Reviews / Xtreme 770 - PCW-
» PCW says 3/5
Rock Xtreme 770
After going into administration two months ago, Rock is back, having been bought by Stone. The impressive three-year warranties Rock offered on all its laptops continue, and existing warranties will also be fully honoured.
The organisation may have a new-look structure but our first impression is that the laptops are similar to the ones we·ve seen countless times before, using mostly Clevo-sourced chassis.
The model submitted for this round-up uses the same Clevo M57RU chassis that Novatech has plumped for, which means many of the same benefits and criticisms can be levelled at it. This includes the tinny, quiet speaker system and the keyboard suffering from a slight rattle during use; the latter could be annoying during prolonged use. Other problems that both the Novatech and Rock suffer from as a consequence of the choice of chassis are limited card reader support (only SD and Sony Memory Stick cards are catered for) and poor USB socket placement. On both models two out of four USB sockets are stacked, so one thick USB device (such as a TV tuner) is likely to block off the other.
The feature list is impressive. If you have a Draft-N router, the 802.11n chip in this notebook will make full use of it, providing you with faster and further-reaching wireless communication. It also houses Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel webcam and built-in microphone.
Rock has gone for a slightly different balance of components compared to Novatech·s similar-looking laptop, with the emphasis more on CPU power than graphics performance. The Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 processor, which runs at 2.4GHz, is considerably faster than Novatech·s 1.55GHz T5550, while the Nvidia Geforce 8700M GT graphics card is considerably slower than the 8800M GTX.
The graphics card is similar in design to the Geforce 9650M GS in the Aspire 8920G – so similar that it produced just a whisper lower performance than its newer sibling.
With the others using 5,400rpm models, this is the only laptop with a 7,200rpm hard drive. The benefits of a fast hard drive should never be underestimated and the Xtreme 770-T8300 sat near the top in our Pcmark05 table. But while fast hard drives can boost performance, they are also frequently the cause of poor battery performance. The Rock only managed to stay off the mains for one hour, 18 minutes during our Mobilemark DVD playback test.
Rock has chosen a 1,680 x 1,050 resolution panel for the Xtreme 770, which is a notch below the incredibly detailed Novatech display. This is the minimum resolution you need to be able to work comfortably on two documents side by side. Despite our previous criticism of the performance of displays on some Clevo-based laptops, this panel was surprisingly bright (we measured over 150cd/m2), which should provide many years of pleasant viewing.
One thing we couldn·t work out was why the Rock Xtreme 770-T8300 weighs 100g more than the Novatech model. It·s this extra weight that means the Rock gets the unenviable accolade of heaviest notebook in show, albeit only by a small amount.
Despite solid all-round performance, the Rock Xtreme 770-T8300 doesn·t have a stand-out feature.
Every component is bettered by another notebook and we feel that both the Acer and Toshiba models provide better components given the £1299 price limit.
Pros: Speedy hard drive, good all round specs
Cons: Average graphics card for price, poor speakers, keyboard rattle
Overall: Not a bad laptop but every component is bettered in competing models