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Goodbye Sony VAIO T, Hello VAIO TX Part 1

An Energy-efficient But Slow Hard Disk

The Vaio VGN-TX1XP comes equipped with a 1.8" Toshiba hard disk.

To save both space and energy, Sony equiped the Vaio VGN-TX1XP with a small 1.8" hard disk. This drive holds up to 60 GB of data, but uses markedly less energy than a comparable 2.5" laptop drive. This also has a decidedly positive impact on heat dissipation as well. Under normal office usage, the hard disk's temperature stays under 108°F (42°C).

The price paid is in performance: measuring the speed of this diminutive disk doesn't leave a good impression. This can be attributed to the relatively small 2 MB cache, at least in part: 8 MB cache is now standard on most 2.5" hard disks. But more importantly, as the next two diagrams show, the average data transfer rate for a 1.8" hard disk is much less than that for a 2.5" model. Size matters, and the same issue also holds for access time, where the 1.8" drive lags behind the 2.5".

Data transfer diagram for a 1.8" drive (TOSHIBA MK6006GAH).

Data transfer diagram for a 2.5" drive (TOSHIBA MK6026GAX).

The hard disk in this laptop is also permanently mounted, which has the unfortunate consequence of making a user or third-party drive replacement or upgrade impossible. Any problem with the drive means the laptop must go to a Sony-authorized repair depot. It also takes about an hour to make a complete backup of the entire drive to an external USB or Firewire drive.