Prior to the Rock X770-T7800-8800, gaming laptops had always been something of a contradiction in terms. But this is far and away the fastest laptop we've seen.

The majority of notebook PCs struggle to get much into double figures on game framerates - let alone anywhere near to the 30 frames per second (fps) that’s really a minimum of smooth gameplay. So playing anything other than Solitaire on a laptop has frequently been a pipedream.

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Dedicated 'gaming laptops' have previously been something of a joke. You might be able to indulge in a session on a normal DirectX 9.0 game, but DirectX 10.0 titles will prove far too much. That is, until the Rock X770-T7800-8800 came along.

The Rock X770-T7800-8800 features the 512MB nVidia GeForce 8800M GTX controller. Not only does this device support DirectX 10.0 games, but it actually plays them fairly well.

We took a number of games titles (from the DirectX 10.0 version of Company of Heroes to Bioshock and World In Conflict) and put them through their paces. In doing so we found that the Rock X770-T7800-8800 is one laptop where you really can play games at resolutions bordering on the ridiculous – even as high as 1,920x1,200.

But don't be fooled by the GTX tag. The Rock X770-T7800-8800's graphics setup definitely isn’t on a par with the desktop version of the 8800 GTX. In fact, it’s really more down at the level of the Radeon HD 3850. However, this is an impressive addition to a laptop.

Not that the Rock X770-T7800-8800 is just about games. Indeed, as an all-purpose laptop it has plenty to recommend it.

The Rock X770-T7800-8800's 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo T7800 is a zippy processor and, when combined with 2GB of DDR RAM, it makes for some fierce Windows performance.

The WorldBench real-world speed benchmark of 103 is astonishing given that a really good showing for a laptop is generally a score in the 70s. The Rock X770-T7800-8800 is a laptop that really is within reach of the desktop PCs - a first.

Furthermore, the Rock X770-T7800-8800's DVD burner is a very well specified model. So much so, in fact, that it even stretches to HD DVD playback.

The Rock X770-T7800-8800's expansive 17in X-Glass screen packs plenty of colour. Watching the HD DVD version of 'Mission Impossible III' was quite an experience, although we would have liked to have seen the HD DVD available as an optional extra rather than automatically built into every model.

You get a fairly expansive 200GB hard drive, and its 7200rpm speed ensures fast access to data. The Rock X770-T7800-8800's wireless connectivity options cover pretty much the entire range of Wi-Fi from a, b and g to draft-n.

NEXT PAGE: looks, build quality, battery life and our expert verdict > >

Visually the Rock X770-T7800-8800 looks very substantial. There are a few touches of 'flair' though. The X Factor-style lettering on the trackpad won't be to everybody's taste, but it’s hard to ignore. We do like the chequered pattern surrounding the keyboard though.

Reasonably easy to type on, the Rock X770-T7800-8800's keyboard is, however, a little soft to the touch.

The Rock X770-T7800-8800's trackpad is responsive, however, and battery life isn’t as bad as you might expect, given the huge amount of power. At 88 minutes on full pelt, you still won't want to take the Rock X770-T7800-8800 too far from a power supply. But given the Rock X770-T7800-8800's power, this isn’t surprising and, in all honesty, few customers would expect to use the Rock X770-T7800-8800 away from the mains power.

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

Rock X770-T7800-8800: Specs

  • 2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7800
  • Windows Vista Home
  • 2 GB DDR RAM
  • 200GB
  • 17in
  • 1,920 x 1,200 display
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce 8800M GTX
  • 4x/4x/2x/2.4x/4x/4x/3x/8x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM) drive
  • 1x HD DVD
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
  • 3-year European Collect-and-return warranty
  • 397x294x37mm
  • 3.8kg
  • 2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7800
  • Windows Vista Home
  • 2 GB DDR RAM
  • 200GB
  • 17in
  • 1,920 x 1,200 display
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce 8800M GTX
  • 4x/4x/2x/2.4x/4x/4x/3x/8x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM) drive
  • 1x HD DVD
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
  • 3-year European Collect-and-return warranty
  • 397x294x37mm
  • 3.8kg

OUR VERDICT

In many ways, you’d have to be mad to shell out this much for a gaming laptop. After all, you’re not going to have the same upgrade options that a desktop purchaser would have, and that alone should be enough to make you baulk at the idea of spending almost £2,200. But we have to say that the Rock X770-T7800-8800 is a fairly spectacular laptop in most respects. It’s far and away the fastest laptop we’ve seen yet – both for baseline and for gaming performance – and that alone should ensure that it’ll be a welcome Christmas gift for a gaming enthusiast.

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