Last month, we had a look at an SLI notebook from Rock - that was one example of where a laptop probably shouldn't be called a laptop, with its 19" screen and pair of GeForce Go 7800 GTX video cards. The Evesham Quest A620, complete with an Athlon 64 FX-60 is another portable that could easily fit in the same non-laptop category, too.
We've seen several notebooks based on NVIDIA's GeForce Go 7800 GTX video card, and we think it's fairly safe to say that the GPU has been a success for the company. This is because the decision was made to design the G70 GPU with power consumption and heat being of utmost importance. This meant that it was possible for NVIDIA to transfer mobile versions of GeForce 7-series desktop parts into notebooks with relatively small lead times.
AMD's Athlon 64 X2 processors are not renowned for their good power consumption and heat output, meaning that they're not ideally suited for mobile use. However, Evesham has managed to cram AMD's fastest dual core behemoth, a GeForce Go 7800 GTX and a pair of 100GB hard drives running in RAID 0 in one of its Quest chassis'. This makes for an interesting combination, especially when the kind of hardware we're talking about is crammed into such a small space.
Much like the Rock Xtreme SL, we'd suggest that this machine is not your typical portable, weighing in at just under six kilograms. We tried using the machine on our lap, but found that the machine got a little too warm a little too quickly. If you haven't guessed it already, you're going to need a desk to use this puppy. In its carry bag with power brick, you're looking on the high side of eight kilos.
2 x 512MB DDR Memory running at 333MHz, 2.5-3-3-7-1T;
VIA K8T890 and VT8237 based motherboard;
17" WXGA X-Bright widescreen display (1680x1050);
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7800 GTX 256MB;
2 x 100GB Hitachi TravelStar 7200RPM SATA hard drives in RAID 0;
Sony 8x Dual Layer DVD-RW drive;
Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Microsoft Works 8, Roxio Easy Media Creator 7;
3 year warranty - 1st & 2nd year in-home (parts & labour), 3rd year return-to-base (parts & labour);
Price: £2522.98 including VAT
What changes would we make to this system? From what we can see on Evesham's configuration page, there is no option to upgrade to a 1920x1200 screen, so it seems that Evesham has made what it feels is the right display choice for you. The screen is about the right resolution for a GeForce Go 7800 GTX - just about every game out there will run very smoothly at its native resolution with a high level of in-game detail.
We'd definitely want to upgrade the memory to 2GB and we're a little surprised not to see such a powerful system come with only 1GB of memory. As we proved in February, 2GB of memory can have a positive effect on your gaming experience. The additional 1GB of memory will cost you another £105, but we think that it's worth it in a system like this.
Some may want to change the hard drive configuration - it's great having 200GB of storage (182GB formatted), but we can't help but feel that you're putting all of your eggs in one basket with RAID 0. The real world performance benefits from having two drives in RAID 0 are limited to scenarios where you're doing a lot of disk work. We'd much rather see the two drives configured as separate drives, using the DVD-RW drive as a backup mechanism. Others may find that they'd benefit from the redundancy of RAID 1, but that comes at the cost of losing one of the drives to make the storage array redundant.
The changes will take the price up to £2647.97 including VAT, but we think that the additional memory is worth it if you're planning on spending lots of time gaming or multitasking on this machine.