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Sony VAIO VGN-Z530N/B 13.1-inch Ultraportable Laptop

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Sony VAIO VGN-Z530 13.1-inch Laptop

Sony VAIO VGN-Z530

©Sony

The Bottom Line

9/16/08 - Sony's VAIO VGN-Z530N/B is the least expensive model in their Z series ultraportables, but that still comes with a high price tag. For this price, you get a system that has a high level of performance with dedicated graphics and excellent battery life. Be aware though that the system does not have an XP downgrade feature even though Sony advertises such a feature.
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Pros

  • Dedicated Graphics With Hybrid Intel
  • Good Performance
  • Strong Battery Life

Cons

  • Relatively Exprensive
  • No XP Downgrade Option Per Advertising

Description

  • Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
  • 2GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
  • 250GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
  • 13.1-inch WXGA (1366x768) Wide LCD with 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS with 128MB Graphics
  • v.92 56Kbps Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/b Wireless, Bluetooth 2.0
  • Two USB 2.0, FireWire, ExpressCard/34, HDMI, 5-in-1 Card Reader
  • 12.4" x 8.3" x 1.3" @ 3.4 lbs.
  • Vista Business, Works 9, VAIO Suite, Windows Live OneCare

Guide Review - Sony VAIO VGN-Z530N/B 13.1-inch Ultraportable Laptop

9/16/08 - Sony's VAIO VGN-Z530N/B is their first ultraportable notebook to use the new Intel Montevino platform. At the heart of the platform is the new chipset to support DDR3 memory. While this is more expensive than DDR2 platforms, it does provide faster memory access. Combined with the Core 2 Duo P8400 dual core mobile processor, the Z530 provides some very compelling performance for a 13-inch notebook.

Another major feature found in the Montevino platform is the hybrid graphics. This pairs a dedicated graphics processor, in this case an NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS, with the Intel GMA X4500 integrated unit. Users have the ability to select which of the two graphics options they wish to use. The GMA X4500 consumes less energy and thus extends battery life while the GeForce 9300M GS gives added 3D and video decoding performance. The switch happens without requiring hardware reboots but does have a bit of a delay during the switch.

The new platform with the hybrid graphics actually does provide an improved battery life over previous generations of ultraportables. Users can generally expect at least 4 hours of battery life with a normal level of applications. Not as high as some other systems but still quite good.

One big issue with the Sony VAIO Z530 is the operating system. In many of Sony's advertising materials, they mention an XP downgrade from Vista Business. This is an important thing for many businesses, but at this time, there is no method for downgrading the computer via the software supplied by Sony with the machine.

The net result is that the VAIO Z530 offers some very strong performance with good overall features. The problem is that their are alternatives on the market that cost less that provide an equal level of features or more performance.

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