updated 11:35 pm EST, Sun January 6, 2008
Sony VAIO Penryn Update
Besides the VAIO TP with Blu-ray, Sony tonight also became the first PC maker to announce notebooks using Intel's 45-nanometer mobile Penryn processors as well as those equipped with 4GB of RAM. Sony's showcase 17-inch desktop replacement, the VAIO AR, adds a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo with the new ultra-dense chip and its media instructions that greatly improve speed for encoding videos or playing future games. Appropriately, the system comes with the full 4GB of memory, a Blu-ray burner, a 512MB GeForce 8600M GT for video, and two 200GB hard drives. A CableCARD tuner also lets it capture cable-borne HDTV feeds. Shipping under the AR790U Premium moniker, the top-end VAIO will be available soon for $3,300.
Three smaller notebooks also receive the treatment. The 15.4-inch VAIO FZ's FZ485U Premium model trades up to a 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo as stock and ships with 4GB of memory out of the box. Its 256MB GeForce 8400M GS and Blu-ray drive remain unchanged and leave the system priced at $2,200. Slightly smaller, the 13.3-inch VAIO SZ will be much faster with a 2.5GHz processor in addition to the same 4GB of memory. It also carries a 250GB hard disk inside a lightweight carbon-fiber shell and will be ready soon for $2,500.
Last among these systems, the 11-inch VAIO TZ (pictured) will receive the only ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo in a new TZ298N/X flagship version. It adds the energy-efficient 1.33GHz Core 2 Duo to improve speed over the 1.2GHz predecessor and carries the same 4GB of memory as the far larger computers, cutting down on disk access and improving battery life. It will ship in a unique configuration that ships with both a 64GB solid-state drive for speed and a 250GB rotating drive for capacity, and should sell for $3,600.