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Introduction

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Back in January, we took a look at three gaming notebooks from Evesham, Rock and AJP based on the Clevo chassis. These all used a GO 7800 GTX GPU and were blisteringly fast in games. With SLI notebooks just around the corner, mobile graphics acceleration is taking off in a big way as more people consider a desktop replacement as a viable alternative for gaming.

One feature of the Clevo chassis is that the GPU is in a proprietary module that can easily be removed and replaced. Although this isn’t something the end user will be doing, it does make it a lot easier for notebook suppliers to choose which graphics chip you will be taking home. When ATI’s new mobile X1800 XT was launched yesterday, rock direct supplied us with a module to upgrade our previously reviewed Extreme CT. This gave us a perfect opportunity to compare it to NVIDIA’s mobile 7800 GTX in the same notebook, in a true head-to-head stylee.

The X1800 XT is essentially the same as the desktop part, with 16 pixel pipelines and the super-efficient 256-bit ring bus memory architecture. Core speeds will vary from notebook to notebook, but the module we were sent ran at 550MHz core and 650MHz (1,300MHz effective) memory.

The Rock Extreme CT we used has an overclocking facility bringing the 2.13GHz Pentium M up to a speedy 2.45GHz. This will help to reduce the bottleneck of the CPU on graphics performance.

It is worth noting that the recently released Rock Extreme CTX differs in specification to the CT with a slightly newer chassis that supports Core Duo.

Above we see the Rock Extreme CT with its 17in screen at a resolution of 1,920x1,200. With resolutions as high as this, running games requires quite a bit of grunt.

11 screws later and we have exposed the gubbins inside the Extreme CT.

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