Rock Direct – Pegasus 650 review

fast gaming laptop with two graphics chips
Photo of Rock Direct – Pegasus 650
£940

Rock Direct’s Pegasus 650 has an interesting solution to the mobile user’s dilemma of graphics performance versus battery life. You know the problem: should you go along the integrated graphics route and get longer battery life at the expense of decent gameplay, or should you go for the dedicated graphics option and sacrifice battery life for the ability to be able to shoot at something in reasonable detail. With the Pegasus 650 you have the perfect solution; a notebook with both integrated and dedicated graphics.

The first thing you notice about the Pegasus 650 is its appearance. Rock offers a number of painstakingly-applied colour options for the lid. There are three metallic finish options – black, red and blue – as well as a non-metallic pink (yes really!) and an impressive blue/green metallic pearl finish. The latter is reminiscent of the pain on some TVR cars and costs an extra £50; well worth it if you want a laptop that stands out in a crowd. If none of these appeals then you can have the basic silver finish and save yourself a bit of cash.

Aside from the cool finish the lid also protects an excellent screen, a 15.4-inch widescreen unit that has a high native resolution of 1,680 by 1,050 pixels. This resolution is just about ideal for a laptop screen of this size and gives you the same amount of screen space as a 19-inch desktop monitor. The large screen accounts for the 326 x 278 x 31mm dimensions of the Pegasus 650 and also contributes to the shoulder-busting 3.9kg weight (including the AC adapter).

Powering the Pegasus 650 is a CPU that is rapidly becoming the sweet spot in terms of price versus performance for laptops, judging by the number of vendors who use it: Intel’s Pentium M 750, which runs at 1.86GHz in our review machine. Backing this is 512MB of PC2-4200 DDR2 memory.

What makes the Pegasus 650 a bit special is, as noted above, the choice of graphics output. If you want to play games at decent frame rates and don’t care too much about battery life then you can use the 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X700 (2,240 3DMark05 score and 56.06fps in FarCry both at 1,024 x 768 resolution).

If, on the other hand, you just want to work with your standard office applications, then switching over to the integrated graphics will give you better battery life but a poorer gaming experience (1,274 3DMark05 score and 25.46fps in FarCry, both at 1,024 x 768 resolution).

Switching between modes is a simple case of using the button on the front panel of the notebook, but the downside is you have to re-boot the machine each time you switch.

But a real difference can be seen in the battery life. When using the X700 graphics and under MobileMark05 test conditions, the Pegasus 650 gives a 110 minute battery life for the DVD playback test and 126 minutes for the Productivity test. Using the integrated graphics, the difference in battery life is startling; 158 minutes for DVD playback, an improvement of over 40 minutes, while you get just under an hour more battery life in the Productivity test.

Company: Rock Direct

Contact: 08709 909090


Verdict
Rock's Pegasus 650 is a well built, stylish looking notebook with a novel solution to the problem of battery life versus graphics performance. It's an intelligently designed piece of kit.