Shall we get the conversation about value for money out the way, right at the start? If you’re in the market for a laptop computer, then you’ll find plenty available on the market for a lot less than Rock’s latest offering. However, if it’s a performance laptop you’re after where price is less of an issue, then settle down, as we’ve got something to tell you about.
The Rock Quaddra Ti 3.4 is, frankly, a luxurious piece of kit. Even before you turn it on, you can’t help but admire the large, widescreen display, the stylish case, the plethora of connections and the generous, full-sized keyboard. And when you press that ‘on’ button and it whirrs into life, it just gets more impressive.
The machine we reviewed featured a spec that would put many desktop machines to shame. There’s a 3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor, an ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics solution, 1GB of RAM and a slot-loading DVD burner.
You’ll also find DVI output, an in-built card reader, on-board wireless functionality (802.11g) and conveniently-located USB 2.0 ports. It’s got an impressive, built-in, DTS surround sound system too, which puts the tinny speakers we’re used to seeing (and hearing) in laptops very much to shame.
One thing to note, mind, and that’s that the processor isn’t a laptop-optimised chip. So battery life takes a hit and the amount of heat the machine generates is quite high. Also, given the amount of heat inside the case, unsurprisingly there are some comparably noisy fans at work when the machine is undertaking intensive work. It’s not incredibly rowdy, but it’s still something to be aware of.
When it comes to performance, though, it’s hard to quibble. That on-board 256MB graphics solution makes this a viable portable gaming system, which tore through Unreal Tournament 2004 when we loaded it up. It also fired back a healthy 3D Mark 2003 score of 3,275 (and 11,315 at 3D Mark 01SE). That’s not going to beat a properly-optimised desktop machine, but leaves the overwhelming majority of laptops a long way back.
A special mention, too, for that 17-inch WXGA screen, which we found to be of exceptional quality. The wide viewing area was helpful, and even when we loaded up the aforementioned UT 2004, we could find few signs of ghosting.
A machine such as this is best suited as a desktop replacement rather than a portable device (more so when you factor in its comparable weight and bulkiness), and certainly we expect some who are in the market for a laptop to favour a smaller machine.
But let’s take this for what it is. Aimed at a mixture of power users, gamers and affluent people, the Quaddra Ti is an exceptionally strong machine, where you get what you pay for. Dripping with thought, quality and style, it may be a bit of luxury, but it’s a mighty fine one.
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