from toughened plastic, rather
than magnesium alloy, the Sigma Di is well onstructed.We
expect that the casing should readily be able to stand
up to the rigours of mobile life. Less impressive, though,was
the support for the display. Held in place by three
hinges, the Sigma ’s screen, unfortunately, tended
to bounce rather aggressively when typing.The 14.1 inch
TFT display is bright, even when running on battery
power, and has a native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.
The display is supported by the integrated SiS 650 graphics
adapter, which uses system memory in order to run applications
rather than using its own dedicated mem- ory.The adapter
is adequate for 2D use, as shown by a 2D graphics benchmark
of 173.1, which was well above the average for the group.
Its 3D performance was less satisfactory and well below
the average for the group of 155.7. The keyboard is
firmly mounted in the chassis but being a membrane board
there is a good deal of bounce,especially in the centre,
where it is least supported.That said,we found the keyboard
of the Sigma Di to be of better
quality than those of the sdIT SD Benton and the Viglen
Dossier. The laptop ’s motherboard can support
a maximum processor speed of 2GHz ,in this case a desk-
top Pentium 4. While this offers no future upgrade path
for the processor, many will find that this is sufficient.
Under test, the Sigma scored a processor benchmark of
285.5, just above the average for the group. However,
this was to be expected, given that all processors in
this review were Pentium 4 chips but with speeds ranging
between the 1.8GHz of the Samsung V20 XTC to the 2.6GHz
of the Advent 7012.A large fan on the right-hand side
of the chassis prevents the air inside the chassis from
getting too hot. The processor is supported by 256MB
of DDR SDRAM that is more than sufficient to run applications.
The supplied operating system is Windows XP Home. Rockdirect
has opted to bundle a selection of applications with
the Sigma Di. Panda is an antivirus package that protects
users who download files from the internet or receive
email attachments.The 30GB Fujitsu hard drive offers
plenty of space for stor- ing files and extra programs.For
playing DVD videos there is a copy Intervideo ’s
WinDVD,while for copying and recording CD-Rs,a ver-
sion of Roxio ’s Easy CD Creator 5 has been installed.
Being an older design of laptop, the Sigma Di is a three-spindle
machine with a combination DVD/CD-RW drive located on
the right-hand side of the chassis. Rockdirect is one
of only two companies in the group, the other being
MESH, which offer a three- year warranty at no extra
cost. This covers the collect and return of the laptop
but excludes the battery. Even so, considering that
most manufacturers offer in excess of ten percent of
the laptop ’s original cost or a warranty upgrade,
this is a worth while addition. e found the Rockdirect
Sigma i to be a very usable and powerful laptop while
the movement of thedisplay pointed us, the clarity of
the screen and action of the key-board were more than
satisfactory, proving that while the Sigma maybe based
on an older chassis design, it is still capable of offering
good, all-round performance.
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