Rock Xtreme 770 review

£1956
Price when reviewed

The Rock Xtreme 770 contains the most powerful processor in this Labs: an Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme X9000. This runs at a stonking 2.8GHz and, when coupled with 4GB of RAM, propelled the Rock to a score of 1.25 in our 2D benchmarks.

Rock Xtreme 770 review

Surprisingly, though, despite the fastest clock speed, the Rock isn’t the fastest machine on test: the HP, Sony, Acer and Dell XPS M1730 are all quicker. The latter is also speedier in 3D, although performance from Rock’s 8800M GTX isn’t to be sniffed at. In our medium-quality Crysis benchmark, the Rock managed 45fps: plenty to handle almost all modern games.

The rest of the spec is what you’d expect. A Blu-ray reader – and a 17in screen with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 – allows for Full HD playback. There’s draft-n wireless, too, and the Rock is well appointed with four USB ports complemented by FireWire, four audio jacks, a card reader and S-Video.

All of this is encased in a rock-solid chassis. The relatively conservative looks – stylish and understated black – conceal superb build quality, with the Xtreme 770 barely flinching under duress.

But the keyboard isn’t great. Several function keys and the number pad are small, without any obvious reason. However, the trackpad and buttons are responsive and comfortable to use.

Battery life is another area where the Rock is mediocre. Light use saw the 770 last just two hours, and the heavy-use test reduced this to just under an hour. It isn’t a huge issue, as we can’t see this 4.1kg laptop leaving home too often.

Despite these indiscretions, however, the Rock Xtreme 770 is still a great desktop replacement. The most powerful processor on test and a quality graphics chipset provide superb performance, and range of features – including Blu-ray and Full HD – is very enticing. It’s one of the most expensive PCs in the Labs this month, but it’s also one of the most powerful, making it a tempting alternative to the HP Pavilion.

Warranty

Warranty3yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions397 x 278 x 53mm (WDH)
Weight4.100kg
Travelling weight5.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Extreme X9000
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM965
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size17.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,200
Resolution1920 x 1200
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce 8800M GTX
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs1
DVI-I outputs1
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity200GB
Hard disk usable capacity174GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate ST9200420AS
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical driveOptiarc BC-5500A
Battery capacity4,400mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT£79
Replacement battery price inc VAT£91

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemyes
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
3.5mm audio jacks4
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationBase
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Fingerprint readeryes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use2hr 4min
Battery life, heavy use59min
Overall application benchmark score1.25
3D performance (crysis) low settings92fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedRoxio RecordNow

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