Xtreme - Computer Shopper (Sep '04)
This new notebook from rockdirect is an updated version of the excellent Xtreme XTR-3.2 gaming notebook. Like its predecessor, the XTR-3.4 sacrifices portability for the powerful processor and graphics card required to run the latest games. The Xtreme XTR-3.4 is one of the most powerful notebook PCs we’ve seen. Instead of a power-saving mobile processor, rockdirect has included a faster Pentium 4 3.4GHz processor usually found in desktop PCs. It has 512MB or RAM, which is plenty for games, especially given that the excellent ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics chip - one of the fastest currently available - has 128MB of its own. We criticised the Xtreme XTR-3.2 for using a slow hard disk drive, but the new version has a fast 7,200rpm 60GB model.
This powerful set of components earned the Xtreme some remarkable scores in our benchmarks. Its score of 168 points in SYSmark2004 is impressive, but it’s the gamin tests that really show the power of this notebook: a huge 3,872 in 3Dmark03 1SE.
It’s not just the internal components that have been optimised for gaming. The Xtreme’s 1,400x1,050 screen has a high-gloss finish that makes games look great in the darkened environment of a LAN party. With light behind you it’s annoyingly reflective, though. A gigabit Ethernet port allows you to connect to a high-speed network for gaming, but the keyboard isn’t ideal. If you’re playing a first-person shooter game you’ll probably find yourself hitting the function key whenever you want to press Control, the key usually used to duck.
There are other nice feature, A DVD writer that can burn DVD-R and DVD+R discs at 4X is great for backups, and a set of direct CD controls allow you to use the Xtreme as a CD player. At almost £1,800, though, it might have had wireless netwo0rking built in. Then there’s the weight. At 4.17kg the Xtreme is remarkably heavy, and even the sturdy carry bag included it’s not easy to carry around. Add to this a battery life of just 84 minutes in our MobileMark test and it’s clear that the Xtreme isn’t meant for serious use while travelling.
If you want the very best gaming available from a notebook, and you plan on using it in a darkened room, the Xtreme XTR-3.4 could be perfect. On the other hand, its bulk, weight, reflective screen, battery life and cost mean that it’s not really suited to any other kind of use.