Reviews / Xtreme 770 - PCW-
» PCW says 5/5 full marks
Rock has been quick off the starting blocks this year, selling a notebook with Intel’s latest processor and Nvidia’s latest graphic cards before the rest.
The processor is the latest to wear the Core 2 Duo badge, but this time comes from the T900 series, codenamed Penryn. Rock has chosen the T9300 running at 2.5GHz. It’s not quite the fastest, there’s a model running at 2.6GHz, but it outpaced the other notebooks on test. Compared with the previous generation of Core 2 Duos it’s slightly faster than the T7600 and a little slower than the T7800 and T7700 in Pcmarks05’s CPU test.
But it’s far and away the quickest mobile chip we’ve tested under Cinebench, which we put down to the increased shared L2 cache from 4MB to 6MB.
Penryn (T9000) processors have the same 35W thermal design point (TDP) of their Merom (T7000) predecessors, but this is a maximum figure and power savings will be prevalent when laptops go into sleep states, thanks to Intel’s new Deep Power Down technology. Rock doesn’t stop at fitting the best processor and graphics card into the X770. It also includes a heap of extras such as an HD DVD reader, Draft-N Wifi, Bluetooth, a 1.3-megapixel camera and a three-year collect and return warranty. We usually applaud 7,200rpm drives such as the 200GB one Rock has included, but performance wasn’t what we expected.
The trackpad is excellent, as is the stylish metal LCD backing. The keyboard is very similar to the Alienware m9750’s in feel but makes a fraction more clatter when you type quickly. A slight fluttering noise from the cooling fan is also a concern, although overall the system remains quiet.
It lasted longer than the other notebooks in our battery benchmarks at nearly two hours in the reader test. This is impressive for a 17in notebook with a measly 4,400mAh battery and using a single graphics card, rather than two, no doubt helped.
Nvida’s GeForce 8800M GTX has more in common with the GeForce 8800 GT desktop graphics card than the 8800 GTX part since it’s based on Nvida’s recently redesigned chip that’s manufactured at 65nm. The more stream processors the better and this chip has 96, which helped it whiz through to new records for a notebook in 3Dmark05 and 3Dmark06.
It makes playing most games at 1,920x1,200 a reality. Lost Planet and World in Conflict will need anti-aliasing turned off to get ideal frame rates, but Crysis will need its resolution or image quality reduced since it couldn’t handle the high setting we tested with.
The screen’s high resolution creates a detailed picture, but like many notebooks using this chassis (designed by Clevo) the screen is a bit dimmer than the competition. We duly pulled out our trusty Sypder 3 Elite calibrator, stuck it to the screen and measured 93.1cd/m2. The Toshiba X200 managed 139.7cd/m2 and the Alienware m9750 achieved 142.1cd/m2, which makes working on documents a much more pleasant task.
Pumping out less than 100cd/m2 is particularly worrying since all screens lose their brightness over time and the situation is only likely to get worse. There was the slightest of backlight bleed near the webcam and the speakers were also very quiet. You get a lot of technology for £1,800 but we can’t recommend it since the screen isn’t bright enough to guarantee years of pleasant use.
PROS – FAST PROCESSOR, FAST GRAPHICS CARD, COMPACT DESIGN FOR 17IN NOTEBOOK
CONS – POOR LCD BRIGHTNESS: QUIET SPEAKERS
OVERALL – A DECENT CPU AND GRAPHICS CARD, COMPLETE WITH SANTA ROSA TRIMMINGS, BUT WITH A VERY POOR SCREEN .