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Sony unveils new Vaio notebooks

Sony claims that its autumn line-up of Vaio notebook computers will have faster microprocessors and larger displays than previous models. The new Vaios also will be the first Sony mobile computers to carry Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

Sony divided its Vaio notebook line into two groups, by processor. The FXA series uses AMD processors, while the FX series uses Intel chips.

Both lines have two Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports, three i.Link optical networking ports using the IEEE 1394 standard, an RJ-45 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet port, a Lithium-ion battery with one to two hours of power, double battery capacity, NTSC video out, an 8Mbyte video card and integrated V.90 modem.

All FXA notebooks have a 15in XGA screen with 1024x768 resolution and come with Windows XP Home Edition, Sony's MovieShaker software and PictureGear digital content management software.

Sony has equipped the FXA36 with a 1GHz AMD Athlon 4 processor, 256Mbytes of SDRAM - expandable to 512Mbytes - a 20Gbyte hard drive, and a CD-RW/DVD combo drive. Sony expects the FXA36 to sell for about $1,800 (£1,232).

The FXA33 uses an AMD Duron 900MHz processor and carries a smaller 15Gbyte hard drive, and will retail for about $1,550 (£1,000). The $1,400 (£957) FXA32 also uses a 900MHz Duron, but replaces the CD-RW/DVD drive with a DVD drive.

Sony's FX Vaios use Intel Pentium III mobile processors with SpeedStep power-saving technology. Unlike the FXA line, the FX Vaios can come with Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional operating systems as well as Windows XP Home Edition. Each is equipped with a CD-RW/DVD combo drive, as well as having the standard features of the new Vaio notebook line.

The FX390 comes with a 1GHz Pentium III processor, a 30Gbyte hard drive, 256Mbytes of SDRAM and a 15in display. Sony expects it to sell for about $2,200 (£1,500). The FX370 has a 20Gbyte hard drive instead, and is expected to sell for $2,000 (£1,400). The FX340 uses a smaller 14in screen, 128Mbytes of SDRAM and a 15Gbyte drive, at about $1,550 (£1,000).

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