Reviews / Xtreme SL Pro - What Laptop-
Rock Extreme SL Pro
IN BRIEF: One of the largest laptops available, with performance and a price tag to match
Rock is an established gaming manufacturer, and its Xtreme SL Pro (£2499inc. VAT) is only a few 20-inch laptops currently available. Although portability is restricted by the large size and 7.3kg weight, we found it to be an excellent gaming machine with large and comfortable controls.
The 20-inch display is little short of stunning. With flawless glossy Super- TFT coating, colours are great and images appear large and clear. We found it perfect for gaming, although to get the true benefit it’s better to use an external keyboard and sit slightly further back.
Offering the fastest graphics solution currently available, you’ll find two nVidia GeForce Go 7950GTX cards in place. This is the same setup found in the Alienware, and offers excellent performance. Games ran smoothly, and even S.T.A.L.K.E.R caused a few problems. However, the 7950GTX is not a DirectX 10 solution, so you won’t be able to take full advantage of the next-generation DX10 games.
The 20-inch display gives the Rock the largest footprint in the group, and there’s more than enough space on the chassis for the generous-sized keyboard, palm rests and stereo speakers. The keyboard is comfortable to use, and has a dedicated numeric keypad. The keys are firmly attached, but it’s not the quietest of boards. We found the touchpad large and comfortable and, unlike the Evesham, it didn’t get in the way when typing. However, the graphics cards are cooled less efficiently than they are in the Alienware, and the palm rests heated up on both sides during use. Despite the large size and weight, Rock has provided a carrying backpack, in case you occasionally want to take it to friend’s house or to LAN parties.
The Rock is the only laptop in the group to use an AMD processor – a 2GHz dual-core Turion 64X2 TL60 chip. This is an older solution than the Core 2 Duo processors of its rivals and, despite having the same amount of memory, the SL Pro simply wasn’t as quick in day-to-day use. Applications took a little longer to load, and there was slightly more lag when running multiple programs. However, this is still a rapid machine, capable of running multiple tasks with ease. Like the Alienware, you’ll find two hard drives set up in a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) configuration, although at 200GB there’s slightly less storage on offer, but still enough to house all of the media you’ll ever need.
The Rock is a compelling machine, offering an excellent screen and impressive 3D performance. However, it comes at a high price.
Allowing a laptop to use more than one hard drive, a RAID setup can offer far more storage space. It can also let you configure the second hard drive to mirror the first – backing up all of your files and applications, providing an instant solution should something happen to one of your hard drives.