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Rock Xtreme 620 - 15.4in Gaming Notebook review

Ardjuna Seghers

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Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook
  • Rock Xtreme 620 -  15.4in Gaming Notebook

Summary

Our Score:

8

Notebooks seem to be getting smaller and smaller, and it's a trend that's even affecting gaming notebooks. A few years ago you would have been hard-pressed to find a gaming notebook with a decent graphics card coming in at under 17in, but Alienware changed this when it released the 15.4in Area-51 m15x last year. Now Rock has its own thoroughbred 15.4in gaming notebook, the Xtreme 620, but can it match Alienware and its gaming behemoth?

Based on Clevo's M860TU chassis, the X620 gets off to a good start with its stylish brushed metal black lid that's unspoiled by any logos or patterns. This is accented by a smart silver trim around the edges and a strip of piano black plastic at the top, with chromed hinge caps completing the attractive exterior.

Inside things look a tad less classy due to the contrast between the matte plastic screen bezel and brushed metal lower section, but at least those who find glossy bezels distracting have nothing to complain about. Unfortunately the screen itself is highly reflective and the webcam also sits in a small glossy surround with the word 'eyeshot' beside it. Presumably this is some play on the term 'headshot' meant to appeal to a gamer's sense of humour.

Moving to the main body of the notebook, everything except the touchpad and keyboard is also finished in brushed black metal, offset by the silver trim around the edges, a narrow glossy strip around the keyboard and thin chrome strips accentuating the touchpad. A blue-backlit power button and three shortcut buttons are etched out of the metal, a la Motorola Razr V3, and the speakers are a subtle pincushion pattern to either side of these.

Overall, it's a subtle and elegant design with far less bling than we're used to seeing from a gaming notebook, but for many that will be a welcome development. It's certainly a far cry from the somewhat cheap styling of Rock's Xtreme 780.

Despite looking fairly unremarkable, the keyboard's matte finish matches the screen's bezel nicely. Layout is just as one would want, with Ctrl to the outside of Fn key and a large UK-style Enter key. Cursor-keys are well-separated and full-size, which is nice for split-screen games and the few gamers that still use them primarily, and there are dedicated Home to End keys on the right-hand side.

Keyboard feedback is, in a word, excellent. Keys are broad and comfortable and though some do have a hint of rattle and there's just the slightest bit of flex, there's plenty of travel and keys have a positive, springy feel to them.

Petrov

March 20, 2009, 1:38 pm

Given your only complaint is the slight noise while gaming, why do you only award it an 8/10 and no TR Recommendation? Is there really a better gaming solution in a 15.4" form factor than this Clevo chassis and spec?





2 points strikes me as a lot to take off for one minor niggle? I have the equivalent model from Kobalt Computers, and it by miles the best gaming laptop I've ever owned (and I've owned more than 4).

Xelon

March 20, 2009, 2:56 pm

Interesting review, but why did Rock choose the now defunct 15.4 16:10 panel? Surely 15.6 or 16" 16:9 panel would be the choice of 2009.

BinnsY768

March 20, 2009, 3:45 pm

I think the main reason would be that this laptop has actually been out for sometime and if I remember correctly was announced and designed just before the big switch to the 16:9 format.





As this is a gaming notebook 16:10 is also still the main format for gamers.

smc8788

March 20, 2009, 4:40 pm

It would have been nice when spending this amount of money on a laptop to have the latest notebook GPUs that are available (GTX 260M/280M or Mobility Radeon HD 4870/4870 X2) rather than something that is now quite old.

Andy Vandervell

March 20, 2009, 4:42 pm

It's fair to assume that it will be updated with the latest GPUs in the near future.

TheLostSwede

March 20, 2009, 4:45 pm

@Xelon, wow, you've really bought the 16:9 marketing spiel hook, line and sinker...


Now repeat after me, 16:9 bad, 16:10 good.


16:10 screens generally (with some minor exceptions) offer higher resolutions than 16:9 panels and in this case you're getting 1,680x1,050 resolution rather than 1,366x768 which you'd get on a 15.6 or 16-inch 16:9 panel.


It's all just marketing hype, on a computer there is NO advantage of going 16:9 over 16:10, apart from maybe the short time you're using it for watching movies on and then you only get a slightly larger black border.

Ohmz

March 20, 2009, 7:15 pm

I agree with TheLostSwede, I'm scared of losing all that vertical space! Even now, desktop monitors are going from 1200 pixels to 1080 pixels vertically. Kinda defeats the whole purpose of a big monitor doesn't it?

Matthew Bunton

March 20, 2009, 8:09 pm

Yep LostSwede is right I have a Sony Viao 16:9 and most older games have to be played with large black borders down each side which is a real pity. Although I think most new games support the 16:9 ratio if like me you still enjoy playing some of the older games you're better of with a 16:10 screen.

TechVegan

March 25, 2009, 9:09 pm

@Petrov: The overall score is a combination of price, performance, looks and value - and it's the Rock we're reviewing, not the Clevo, which is indeed a good chassis and used by many other manufacturers, some of whom offer better value depending on your needs.





@smc8788: As you might know, at least in the case of nVidia's latest chipsets they're nothing more than revised and overclocked versions of older cards, so you're not getting 'old' tech as such and performance will probably be quite similar.





@TheLostSwede: Amen.

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