Running Vista RC2 on a Sony Vaio SZ320p notebook

by Bharat Suneja

[I’ve never done product review type of posts on this blog before, but this laptop and Vista are indeed quite impressive and beg for exactly such a post… }

Just tested Windows Vista RC2 (Build 5744.16384) on a Sony Vaio SZ320P laptop. This slim little laptop has a WXGA display (1280 x 800), comes with a 1.86 Ghz Core 2 Duo processor and 64 Mb. video memory.

I’m very comfortable running this build – it looks and performs like a finished product, good to go. (I’m yet to load all my software on it, but the stuff I’ve loaded so far seems to work without issues).

The Aero interface is very cool – and though many power users may not see that as a reason to upgrade, I find it very attractive and certainly a major reason for upgrading (besides all the security features). Isn’t it all about the user experience?

If you’re a Windows user who has envied overall look and feel of Apple’s OS X operating systems, albeit not the exact implementations of particular features because they don’t feel that intuitive thanks – in part at least – to years of using Windows, Vista with Aero is exactly what you need!

Nevertheless, the laptop’s WXGA format display with its 800 pixel vertical resolution isn’t adequate for me, particularly when using and demonstrating stuff using Virtual Server client or RDP. It takes a lot of scrolling to be able to show different parts of a screen.

The laptop also says it is Windows Vista Premium Ready, including the Windows Aero user experience. I would consider at least 128 Mb. dedicated video RAM – though this seems to be doing just fine with half that amount.

There’s a TPM chip (Trusted Platform Module), but not sure if it’s version 1.2. This would be nice to have to be able to use BitLocker drive encryption – but as Microsoft’s Security Strategist Steve Riley [Steve’s blog] explained at TechMentor earlier this week, you can use BitLocker encryption *without a TPM chip*.

It also has a fingerprint scanner nestled between the right and left mouse buttons below the keyboard – makes it very convenient to be able to logon.

I like the laptop’s brushed aluminum finish around the keyboard and black carbon finish on both lids. The built-in webcam worked fine with XP but doesn’t have drivers for Widows Vista yet. One thing that did work very well is Bluetooth – Vista did not require any other Bluetooth drivers/software, it has a Bluetooth stack built-in, afaik.

Overall, an excellent laptop for travel. I will wait to find a model with at least 128 Mb. video memory, RAM expandable to 3-4 Gigs (to be able to run Virtual Server and a few VMs), and perhaps Vista pre-loaded (or at least see Vista drivers posted on Sony’s web site) before I decide to use this as my primary laptop.

My ideal laptop of choice for running Vista – an Apple MacBook Pro (or even the newer MacBook). The latter doesn’t have dedicated video RAM – it uses shared video memory like many lower-end laptops. Finally Apple just shipped Windows drivers for the built-in iSight webcam. I’m waiting for Apple to ship those with Core 2 Duo processors.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

groeder February 3, 2007 at 8:12 pm

nice review…
i have the same machine.
i have been unable to get aero to work.
any suggestions?


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