Thoughts on Vaio desktop?
September 7, 2006 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Anyone out there have anything to say about the new Sony Vaio desktop?

It's been a long time since I bought a desktop machine and it's been never since I bought a Sony. I have heard rave reviews of their Vaio laptops but am in the dark on their desktops, and online reviews are scarce. Even sans monitor this seems like a good price for the processor speed, memory, and storage I get, though I wonder if I am overpaying for the Blu-ray drive that has been problematic. Thoughts, before I take the plunge?
posted by Saucy Intruder to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's nothing special about this desktop apart from the rare Blu-ray drive. Building a laptop takes some finesse to balance features with weight and power consumption but for a desktop, there's nothing new under the sun. Without going to Dell and trying to spec a similar machine, I'd recommend staying away from it only because Sony has such horrible warranty policies. As a rough estimate, I'm sure you could easily configure a Dell machine for significantly less and even with all the flack Dell gets, they still have much better warranty policies than Sony.
posted by junesix at 3:28 PM on September 7, 2006

What do you need it for?

The first thing I see wrong is that its running a Pentium D and not a Core 2, second, its about $800 more than it should be.

Is the blu-ray drive worth that much to you?

and theres only 2 ram slots, and the 256mb of vram is shared.
posted by mphuie at 3:57 PM on September 7, 2006

i haven't dealt with sony's since 2001, but back then, I had no end of troubles with them. Their driver site was totally unreliable, their desktops used a bunch of proprietary bullshit, and the laptop we were trying to reinstall lacked any sort of media drive (think the dongle broke for the cdrom attachment, or it was lost).

That was a long time ago, but I still think the same thing whenever i hear about sony computers. I'm surprised to hear that their laptops get such good reviews.
posted by fishfucker at 4:00 PM on September 7, 2006

Where have you heard the rave reviews of VAIO laptops? I have them marked down as "to be avoided, overheating problems" on my mental list.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:33 PM on September 7, 2006

If their desktop build quality matches their laptop build quality, I would steer very clear of the Sony. VAIO is a sub-brand that connotes flimsiness, defectiveness, and extremely poor (multi-week turnaround, mail-in only) repair support. Based on their extremely poor laptops, I can't imagine they would build even an average-quality desktop.
posted by majick at 5:47 PM on September 7, 2006

As the owner of a Vaio (laptop, slightly older model) I'd just like to highlight the point that junesix made - the warranties are terrible and I had no end of problems trying to convince the sole repair rep in my state (disclaimer: Australia - arse end of the universe) that there was in fact a problem in the first place. I hate Sony for this reason and will NEVER purchase another product of theirs again unless I can absolutely help it. To be blunt, they treat you like crap.

Their after-sales support of customers is equally awful and good luck to you trying to find drivers for on-board componants (my Radeon card was not supported - even by the manufacturer) which may leave you using borked third-party drivers that may or may not work propertly.

Reliability has been a problem - keyboard and screen have had issues. Ditto the most enormous power supply known to man. This thing is about the size and weight of a house-brick and does a dandy job in winter of keeping my toes warm. Obviously, this won't be an issue with a desktop machine but be warned nonetheless. Anything with a Sony branding should, IMHO, be viewed with suspicion (and possibly contempt, but I'm biased).

Also, the machine was shipped with the minimum amount of memory possible which - although allowed it to boot and run windows - precluded running anything even slightly heavy. I've noticed this trend on all of their products - laptop and other.

If this is what they can do to a laptop, imagine what they can do to a desktop machine?

Save your money and invest in a custom-built machine. If you don't know what you want, then just buy a middling range generic from a big-box and go from there.

Oh, and let some other sap deal with Blu-Ray before you spend your hard-earned on it and mod your box if you feel the need to impress.
posted by ninazer0 at 6:35 PM on September 7, 2006

A friend of mine recently (a year ago maybe) got a deal on a Sony laptop. He's already looking for a replacement. He mostly complains about software that only exists to prevent you using 3rd-party batteries and the fact that the process to burn a recovery DVD doesn't work. That latter complaint often involves disparaging remarks about Sony's quality of service and support.

Personally, I'd boycott Sony completely if they didn't seem to own half of the movie industry.
posted by krisjohn at 6:52 PM on September 7, 2006

Don't buy that computer. It's hideously overpriced and using old technology, except for the Blu-Ray drive, which is an expensive piece of worthless garbage. It's probably half the cost of the entire computer, and you won't even be able to USE it for anything. (since BluRay movies don't play play back on PCs at the moment, to my knowledge.) You can play CDs and DVDs, but whoopee.... you can do that with a $30 DVD-RW drive too.

Get a machine using a Core 2 Duo processor, 2 gigs of RAM, and whatever speed video and whatever size hard drive you want. Dell is okay, but I don't like them that well. They tend to use nonstandard components and make it unusually hard to upgrade. They want to sell you a new machine instead.

I'm a fan of building PCs myself, but most folks aren't. I'd ask around to see if there's a local whitebox retailer that your friends like. That's often one of the best ways to buy a PC.

If you can't find a whitebox retailer you like, Dell is probably the next-best option that I have any personal knowledge of. In my experience, HP/Compaq machines are horrible, and eMachines are even worse.
posted by Malor at 7:54 PM on September 7, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the unanimous advice. Although I had tried to avoid it, I am going to be crawling back to Dell. With a core duo and 2 gigs ram, and a huge hard drive, and some other perks, I ended up spending about the same as the sony.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 8:15 PM on September 7, 2006


Seriously, Dell and Sony are currently battling to see who can suck more.
"I'm a fan of building PCs myself, but most folks aren't. I'd ask around to see if there's a local whitebox retailer that your friends like. That's often one of the best ways to buy a PC."
I agree. Specialist parts manufacturers like Asus, Gigabyte, Antec and Zalman are a far better bet than any branded system where you have to cross your fingers and hope the parts are all good.
posted by krisjohn at 11:38 PM on September 7, 2006

Response by poster: Yeah, I know, but I hedged against their incompetence for three years with a warranty, so... I will cross my fingers.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:49 AM on September 8, 2006

Sony should be avoided. Like everyone else has pointed out, this machine is remarkably overpriced, filled with non-standard technology, and if you ever have a problem with it, which you will, you will have nothing but heartbreak to show for it.

It should also be noted that Sony hates their users. I'll never buy another Sony product again.
posted by bshort at 9:51 AM on September 8, 2006

He-ey, I like my Vaio laptop. It doesn't overheat, unlike the Dell and Toshiba at work, both of which also have caused ungodly service headaches.
FWIW, the computer guy at work hates Vaios - he says they suck to network. (This doesn't affect my lonely home laptop)

But all these computers come with stupid extra programs on them, and they all have to get repair/parts sent from half-way around the world.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 12:02 PM on September 18, 2006

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