Not long ago, we looked at a pre-production example of the first notebook to come with NVIDIA's GeForce Go 7800 GTX chip, which was the Evesham Voyager C720. We established there that the Go 7800 part is just as fast as its desktop equivalent - an astounding feat for a notebook chip, and one which finally makes notebooks viable desktop replacements for hardcore gamers.
Rock, notebook specialist based in the UK, is now stepping up to bat with a fearsome rendition of the chipset, but one which is rather well priced. Rock also claims that the notebook can be overclocked to provide better performance for no extra cost and no loss in stability. How does it fare in our real-world testing scenarios? Let's find out...
The Rock Xtreme CT sports a widescreen 17" WSXGA+ display which runs at a resolution of 1680x1050. The resolution is high enough for decent Windows desktop work, but low enough to enable native resolution gaming without too much strain on the 7800.
The machine uses the same chassis as the Evesham notebook, which is manufactured originally by Clevo in China. For a desktop replacement notebook, it is considerably thinner and lighter than previous generations. You wouldn't want to sit this on your lap on a crowded plane, but you can happily cart it around to LAN parties or on train tables without too much hassle. It's 3.8kg - this is lighter than many desktop replacements, which are often 4kg or more. However, it's heavier than your average notebook, which is 2.5-2.8kg depending on screen size. As an example, my 15" Powerbook is 2.56kg, and the 17" model is 3.13kg. Obviously, the main reason the notebook is so heavy is the huge screen, but there's also a fair amount of weight in the heatpipes and heatsinks required to keep the chassis at a cool temperature.
The machine is bulky, but it also feels fairly robust. It doesn't have the same feel of quality as, say, an Apple Powerbook, but it is definitely one of the nicer, large Windows notebooks we've seen.
Rock spec up this notebook as follows:
Pentium M 2.0GHz processor
1GB DDR2 533MHz RAM
GeForce Go 7800 GTX 256MB
17" screen with X-Glass and 1680x1050 resolution
60GB 7200RPM Hard drive
8x dual layer DVD writer
Gigabit Ethernet, Centrino WiFi and Bluetooth
You also get Bullguard anti-virus software, Works 8, a carry case and Roxio DVD burning software, none of which are particularly splendid. Bullguard, in particular, made us want to throttle ourselves with the nearest USB cable.
The price of all this goodness is £1408 including VAT. You can have the same notebook but with a 2.13GHz processor for £1526. However, if the overclocking works as it should, you shouldn't need to buy the extra processing speed...