Gaming laptops are weird monsters, in my opinion. On the one hand, I think they are all entirely useless – if I want to do some PC gaming I have a desktop, and if I want to game on the go then a DS or PSP is easier to carry around then a 17-inch ‘portable’ PC.
And yet, they are pretty cool things and, despite all my grumpy scepticism and useless prattling, even I have to admit that I’d love to have a decent gaming laptop for when I’m on holiday or at a LAN party. And it’s that desire that pushed us to look at the new rock Xtreme 770 in all its pimped out glory.
Measuring 280x390x40 millimetres (DxWxH) when closed, it’s big enough to pack a 17-inch screen and an only slightly condensed keyboard comfortably. If you add the formidable system specifications on top of that then it’s already beaten my personal desktop machine at home – and I can’t take that with me when I go to the pub!
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So, what exactly is the rock Xtreme 770 packing inside? Check out the details of our model below…
CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000 2.8GHz, 6MB cache, 800MHz Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX 512MB HDD: 200GB 7,200RPM SATA HDD Bundled Software: Roxio, Bullguard suites Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium Disc Drive: HD DVD ROM and DVD writer Screen: Hi-res WUXGA 17” (native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200)
All in all then it’s a pretty beefy machine and cramming an Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX into a case like this is no mean feat, especially when the case is this snazzy and detailed in black and silver stylings. But it's worth remembering that the mobile version of the 8800 GTX is not the same beast that has been at the top of the desktop graphics tree for so long.
It's based on the G92 graphics chip, although unlike its desktop compatriots, this beast comes with only 96 stream processors – in other words, one quarter of the total stream processors have been disabled. This is to keep power consumption down and, as we've seen from the 9600 GT, it shouldn't make too much difference to performance in current games. Although, going forwards it might have more of an effect.
The stream processors themselves are clocked at 1.25GHz which is pretty low by today's standards but again it's to provide a combination of performance and optimal cooling performance. The core clock, which is what the 16 pixel output engines (or ROPs) and 48 texture units operate at, runs at 500MHz. Because there are 16 ROPs, there's a 256-bit memory interface present and this backs out onto 512MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at a modest 1.6GHz.
Moving back onto the machine itself, it's worth pointing out that I love the keyboard as key presses are very positive and it comes surrounded in a faux carbon fibre effect – but the good kind, not the awful ugly type. The keyboard also has a full numpad on the right, which will be handy for anyone wanting to do some flight-sim gaming and the keys all feel good too, not mushy or stiff like you might see on some cheaper laptops. What's more, the overall feel of the Xtreme 770 is quite good too – the screen is the glossy kind, but it’s large too and makes the most of the space it has.
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We really like the way that the most common connectors, the headphone and microphone ports most importantly, are in front of the trackpad, right in front of the user. This leaves them in a perfect position for you to plug your headset in and get some quiet gaming done without getting all tangled up in wires.
In fact, the only part of the system spec that we’d immediately question would be the HD DVD drive as, since the format died, there really isn’t a lot of longevity in it. The HD DVD drive is a customisable option though and can be replaced with a standard DVD writer or Blu-ray drive if you’d prefer – though we’ll look at the various options in detail a little later on. The HD DVD drive only costs about £36 over the basic DVD drive though, so at that price it’s actually probably worth having if you want to pick up a few films on the cheap before HD DVD disappears completely.