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Thread: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

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    VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    I'm starting to think a fully fledged M1730 or Rock/Alienware is overkill (And I can spend the 1,200 I'd save on another lens for my camera.)

    Anyway, the one laptop from Sony which has caught my eye is the VGN-AR61ZU - with blueray DVD R/W it is even more attractive...

    Only query I have is about the graphics performance - but having said that my current laptop has an 8600 card as well but with only 256MB of memory... does anyone know whether the 8600 GT is more or less powerful than the 8600 GS?

    (I'm a systems engineer working on computer systems, but as they're for the military we lag about 4 generations behind the commercial world and so I've lost track of graphics cards)

  2. #2
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    8600GT is a little bit better than the GS. It handles COD4 on decent settings at 1440 x 900 on my mates dell vostro and that is the only the GDDR2 version GT.

    The AR's are getting on a bit now but keep getting refreshed with new components. I don't know whether it's due for replacement soon or not.

    There has been talk of a 16" dell xps to come out soon. That would no doubt have very similar features but better graphics, maybe a 8800GTS.

    Also the XPS M1530 if you can drop down to 15".
    The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

    You get blueray and hdmi out etc.. with an 8600GT DDR3 which is very good for gaming at lower resolutions.

    Things to be careful of with sony (since I have one)
    Upgrading anything but RAM is a nightmare and even that can be tricky.
    Warranty is expensive and the standard one year is a pain to get anything sorted on.

    That said mine has been given the hardest time of any laptop known to man and still continues to work. It's been dropped, used mercifully for weeks without being turned off, overheated on beds. Anything plastic on the inside has melted (i've looked ) but it persists so quality is top notch.

    They look great and are solid so a certainly worth a look if they fit your budget.

    Alternatively you can go even cheaper with something like the dell vostro 1700 or inspiron 1720 (same laptop different colour) and get a lot of bangs for bucks. Quality is good but they are a bit thick. Not as nice to look at as the Sony but have great quiet keryboards and a solid finish. Plus they as easy to upgrade and you get the good onsite warranties for a little extra.

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    Re: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    Thanks. Budget is probably not the constraint... I'm just not really sure what I do want

    First time I have had the freedom of budget so keep getting distracted by the SLI enabled laptops with dual 8800's....

    Then I remember I mostly use my laptop on, well my lap, and so in the interests of not removing myself from the gene pool I keep reconsidering

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    I use a laptop cooler. Works both ways, keeps the laptop cool and seperates the bottom of the laptop for your goodies haha.

    Dual 8800's will be very near the results of the desktop 8800GTS 512mb in most games. Thats an awful lot of gaming power if you feel you need it. If you will be on the battery a lot though it will only last between 1 - 2 hours which is where something like the xps M1530 becomes more appealing as it will soldier on for 3.5 - 4 or more with a 9 cell battery I would imagine.

    Laptops are a tricky area as i'm sure you appriciate more and more. Lack of upgradability of the key components make them a very tricky and and annoying purchase.

    Just looking at the specifics on that sony though.. great spec for an all rounder how much have you seen it for?

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    Re: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    Between £1,500 and £1,720...

    While I do a fair bit of photo editing that's not graphics intensive its memory intensive - which with 4GB (I know not all is addressable via windows) the Sony won't struggle with.

    Games other than Eve-Online and the odd session of Morrowind/Oblivion I don't tend to play many 3D intensive games so think the Sony would cope where as the Dual 8800s would be severe overkill...

  6. #6
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    Hmm still a bit pricey. Lot of HDD performance though and the RAM is good although a 2X2GB upgrade kit from crucial is normally between £55 and £70. Good for the Rock or an equivalent dell

    Price wise it's certainly more appealing that the dell/ alienware but the rock xtreme 770 is right in there which has the GTX and comes with a HD DVD drive.. (who will win..no body knows lol). I have heard that the chassis it uses can be quite a nosiey bugga and it's fat, thich heavy old hector where the sony is really quite thin and light considering the specs. Vaio's are always quiet too.

    Hard place to be but given your requirements the sony looks like the better laptop. That said something like the dell vostro will save you another £700 but will use the older CPU's I think and won't have a HD DVD/ blu-ray drive and even if it did has no DVI/HDMI out rendering it a bit useless.
    Last edited by staffsMike; 10-02-2008 at 03:16 AM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
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    Re: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    Yep, as I now discovered I'm going to have to shell out for a new horse trailer as well I think the cheeper Sony is the way to go

  8. #8
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: VGN-AR61ZU - opinions

    I'm sure you will enjoy it. X-Black .. the original and still the best

    My sony screen now 4 years old is still one of the best i've used for movies.

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