Rock is best known for its high-end gaming machines, but its Pegasus range is aimed at those who need performance but in a more portable package.

The Pegasus 520 (£999 inc. VAT) meets this criteria reasonably well, as the 3kg chassis offers a degree of mobility, while the latest processing technology delivers better than average performance.

The look is basic with a black and silver design that is functional rather than aesthetic and the build quality is reassuringly solid.

Rotating webcam

The screen is a 15.4-inch Super-TFT panel that proved sharp, with images looking reasonably true to life. Above the screen is a 2-megapixel webcam that sits on its own hinge, so can be rotated 180-degrees for use in conference calls.

We weren't expecting a great deal in terms of graphics, but were pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of the nVidia GeForce 9650M GT, which ships with 1024MB of its own dedicated memory.

Positioned between gaming cards and high-end multimedia adapters, this is a great mainstream solution, and it can run games and edit video with ease.

Disappointing spec

Performance is handled by the Intel 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400, which is more than quick enough for most users. We found it handled tasks well and will suit power users.

That said, in order to hit the sub-£1000 price point, Rock has only fitted 2048MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. However, a memory upgrade would see performance improve further.

Using Microsoft's Windows Experience Index (WEI) this laptop scored a rating of 5.2.

Minimal features

The keyboard sits in the middle of the chassis, but is of rather average quality. The keys, while large, rattled as we typed and you need to give them a solid click in order to register.

Speakers are positioned either side of the keyboard, which is fine if you're using this machine for playing mainstream games, but with little or no bass, the sound quality is rather average.

Features are kept to a minimum, but you'll find Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi. There are four USB ports, as well as eSATA and HDMI. The latter can be used for hooking up to a high-definition (HD) monitor. Rock has bundled Roxio Easy Media Creator, and Bullguard Internet Security software with this laptop.

Pegasus powerhouse

The Rock Pegasus 520 hides its performance under a rather plain exterior.

The screen is impressive, but the keyboard lets down the build quality of this machine.

However, there is no denying that it delivers on both processing and gaming levels, making this a great choice for those who need an affordable powerhouse.