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Rock Xtreme 780 Q9000 review

It's new, it's fast so that means it's best, right?

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Our Verdict

Better performance out of a cheaper machine? Even for the early adopters that's a tough ask.

For

  • First Centrino 2 gaming notebook
  • Decent benchmarks

Against

  • But you can get better for less
  • No extra battery-life

The Rock Xtreme 780 Q9000 is the first Centrino 2 gaming laptop we've seen, and is reputedly the fastest around, but is the early adopters' price premium really worth the money?

Generally when I finish a paragraph with that question the answer's inevitably no, and this isn't an exception.

It's always tough to encourage early adoption of a platform in any sphere, but the cost already involved in gaming-ready notebooks means that the premium is that much more obvious here.

Less gaming grunt

Especially when the performance increases are less than tangible, as is most certainly the case with the Centrino 2 gaming laptop. In the business sector Centrino 2 wins out due to its increased wireless range and improved battery life.

On the gaming front however, the CPU is not the workhorse of the machine – that's the graphics card and that's still going to be draining as much power as if you were running them with a standard Core 2.

The added support for DDR3 memory does little in netting you bonus performance in-game either.

Centrino 2 is then simply not yet a necessity for a gaming machine, the power is needed more in the graphics card and as such you're still better off sticking to the older generation of chipset for the added value an established platform offers.

You can pick up a 3GHz Core 2 Duo machine with 4GB DDR2 and twin 9800M GTS on Rock's site for less than the cost of this monster. Most games won't take advantage of the extra couple of cores on the Centrino 2 quad, so the higher clock speed will reap more benefits.

In-game, you're likely to get higher performance out of that machine than this rig too. But then, you're an advanced gaming laptop and money's no object for the early adopter, isn't that right?