From the outside, the Rock Xtreme CT is slightly different to the AJP and Evesham, in that it has a considerably nicer looking lid. There is also an option upon purchase to have a lid with â€œRockâ€ etched into it. This might sound a little off-putting, but it is actually quite nice.
The differences donâ€™t end there, with more changes on the inside. Like the Evesham, the Rock runs the Intel Pentium M 770 (2.13GHz) processor and like the AJP it has a 1,920 x 1,200 display. The memory installed is 1GB of high quality Corsair goodness. This choice becomes obvious when you look inside the BIOS as there are options for overclocking.
The BIOS is certainly not like that of a desktop board, but gives you options for a 3,6,9,12 or 15 per cent increase in the front side bus, keeping things nice and simple. At 15 per cent this increased the processor from 2.13GHz to 2.45GHz. This is an impressive feature that is rarely seen in a laptop. At high resolutions, gaming performance changed very little. However, at 1,024 x 768, there was a 17 per cent improvement in performance â€“ this is because the CPU tends to be the limiting factor at lower resolutions. This extra processing power may make a difference when running future games as AI becomes more complex.
We also took it upon ourselves to see if gaming at 1,920 x 1,200 was a viable option. Using Half Life-2, even with 4x FSAA and 8x AF on we had an average frame rate of 52.8 and it was quite playable. A small drop in image quality to 2x FSAA and 4x AF gave a large increase in frame rates to 70.0. Not only is gaming at this resolution viable, itâ€™s a wonderful experience.
After installing all our benchmark software, Windows was looking a little messy â€“ so we took the opportunity to test out the inbuilt PC Angel recovery system that resides on a 3GB partition of the hard drive. The system was very quick and easy and would be a godsend to those who find the task of re-installing Windows a daunting one.
At Â£1643.83 inc. VAT this is once again a lot of money, but offers better value than the Evesham. The overclocking feature will make it a big hit among many people, as you are essentially getting a much faster processor for your money. 2.45GHz is well within the grasps of even a poorly fabricated Pentium M and should produce very little extra heat. The downside is the disappointing 60GB PATA hard drive. Although this wonâ€™t affect performance much, it will definitely have an adverse affect on the size of your MP3 collection. For only Â£45, this can be changed to 100GB which is money well spent.
Being the only machine to complete the MobileMark DVD test, this also suggests that Rockâ€™s testing routine is a cut above the rest. All these little differences help to make this machine the best choice out of the three.
Rock has produced an excellent machine at a solid price. Throw in the unique overclocking features for an extra performance boost and the Xtreme CT rises above the competition.