Reviews / Xtreme 770 - Personal Computer World-
» PCW Recommended Award
Intel’s new T7800 processor speeds into view, housed in a plush chassis
Rock’s recent announcement that HD-DVDs will be offered as standard on every laptop it sells rcame too late to apply to our Rock Xtreme 770 review unit, but as we went to press, news came that it can be fitted with an HD-DVD drive for £234.
With an orange rim, the black chassis leans forward and sends out a clear message to onlookers that it hides some top-notch components.
Its prize possession is Intel’s new T7800 processor, which succeeds the short-lived X7800, a strictly mobile gaming chip with a guzzling 44W thermal design point (TDP).
The T7800 has the same 35W TDP as regular Core 2 Duo chips. Despite the lower power consumption, the notebook’s fan produced a considerable amount of noise, even when idle and running off battery power. The T7800 runs at 2.6GHz with Santa Rosa’s 800MHz front-side bus and has 4MB L2 cache.
It’s likely to be one of the last Core 2 Duos before 45nm-based Penryn processors with 6MB cache roll into notebooks next year.
The glamour doesn’t stop at the processor, though. There’s also a fast 200GB 7,200rpm hard disk and 2GB of DDR2 667MHz Ram spread across two modules inside. This all contributed to a score of 6,474 in PCmark05, which makes the Xtreme 770 the fastest notebook we’ve tested. The CPU score was particularly impressive, achieving a full 6,688 equivalent to the fast desktop alternatives.
Nvidia’s Geforce 8700M GT graphics card is another first in the PCW Labs. It has 32 stream processors and a core clock of 625MHz, as well as 512MB of 800MHz GDDR3 memory. It scored 9,453 in 3Dmark05 and averaged 31 frames per second in Fear. This makes it slower than the Geforce Go 7950GTX, but the fastest DirectX 10 graphics card in a notebook.
The graphics prowess is used to full effect on the glorious 1,920x1,200 resolution 17in screen. It’s not the brightest we’ve seen, but is evenly lit. Since it can display 1,080p content and process it with the Geforce 8700M’s excellent high-definition decoding abilities, this is the notebook to buy if you want to watch HD movies.
Everything else is as you’d expect from a desktop replacement. For starters, there’s a webcam on the two-catch lid and a DVI-I for connecting both digital and analogue monitors.
The front serves up 3.5mm headphone, line out, microphone and 7.1 S/PDIF jacks, as well as a wide infrared port. The chassis also features speakers angled to pump sound out of the left and right side of the notebook - an unusual design, but one that creates a more immersive sound than we’re used to.
The supplied card reader will only accept SD and Sony Memory Sticks, which is disappointing, but all the networking bases are covered with Draft-n Wifi, Bluetooth and Gigabit Lan. The keyboard is well-balanced, with easy-to--press keys that recoil quickly. We were particularly taken by the chequered-flag texture that borders the keyboard and trackpad.
In Mobilemark, the notebook lasted 109 minutes in the productivity test and 90 minutes during DVD playback, which is good for a powerful device such as this.
In the face of £500 notebooks, £1,615 is a high price to pay if you’re just doing a bit of web browsing, even with a three-year collect-and-return warranty, carry case and Vista Home Premium. But if you’re after a high-definition capable notebook that is good for gaming, then the Xtreme 770 has excellent performance and is competitively priced with the best other manufacturers have to offer.
Pros: Fast; impressive design; glorious screen
Cons: Average battery life; noisy
Overall: Can be a little noisy, but it includes bags of performance for a fair price