Sony Vaio PCGK66P and PCGK64

New additions to Sony’s K Series line of Vaio notebooks include the PCGK66P, a $3899 machine with an impressive list of features, and the substantially cheaper PCGK64...

New additions to Sony’s K Series line of Vaio notebooks include the PCGK66P, a $3899 machine with an impressive list of features, and the substantially cheaper PCGK64 that chimes in at a very reasonable $2499. We managed to get hold of a pre-production version of the PCGK64.

The new look isn’t a startling overhaul but the changes are significant enough. Gone is the garish purple colour, replaced by a more subtle styling that uses silver as a base with black trim — wholly more acceptable for an image-conscious businessperson. Physically, it somehow manages to feel slightly hollow, a fact most likely attributable to the type of plastic used in the outer shell as it, quite obviously, isn’t actually hollow. In fact, what is inside the PCGK64 is an Intel Celeron processor running at 2.8GHz along with 256MB of DDR SDRAM (expandable to 1GB), a 40GB hard drive (partitioned as two drives) and a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive.

This is a reasonable basis for a modern laptop, although the system’s main memory, like many notebooks at this price point, is shared with the ATI Radeon IGP 345M video chipset with user selectable settings of 32MB, 64MB and 128MB. Clearly a RAM upgrade will help the pre-installed copy of Windows XP Home no end, as 256MB really is the minimum for the operating system to run at with reasonable efficiency. PC WorldBench 4 testing demonstrated this, producing a mediocre score of just 80. This performance is typical of an entry-level notebook and places it in the company of other similarly specced machines (see our sub-$2500 notebook roundup).

On the upside, the 15-inch LCD display is nice and bright with a maximum resolution of 1024x768 and other niceties such as a MemoryStick card reader, 56kbit/s modem, Ethernet and three USB 2.0 ports are included to round out a nicely appointed entry-level notebook.

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Scott Bartley

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