Reviews / Xtreme 770 - Total PC Gaming-
» Total PC Gaming – EDITORS CHOICE
Out and about with Rock’s portable powerhouse
With so many laptops passing through the office it’s pretty rare for any one system to stand out from the crowd, but the Xtreme 770 immediately grabbed our attention. It wasn’t the specifications, performance or design (although it’s not to shabby in that respect, either), but the fantastically sharp display. The Xtreme 770 is packing a 17-inch monitor with unusually high 1920x1200 resolution, impressive even on the Windows desktop and truly stunning once you start throwing games at it.
It’s worth noting that the display is an upgrade option. By default the 770 includes a WSXGA with 1680x1050 resolution, but the higher res WUXGA display is only £42 more and, considering the quality of the screen, we feel that’s money well spent. One downside is that 1920x1200 on a 17-inch monitor makes text and icons microscopic, . so could be uncomfortable if your vision is less than excellent, but of more general concern is the power needed to drive games at such high detail. It takes a fair amount of grunt to play at 1920x1200 and while the Xtreme 770 is kitted out with some powerful hardware it will struggle to handle recent games at high detail, let alone titles coming out in a year or two. Company of Heroes hit 120 FPS at medium/low detail an AA disabled, but Lost Planet struggled with an average 20 FPS at medium/low settings.
Since upgrading the graphics card isn’t an option, anyone buying this primarily for gaming may perhaps be better off with the 1680x1050 display to maximise its lifespan, or otherwise tolerate lower effects settings on demanding games. There is one reason it may be worth opting for that higher resolution, however: movies. The X770 includes a HD-DVD/DVD-RW combo drive as standard, and while this may seem unnecessarily extravagant. Rock Direct has a line on some bargain priced combo drives. Fitting a normal DVD writer would be no cheaper, so hi-def movie playback is an added bonus, choosing the WUXGA option means you could take advantage of HD-DVD video.
Clearly, you’re going to need something reasonably hefty to power all this multimedia goodness, and Rock has delivered by cramming in some of the latest and great mobile hardware. The Intel T7700 is among the fastest mobile Core2 Duo processors, running at 2.4GHz with 4MB L2 Cache memory, second only to the 2.6GHz T7800. Combined with 2GB DDR2 RAM 667MHz and 160GB 7200RPM hard disk it has significant processing power. PC Mark, SuperPrime and AutoGK test results were all extremely impressive, besting the Asus G2Sc from last issue. Its graphical performance was also outstanding thanks to an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 GTX chipset. The 3D Mark score and games tests demonstrate that the X770 can handle newer titles, but the very high resolution of the display means compromises are going to be necessary in order to maintain a playable frame rate. Lost Planet hovered at an average 30fps at medium/high settings; Company of Heroes hit a more-than-acceptable 77fps. Provided you’re not obsessed about enabling full anti-aliasing and every possible effect, this setup should keep you gaming for some time, but as mentioned the cheaper, lower resolution 1680x1050 display will grant a little more wiggle-room for tweaking the image quality.
Rock offers custom configurations via its website, with options for RAM, hard disk, graphics cards and various extras such as TV tuner and the many flavours of Windows Vista. Our review system came installed with Vista ultimate, one of the most pointless and overpriced operating systems ever created, so choosing Home Premium will lower the price slightly. There’s a wide selection of RAM, going from a bare miniumum of 2GB DDR2-667 to 4GBDDR2-800, though no option for 64-bit Vista or XP to take advantage of 4GB memory.
It’s gratifying to find that the X770’s keyboard takes up almost the full length of the notebook and includes a numeric keypad, typing is pleasant as there’s little flexing and the keys are sensibly positioned. The touch pad, adorned with a whacking great ‘X’ logo, is accurate but its buttons have a distinct lack of travel and require too much pressure to activate. Possibly not a major issue as this is a desktop replacement and a normal mouse will most likely be used for gaming, but slightly irritating nonetheless. Aside from that tiny quibble, however, there’s little about the 770 we disliked. It’s an extraordinary powerful mobile computer capable of handling current and upcoming games as well as all manner of multimedia tasks. It could never be called cheap, but with this kind of performance the asking price is justified.
AWARD: PC GAMING – EDITORS CHOICE