Sony pumps Vaio models with Intel, AMD chips

Sony Electronics announced Monday its fall lineup of Vaio notebook computers will have faster microprocessors and larger displays than previous models. The new Vaios also will be the first Sony mobile computers to carry Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

Sony divided its Vaio notebook line into two sub-groups, by processor manufacturer, with the announcement. The FXA series uses Advanced Micro Devices Inc. processors, while the FX series uses Intel Corp. chips.

Both lines have two USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, three i.Link optical networking ports using the IEEE 1394 standard, an RJ-45 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet port, a Lithium-ion battery with one to two hours of power, double battery capacity, NTSC video out, an 8M-byte video card and integrated V.90 modem.

All FXA notebooks have a 15-inch XGA screen with 1024x768 resolution and come with Windows XP Home Edition, Sony's MovieShaker movie-making software and PictureGear digital content management software.

Sony equipped the FXA36 with a 1GHz AMD Athlon 4 processor, 256M bytes of SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory), expandable to 512M-bytes, a 20G-byte hard drive, and a CD-RW/DVD combo drive. Sony expects the FXA36 to sell for about US$1,700 after a $100 mail-in rebate.

The FXA33 uses an AMD Duron 900MHz processor and carries a smaller 15G-byte hard drive, for about $1,500 after a $50 mail-in rebate. The $1,400 FXA32 also uses a 900MHz Duron but replaces the CD-RW/DVD drive with a DVD drive.

Sony's FX line of Vaios uses Intel Pentium III mobile processors with SpeedStep power saving technology. Unlike the FXA line, the FX Vaios can come with Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional operating systems as well as Windows XP Home Edition. Each is equipped with a CD-RW/DVD combo drive, as well as having the standard features of the new Vaio notebook line.

The FX390 comes with a 1GHz Pentium III processor, a 30G-byte hard drive, 256M-bytes of SDRAM and a 15-inch display. Sony expects it to sell for about $2,100 after a $100 mail-in rebate. The FX370 has a 20G-byte hard drive instead, and is expected to sell for $1,900 after $100 rebate. The FX340 uses a smaller 14-inch screen, 128M bytes of SDRAM and a 15G-byte drive, at about $1,500 after a $50 mail-in rebate.

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George A. Chidi Jr

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