Like many PCs we see these days, there are two optical drives in the front of the RC110G: the now-standard pairing of one double-layer DVD burner and a DVD-ROM drive. This match makes it easy for users to burn DVDs and CDs directly to the blank media, saving time by cutting out the step of storing the image on the hard drive while you swap discs. We're also glad to see a strong array of ports, including the aforementioned A/V jacks, seven USB 2.0 ports (three front, four in back), four-pin and six-pin FireWire (i.Link, in Sony's parlance) ports, and a multiformat media card reader. The front also has headphone and microphone jacks, and you'll find the typical 7.1-capable audio inputs on the rear.
If you're thinking about using the Sony VAIO RC110G for gaming, you'll need to make some aftermarket upgrades. The 128MB ATI Radeon X300 graphics card offers VGA, DVI, and S-Video ports, so if you want to operate two monitors or output to a TV, you should have no trouble, though you'll need to provide the appropriate cables and adapters. The Radeon X300 isn't much of a 3D chip, though. On our updated Half-Life 2 benchmark the VAIO RC110G posted barely playable frame rates of 23.2 frames per second on our 1,024x768 test. You might have better luck with less intensive 3D titles, but gaming is clearly not the RC110G's strong suit. If you want to upgrade the graphics card, you can, thanks to the x16 PCI Express graphics slot.
Like most VAIOs, RC110G comes with a vast bundle of media apps and other software. We're impressed that it ships with Adobe's Photoshop Elements 3 and Premiere Standard Edition, but we wish Sony threw in the manuals, as well. The bundle also includes Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition,, Intuit Quicken 2005 New User Edition, InterVideo WinDVD, and Roxio DigialMedia SE for basic disc creation and backup needs. You also get 90-day trials of and Intermute Spy Subtract. Per usual, Sony doesn't provide the software on CD, nor is there any kind of system restore disc. You do get Sony's VAIO Recovery Wizard, which helps you make your own restore discs, but if your optical drive gets messed up, it won't help you much.
Sony is good at providing service, but less so about providing documentation. The company earns decent marks for its support options outside of including printed documentation. Our review unit arrived without any paper manual, which is consistent with other Sony desktops we've seen. We love that the company offers 24/7 phone support for one year, but--hint to Sony--customers wouldn't need to use it as often if they could look up basic issues on their own. This PC also comes with a one-year warranty on parts and service, typical of the current standard. The support Web site offers FAQs and electronic manual downloads among other useful features.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating||SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Dell XPS 400
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.2GHz Intel Pentium D 840; Intel 945GP chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 (PCIe); (2) Western Digital WD160JD-75HBB0 160GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801GR/GH SATA RAID Controller (RAID 0)
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 830, 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Intel 945GP chipset; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 (PCIe); Hitachi HDS722525VLSA80 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA (two separate drives no RAID)
Polywell Poly 939N4X2
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+; Nvidia Nforce 4 chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX (PCIe); (2) Western Digital WD740GD-00FLA2 74GB 10,000rpm SATA; integrated Nvidia Nforce RAID class controller (RAID 0)
Sony VAIO RA842G
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.0Ghz, Intel Pentium D 830; Intel 945G chipset; 1,024MD DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6600 (PCIe); (2) Western Digital WD2500JD-98HBC0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Sony VAIO RC110G
X300 (PCIe); Western Digital WDC2500Js-98MHBO 7,200 rpm Serial ATA Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.0GHz Pentium D 830; Intel 945P chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 128MB ATI Radeon X300 (PCIe); Western Digital WDC2500Js-98MHBO 7,200rpm Serial ATA