Computer Active Magazine (August
A new desktop replacement from Rock with a powerful
Pentium 4 processor and plenty of features.
Beneath the dark silver case of the new Quaddra from
Rock lies all the power you would expect in a desktop
PC. The term ‘desktop replacement’ is regularly
bandied around by manufacturers and reviewers in reference
to notebooks but what exactly does a notebook PC need
to entitle it to such a term?
If pretensions of desktop replacement are harboured,
a good base specification is essential. The Rock Quaddra
has a 2GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor so it has power
to spare for all applications and programs you will
through at it. It is not a mobile Pentium 4, however.
That means that it has plenty of power but it does not
use the special SpeedStep technology to prolong battery
life when on the move. Although the battery lasted nearly
two and a half hours it took hours to charge so it really
isn’t the greatest mobile computer solution.
The main advantage of standard P4s over the mobile
version is that it results in a cheaper notebook. At
3.2kg, carrying it around will lead to arm ache, which
means the Quaddra is better suited to working on a desk
near a power supply than on a train platform or airport
The 256Mb of DDR memory fitted in the Quaddra is a
realistic minimum these days. Although Windows XP will
run with 128Mb, it strangles performance a little. If
you feel you would need more memory, you can specify
it (at extra cost) when you buy.
With 2GHz processor, we’d be tempted to add memory
to do any photo retouching or video work. The 30Gb hard
disk should prove enough for the majority of users.
One interesting, nifty feature of the hard disk is that
it uses Fujitsu Siemen’s silent technology to
keep your computing as quiet as possible.
With a good specification in place, the next hurdle
for would-be desktop replacement computers is the number
of features they have. Expanding and upgrading a notebook
PC is far more expensive and tricky than doing up desktops
so having plenty of features is vitally important.
Removable storage is catered for by a CD-RW/DVD-ROM
combination drive. There is an optional, external floppy
drive available for extra cost but there is little use
for it when if you have a handful of CD-RWs at your
disposal. The DVD-ROM part of the drive puts DVD software
within reach as well as DVD movies.
Combined with the large 15in display, the whole viewing
experience is pretty impressive. The display is sharp
and although the SiS 650 integrated graphics chip is
a modest performer, video playback is smooth and jitter
free. The graphics chip is actually where the Quaddra
is least convincing as a desktop replacement computer.
It does lack powerful graphics like many notebooks,
which means games players would find it a weak machine.
Sound performance is also fairly limited for games use
although a S/PDIF digitial output means a home cinema
speaker system can be hooked up for good-quality sound
reproduction from DVD movie soundtracks.
Connectivity is superb, with all the ports you are
ever likely to need on a desktop computer. Aside from
the PS/2 and parallel ports, there are three USB ports
for hooking up peripherals. An internal modem and network
connection allow owners to hook up to the internet and
to any other computer they might want to share files
with. The single type II PC card slot is a welcome avenue
for easy upgrades.
The connectivity is topped off with a Firewire port.
This allows users to transfer digitial camcorder footage
to the computer for cutting and splicing. The lack of
any included video-editing software means you will have
to shell out if you fancy doing any video editing.
In fact, aside from a copy of McAfee’s Anti-Virus
Scan software, there is no software included with the
Quaddra, which is rather disappointing. The inclusion
of Windows XP Professional is also a touch mystifying,
as this is more expensive than the Home version yet
offers no advantage for home users.
If you want a flexible computer for home that can be
stowed away and you don’t care much for gaming,
this is worth a look despite its foibles. It’s
a powerful, reasonably priced notebook computer that
is unlikely to disappoint.
||Powerful processor. Good connectivity The performance
matches any decent desktop equivalent
|| Long battery recharge time. Poor software bundle
|| Rock solid. A desktop replacement on nearly
||Intel Pentium 4 processor 2Ghz
||256Mb DDR RAM
||15 XGA TFT
||Internal 56k modem
||Internal 10/100mbps LAN
||3 Year Collect and Return
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