Sony VAIO PCV-RX1

sony-vaio-rx1-thumb.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good

Pros

  • Appealing design
  • good features.

Cons

  • No monitor supplied as standard
  • little room for internal expansion.

The VAIO PCV-RX1 is the second Sony desktop we've reviewed, and whereas the previous model -- the PCV-LX1 -- was a compact unit with modest performance, this is a larger and more fully specified system. One of the most important improvements is the RX1's use of a proper 3D graphics card rather than the LX1's integrated graphics. What hasn't changed is Sony's committment to stylish design -- the RX1 would not look out of place in your living room.

The VAIO PCV-RX1 is based around a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 and comes with 256MB of RDRAM as standard. Graphics are handled by an ASUS-branded 32MB nVidia GeForce2 MX card. None of this is leading-edge technology, but you're not paying a leading-edge price for this system. The benchmarks results are modest, but not out of line with what you'd expect: a Business Winstone 2001 score of 41.1 and Content Creation Winstone 2002 score of 25.2 aren't as high as our reference 2GHz Pentium 4 system, but they aren't supposed to be. The GeForce2 MX chipset is beginning to show its age, and the RX1's 3DMark 2001 score of 2,375 is less than half of the typical scores for more recent cards.

The PCV-RX1 is well equipped, fitted with DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives, a Memory Stick slot, three USB ports and two IEEE 1394-compatible i.LINK ports. Two drop-down flaps on the front conceal the connectors and media -- the Memory Stick slot and floppy drive under the upper one, a 4-pin i.LINK port and two USB ports beneath the lower one. All the other ports are on the rear of the unit, including 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet and optical audio out connectors.

The case can be opened without the use of tools, although it's cramped once you get inside. The Intel 850-based ASUS motherboard is labelled 'P4T-LE', although this doesn't appear to be a separately available unit -- the nearest equivalent is the P4T-M. You get four RIMM slots which, in our review model, were all occupied.

Internal expansion space is at a premium. There are only three PCI slots, of which one is taken up by the modem. As mentioned, there are no free memory slots, and only a single 3.5in. internal drive bay for fitting a second hard drive. Otherwise, you'll have to rely on the RX1's admittedly good external connectivity for expansion.

We were supplied with a Sony SDM-M51 15in. TFT LCD monitor to use with the RX1, and found it to be disappointing. Using an analogue connection and requiring some tuning to optimise the picture , it's the kind of flat-screen monitor you'd have expected two or three years ago, and current LCD technology is better than this monitor would suggest. For the £399 (ex. VAT) price of SDM-M51, we think you can get a better display, and that's what we'd advise you to do (we haven't included the cost of this monitor in the price above).

Top ZDNET Reviews

Sony's usual bundle of multimedia software comes with the RX1, including a few Adobe packages such as Premier LE, LiveElements and GoLive. This collection of applications should allow you to use the PC to capture and edit still and moving pictures and audio tracks. Windows XP Home is installed as standard, and this includes support for CD-R and CD-RW drives, so no separate software is bundled for this purpose.

As with Sony's other desktop PC, this is a fine-looking machine, but you can use this one for fun and games as well as general office computing. There isn't the level of internal expansion that its larger case might suggest, but you have enough connectivity to add most external peripherals. The performance isn't record-breaking, but neither is the cost. Overall, it's a nicely designed and well priced PC that should satisfy all but the most power-hungry users.

Specifications

General
Recommended Use home use, small business
Product Form Factor Tower
Packaged Quantity 1
Built-in Devices none
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Pentium 4 1.7 GHz
Data Bus Speed 400 MHz
Cache Memory
Installed Size L2 cache - 256 KB Advanced Transfer Cache
Cache Per Processor 256 KB
Type L2 cache
Per Processor Size 256 KB
Installed Size 256 KB
Storage
RAID Level none
Interface Type EIDE
Type none
Read Speed 32x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Write Speed 8x
Rewrite Speed 4x
Memory
Max Supported Size 512 MB
Form Factor DIMM 184-pin
RAM
Technology RDRAM (RAMBUS)
Upgrade Rule 2 modules at a time
Technology RDRAM (RAMBUS)
Installed Size 256 MB
Display
Type none.
Hard Drive
Capacity 1 x 80 GB
Interface Type EIDE
Type HDD
Interface Class Parallel ATA
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 80 GB
Audio & Video
Supported Display Graphics SVGA (800x600), SXGA (1280x1024), VGA (640x480), XGA (1024x768)
Analog Video Format none
Input
Type keyboard, mouse
Storage Controller
Type 1 x IDE - integrated - PCI
Interface Type EIDE
Type IDE
Bus Type PCI
Installed Qty 1
Optical Storage
Media Load Type tray
Drive Type CD-RW / DVD
Type CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo
Interface Type IDE
Processor
Installed Qty 1
Max Supported Qty 1
Upgradability upgradable
Type Pentium 4
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 1.7 GHz
Floppy Drive
Type 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy
Storage Removable
Type none
Header
Brand Sony
Product Line Sony VAIO
Model PCV-RX1
Localization English
Country Kits United Kingdom
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Max Transfer Rate 56 Kbps
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
Network / Transport Protocol IPX/SPX, TCP/IP
Form Factor integrated
Compliant Standards IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u
Interface (Bus) Type PCI
System
Type personal computer
Hard Drive Capacity 80 GB
OS Certified Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Miscellaneous
Color light blue, white
Monitor
Monitor Type None.
Graphics Controller
Form Factor plug-in card
Interface Type AGP 4x
Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce2 MX
Video Memory 32 MB / 32 MB (max) SDRAM
Video Interfaces VGA
Dimensions & Weight
Width 8 in
Depth 14.6 in
Height 14.4 in
Chassis
Form Factor tower
Manufacturer Form Factor tower
Built-in Devices none
Audio Output
Form Factor integrated
Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
Compliant Standards Sound Blaster 16/Pro
Mainboard
Data Bus Speed 400 MHz
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Printer
Type none
Expansion / Connectivity
Slots 1 (total) / 1 (free) x Memory Stick Card
1 (total) / 0 (free) x CPU
4 (total) / 2 (free) x memory
Telecom
Modem Fax / modem - PCI - integrated
Physical Characteristics
Form Factor tower
Weight 28.66 lbs
Power
Type power supply
Compliant Standards EPA Energy Star
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
OS Certified Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
OS Provided Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Type Adobe Acrobat Reader, Apple QuickTime, Callserve, Dance eJay, Drivers & Utilities, Norton AntiVirus, Adobe GoLive, PanoramaMaker, RealJukebox, RealPlayer, Sony DVgate, Sony Media Bar, Sony MovieShaker, Sony PictureGear, Sony PictureToy, Sony Smart Capture, Sony SonicStage, Adobe LiveMotion, Sony VisualFlow, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premiere LE
Video Output
Interface Type AGP 4x
Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce2 MX
Graphics Processor Series NVIDIA Geforce2
Video Interfaces VGA
Video Memory
Technology SDRAM
Installed Size 32 MB
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Location carry-in
Full Contract Period 1 year

Top ZDNET Reviews

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All