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Sony VAIO E Series Microtower - PC PCV-E308DS Notes
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Sony VAIO (Video Audio Integrated Operation) PII-450

Update from Lee Baldwin: (12/24/2003)
Update from Doug Landin
: (1/28/2002)

The Big Question: Can we upgrade this Win98 1st Edition PC to Win2000 or WinXP Pro? We'll take a look @ the possibilities beyond the Sony party line. Since we're beyond the Manufacturers Warranty, no need to worry about Voiding it! How much life is left is this little PC that might do more? Let's look @ what we have, examine what we want and see what our costs become before we proceed. We're going to find out if upgrading this Sony VAIO PC makes dollars and sense.

 

Our Inventory of Specifications:

(1) 128 MB PC66 SDRAM DIMM - OK! (1) open slot to add same - Cheap!
(1) 13 GB Maxtor HD - It will do for now. Since our system's HD was DOA, we changed that out for same capacity to test.
(1) PCI Slot available - Ouch! Our choices: Promise HD Controller for HD capacity & HD Speed or a LAN Card for WWW.BroadBand access! No optional EXTERNAL Drive Bays available. That means NO CD-RW inside this box - Bummer! Only (1) INTERNAL HD Bay.

The Sound Card is based on the Aureal AU8820 chipset. We would have preferred the Aureal AU8830 for WinXP but... This is easy to change to anything though we'll probably lose the Optical SPDIF. Did we ever use it? No! Since the Aureal AU8820 chipset is hard wired onto the M/B, keep the Audio "as is".

  1. www.vortexofsound.com/drivers/drivers.htm - Gone!
  2. Vortex of Sound: www.vortexofsound.com/drivers/drv_v1wdm.htm - Gone!

 

What about the Video? Was great then, could be better now - Has Matrox 8 Meg G200 with TV output. There appear to be only 2 obstacles to upgrading this PC to Win2000 aside from the restore CD's, they are as follows: The Aureal sound card & Sony 1394 iLink FireWire Card. Follow-up discussion later! Our follow-up - the Modem which should be easy enough to change if needed.

 

  1. [ sonystyle computers & handhelds]
  2. Sony Computing Support Home
  3. Sony Computing Support VAIO E Series Microtower Computers
  4. Sony Support - PC PCV-E302DS-E308DS

 

Help Files:
  1. Sony VAIO MicroTower Reference Manual - pcve3028.pdf
  2. Sony Help File - pcv-e302dse308ds.zip
  3. BuildOrBuy Components & Technologies List

 

Comments from Doug Landin: Remove "_NoSpam_" before sending.

Doug Landin: I have just upgraded to Win XP and am discovering that the Smart Keyboard features are now useless, all those extra buttons, and no way to use them. I can't even find updated drivers (and Sony.com explains why). Thought I'd let you know.

Editor: Good point. Another gotcha - We have yet to make a move to ascertain continued functionality of the included Sonny VAIO Smart Keyboard. If we can determine the actual manufacturer (FCC ID), if other than Sony, we may still have a solution. Otherwise, New Keyboard for old PC. I would have expected WinXP to accept that Keyboard and seen those extra buttons generically. This is one major reason we advocate Building a PC over purchasing off the shelf Ready Built RTR (Ready To Return).

Bottom Line: Is this PC worth the upgrade?
Answer:
When total upgrades costs equal or exceed 40% of replacements costs - Invest in a new PC.

 

Comments from Lee Baldwin: Remove "_NoSpam_" before sending.

Lee Baldwin - Sony VAIO Upgrade Article: Loved the article about upgrading the SONY VAIO. I am the owner of one of these machines and it runs fairly well although its not as fast as my latest machine. I was needing the Aureal driver but the 2 links provided in your article are dead. Is there an FTP site or some other place I can obtain this driver so I can update to WIN XP on this machine.

Editor: Thank you. Interesting & curious. Appears www.Google.com now owns that Domain name. www.vortexofsound.com
You'll easily find Manufacturer's Reference Drivers for Win9x and WinNT [On the Net]. Something for Win2000 or WinXP Pro. Read on...

Aureal was purchased by Creative Labs who killed a superior Technology of which they did not have. [Cheaper than fighting them in Court.] During the Beta of WinXP, Microsoft showcased a Demo allegedly of the superior Aureal technology and claimed there would be support in WinXP Pro. Since Technologies change rapidly, few have commented in enough detail since that time as to whether this became a reality or not.

On the System we Tested in the Article, we had to disable the Aureal AU8820 chipset and install a separate Sound Card of inferior quality to get a stable & successful PC Boot. Why? We think it was due to a bad chipset. It happens. Moving on to your needs...

For possible Aureal AU8820 Update Drivers:
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/chris.day/download/aureal.htm
Follow through the links above. You have some work to do to get this functionality back. They claim to have what you need IF you have the Reference Drivers. Vortex of Sound had the complete Driver packages @ one time. Try this:
http://file2.mydrivers.com/sound/WDM5_10_1500_49.zip or...
ftp://file2.mydrivers.com/sound/WDM5_10_1500_49.zip
Copy & Paste Links... Those files above were originally on the Aureal A3D site. Check them 1st! IF you cannot get to them, email us and we'll temporarily place them on our BuildOrBuy ftp site with a link for you. Enjoy! GB

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