A problem that I find with most very large notebooks is that the space between the front of the chassis and the keyboard is huge. So, rather than having a wrist rest area, the Xtreme Ti has a forearm rest area, since most of my forearms end up leaning on the chassis. Having so much of your skin in contact with the chassis becomes an issue because this notebook runs very hot and typing for long periods can become uncomfortable if your skin is very sensitive.
Embedded into the wrist/forearm rest is the large grey touchpad. I personally prefer trackpoints to touchpads, but Rock has put a decent example in the Xtreme Ti, complete with a vertical scroll section on the right hand side. Of course the touchpad will probably be redundant most of the time, as I imagine that the majority of users will plug a mouse in.
Looking around the chassis you’ll see that this is one heavily featured computer. The right side houses the 8x DVD writer, while the front is dominated by the multimedia controls, complete with a blue LED display. From here you can playback music CDs without having to boot the PC up into Windows. There are many notebooks with this feature, but none with speakers that sound as good as this one.
The left of the case is stacked to the brim full of features. First off is a single Type II PC Card slot, with an IrDA port located next to it. Below these is a 7-in-1 memory card reader, which is a great feature, but not so great is the rubber bung that protects the slots, since it is completely removed when the reader is in use and could get lost easily. Next up are the audio ports – there’s headphone, microphone, optical S/PDIF out and line-in. The latter is a particularly good feature as very few notebooks offer a line-in option – you usually have to buy a docking bar if you need stereo line-in. Next to the audio ports are two four-pin FireWire ports, and next to those are four USB 2.0 ports. Rounding off the left hand side is an S-Video output.
At the rear you’ll find S-Video and composite video inputs hiding behind another removable rubber flap. Next to this is the modem socket and a LAN port for the integrated Gigabit Ethernet controller. Proving to be very legacy friendly, the Xtreme Ti also sports a PS/2 port, a serial port and a parallel port. Finally, and totally at odds with the legacy support, you’ll find no D-SUB output – instead there is a DVI-I connector and Rock supplies a D-SUB adapter with the notebook.
One thing that really annoyed me with the Xtreme Ti is the over zealous hibernation sensor in the lid. Most notebooks can be configured to go into hibernation when the lid is closed, which is a pretty useful feature. However, the Xtreme Ti doesn’t wait for the lid to be closed – if you so much as adjust the lid towards the keyboard the whole system goes into hibernation. This can be a real pain if you’re moving the screen forward to look behind it while you’re in the middle of something, since next thing you know the machine has gone into hibernation. I can only hope that this was a problem with the sensor on my review model and that production units won’t suffer from the same issue.
Considering the performance and features offered by the Xtreme Ti, I guessed that it wasn’t going to be cheap and with a retail price of £2,206.65 I wasn’t wrong. However, even though the price is very high, it’s still within the realms of acceptability for what is the fastest mobile gaming PC around.
The Rock Xtreme Ti isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but when a notebook manufacturer is trying to squeeze in the latest technology, including a very fast (and hot) CPU and graphics card, the choice of chassis is limited. Rock has definitely achieved what it set out to do, and the few complaints that I have are definitely outweighed by the awesome mobile gaming experience offered by the Xtreme Ti.