Rock Xtreme 64 review
The SavRow comes with one as standard, so its 3D scores are inevitably a lot more impressive than those of the 6800 Ultra. Our standard tests posed no problems, with 61fps and 68fps in Far Cry and Half-Life 2 respectively, but its strength was evident when we pushed it to the limit. At its native 1,920 x 1,200, we enabled HDR and 8x AF and it still achieved a just about playable 30fps in Far Cry and an impressive 48fps in Half-Life 2. This is a gaming monster, but the comparison with the Rock is also a useful indicator in deciding whether you need the 7800 GTX.
Another major difference is in screen resolution: the SavRow displays natively at 1,920 x 1,200 compared to the 1,680 x 1,050 of the Rock. Both are fine for daily use, but the former offers greater flexibility in work and in gaming, so again it’s down to personal preference. Just be warned that system text is very small (if and when you upgrade to Vista, this problem will disappear).
This chassis wasn’t designed for travelling, and neither machine’s battery life is too impressive – you’ll squeeze just over an hour’s life away from the mains. Showing the impact of the Rock’s second hard disk, the SavRow lasted for around 15 minutes longer in both our intensive and light-use tests.
Both come with three-year collect-and-return warranties, although SavRow includes accidental damage cover and also bundles XP Professional, while Rockdirect sticks with XP Home. SavRow will also upgrade that to XP 64-bit Edition on request.
The SavRow Katana K-X9 offers the better and more future-proof base spec, but if you add the £50 7800 GTX upgrade to the Rock there’s little to choose between them. The savings make the Rock Xtreme 64 the more enticing prospect, but as applications evolve and Vista approaches the SavRow Katana K-X9 is slightly better equipped for the road ahead.
Unfortunately, the Evesham is better still. The Quest A620 is faster, with the same top-end graphics, an on-site warranty and Media Center Edition 2005 thrown in too.