Reviews / Xtreme SL - What Laptop-
IN BRIEF: The most powerful gaming machine around, this is a laptop for the pro-gamer.
As a leading provider of gaming laptops, UK-based Rock is the first to use nVidea SLI technology in a mobile system to allow two graphics cards to run together for the best graphics possible. Providing the ultimate in high-powered mobile gaming is the Rock Xtreme SL (£2349 inc. VAT).
With its chassis measuring 477 x 340 x 57mm, the Rock weighs a hefty 7kg and is unsuitable for travel use. However, measuring 42mm at its narrowest point, the system is much slimmer than we thought possible.
Inevitably the Rock is well specified. An AMD Turion 64 ML-42 processor runs at 2.4GHz, with a gigabyte of DDR SDRAM in support. A 100GB SATA hard drive provides ample space for running games from disk. Spinning at 7200rpm – the fastest currently available – performance is as good as it gets.
For the best mobile gaming ability, there·s currently no equal to the nVidea GeForce Go 7800 GTX graphics card. For unmatched high – resolution gaming, the Rock packs two of these cards side-by-side. In reality, this means you can run the latest games at full screen resolution without any visible lag in performance, which is outstanding in a mobile computer.
Effortlessly running all benchmarks, graphics are unrivalled. Scoring a huge 22256 points from 3Dmark 2003, even the most demanding modern games can be played a maximum resolution with no loss of speed. Displayed via a 19-inch Super – TFT screen, the WSXGA + resolution provides impressive image quality.
Comfortable to operate, the user-interface of the Rock is of excellent quality. Professional gamers will add an external mouse and keyboard, made easy thanks to the five USB 2.0 and one PS/2 ports.
With a battery life of 82-minutes under test, the Rock failed to run for the 90-minutes required of MobileMark testing. However, this is far more battery power than expected and shows how well designed the Rock·s power management is.
To save power, the Rock·s SLI technology can be easily disabled on the fly via a software interface. Reducing graphics to use one nVidea card, extra battery life can be gained, with just a 40 per cent drop in graphics performance on average.
Inevitably for such a powerful system, high-speed networking is provided via 802.11g Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet. Adding to the flawless multimedia ability is a dual-format recordable DVD drive, webcam, digital TV tuner and subwoofer.
With exhaustively high performance, the Rock Extreme SL is as powerful a multimedia laptop as you could wish for. Its formidable price tag will ensure it stays in an elite category of ownership, but for raw gaming power this is certainly the current leader of the pack.
A cool breeze
To keep the powerful components of the Rock at an optimum temperature, four fans run almost constantly underneath the chassis. However, the level of noise produced is kept to an absolute minimum and is impressive considering the extent of performance delivered by the technology.
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