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Sony VAIO VGN-AR730E/B Desktop Replacement Notebook

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The Bottom Line

Sony's updated VAIO VGN-AR730E desktop replacement notebook is a good general purpose system. While it certainly isn't the most powerful system available on the market, it has decent base components for just about any task. Those looking at using the system for PC gaming would want to consider other alternatives though.
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Pros

  • Large Amount of RAM
  • Support for Bluray Media
  • Resonable Amount of Storage Space

Cons

  • Display Doesn't Support 1080p HD Content
  • Dedicated Graphics Are Very Limited
  • Fairly Large For 17-inch Notebook

Description

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 Memory
  • Two 160GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drives For 320GB Storage
  • Bluray ROM and DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
  • 17" WXGA+ (1440x900) Wide Screen LCD With 1.3MP Webcam
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GT 256MB Graphics
  • v.92 56Kbps Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless
  • Three USB 2.0, FireWire (iLink), HDMI, ExpressCard/54, 4-in-1 Card Reader
  • 16.4" x 11.8" x 1.4" @ 8.3 lbs.
  • Vista Home Premium, Norton 360, Works SE 9.0, VAIO Suite

Guide Review - Sony VAIO VGN-AR730E/B Desktop Replacement Notebook

1/17/08 – Sony's VAIO VGN-AR730E/B is one of the first of the Sony systems to use the new Peryn based 45nm processors. While the Core 2 Duo T8100 is one of the lowest levels of the new processor, the smaller die allows for the system to pack more into a smaller package and also saves a bit in terms of power over the already superb Core 2 Duo platform. Sony packs the systems with 3GB of PC2-5300 DDR2 memory to allow it to run smoothly even with the Vista operating system.

Storage is quite strong for the VAIO AR730. The large case allows for two 160GB 5400rpm SATA hard drives to be installed allowed for a fairly spacious 320GB of storage space. This tends to be larger than systems using a single drive, but many newer laptops with two drives still tend to have more space. Sony has also included a dual layer DVD burner that also supports playback of Bluray based media. This makes it a nice mobile high definition movie player especially with its HDMI output available.

One of the areas that could use improvements with the VAIO AR730 is the graphics. The17-inch display features a standard 1440x900 resolution, but this means it is limited to 720p playback for high definition content. Also, the NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GT graphics are on the low end of Direct X 10 dedicated graphics cards. It will handle all the acceleration features of Vista without much of a problem but it lacks the power really needed for any 3D PC gaming.

Another thing that consumer should consider is size. While the AR730 may be fairly thin for a desktop replacement system, it is wider than the average 17-inch notebook. This can make carrying the notebook challenging at times.

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