Xtreme XT - What Laptop (Aug '05)
Although the XT isn’t the largest laptop in this group test, its 5kg weight ensures this system won’t stray far from a desktop location. Built around the same chassis as the MV lxius 15, the XT measures 360 x 277 x 62mm, but forgoes the MV’s addition of speakers in its widescreen TFT panel to make room for a larger 15.4-inch screen.
High Speed 3D Gaming
In keeping with the specifications of most laptops in this group test, the XT utilises a desktop Intel chipset, in the form of a Pentium 4 540. Running at 3.2GHz this CPU carries only 1MB of Level 2 cache for processor support, but compensates with an 800MHz Front Side Bus for faster data processing speeds.
While the SavRow Katana opts for 2GB of DDR11 memory, the Rockdirect takes a more standard approach, with an ample 1GB of DDR SDRAM. To aid greater gaming performance, its 60GB Hitachi hard drive runs at a 7200rpm rotational speed, keeping data flow swift and effective, even under heavy workloads.
Where any gaming laptop must excel is in its graphics chipset and the XT is no exception. Using the PCI-Express technology of an ATi Mobility Radeon X800 chip, GPU uses 256MB of dedicated DDR3 video memory, for increased 3D performance.
Coasting through all 3D graphics benchmarks with ease, the XT came a close second to the Dell XPS for its performance under both 3Dmark 2003 and 2005 test. While playing first-person shooter Far Cry, the XT was also able to run at a frame-rate of 53.30fps at the highest 1600x 1200 pixel resolution, again placing it second behind the Dell.
Regardless of, and partly due to, such notable graphical performance, the Xtreme XT proved less able in a mobile environment. With a battery life below the 90-minute standard required for successful MobileMark 2002 testing, we were unable to obtain a mobile benchmark from the XT. Running under the desktop PC tests of PCMARK 204 though, the XT scored 4898 points - a noteworthy result and third highest in the group test.
Aiding its gaming abilities is the user interface of the system. While the XT shares the MV’s weakness of an overly noisy fan, the chassis design allows for a strong and usable keyboard for gaming control. The circular touchpad/mouse button combo isn’t quite as effective, but hardcore gamers will no doubt use an external USB mouse plugged into one of the XT’s four high-speed USB 2.0 ports.
An essential element of a modern gaming system is effective networking capabilities, for both online and LAN multiplayer gaming. The XT is fully equipped for such use, with internal modern, 802.11g Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet capabilities.
A final touch comes courtesy of a built-in web-camera, located above the TFT screen, allowing games to sneer at opponents as they frag them out of the game.
Although not as beautiful or as powerful as the Dell XPS, the Rock direct Xtreme XT is nonetheless a high-performance gaming machine with much to recommend it.