So, how did the Rock Xtreme XT fare in our 3D benchmarks? Well Half-Life 2 turned in some very respectable results, managing over 60fps at 1,600 x 1,200 with no image quality settings enabled. In fact I was able to play Counter Strike: Source at the full, native 1,680 x 1,050 resolution and it was completely smooth and very playable.
The Xtreme XT proved to be faster than its big brother when it came to Doom3, although bizarrely enabling FSAA seemed to have no effect whatsoever to the scores. This is more likely to be an ATI driver issue though, rather than any fault of Rock, since I’ve seen similar situations with ATI desktop graphics cards.
Far Cry proved to be far more demanding for the Xtreme XT than it was for the Xtreme Ti, but this could well be to do with the slower CPU. Looking at the 1,024 x 768 tests, it’s clear that the CPU is the limiting factor, with the all three scores almost identical. Looking at the Xtreme Ti scores, you can see that the extra headroom offered by the faster CPU makes a big difference.
So, performance is definitely impressive, but there is a price to pay for that performance – this is the noisiest notebook I have ever used. I ran the benchmarks over the weekend while I was watching TV, and I could barely hear the dialogue in quiet scenes over the cacophony of fan noise spilling from the Xtreme XT. To be fair, the Xtreme XT isn’t that loud when you’re running Windows, and when you do fire up a 3D game, you’re likely to be either using headphones or have the excellent integrated speakers pumping out loud effects. Nonetheless, the Xtreme XT is definitely guilty of major noise polution.
The Xtreme Ti was feature packed, with its X-black screen and 120GB RAID 0 array trying to tick every box for the hardcore gamer, but it came at a high price. The Xtreme XT isn’t quite as hardcore, but it still produces an impressive turn of speed. But it’s the price that’s the jewel in the Xtreme XT’s crown, undercutting its big brother significantly at £1,585.80.
Looking at the price and the performance of the Xtreme XT, it adds up to an attractive package for the gamer that never wants to be without his rig. With the reduction in size and weight over the Xtreme Ti – 360 x 290 x 60mm and 4.5kg, compared to 397 x 298 x 49.5mm 5.5kg – the Xtreme XT makes that trip to the LAN party a little less of a burden.
Once again Rock has produced a lightning fast gaming notebook, and this time managed to bring it in at an affordable price. Unfortunately the ridiculously noisy cooling fans and the odd shaped touchpad spoil an otherwise impressive package.