Rockdirect – Xtreme CT laptop review

serious gaming laptop with choice of graphics card
Photo of Rockdirect – Xtreme CT laptop
£1,750

In order to grab the public’s imagination in an increasingly crowded desktop replacement market, laptop computer companies are having to either offer a basket load of extras and gadgets or to go heavily for one particular end of the spectrum. In the case of Rockdirect’s Xtreme CT that means pandering directly to serious gamers.

As you’d expect, this machine’s appearance is very sleek and silvery with the Rock logo embossed on the black lid and a wafer-thin base station. Weighing in at a comfortable 3.8kg, it boasts a full-size keyboard (although with a small, annoyingly positioned Delete key), a smooth-scrolling touch pad and a CD control panel that can be operated when the lid is closed.

A gamer’s first priority is high quality visuals and thanks to the 17-inch WSXGA+ X-Glass TFT screen (with maximum resolution of 1,680 x 1,050), you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the action like never before.

You have a choice of graphics card, both of which are at the top of the range for portable computers: either the 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X800XT Platinum Edition or the 256MB Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 GTX. The result is astonishingly vivid colours and stark shadows, perfect for atmospheric first-person shooters like F.E.A.R. or strategy games with large maps like Age of Empires III.

Powered by an Intel Pentium M Processor 780 2.26GHz with 2MB Level 2 Cache and up to 2GB of DDR2 533MHz RAM, we are talking serious power here, especially as even the 100GB hard drive model runs at 7,200rpm, which is much faster than the more usual 4,200rpm drives.

As for sound quality, there’s plenty of volume to be gained through the stereo speakers which are fed by SRS WOW surround sound, although the best effects will be achieved by linking it to the 7.1-channel surround sound output.

In addition there are four USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port, Intel Pro 802.11a/b/g Integrated Wireless LAN, a 4-in-1 Card Reader plus a BisonCam NB Pro Webcam built into the lid and 8x Dual Layer (-/+) DVD Writer. Bluetooth and infrared technology are included as standard and you have an optional TV Tuner capability.

The only negative aspects are an irritatingly loud fan and a comparatively low battery life, although a second battery is provided free, together with a stylish carrying case. And we suspect that this laptop is likely to spend most of its life connected to mains power anyway.

Microsoft Windows XP Home is the installed operating system, along with Roxio Creator 7, Microsoft Works 8 and a 60 day trial version of Microsoft Office 2003. Rockdirect gets top marks for maintaining its three year Collect & Return warranty which takes the sting out of any technical problems.

Company: Rockdirect

Contact: 08702 203 600


Verdict
A solid, stylish and extremely powerful portable gaming computer which should be a serious contender for gamers on the move, despite the loud fan and minor keyboard irritations.