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» Reg Harware says 80%
Rock Xtreme X770-T7800 notebook
Review Rock has a reputation for punching out high-performance laptops, and it·s latest line, the flagship 17in desktop-replacment X770 series, has a spec that suggests it·s no slouch either.
The line·s leader, the X770-T7800, has at its heart an Intel Core 2 Duo T7800. Currently the fastest mobile Core 2 Duo processor, the T7800 is clocked at 2.60GHz and comes with an 800MHz frontside bus (FSB) speed and 4MB of L2 cache.
Backing up the CPU is 2GB of PC2-5300 DDR 2 memory clocked at 667MHz, but if your pockets are deep enough you can order your X770 with the maximum memory it can support: 4GB. Remember, though, you’ll need a 64-bit operating system to access the full 4GB - the standard 32-bit version of Windows Vista or XP will only be able to access 3GB. Even better would be taking the option of 2GB of 800MHz, PC2-6400 memory which would then match the processor·s FSB speed.
Performance-wise, the X770-T7800 doesn’t hang about, scoring a very decent 5.0 with Vista’s Windows Experience Index. This tests various components - CPU, memory, graphics, gaming graphics and hard drive - and gives an overall score based on the lowest scoring component which, in the case of the review X770, was the memory. No real surprise there as the memory is running slower than the CPU, but in all honesty you probably won’t notice it much.
Just for the record the rest of the scores were: CPU 5.4, graphics 5.9, gaming graphics 5.5 and hard drive 5.2. If you don’t trust the Experience Index then the PCMark05 overall score of 6500 should show how fast this notebook is - it can outpace many a desktop system.
The X770 is a stylish, well-built notebook. The black chassis - made by Clevo, a M57RU model - is highlighted by a narrow orange trim strip, although silver is available for those not so daring. The keyboard and trackpad/mouse buttons are surrounded by a panel finished off to look like carbon fibre. Dominating the lid is a large brushed-aluminum panel bearing a large X, neatly bordered above and below by gloss piano black strips.
The keyboard is full size with a separate numeric pad and a full size Enter key, which in itself makes a nice change from the cut-down norm. The keypad is well built and placed far enough along the chassis to make for comfortable typing, aided by the keys themselves, which have just the right amount of flex to them. The touchpad - decorated with another large X - is precise and at the same time has a good degree of sensitivity and can do both vertical and horizontal scrolling. Sitting under the trackpad and between the two mouse buttons is a fingerprint reader to give the X770 a little more security than your average notebook.
The screen is a delight - admittedly this was the optional 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA+) resolution panel, but it’s so good and gives you so much desktop real estate, that at the additional price of just over forty quid it’s practically a no brainer. If your budget won’t stretch to the larger resolution, the standard 1680 x 1200 screen is more than adequate.
Whichever you choose, it will come with a glossy coating that gives real depth to the dark areas while colours are vivid and sharp. Ideal, in fact, to display HD DVD movies, which isn’t a problem as the X770 handily comes with a HD DVD optical drive. Built into the screen bezel is a 1.3-megapixel webcam.
Nvidia’s GeForce 8700M GT graphics chip drives the screen. This comes with a 512MB of dedicated memory and can access another 767MB of system memory if needed to give a total of 1279MB of video memory. And it puts it to good use, yielding a 3DMark05 score of 3427 at its native 1920 x 1200 resolution - frankly, an amazing result for a notebook.
Even at this resolution it manages an average frame rate of 35fps in F.E.A.R. This was tested with all the detail settings set to maximum, so easing them back a bit should give higher frame rates. Boosting the gaming experience is integrated 7.1 audio complete with SRS WOW surround sound.
Nothing·s very petite with the X770 - even the hard drive is a massive 200GB. The Hitachi drive has a 7200rpm spin speed, a 16MB cache and a 3Gbps SATA interface, so data transfers big or small should pose few if any problems.
Given that the Rock measures 39.7 x 29.4 x 3.7cm and weighs in at 5kg (including the power brick) it·s not a notebook you·ll want to carry around with you unless you’re having an Arnie moment, but we tested the battery life anyway and a got a reasonable 110 minutes· battery life while watching a DVD - a bit short for a Peter Jackson film maybe, but not too shabby. When using it to do normal notebooky things like office work, it produced a battery life of just under two hours.
Housed in the right side of the chassis are two stacked USB ports, a single four-pin Firewire port, Gigabit Ethernet and modem ports, an ExpresCard 54 slot and a seven-in-one card reader. Our review model also had an aerial socket for the optional Digital/Analogue TV-tuner module. The left side of the chassis holds just the optical drive and a Kensington Lock slot. The rear of the chassis has the DVI and S-Video ports, a serial port and two more USB ports. In the middle of the front panel sit four audio ports, and along with the normal microphone and headphone sockets there are line-in and SPDIF output ports. To connect to the outside world wirelessly there is 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Along with the pre-installed Windows Vista Home Premium, the software bundle comprises Roxio Creator 7 and Microsoft Works 8.5. Rock backs the X770 with a three-year collect-and-return pan-European warranty.
Rock’s Xtreme X770-T7800 comes with a hefty price tag but it·s nonetheless a very impressive notebook. Fast performing, well-built and with a great feature list, including an HD DVD drive as standard, it makes an ideal desktop replacement for gaming or for use as a normal system. You can get a cheaper price tag by removing some of the options the review notebook had, but if you have to keep just one, go for the higher resolution screen – it·s just too good to miss.
Reg Harware says 80%
By F Sandeman