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Sony AR750 17″ Laptop Computer

Sony Vaio AR750 E/B Laptop. Intel T8100, 4 Gigs Ram, 320 Gig HD’s, Blue Ray Disc player, 17″ WXGA Display. Street price ~ $1999 This is the refresh of the Sony AR line that includes the new 35 watt dual core 45nm Penryn processors from Intel. The new lower end processors feature the 3 meg cache on them and the faster ones T9300+ feature 6 megs of cache. I rarely purchase a computer online these days (specially a laptop). I’d prefer to walk into a store and purchase a pre-configured system since I like immediate satisfaction and can see what I’m buying. Plus, if I see anything wrong with a computer (like a dreaded dead pixel) I can always walk right back in and get another one. I’ve had good luck with Sony’s, but in the past have always seemed to find problems with computers where I’m always walking back in, so these days I purchase in store only.. heh. That being said, this machine was great out of the box with no problems. There is one main reason I purchased this Sony AR. The Display. In the 17″ form factor Sony has the brightest, and most crisp displays on the market, amazing for a non-LED lit system. This one has an excellent ultra wide viewing angles. I believe Sony is using twin tubes to light up these AR’s because the screen is almost too bright at full settings unless you are sitting in a bright room. The only slight complaint from me would be perhaps the displays are a tad “contrasty” out of the box. I have to note that the Nvidia graphics adjustment / calibration utility actually works, you can turn down contrast from 50% to 20% and have a perfect image. I have to say again this display is *very* bright and contrasty (which normally the opposite is true with a weak laptop display) see here for more info. Another reason is that FINALLY Sony has decided to put a non-crap (but not the best) graphics card in the AR. This held me off from purchasing the system months ago. Sony says “built for serious gaming” hahaha.. Well it has the 8600 in there which means Call of Duty 4, Crysis, Bioshock and other first person shooters play very well on medium settings (some on high) you can search for specs on the 8600 card on google for performance figures, but I’m just excited that Sony finally caught up here, though the 8800 is now on the horizon.. doh ! Another odd tid bit is that it comes with 4 gigs of ram but as we know 32 bit vista home premium only sees 3 megs of it. I guess it’s 64 bit ready.. haha The Sony AR chassis is HUGE, it’s almost a full 1 inch wider and longer than an Apple 17″ notebook and Toshiba X205 SLi , etc. It’s about the same size as the Cosmio system from Toshiba, but far less heavy. I’ve played Crysis for hours and never a problem with the fans keeping the system cool even under stress. This system also now has the Blue-Ray Disc player built in and while Sony boasts “Full HD 1080” they mean through the HDMI ports unless your AR is configured with the 1920×1200 display. The keyboard is basically identical to the Sony SZ series. In a chassis this large you’d figure Sony might perhaps include a number pad, or make some keys like the right shift key full size and stretch it out a bit, but I guess to save costs they just throw this one in there. I’m used to typing on my SZ so its no problem for me, Apple also does this with their laptops, huge case, but small centered keyboard… humm. The “Logo Lamp” is kinda funny. The first gen of the AR series had the word “VAIO” on there, the newer AR series now have the “Sony” logo under the display bezel. This logo is backlit and lights up (i tried to get a pic above) and Sony gives you control over it via soft button or settings. I guess at night it serves as a make shift keyboard light, but it’s nothing like the backlit apple keyboards. It can also get annoying watching a movie in the dark so you can turn it off. The sides of the computer have all your ports, wireless switch, HDMI and s video out, both PCMCIA and Expresscard interfaces, monitor, lan, modem, DV i/o, and finally SD/ MMC in addition to memory stick media. The audio ports are near the rear and on the back next to the DC in jack is another USB port. Personally I think there should be more USB ports (like 4 or 5 instead of 3) The toshiba X205 has SIX freakin ports, so only having 3 ports might be a strain for some. Apple is in the same boat however with only 3 ports on their 17″. There is a 1.3 MP web cam and a rather small trackpad with buttons that press downward but are at the very edge of the machine. It’s a tiny trackpad all things considered (again same size as the SZ), I guess Sony figured you are using a mouse on a desktop and wants it out of the way but it does work well. Air Vents are located at the rear. If there is anything that “blows” about the AR series, it’s the built in speakers. The speakers are not very loud even at full volume. For a notebook this size they should be a tad louder. By comparison the Toshiba X205 series with built in mini subwoofer is 100x better for those looking at not getting external speakers. You can get comparable sound from the smaller SZ chassis. The Sony AR sound is crisp and clear, only I wish it had more balls. You are stressed to hear whispers and dialog in movies sometimes, but again what do you expect from a laptop, Although I have to say Toshiba has raised the bar in this area with their subwoofer notebooks like the X205 and Qosmio (as well as the HP 20.1″ Dragon notebook). Well all in all it’s a nice machine. I’m using it on the road and trade off between it and some of my other machines. It’s a fun box for medium duty gaming and the display is beautiful. Specs: Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 2.10GHz / 4GB RAM / 320GB Hard Drive / GeForce 8600M GT / Blu-Ray/DVD±R/RW / 802.11AGN / Webcam / Bluetooth / Vista Home Premium The VAIO® AR750 Notebook is a Blu-Ray Disc-enabled gaming PC with NVIDIA GeForce Go 8600M graphics card and a spacious 17″ widescreen display featuring XBRITE-HiColor technology. This beautifully designed notebook boasts embedded A/V controls for one-touch access to your entertainment and a built-in 1.3 Megapixel camera and Microphone so you can Video chat with friends, family and co-workers. Backed by the next-generation hafnium-based Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 processor with 3MB L2 Cache provides unparalleled performance, superior efficiency and enhanced multimedia power to facilitate longer Battery life and maximum performance for your computing and entertainment endeavors. Roomy 320GB Hard Drive with advanced RAID technology and 4GB RAM provides the speed and stamina for ultimate gaming. Enjoy the convenience of a CD/DVD and the spectacular new look, instant search and automated security features of the Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium operating system. # Box Contents: Sony VGN-AR750E/B Notebook, Standard Lithium-Ion Battery, AC power adapter, Power Cord, Software Bundle: Windows Vista Home Premium, Microsoft Works 9.0, Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student Edition: 60-Day Trial, Norton 360 All-in-One Security 60-Day Trial, 1-Year Limited Warranty. # Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 2.10GHz Processor # 3MB L2 Cache, 800MHz Bus speed # 4096MB DDR2 (PC2-5300) RAM Max: 4GB # 320GB (2 x 160GB 5400RPM) SATA Hard Drive # 17″ WXGA+ (1440 x 900) XBRITE-HiColor Display # Built-in Webcamera and Microphone # NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 512MB Dedicated Video Memory with up to 1791MB shared # Blu-Ray Disc BD-ROM/DVD±R/RW Drive with Double Layer # Intel PRO/Wireless 4965 802.11A/B/G/N # Integrated Bluetooth # 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet # Built-in Memory Stick/Memory Stick Duo with MagicGateâ„¢ Card Reader # Built-in Secure Digital (SD) media slot # ExpressCard 54 Slot # PCMCIA Slot # 3 USB 2.0, Headphone out; Microphone-in, S/PDIF, VGA, S-Video, HDMI, IEEE 1394, RJ-11 (Modem), RJ-45 # Approximate Unit Dimensions: 16.4″ (W) x 11.8″ (D) x 1.32″(H) # Approximate Unit Weight: 8.4lbs
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