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

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Only 250GB of hard drive storage might seem a bit stingy at first, but this is actually one of the fast 7,200rpm drives rather than the 5,400rpm you'd usually encounter in a notebook. For an extra £55 you can upgrade to a 320GB model or even a slower 5,400rpm 500GB one, but for games 7,200rpm is preferable. Last but not least we have a Blu-ray drive, though oddly enough it doesn't say so on the actual drive cover, claiming support for only DVD and CD.

Even stranger is that Rock hasn't pre-installed any software that can actually play Blu-ray films. CyberLink's DVD Suite is on hand for multimedia duties but the included version of PowerDVD lacks Blu-ray support. However, a Blu-ray capable version of WinDVD is included with instructions to install it if you want to view HD discs. Why Rock didn't just pre-install it is beyond us. It's also worth keeping in mind that if you don't need or want Blu-ray playback, you can save £110 by downgrading to a standard DVD-Rewriter.

Taking care of wireless duties is an Intel WiFi Link 5300 providing Draft-N support, and Bluetooth 2.1 is also present. Despite all this being stuffed into a smaller chassis than was the case with the 17in Xtreme 780, we're glad to report the X620 is a far quieter beast: in normal use it's virtually inaudible, though when gaming the cooling kicks up a notch producing a noticeable whine. Build quality is also much improved, with the slight rattle in the keyboard the only niggle.

If you can get past the reflections or are playing in a darkened environment, the Xtreme 620's screen is quite good. To get the negatives out of the way, we've yet to come across a notebook display other than the amazing RGB-backlit example on the Dell Studio XPS 16 that has really good black detail, with the X620's 15.4in panel dropping tones on both ends of the greyscale. Another disappointment is that despite the glossy coating colours don't have the 'punch' you'd expect and can appear a bit washed out, though this also avoids the oversaturation that afflicts some notebook displays.

On the positives side, thanks to the high 1,680 x 1,050 resolution everything is razor-sharp and there's no sign of backlight bleed or banding. Most impressive, though, are the horizontal viewing angles, which while not perfect are certainly superior to what we've come to expect from the average notebook panel. Unfortunately, vertical ones are as poor as ever, so you'll need to position the screen's angle carefully to get the most out of it.

Audio is another pleasant surprise. Rather than the tinny efforts of most notebooks, the Rock Xtreme 620's speakers create a reasonably immersive soundstage. Bass comes across with plenty of punch and weight at respectable volume levels without too much distortion or any of the usual muddiness. Treble is also handled well, making this one notebook where headphones or separate speakers are not the necessity they are on most.

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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