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Sony Vaio L-Series 3D Edition review:

Sony Vaio L-Series 3D Edition

Review Sections

Far Cry 2
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920x1,080 (3D mode)  
1,920x1,080 (2D Mode)  
1,440x900 (3D Mode)  
1,440x900 (2D Mode)  
Lenovo IdeaCentre B520
Sony Vaio L-Series 3D Edition

The gaming picture for 3D all-in-ones is interesting. We like the all-in-one platform for 3D gaming, since the built-in 3D emitter and included display take a lot of the work out of tracking down the necessary components you must endure for setting up 3D PC gaming on a standalone desktop. But the closed all-in-one chassis means that graphics chips tend to be slower in all-in-ones than in tower PC, to account for the thermal restrictions, which means that even non-3D gaming can be a shaky prospect in terms of frame rates. Turn on 3D, and an already low frame rate is cut in half.

While the Sony is again slower than the Lenovo system, we can't wholeheartedly recommend the IdeaCentre B520 for gaming, 3D or otherwise, given its only passable performance on our forgiving Far Cry 2 benchmark. Perhaps all-in-ones will offer a more compelling gaming experience someday, but for now we still recommend that serious PC gamers stick with dedicated tower systems.

Annual power consumption cost

Juice box
Sony Vaio L-Series 3D Edition Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.81
Sleep (10 percent) 1.82
Idle (25 percent) 30.7
Load (5 percent) 133.6
Raw kWh 157.34
EnergyStar compliant Yes
Annual energy cost $17.86

The Vaio L-Series' low power consumption appears to scale with its performance, which is all we really ask. We'd gladly trade some of that power savings for faster gaming or application processing.

Support for this system is relatively typical, although some of you might appreciate the dedicated "Assist" button on left side of the display that brings up Sony's built-in system diagnostic tools. You also get a standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty, as well as 24-7 toll-free phone support. Online you'll find live Web chat, driver downloads, and FAQ pages.

Do not interpret this review as a condemnation of Sony's entire L-Series lineup. It's only the 3D version, which requires you to select specific components in Sony's online configurator, that comes with a price beyond reason. We don't recommend even Lenovo's 3D-based IdeaCentre B520 to everyone, but if you are shopping for a 3D-capable, higher-end all-in-one as a do-it-all home entertainment center, Lenovo's system is a far better choice than the 3D Vaio L-Series.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 2400; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6750 graphics card; 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive

Apple iMac 27-inch (3.1GHz, Summer 2011)
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7; 3.1GHz Intel Core i5 2500; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Radeon HD 6970M graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

Lenovo IdeaCentre B520
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 2600; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555 graphics card; 2TB 7,200rpm hard drive

Sony Vaio L-Series 3D Signature Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 3.3GHz Intel Core i7 2720QM; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540 graphics card; 3TB 5,400rpm hard drive

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