Rock Xtreme 770-T7800 review
The Rock Extreme 770-T7700 (web ID: 137121), which bounded onto the A List last month, was a great example of how notebooks can use cutting-edge components to outperform most desktops. But it’s already been updated, with the latest processor and mobile GPU giving us the T7800.
First up is the new Intel Core 2 Duo T7800 processor, running at 2.66GHz. It’s capable of delivering desktop levels of performance, with its overall application benchmark score of 1.2.
But this is also the first notebook we’ve seen to use the new Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX. It’s a DirectX 10 part, equipped with 512MB of memory and performance that’s not far behind its desktop namesake, the GeForce 8800 GTX (web ID: 97479). Many of the latest titles, such as BioShock and Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2, will run flawlessly at the highest settings. Even the absurdly punishing Crysis hit a decent rate of about 20fps, and it paced through the highest setting of our Call of Duty 2 benchmark at an impressive average of 25fps.
This fine performance is presented through a 17in WSXGA TFT screen, blessed with a high resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. Colour performance is good and, although whites do appear slightly grey, you’ll have to really look for the flaws to notice. Our only other complaint is that backlight options are limited, with the tiny difference between darkest and lightest setting reducing your chances of making much difference to battery life.
What with this and the high-end performance parts, battery life does inevitably suffer: our light-use test wore it out in two hours, with the intensive-test lasting just 1hr 20mins. It’s heavy, too, weighing in at 3.8kg, although not that much of a burden when you take into account how much power is on tap.
Given the often less-than-beautiful third-party chassis that routinely come to market, this is one of the more attractive, finished in a black and silver case with a giant shimmering “X” on the lid. It’s a bit sparse inside, lacking the visual flair of some, but it is at least functional. The touchpad is large and responsive (although you’ll be better served by a mouse when gaming), and the keyboard is a fine example, too, with plenty of space and a comfortable feel. Windows Vista Home Premium is included as standard, and the meaty hardware inside the durable case easily manages the various bells and whistles the OS offers.
There are four USB ports, audio jacks for headphones and other audio equipment, gigabit ethernet, and a fingerprint reader for added security. All the ports are sensibly arranged: audio and USB are on the front and side of the Xtreme 770-T7800, so you can access often-used functions quickly and easily.
There’s an HD DVD combo drive on the side. It’s read-only when it comes to the next-generation format, but will handle all current formats of DVD and CD. There’s no HDMI-out to make connection to an HDTV simple, but the DVI-I port is at least HDCP compliant, so you’ll be able to play encrypted content when hooked up to a similarly equipped TV. The screen’s resolution is enough to display Full HD 1080p in its entirety, although too small to really make the most of it.
This is certainly a worthwhile step up from the A-Listed Xtreme 770-T7700, with a bump in speed both for applications and, most notably, gaming. The groundbreaking GeForce 8800M GTX card has a huge effect on performance, as does the doubling of RAM inside – from 1GB to a more generous 2GB. The hard disk is also doubled, providing you with a game-swallowing 200GB of space. But then you do pay for it, and you’ll have to really be aching for all the performance you can get to spend the extra £600, especially when you consider the powerful desktop beasts you can buy for the same money.