Rock – Xtreme 780 review

powerful hardcore Centrino 2 gaming machine
Photo of Rock – Xtreme 780
£1,498.99

Rock has built up a sturdy reputation over the years for producing cutting-edge PCs that are often geared towards the games market and, in the case of the Xtreme 780, that is it’s principal reason for existence. It’s bold, supremely self-confident and even arrogant, as illustrated by the large, dominating Rock logo on the stylish silver cover.

Measuring an expansive 397 x 294 x 37mm and weighing a meaty 3.8kg, on opening this laptop you’re immediately confronted with a 17-inch, WUXGA, X Glass Screen display (with a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels) which is ideal for playing games and watching DVDs that need the full widescreen treatment.

As you’d expect, there’s a full-size keyboard with numeric keypad and a good size touchpad below, plus fingerprint reader module for added security (the MoD please take note!). A BisonCam is built in above the middle of the display and the sides are positively bristling with ports and interfaces. These include a 7-in-1 Card Reader, ExpressCard slot, four USB 2.0 ports, an optical device drive bay (for either DVD-RW or Blu-Ray), HDMI, DVI-Out and infra-red.

Wireless connectivity is via 802.11a/b/g/n or Bluetooth and there’s a cable antenna connection if you buy the optional USB TV Tuner Module. If you want to rely just on the supplied sound equipment, there are two sizeable 1.5W speakers positioned on the rear sides (plus a 2W sub-woofer) and the SRS WOW technology supports external 7.1 Surround Sound.

Under the bonnet is a mighty Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 2 x 2.53GHz processor with a 6MB cache, 1066MHz FSB, 2GB of DDR3 and hefty storage in the shape of a 250GB, 7,200rpm, SATA hard drive. No self-respecting hardcore games computer would have anything less than a cutting-edge graphics card and Rock has done the business here with an Nvidia GeForce Go 9800M GT with 512MB of DDR3.

The 9800M series makes use of the second-generation Nvidia PureVideo HD video engine, has full DirectX 10 support and delivers full 1080p clarity. If you want the complete top of the range spec, you can upgrade to the 9800M GTX with 1GB of GDDR3.

The difference in quality over a conventional machine is evident the second you install a game like Crysis or Call of Duty and stand back to admire the stunning clarity of the detail and authenticity of colours. DVDs too have a 3D air to them and HD videos look sharp and vivid straight from your digital camcorder. If you are thinking of replacing your desktop with a powerful mobile games machine, this could be the ideal choice.

Company: Rock

Contact: 0845 688 0501


Verdict
Rock continues to impress, with an extremely powerful and stylish laptop that boasts the sharp definition of Nvidia's latest 9800M graphics cards alongside the cooler and more efficient benefits of Intel's Centrino 2 technology.