Sony Vaio VGN-P530H/Q

I sold my Gateway LT3103u a few weeks ago and I have been looking for a replacement ‘carry-around’ notebook (my Gateway P-6860FX is a great laptop, but it is also a 9.3lb device with a 17” screen –and not something I want to keep in my backpack all the time).

I looked at some of the new CULV laptops, but their price vs. performance isn’t where it needs to be yet. The lower end (SU3500; Core2 Solo 1.4Ghz) is has about 160% the processing power of a 1.6Ghz Atom N270 (488 vs. 304 on Passmark), it is sells for $100-$200 more (using $300 as the current average price for a NetBook).

The high-end CULV (SU9700, Core2 Duo 1.6Ghz) is almost four times as fast (1106 vs. 304), but most models sell for 2 to 4 times the price of an average NetBook.

CPU Type Passmark Score
Intel Atom Z520 @ 1.33GHz 251
Intel SU1300 @ 1.06GHz 264
Intel Atom Z530 @ 1.60GHz 295
Intel Atom N270 @ 1.60GHz 304
Intel Atom Z540 @ 1.86GHz 306
Intel Atom 230 @ 1.60GHz 315
Intel Atom N280 @ 1.66GHz 315
Intel Core2 Solo U2100 @ 1.06GHz 323
Intel Atom Z550 @ 2.00GHz 346
Intel SU2700 @ 1.30GHz 438
Intel Core2 Solo U3500 @ 1.40GHz 488
Intel Core2 U7500 @ 1.06GHz 571
Intel SU2500 @ 1.20GHz 581
Intel Atom 330 @ 1.60GHz 624
Intel Core2 Duo U7500 @ 1.06GHz 637
Intel Core2 U7600 @ 1.20GHz 664
Intel Core2 U7700 @ 1.33GHz 696
Intel Core2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz 709
Intel Core2 Duo U7700 @ 1.33GHz 748
Intel Core2 Duo U9300 @ 1.20GHz 768
Intel SU2300 @ 1.20GHz 930
Intel Core2 Duo U9400 @ 1.40GHz 947
Intel SU4100 @ 1.30GHz 971
Intel SU7300 @ 1.30GHz 1005
Intel Core2 Duo U9600 @ 1.60GHz 1106
Intel Core2 Duo T8300 @ 2.40GHz 1476
Intel Core2 Quad Q9650 @ 3.00GHz 4456
Information obtained from Passmark Website

The big benefit in the CULV systems is that they are very thin & light and can have between 8 to 12 hours of run time on a single battery charge. All of the systems I looked at were 12” to 14” screens with 1366x768 resolution (for 720p capability)- which is the same resolution that most of the newer NetBooks feature.

I had resigned to lugging around my old faithful Gateway, but I decided to keep looking in case a good deal caught my eye.

image This afternoon I was making my normal weekend rounds (Fry’s, MicroCetner, GameStop, etc) and I came across the Sony VGN-P530H/Q at MicroCenter- on sale for $499. This device launched at $899 and the current lowest online price I can find is $634.99 (for a refurb unit from Geeks.com).

It is a lowly Atom Z520 (1.33Ghz) but it comes with 2GB of RAM (hard-soldered to the board), a 60GB hard drive, WiFi b/g/n and an integrated webcam. What sets this apart from other ‘NetBooks’ is the integrated Bluetooth, GPS, Verizon EVDO and (wait for it) an 8” LED backlit screen with 1600x768 resolution!

The system ships with Vista Home Basic and it runs like crap; If I decide to purchase it would immediately be formatted and loaded with Windows 7.

Still debating if I can handle a 1.33Ghz CPU, but it is a pretty damn good buy for a micro-sized 1.5lb laptop!

Research Notes:

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