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Sony VAIO PCV-LX2

If you're space- or design- conscious but need a well-specified PC, Sony may have what you're looking for. The VAIO PCV-LX2 is an updated version of the PCV-LX1 that we reviewed in July of last year. Back then we were impressed with the stylish design, connectivity options and neat display, and we're pleased to say none of that has changed. There have been a few alterations under the covers (notably, the processor is now a Pentium 4), but the outside of the LX2 is as attractive as ever.
Written by Jonathan Bennett, Contributor on
sony-vaio-lx2-thumb.jpg
0.0/10

Sony VAIO PCV-LX2

Not yet rated
Pros
  • Compact, stylish design good removable media facilities.
Cons
  • Uninspiring performance little scope for internal expansion.
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

If you're space- or design- conscious but need a well-specified PC, Sony may have what you're looking for. The VAIO PCV-LX2 is an updated version of the PCV-LX1 that we reviewed in July of last year. Back then we were impressed with the stylish design, connectivity options and neat display, and we're pleased to say none of that has changed. There have been a few alterations under the covers (notably, the processor is now a Pentium 4), but the outside of the LX2 is as attractive as ever.

The LX2's compact tower case takes up very little desk space at 10.8cm x 37.0cm, although part of the unit's foot is 16.2cm wide. The case's sides are curved, so you can't lie it down, and the foot needs to be fitted in order to keep vents on the bottom of the unit clear. The right-hand side of the front panel slides to one side to reveal a Memory Stick slot, a Type II PC Card slot, a USB port and a four-pin IEEE 1394 (i.LINK) port. Between all these connections you should be able to use any form of removable media or external storage, perhaps with the use of an adapter.

The model number of the LCD monitor has been changed from that supplied with the LX1, although we can see little difference in the monitor itself. It's a 15in. TFT unit with built-in stereo speakers, PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse on either side of the plinth, and a single USB socket. The whole thing connects to the base unit through a single 1.3m cable, which should allow the base to be placed under your desk if you're desperately short of space. The keyboard's wrist rest folds up to form a keyboard cover when you're not using the PC.

Sony uses a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 in the LX2, supoprted by the 845 chipset, whereas the LX1 used a Pentium III and an SiS chipset. There's 256MB of SDRAM fitted, and this combination gives an improved Business Winstone 2001 score of 38.4. Even so, this is still well behind the leading edge for desktop systems.

The other main change in the hardware is the graphics. The LX1 used an integrated graphics chipset, with predictably poor 3D performance. The LX2 uses nVidia's GeForce2 MX chipset instead. Only 16MB of graphics memory has been included, which prevents this otherwise good chipset from reaching its full potential. We couldn't run the 3DMark 2001 tests with the standard settings -- instead, we reduced the Z buffer bit depth from 32 to 16 bits, which allowed the tests to run. This resulted in a distinctly moderate score of 1,386.

There's little room for expansion internally. There's a single free PCI slot, although if you have a broadband connection you could remove the Lucent WinModem to free up another slot. The compact case design also means there are no free drive bays at all. If you need additional storage, it will have to be external.

Although Sony has reduced the price of the LX2 from the price at which the LX1 was introduced, it's still no bargain. Performance is no better than average and this level of features is becoming more common -- even on cheaper PCs than this one. However, it's one of the most compact and best looking PCs available today, and the LCD monitor is neatly designed. If space is more important than performance, or you simply hate the thought of having an ugly beige box for a PC, take a good look at Sony's VAIO PCV-LX2.

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