Reviews / Xtreme CTX Pro - What LaptopNovember 2006
IN BRIEF: High-performance gaming, boosted by the power of Intelís Core 2 Duo chip
Not one to miss a trick, UK-based rock has upgraded a previously released laptop with Intel Core 2 Duo technology. Giving Evesham a run for its gaming money is the rock Xtreme CTX Pro. Built around the Intel 945PM chipset, rock uses a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo T7600 processor. With 4MB of level 2 cache, it doubles that of previous Core Duo chips. General components provide ample support, 1024MB of DDR2 memory holds data for the processor, and the 100GB Seagate hard drive spins at 7200rpm Ėthe fastest speed currently possible within a mobile chasis. A performance increase was expected, but testing was inconclusive. With MobileMark 2005 software not currently optimised for Core 2 Duo, a result of 204 was lower than older Intel chips. However, Cinebench tests showed an increase of 35 per cent over Core Duo laptops.Day-to-day use was far more positive. Image and editing applications ran with ease, and system lag was almost non-existent.
Where the rock truly excels is in its 3D performance. Designed for gaming, an nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX graphics card drives the 17-inch Super TFT screen. Scoring 17,994 points from 3DMark 2003 tests, the Pro beats the older Xtreme CTX for high-performance gaming ability. Screen performance is equally capable. Despite a lower resolution than the previous Xtreme CTX, the 1680 x1050 pixel graphics provide sharp image definition. Colour reproduction is excellent, although brightness is lower than expected.
Mobility isnít a prime concern. At 4.3kg, you wonít want to carry the rock much further than your nearest LAN party. However, chassis dimensions are surprisingly slim at 398x275x58mm, and the battery of 130 minutes provides limited mobility. Gigabit Ethernet is perfect for high-speed LAN gaming, while 802.11a/b/g WI-FI allows fast access to wireless networks, and enhancing gaming and messaging, a 1.3 megapixel camera sits above the screen.
Becoming commonplace, the rockís optical drive is dual-format DVD compatible. Allowing users to read and write to DVD+/- RW and CD-R/RW discs, the only support lacking is for writing to DVD-RAM, dual-layer DVD high-definition discs.
While the full benefits of Core 2 Duo technology are yet to be made clear, the rock makes a convincing statement. For high-powered gaming and strong all-round performance, the Xtreme CTX Pro is hard to ignore.