Rock's tagline is 'Ultimate performance gaming laptops and notebooks' and over the years it's a claim that the company's products have convincingly supported. However, it's been a while since we last looked at one of its top-end gaming machines and, with a brand new model hitting the shelves that features the most powerful mobile graphics chip currently available, we thought it would be a good time to catch up with the company's wares.
The Xtreme 770, then, is Rock's latest flagship notebook. Featuring Intel Core 2 Duo processors, nVidia 8700M GT graphics, 17in screens, and 7,200rpm hard drives as standard and with a minimum of 1GB of RAM, these machines are all about size and speed. But, starting at as little as £1,199, they're also good value and make a good case for a true desktop replacement.
The range is split up into three models dictated by the type of processor sitting inside them. At the bottom of the pile is the X770-T7300, which uses an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, the middle part is the X770-T7500, and the top end version goes by the name of X770-T7700 (I'll leave you to guess what CPUs are used by the latter two). Quite why Rock has bothered with three models and not just used one with a choice of CPU, I'm not sure. It just serves to make things more complicated, especially as all the other options, like hard drive size and amount of RAM, are the same for all three. Personally I'd stick with the T7300 and use the money saved to add in more RAM. However, for our review sample we were sent the top of the range X770-T7700, which has 2GB RAM, a 16G0GB hard drive, 1,920 x 1,200 resolution screen, and an HD DVD drive and costs a not insubstantial £1,882.82.
As is common among small local PC and notebook manufacturers, the chassis for the X770 is not made by Rock itself and is actually just a standard OEM design (made by Clevo) that can be used by any number of manufacturers throughout the world. Indeed, you may recall the news story we ran on an Evesham laptop that would feature, funnily enough, nVidia 8700M GT graphics and a black chassis with orange trimming. Well, we weren't mistaken and in fact both Rock and Evesham are releasing notebooks based on the same design we're looking at today. The only major difference is Rock has added a brushed aluminium panel on the top whereas Evesham has stuck with the plain black top. Dare I say though, I think the all-black looks better.
The design of the X770, you'll either love or hate. If you like garish, then it'll probably by right up your street. If, however, you prefer your kit a bit more understated then you may be disappointed. That said it's not as bad as MSI's upcoming gaming laptops and certainly doesn't make such a bold statement as the Alienware Area-51.