External upgrade for my Sony Vaio

By JRazz ยท 6 replies
Jul 13, 2008
  1. Hi Y'all

    I have a poser for you guys since I'm pretty much technologically
    challenged as far as hardware and systems go. .

    To wit -- I have a Sony Vaio (model PCV W20) that my daughter
    handed down to me. It's specs are: Pent 4 CPU, 1.80 GHZ, 480MB
    RAM and it has an on board SIS 650_65i_740 shared mem video card.

    Since I already have a Dell desktop, I want to use the Vaio strictly
    as a gaming machine but it's woefully lacking the juice to play games
    from the last few years or so and I don't want to open it up because
    I know I'll be over my head in installing any new hardware. So I was
    wondering what kind of external hardware I could buy.

    What I mean is that I know there are external Graphics Cards out
    there but I haven't a clue on how that would work. I also know I can get
    external memory cards. (do they go into the PC Card slots?)

    And finally, (and thanks for forbearing this lengthy post) what would
    be the wisdom (or lack of) in doing something like this?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Your main problem is inadequate memory. You have 480 MB of a 512 MB install, and at least 64 MB of that is being used by the video. Install two modules of DDR333 PC2700 (PC3200 may work, as well).
    What you propose for video will not work with the VAIO.
    Since you are limited to 1 GB of memory, you will not be able to play some games, and this memory is not as fast as a new machine.
    But, in general, you do not want to mess with a Sony VAIO. Most meddling makes things worse, and some Sony Vaio's never work again.
    But you will see significant improvement by installing new memory. Your existing memory on a new machine was usually two 256 mb modules... you need two 512 mb modules.
    Installing the memory is easy. One screw (sometimes two, depending on the memory cover).
    Unplug the computer, and remove the battery.
    Wear rubber or plastic gloves as a precaution. There are little clips to push out of the way, one on each side of the current memory module. Remove the old modules, then carefully, but firmly slide the new modules in until the clip snaps or it is apparent that they are in all the way. You can buy the memory at www.zipzoomfly.com, www.directron.com, www.newegg.com, www.tigerdirect.com, www.outpost.com, www.kahlon.com, www.techdepot.com, www.cdw.com, www.pcconnection.com, www.crucial.com (the best in my opinion) and about 100 others.
    Avoid Value Ram for a gaming machine. Use brand names such as Kingston, Crucial, Samsung, Corsair, Infineon, OCZ, or Buffalo. Avoid Simpletech, PNY, and store brand names, along with anything that says value ram.
  3. pcnthuziast

    pcnthuziast TS Booster Posts: 322   +8

    Value ram isn't all that bad IMO. The main difference between gaming and value ram is latency. From 1st hand experience, that doesn't make much difference in real world scenarios. Also since OC'ing a laptop probably ain't gonna happen, value ram IS a viable option as long as it's a decent brand name. I personally have used G.Skill and mushkin and both have served me well.

    BTW: I'm NOT tryin to s**t on yer advice ray... just throwin my oppinion in the mix.
  4. JRazz

    JRazz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Many thanks for the input guys, sounds good to me. And you're right,
    I "don't" want to mess with a Vaio. Even "I" can see that.<<g>>.
    So I'll go with the memory upgrade.

  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Value Ram is fine for normal tasks. I have never seen any increase in failures. But on gaming and photo or image editing, you can see a definite difference. And it does get hot.
    Why bother when the differences in prices is not great.
  6. pcnthuziast

    pcnthuziast TS Booster Posts: 322   +8

    Deffinate diff in gaming, etc... nonsense. I've seen tons of benches and had plenty of experience with both and that statement just isn't valid, no offense.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Tons? Plenty of Experience?

    You might want to consider why they call it "Value Ram" and why the price is so much lower, and why the chipsets are different. Value Ram from the same manufactuer can even change from month to month. Value Ram usually does not have the same chips, as the same manufacturer's regular RAM.
    Value Ram is most often third tier, untested chip RAM, where quality control is left up to the consumer.
    I doubt what you say, because your experience is not showing.
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