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

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Below the keyboard, the Xtreme 620's touchpad is so slightly indented as to look like it's flush with the rest of the chassis. It's a plain matte affair, thankfully spurning the garish giant 'X' of the X780; the only marking being a subtle pattern of slightly raised miniature white squares demarking the scroll zone.

Pad and buttons form a single surface separated only by a thin chrome strip. These buttons aren't the best as they're a bit on the stiff side, but neither are they unpleasant to use. Nestled between them is a biometric fingerprint scanner, which can be used as an alternative (or additional) method of securing your precious notebook's data to the traditional password.

Connectivity is a bit unusual in that there are only two USB ports accessible from the front, though there are a further two at the back. On the X620's left the Blu-ray ROM and DVD-Rewriter sits all by itself, while the front houses headphone and microphone jacks as well as a mini-FireWire port. This is also where you'll find the indicator lights, which are visible with the notebook's lid closed.

On the right, the aforementioned USB ports, a memory card reader and 54mm ExpressCard slot are joined by the modem and Ethernet ports. Finally, at the back reside the ventilation slot, lock slot, power input and twin digital video connections in the form of one DVI and one HDMI output. Unfortunately, as with the X720 the DVI port is not of the dual-link variety, meaning owners of 30in monitors are left out in the cold. Rock does include a DVI-VGA adapter should you have an analogue-only display, though.

Whereas almost any notebook available today is more than capable of the everyday tasks demanded of it, a gaming notebook needs some serious grunt under the hood. Rock's Xtreme 620 makes a good start for itself with a speedy Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 processor running at 2.80GHz. This 45nm CPU has a 6MB cache and a 1,066MHz bus speed, which matches that of the 4GB of DDR3 memory provided. This memory is optimally used by a 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium.

Easily the most important component of any gaming machine, though, is its graphics card, since this has far more influence on how games will run than the processor. While not the most powerful card around, an nVidia GeForce 9800M GT with 512MB of video memory strikes a good balance between performance and value.

Unlike the 9600 series (often sold in gaming laptops as a supposedly capable card), the 9800 can actually run demanding games without resorting to lower resolutions. At the 15.4in screen's native 1,680 x 1,050 resolution the X620 managed a perfectly adequate 49.7fps in Call of Duty 4 with details set to maximum and two samples of anti-aliasing.

As usual Crysis was more of a challenge, with High Quality settings under DX10 bringing the average down to an unplayable 17.66fps at native resolution. However, changing this to 1,280 x 800 delivered a mostly smooth experience with an average of 30.7fps and no noticeable loss of quality due to the screen's good scaling.

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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