The Rock Direct mobile LAN Bus

Written by Wil Harris

August 12, 2005 | 10:55

Tags: #bus #chipset #lan-party #notebook #overclock #pentium-m #radeon #x700

Companies: #mod

Yesterday, Rock Direct invited us down to London to check out two of their latest innovations. The first is the mother of all mods: transforming a minibus into a mobile LAN Party.

Purchased at auction, the 15-year old bus is a disused Library bus. The interior was stripped back to the bare chassis, and fitted out with wall-to-wall cross plate steel sheeting. Power sockets were installed, as well as cabled ethernet for the impending multiplayer mayhem.

The exterior had more Bondo applied to it than a thousand custom cases, and a very slick silver paintjob was applied. Branding was then added: Rock Direct logos as well as prominent Intel Centrino logos.

Each wall sports individual workstations, and space-saving stools maximise interior space. The bus can power up to 12 systems at any one time. A plasma screen can relay action, whilst a Shuttle and a gigabit switch allows for this to be a pretty sweet mobile CounterStrike rig.

The second innovation Rock showed us is their gorgeous new Pegasus Ti650 notebook:

Normally, mid-range notebooks come up short when it comes to gaming performance. They normally sport an Intel integrated graphics solution, which is fine for general Windows work, but a bit rubbish for decent 3D gaming. What makes the Pegasus Ti650 different - aside from the arresting blue lid (just one of many colour options available at no extra cost) - is an unassuming little button on the leading edge of the notebook.

The Ti650 actually features two graphics chips. The first is the stock Intel Extreme, integrated with the Sonoma Centrino chipset, and the second is an mobile ATI Radeon X700 on a MXM module.

So, you can do a number of things here. If you're just working in Windows, you can use the Intel Extreme graphics and get the best battery life possible by using the low-powered integrated solution. However, if you fancy a quick game of F.E.A.R., you can flick the switch, reboot and you'll be running full-speed moibile X700 graphics.

Not only that, but the switch also enables a 5% overclock of the Pentium M CPU inside the desktop. On the top-end model, this means that the 2.1GHz model becomes a 2.25GHz part wiith no problems whatsoever - saving you about £200 on the cost of the more expensive chip.

Clearly this is a little different from your average notebook. The overclockability and the switchable graphics make this rather a geeky conversation point. The fact that the X700 comes on a MXM module means it's upgradable too, meaning that 6 or 12 months down the line, you can trade up for a better spec.

Can you come up with a great use of this mobile LAN-station? We all know it could be used for playing games on the move, but where would you play them and how? Post your ideas in the Article Discussion forum, and we just might see what we can do...
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