The Xtreme! ships with Microsoft Windwos XP Home pre-installed as well as a copy of Ability Office to get you working out of the box. Talking of working, this machine flies through the office benchmarks. Running SYSmark 2002, the Xtreme! turned in a score of 351 which is phenomenal, and 38 points higher than the previous fastest notebook- the Acer Aspire 1714SMi. Put simply this machine will chew up office applications and spit them out without even breaking a sweat.
But let’s face it, this notebook is all about games not office applications and in its target arena it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Running 3DMark 2001 SE at 1,024 x 768 the Xtreme! managed a score of 13885, while in 3DMark03 it turned in a result of 3898. In comparison, the Acer scored 12339 and 3058 respectively. But when you get to AquaMark the Rock really pulls away from the Acer with a score of 31.44fps at 1,024 x 768 compared with 21.9fps.
But there’s more to gaming than just benchmark results, it’s all about the overall experience when playing. To this end I spent quite a while playing games on the Xtreme! and I have to say that it excelled. Even firing up a heavy duty title like Far Cry couldn’t phase the Xtreme!. I played through several levels of Far Cry and soon forgot that I was playing on a notebook and not a desktop machine. The Xtreme! has built-in stereo speakers and a subwoofer, so even the aural experience is impressive.
Of course the one area where a notebook like this really suffers is battery life, and like the Acer last week Mobile Mark refused to even run. Rock told me that realistically you’ll get about 45 minutes of battery life from the Xtreme! running office applications, although a second battery can be placed in the floppy drive bay. Since this machine is built for playing games, I looped the 3DMark03 demo and timed how long the battery lasted – just under 30 minutes, so you’ll need two batteries if you want an hour of gameplay on the move. All that said, I honestly don’t think that this is a machine designed to be used on battery power. You’re likely to be taking it with you somewhere and plugging it in – whether that be in a hotel room or round at a friends house for some multi-player action.
But cutting edge components and high-end performance come at a price, and this is definitely a very expensive piece of kit. The Xtreme! XTR-3.4EE will set you back a not insignificant £2,348.83 including VAT, which is likely to put a dent in anyone’s finances. The price does include a three-year collect and return warranty which is always welcome.
Ultimately, Rock has created the fastest notebook computer I have ever seen and on that count it should be congratulated. If you want the ultimate gaming experience wherever you may be, this is definitely the machine for you.
This is the fastest notebook you can buy, bar none. If you’re desperate to play the latest games wherever you go, you’ll be very happy with the Rock Xtreme!. The chassis may not be as impressive as something from Voodoo and the price is very high indeed, but the gaming experience is like nothing I’ve ever encountered on a notebook before.