HP Pavilion m1050y or Sony VAIO VGC-RA820G???

Discussion in 'Windows Media Center' started by Roy N., Jan 19, 2005.

  1. Roy N.

    Roy N. Guest

    I plan to buy a new MCE 2005 PC in the coming days. I've narrowed it down to
    the HP Pavilion m1050y or the Sony VAIO VGC-RA820G.

    The HP can be customized, so they would both end up being configured almost
    identically (RAM, Processor, etc.) and priced very close. However, there are
    some significant differences on which I'd like some input.


    SOFTWARE BUNDLE: This is the one area where the Sony has a MAJOR advantage.
    Included are Photoshop Elements ($70+ value) and Adobe Premiere (standard
    $200+ value).

    VIDEO: This is the one area where the HP *SEEMS* to have a big advantage.
    The Sony comes with a Radeon X300 w/ 128MB. The HP is available with Radeon
    X600 w/256MB.

    AUDIO: Sony's is integrated; HP has Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS.

    These are the three differences that appear to be the most significant. I
    get a much better software package with the Sony which is important to me.
    However, I'm not sure how much of a difference having the X600 video card
    and non-integrated audio will make. Is this enough of a performance
    difference that I should go for the HP?

    Other differences which seem less significant to me:

    RAM/PROCESSOR/CHIPSET: Identical

    PERSONAL MEDIA DRIVE: Only available on HP. Reviewers make a big deal out of
    this option. I have no immediate plans to use it, but may in the future.

    HARD DRIVE: Sony only comes with 200GB, with HP I can configure it with a
    larger drive. I would probably get the 200GB anyhow, but may opt for 250GB.

    PORTS: HP has more USB & Firewire ports (probably insignificant)

    OPTICAL DRIVES: Sony's are faster. I don't think this is much of a
    difference. But HP has the LIGHTSCRIPT option which burns graphics directly
    onto the front of specially coated CD-ROMs (insignificant, but a cool
    feature).

    NETWORKING: Sony has gigabit Ethernet, HP does not.

    SUPPORT: For people with MCE 2004 systems HP offered free upgrades to MCE
    2005 whereas Sony did not. Either policy may change in the future, but it
    makes me feel like HP does more to support its customers.

    AESTHETICS: Sony is a much cooler looking box. Not sure why I mention this
    because the box will be out of view, but the cool factor is still there for
    the Sony.


    So the question is, are the differences between the two significant enough
    that I should go for one system over the other? The HP seems to be a more
    capable system right out of the box and I can always add the software to the
    HP, but that means shelling out more money.

    THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR ANY HELP/ADVICE/SUGGESTIONS!!!
     
    Roy N., Jan 19, 2005
    #1
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  2. Roy N.

    Roy N. Guest

    I'm not totally opposed to building my own system, but you can't buy the MCE
    OS.

    Plus, I haven't got the time for it. I had a hard enough time narrowing my
    choices down to two computers. If I build my own I'd have to cherry pick all
    the components and, knowing me, I'd over-analyze every component and it will
    take me forever to get it all together.

    Outside of the OS upgrade advantage with HP (no guarantee they will always
    do that), are the HP's video/audio advantages significant enough to take the
    HP without the cool Sony software budle? I know on paper the HP has better
    audio/video, but in reality, are the differences significant or noticable?
     
    Roy N., Jan 19, 2005
    #2
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  3. Replies inline below...

    Actually, you can, with a "qualifying hardware purchase" from a number of
    sources.
    That shouldn't be too hard either...biggest question is Intel or AMD. Almost
    any modern motherboard would do - I picked the MSI K8T-Neo back in April,
    with an AMD-64 3000 CPU. There's beter mobos now but mine seems
    adequate...it has Fireware and multiple USB ports, and SATA if you're so
    inclined.

    As for tuners, that's pretty easy - a pair of Hauppauge 150's or a single
    500. Graphics card - well, judging from this newsgroup, ATI 9600 or better
    works but there are occasional driver problems. People seem to have less
    problems with nVidia 5200 or better.
    I'm using the audio on the motherboard and while not perfect if you're an
    audiophile, it sounds fine to me.

    Yeah, HP may disappoint customers in the future, but Sony disappoints them
    now.

    Using an existing pair of hard drives, mouse, and keyboard, I put my system
    together for under $800. How much is the HP?

    I don't use any Adobe products so can't speak to that...

    Dana Cline - MVP
     
    Dana Cline - MVP, Jan 19, 2005
    #3
  4. Roy N.

    NoNoBadDog! Guest

    Why not go for the HP m1160n? It has an AMD 64 3200+ chip, smokes either of
    the machines that you are looking at, and is cheaper. It is a no brainer.
    Buy an end-of-life P4 (m1050y), a highly proprietary, overpriced and
    underpowered machine (VAIO), or a machine that will outperform either and
    will allow a seamless upgrade to 64 bit goodness (m1160n). Doesn't take
    much to figure this one out....

    Bobby
     
    NoNoBadDog!, Jan 20, 2005
    #4
  5. Roy N.

    Roy N. Guest

    Well, one downside to the m1160n is that it is not customizable like the
    m1050y & Vaio are. That means I have to take it with 512MB and upgrade the
    thing to 1GB before I even plug it in.

    Another downside is that thehe video card included with the m1160n does not
    include DVI which is a deal breaker for me. So I would need to upgrade that
    too. The video card I would order with the m1050y would also include 256MB
    video card.

    What is so proprietery about the Sony?

    Does HP have any AMD Media Center computers that are customizable?
     
    Roy N., Jan 20, 2005
    #5
  6. Roy N.

    bspeed Guest

    Roy,
    Just my two cents worth!
    I am a loyal Dell and Alienware computer buyer, but decided to break ranks
    and purchae the HP m1050y. I have had it for about 5 weeks and everything is
    working well, especially the extender (sold separately)
    I picked it over the Sony mainly for the 256 mb video card and the media
    drive.

    Bob
     
    bspeed, Jan 20, 2005
    #6
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