Sony Introduces Sandy Bridge-Based Vaio PCs To Compete With Apple Macbooks

Sony on Tuesday rolled out new Intel Sandy Bridge-based Vaio notebook PCs that will compete with Apple's upcoming Sandy Bridge-based Macbook PC in the multimedia PC segment.

Sony's new 13.3-inch S-series Vaio leverages the Intel Core i5-2410M paired with AMD Radeon HD 6470M discrete graphics card. Users will be able to switch manually between discrete and integrated graphics based on their workload, and run Windows 7 Professional for enterprise applications. In addition, the S-series is made of the same magnesium alloy that ruggedized business PCs are made of. It comes in either wavy black or white, with 1,366 x 768 pixel screen resolution, and a full-size keyboard with backlights.

Some Sony Vaio S laptops will feature Intel's Wireless Display 2.0 technology, enabling users with a wireless HDTV adapter to stream content over a wireless connection from the PC to a high-definition TV monitor.

Sony also launched updated Vaio C-Series notebooks with core i5 Sandy Bridge processors and an AMD Radeon HD 6530 GPU. The new Sony Vaio C-Series includes a 14-inch CA-series model and a 15-inch CB-series version, both of which are aimed at younger users. The C-series features a bright, bold design with an acrylic top and a range of color options. Sony's Vaio C-series PCs come with backlit keyboards, an optional Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 ports and a 720p HD webcam.

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Sony also unveiled its latest Vaio F-series 3D notebook with advanced frame sequential panel technology and LED backlit control. Frame sequential technology alternately displays high-definition 3D content for each eye on a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution screen at up to 240fps frame refresh rate. Sony says the technology allows for sharper and brighter images, due to faster response times and a wide-viewing angle.

The Vaio F-series also includes Remote Keyboard technology allowing users to connect their Vaio notebook with Sony's Bravia monitors, Sony's PlayStation 3 consoles, or Blu-ray disc players. Users equipped with Active Shutter glasses can then view the content in 3D on the Vaio's monitor. Users will also be able to manually switch back-and-forth to regular 2D viewing capability.

Sony's Vaio F-series will launch just in time to compete with refreshed Apple Macbook Pro notebooks leveraging Intel's Sandy Bridge integrated graphics platform in the multimedia PC segment. According to a report from Apple Insider on Tuesday, the new Macbook Pro models will be released on Thursday, which coincides with the 56th birthday of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Reports last week said Apple's Sandy Bridge-based Macbook will arrive on March 1 and represent a dramatic departure in design from the current line of Macbook PCs.

However, Piper Jeffray analyst Gene Munster on Monday said the refreshed models will include faster processors, without the anticipated radical design or the 3D capability that some Sandy Bridge-based Sony Vaio notebooks offer.

Next: Intel Lists Prices For Dual-Core Sandy Bridge Chips

The updated Apple notebooks will, however, feature Intel's dual-core mobile Sandy Bridge chips, despite the initial discovery of a design error in the Cougar Point chipset leading to the delay of Intel's Sandy Bridge launch.

Intel on Monday added i3, mobile i5, and mobile Core i7 dual-core Sandy Bridge processors to its updated price lists, after shipping quad-core Sandy Bridge processors last month before recalling and correcting them.

The low-power, lower-end i5-2537M dual-core Sandy Bridge processors priced at $250 were added to the list, along with the standard-power i5-2540M processors starting at $266, and the i5-2520M mobile processors starting at $225.

New dual-core i7 mobile processors were also added to the list, including the i7-2620M and the i7-2649M processor, both starting at $346, and the i7-2657M processor, which lists at $317. Intel's i3 Sandy Bridge processors include the i3-2120, which lists at $138, and the i3-2100, which lists at $117.

Earlier this month, Intel resumed shipments of unaffected Sandy Bridge processors only, after extensive discussions with its OEM partners Intel.

The Sony VAIO notebooks will be available in the U.S. in mid-March through Sony's website and its retail partners, with prices starting at $880.