British PC vendor Rock appears to be angling for a younger audience with its Rock Xtreme 620, packing a fast 2.53GHz dual-core Intel processor, ably supported by a powerful nVidia graphics card. It's the fastest laptop we've ever tested.

Paradoxically for a gaming machine, the Rock Xtreme 620 has the most understated external demeanour, with its brushed black anodised lid and top deck. Open the lid and you're greeted with a high-resolution 15in glossy screen of 1,680x1,050 native resolution; yet strangely this is dimly lit even at maximum brightness settings and we couldn't raise this further from the usual F key brightness buttons without resorting to the nVidia Control Panel.

The Rock Xtreme 620's Blu-ray drive is a BD-ROM type, so it will play BD films but not be able to record to either write-once (BD-R) or rewritable (BD-RE) media.

The Rock Xtreme 620 comes complete with a full version of CyberLink PowerDVD which serves well in simple playback of BD films.

Monitor connections are well catered for, with both HDMI and DVI outputs on the Rock Xtreme 620's rear panel. Also here is an eSATA port for high-speed external disk connections. Other ports include mini-FireWire 400 at the front, plus ExpressCard/54, ethernet, 56K modem and an SD Card reader.

Helping the Rock Xtreme 620 to its blazing 103 WorldBench real-world speed benchmark score are 4GB of fast DDR3 RAM and a 7,200rpm hard disk drive. Most laptops use DDR2 RAM and 5,400rpm drives. So effective was this combination that the Rock Xtreme 620's performance results show it to be the fastest notebook computer we've ever tested.

And in 3D graphics capability the Rock Xtreme 620 is no slouch. We measured 112fps in FEAR at Maximum quality settings.

All this performance comes at a cost of course. And that cost is both financial and in longevity. At £1,687 inc VAT, the Rock Xtreme 620 is by far the most expensive of Blu-ray equipped laptops we've tested. You won't be able to use it for extended periods away from the mains, either. The MobileMark test showed it will last around two and a quarter hours when unwired.

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Rock Xtreme 620: Specs

  • 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400
  • Windows Home Premium SP1 32-bit
  • 4x USB
  • 1 x mini FW400
  • 2 x 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 250GB SATA-II 7200rpm
  • 3.2kg
  • 364x269x29mm
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
  • 15.4in 1680x1050 16:10 screen
  • nVidia GeForce 9800M GT 512MB
  • HDMI, DVI
  • BD-ROM
  • DVD±RW
  • DVD+R9
  • CD-R
  • CD-RW
  • card reader
  • eSATA, 56K modem, fingerprint reader, ExpressCard/54
  • 4400mAh battery
  • 3-year warranty
  • 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400
  • Windows Home Premium SP1 32-bit
  • 4x USB
  • 1 x mini FW400
  • 2 x 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 250GB SATA-II 7200rpm
  • 3.2kg
  • 364x269x29mm
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
  • 15.4in 1680x1050 16:10 screen
  • nVidia GeForce 9800M GT 512MB
  • HDMI, DVI
  • BD-ROM
  • DVD±RW
  • DVD+R9
  • CD-R
  • CD-RW
  • card reader
  • eSATA, 56K modem, fingerprint reader, ExpressCard/54
  • 4400mAh battery
  • 3-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Rock Xtreme 620 is something of a curate's egg – good in parts such as out-and-out performance and in sensible build and styling; but hindered by a disappointing screen quality and poor battery life. If you're taken by the idea of the 620 but don't need BD playback, you can configure it without for £110 less.

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