Back in February I looked at the Rock Xtreme Ti notebook and found it to be the fastest mobile gaming platform available. Now Rock has given me another machine to look at, packing a similar punch, but built into a smaller (but still far from ultra-portable) chassis. The result is that I've finally got a machine with a top end graphics card inside it, but using a chassis other than the 17in Clevo that I've seen many times before.
The Rock Xtreme XT is admittedly smaller than the 17in Xtreme Ti, but you still wouldn't want to carry it around with you all day, or use it on the move too much. The reduction in overall size is due to a reduction in the screen size. Instead of a 17in widescreen display, the Xtreme XT sports a 15.4in widescreen display. Personally I prefer the idea of a 15.4in screen, since the 17in version is quite massive - also, Rock has been smart enough to spec the 15.4in screen with the same resolution as the 17in anyway.
Since I've already mentioned the screen, I may as well cover it first. The 15.4in widescreen display has a resolution of 1,680 x 1,050, which provides a commendable amount of desktop space in which to work. Of course it can be argued that this machine will only be used for gaming and not working, but I think there is a case to use it for both - obviously just not on the move. Unlike the 17in screen on the Rock Xtreme Ti, this one does not sport Rock's X-Black coating for improved contrast and more vivid colours. This is a shame, because the coating really does make a difference when playing games. To be fair though, Rock informed me that it could only get the X-Black 15.4in screen with a 1,280 x 768 resolution and made the decision to go with the higher resolution screen without the coating - I think it was the right decision, but hopefully Rock will be able to offer this machine with a 1,680 x 1,050 X-Black screen soon.
As with the 17in Xtreme, there's a digital camera mounted above the screen, so it you're into video conferencing, or just like to see who you're talking to over Skype, it may come in handy. Below the screen you'll find the power button - complete with blue light of course - and five shortcut buttons. The shortcuts link to your email, web browser, WiFi, Bluetooth and a final button labelled with a TV/camera icon, but which wasn't assigned to anything.
The keyboard feels very similar to the one in the Xtreme Ti, which is hardly surprising considering that this chassis is also manufactured by Clevo. The keys are a decent size, with the exception of the left Shift key, which is disturbingly small - just like on the 17in chassis. Although there is a little flex in the keyboard when typing at speed, the break and spring back are both solid enough to achieve a fluid typing rate.