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PC gamers have a tough time of it. Not only do you have to know quite a bit to get everything working properly, but you also have to regularly invest in upgrades or even entirely new systems. And if you go the affordable desktop route, you end up with a system that's the opposite of portable. An alternative, of course, is a gaming notebook like the Rock Xtreme 780 we're looking at today.
Rock is no stranger to making some blazingly fast "mobile" systems, as evidenced by the award winning Xtreme 770 T7800-8800 we reviewed last year. It has since been refreshed to use Intel's latest mobile platform, so can its successor work the same magic?
Based on Clevo's M571TU chassis and with only one outward change from the 770 (replacing an S-Video connection with HDMI), the Xtreme 780 manages to look the part, giving quite a slim impression considering its powerful internals and weight of just over 4kg. It's decked out in an inoffensive combination of silver and black, with the lid dominated by a brushed metal section sporting a large 'X' and the Rock logo. At the front and back of the lid are strips of glossy black plastic, while the sides are matte black to match the inner bezel.
Likewise, the base of the chassis is matte black, with thin silver accenting that runs all around the front and sides incorporating the ports and side-mounted speakers. There are two silver latches holding down the lid, so you have to use two hands to open it up. This is less convenient than single-latch systems, but they're quite sturdy and hold the lid closed securely. In fact, build quality throughout is mostly good. A notebook carrier bag is also included as standard, which is a great value-add for those who don't already own one, but an unnecessary cost for those who do.
Opening the Rock up, we're greeted by a fairly attractive interior, spoiled only by the cheap white 'X' across the dark-brown touchpad. Aside from this most of the surface is smooth matte black plastic. Around the keyboard is a faux carbon-fibre effect strip with a black-on-black checkerboard pattern. It really doesn't add anything and the laptop would probably have been more attractive without it, but it's innocuous enough not to distract.
Above the keyboard are three shortcut buttons and the power button, which is backlit in blue. The keyboard, meanwhile, is really decent. Layout is good, with a proper large Enter key and Ctrl on the outside of the Fn key. Key feedback is mostly pleasant and the only real niggle is that getting closer to the number pad, keys start to rattle.
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