Rock Computer's Pegasus 520 is a solid laptop with nVidia's latest 9650M GT graphics card - but does it deliver?

Rock Computers made its name with high-performance laptops, and after acquisition by the appropriately named Stone Group earlier this year, is back in business with some interesting gaming-orientated notebooks.

The Rock Pegasus 520 is one of the first laptops to feature the new nVidia GeForce 9650M GT graphics card with 1GB of video RAM. Two versions of the Rock Pegasus 520 are offered by Rock Computers, the fastest machine taking a 2.53GHz processor, while our sample uses the 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU.

At just over 3kg, it's not an overly large and heavy laptop by the standards of many game-tuned laptops, yet still feels very rigid and relatively robust.

The Rock Pegasus 520's glossy 15in widescreen display is a very high resolution type, 1680x1050 pixels, making it good for displaying high-definition video - even if it doesn't not quite reach the Full HD spec of 1920x1080. The downside to this level of resolution is that screen fonts and iconage are rendered terribly small by default.

Four embedded buttons in front of the left-hand screen hinge provide quick launch functions, and a small and somewhat intense blue LED nearby flashes to indicate disk use, reaching frenetic speeds during most activities. While some people may appreciate the feedback, we found this highly distracting, being in our eyeline when looking toward the Rock Pegasus 520's screen.

NEXT PAGE: Measured performance... >>

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks - plus sign up for our unique and FREE business IT newsletter

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Rock Computer's Pegasus 520 is a solid laptop with nVidia's latest 9650M GT graphics card - but does it deliver?

Speakers are sited either side of the Rock Pegasus 520's keyboard, with sound quality a little lightweight and lacking any body. Sat on top of the screen is a 2 megapixel webcam, pivoted so that it can be swivelled up and down. The idea of changing the angle of a camera is good, although its movement is restricted, not particuarly positive and the assembly feels rather flimsy.

The better news for the Rock Pegasus 520 is its innate performance. In our WorldBench 6 benchmark test, the Rock Pegasus 520 scored 94 points, putting it firmly in the premier league for laptop speed. And thanks to the large battery, which admittedly does protrude a consipcuous 18mm from the back of the chassis, battery life reached over three and a half hours, reaching 216 minutes in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test.

And for a gaming laptop, the all-important graphics performance? The Rock Pegasus 520 notched up a useful 43 frames per second in the FEAR Maximum detail test, and a less impressive 17.4fps in Crysis at 1024x768 High settings.

With these results, the card can be seen to actually underperform the older nVidia GeForce 9600M GT card fitted in the latest Apple MacBook Pro, which gave 53 and 19.2fps, respectively.

So while the newer card, built on a 45nm rather 65nm die, may offer lower power consumption, in this application at least we didn't find its overall performance to surpass that of the previous generation.

NEXT PAGE: Our verdict... >>

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks - plus sign up for our unique and FREE business IT newsletter

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Rock Pegasus 520: Specs

  • 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
  • 15.4in (1680x1050) LCD display
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB SATA 7200rpm HDD
  • nVidia GeForce 9650M GT with 1GB VRAM
  • 802.11b/g/draft-n Wi-Fi
  • HDMI
  • VGA out
  • eSATA
  • DVD±RW DL
  • mini FireWire
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • ethernet
  • modem
  • Bluetooth
  • audio in/out 3.5mm jacks and Toslink optical S/PDIF
  • multi-card slot
  • ExpressCard/54 slot
  • lithium battery 7800mAh
  • 3-year collect and return warranty
  • 367x285x33mm
  • 3.11kg
  • 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
  • 15.4in (1680x1050) LCD display
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB SATA 7200rpm HDD
  • nVidia GeForce 9650M GT with 1GB VRAM
  • 802.11b/g/draft-n Wi-Fi
  • HDMI
  • VGA out
  • eSATA
  • DVD±RW DL
  • mini FireWire
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • ethernet
  • modem
  • Bluetooth
  • audio in/out 3.5mm jacks and Toslink optical S/PDIF
  • multi-card slot
  • ExpressCard/54 slot
  • lithium battery 7800mAh
  • 3-year collect and return warranty
  • 367x285x33mm
  • 3.11kg

OUR VERDICT

This is a solid and well-specified laptop, offering high levels of performance at a three-figure price. In its chosen role as a gaming laptop it performed quite well, if not as impressive as the GPU specification would suggest. Good battery life and excellent processor performance help raise its profile above the norm.

Find the best price