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Sony Vaio VGX-TP3E review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £621
inc VAT and delivery


2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100, 2.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows Vista Home Premium

We’ve reviewed previous incarnations of Sony’s stylish Vaio VGX Media Center PCs, and they have always impressed.

Its glossy black cylindrical chassis is compact, and although it’s not among the least power-hungry PCs here, its power consumption of 60W active and 38W idle is far lower than that of most PCs.

This PC is designed to live in your sitting room, hooked up to your HD TV. Rather than a traditional mouse and keyboard, it comes with a Media Center remote control and a wireless keyboard that feels like the disembodied lower half of a laptop thanks to the built-in touchpad.

It has a Blu-ray drive and a dual digital TV tuner so you can watch one Freeview channel while recording another. The dedicated Nvidia GeForce 8400M GT graphics chip has 256MB of dedicated RAM. This can’t handle new 3D games, but it provides the power needed for smooth HD video.

The Vaio VGX-TP3E has both wired and wireless networking adaptors, but lacks Draft-N WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet. The10/100Mbit wired port is fast enough for media streaming, and few people have Gigabit networks, but it’s still a surprising omission for a new PC.

There’s a generous 500GB hard disk, a memory card reader and 2GB of RAM. The RAM is the only part of the entire system that you can upgrade yourself, to a maximum of 4GB, through a cover on the base. The rest of the PC is not designed to be upgraded, and the case is almost impossible to open.

The VGX-TP3E comes with a better range of software than you get with most PCs, including Microsoft Works 8 and Photoshop Elements 6. Although it isn’t particularly cheap, it can easily replace your set-top box, play DVD and Blu-ray movies and record TV programmes. However, there are better-value Blu-ray PCs around. Although it’s no longer available, Medion’s Akoya P6888 had a quad-core processor, a 1TB hard disk and a BD-ROM drive for just £500 including VAT. There are sure to be more deals like this soon.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T8100
Processor external bus 200MHz (800MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplier x10.5
Processor clock speed 2.1GHz
Processor socket Socket P
Level 1 cache 2x 32KB
Level 2 cache 3,072KB
Memory 2.000000
Memory type DDR2
Maximum memory 4GB
Motherboard Sony Vaio
Motherboard chipset Intel 965PM
Power consumption standby 5W
Power consumption idle 38W
Power consumption active 60W


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/2
Firewire ports (front/rear) 1/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11a/b/g
Other ports antenna in, wireless LAN antenna in

Internal Expansion

Case mini PC
PCI-E x1 slots (free) none
PCI-E x16 slots (free) none
Free Serial ATA ports 0
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Western Digital Caviar (WD5000AAJS-55YFA0)
Interface SATA 300
Total storage capacity 500GB
Spindle speed 7,200rpm


Graphics card(s) 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8400M GT GPU
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI


Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputs stereo line out, mic in, optical S/PDIF out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards SD, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Optical drive model Optiarc BC-5500A
Optical drive type(s) BD-ROM + DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Screen model N/A
Native resolution N/A
Response time N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard Sony keyboard VGP-WKB6GB
Mouse none


Software included Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0, WinDVD 8.0, Easy Media Creator 9, Microsoft Works 8.5
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore partition

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £621

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