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With gaming laptops there's often a fine line between portability and power, but Rock's Xtreme 840SLI-X9100 falls firmly into the latter camp. This behemoth is most definitely a 'desktop replacement' in the truest sense of the term, as with a starting weight of six kilos (plus another 1.2kg for the power brick) it has the distinct honour of being the heaviest gaming laptop to have graced our labs - not counting the multimedia-oriented HP Pavilion HDX9095EA.
So what kind of power has Rock packed under the bonnet to cause not only the considerable weight, but also a chassis which at its thickest stands 7cm off your desk - not to mention a price of just a pound under £3,000? As the title suggests, the headline-grabbing feature is that the X840 SLI range brings some serious graphics grunt to the table in the form of two nVidia GeForce 280M GTXs; with 1GB on each card, this laptop has more graphics memory than some desktop PCs have in total!
Processing power is also impressive. Given its size we wouldn't have been too surprised to find a Core i7 CPU inside, but Rock has stuck with mobile chips and gone for an Intel Core 2 Extreme X9100 (to get a Core i7 you'll have to go Rock's 790, which in turn doesn't support SLI). With two cores running at a blistering 3.06GHz, this is the fastest-clocked mobile processor in existence and, depending on the game, will actually give you better performance than the Extreme QX9300 with its four 2.53GHz cores.
Other niceties include a Full HD screen and twin 500GB 7,200rpm hard drives, but before we get too deep into the laptop's innards, let's take a look at the outside. On unpacking the beast, first impressions are a bit of a mixed bag. While undoubtedly chunky, its sleek lines help to streamline things somewhat. We also like the metallic highlights on the hinges, though they're not exactly a perfect match for the plastic silver strips running around the edges of the lid and base.
Sporting a mirror-finish transparent layer with black backing and a backlit Rock logo set into its centre, the Rock's lid is certainly eye-catching. How long it will stay pretty is anyone's guess though, as it's even better than the usual piano-black at picking up grime and fingerprints. If it were just a case of being high-maintenance this might be worth it for some, but the finish also scratches quite easily. Then again, this isn't exactly a system you'll be moving around as much as most laptops.
Generally there's no complaint with build quality, as the chassis feels sturdy and the plastics used display no sign of flex or creak. The only exceptions are a section above the keyboard and the metal mesh hinge cover, which had partially come off during transport on our sample but fortunately is fairly sturdy and easy to slot back in place.
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