Specifications and Screen Quality
This is the second laptop we’ve seen that features an Intel Core i7-based CPU. Unlike the Kobalt G860 which we used to benchmark the 720QM
though, the Rock features a full blown desktop LGA1366 Core i7-920. The 2.66GHz Core i7-920 processor is backed up by no less than 6GB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory, which is made full use of with a pre-installed 64-bit copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. For rendering games, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M is ready and present.
We should point out though that this last component sounds more impressive than it really is. Nvidia's top-of-the-range mobile graphics chip is still
based on the G92 GPU rather than a GT200 GPU (or a mobile version thereof), so its name is really all it has in common with its desktop cousin. The core is clocked at 583MHz while the 1GB of GDDR3 memory runs at 950MHz (1.9GHz effective). The GPU’s 128 stream processors (sorry, Cuda cores
) are clocked at 1.45GHz. Aside from the re-hash of this older GPU, the core specification of the Xtreme 790 is pretty beefy at for something that you could carry under one arm, albeit not for an especially lengthy period of time. That said, the hard disk specification is a touch skimpy, with just one 250GB 7,200rpm model included. There’s no sign of a Blu-ray player either, with a DVD-RW drive being the optical drive in our review sample.
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To get an idea of how the 17in, 1,920 x 1,280 WUXGA+ display performs, we loaded up a few movies in addition to performing some stealthy jungle headshots in the luscious greenery of Crysis. The bushes and palms of the Pacific island sprang to life on the panel even without tweaking colour and saturation levels - it looked as though Alan Titchmarsh himself had been tending the foliage.
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In our test DVD, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, the opening sequence was as believable as it ever has been. The picture was crisp and all the colours appeared vibrant and attractive. Sadly though, the same can't be said of the Xtreme 790's speakers. The drivers either side of the keyboard are more meagre than Gollum after a reprimand from the master. There’s little bass and the volume veers towards the piddly.