So, that computer I was looking at that was $1120 Newegg (and JR.com, incidentally) is $979 at Best Buy. That’s the Sony VAIO CW27FX. There is also a CW26FX, which is exactly the same machine, except without Blu-ray – it’s just a DVD burner combo drive instead. Since I don’t expect to use Blu-ray for at least, say, five years, I figure the savings would be worth it. That one is $1049 at Newegg and JR.
It’s $899 at Best Buy. It goes in and out of stock frequently, or so it seems. I’m very, very tempted. Never thought I would be happy to pay almost $1000 for a computer (my first personal desktop, built by me, was about $750; my Dell laptop, $600 used preloaded with software which was worth more by itself than that price tag) … but apparently I care more about having the best computer I can get for a pretty reasonable price. Z Series is out of the question on account of it costs $1800 – 2400 and the GPU is a downgrade from the one on this CW. Sure, it’s a 13.3″ feather, but that’s way less important.
My remaining question (other than “can I really afford this on a part-time income”) is “what do I sacrifice by getting the CW now, rather than waiting for its counterpart in a year’s time?”
That is, would I get a much better computer for the same price if I just wait a year? (After all, I only got my Sammy NC10 a little over a year ago; it’s still pretty new.) Here’s my estimate of the things that will change over the next year in the Sony 14″ / $1000 laptop.
Processor: +0.3GHz (dual core) OR 1.8GHz quad-core
RAM: no change
Hard drive: +140GB (SATA) OR 128GB SSD
Graphics card: +512MB VRAM
Optical drive: +Blu-ray
Weight: -0.4lbs (okay, this may be over-optimistic – maybe -0.2lbs)
Battery life: +1 hour
Screen resolution: no change
The CW26FX is 2.4GHz dual-core cpu, 4GB DDR3 1066 ram, 500GB hdd, 512MB vram, DVD burner, 5.3lbs, and “up to” 4-hour battery life (more like 3, it sounds like). These improvements would lead to, call it a CX series: 2.7GHz dual-core (or 1.8GHz quad-core) cpu, 4GB DDR3 1066 ram, 640GB SATA hdd (or 128GB SSD), 1GB vram, Blu-ray, 4.9-5.1lbs, 4-5 hour battery life.
I suspect I’ve been rather optimistic about the CPU and battery life, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if they don’t upgrade the GPU – non-gaming laptops don’t get that much attention to quality video, and their flagship ultraportable with switchable graphics cards and a $2000 price tag only sports a dedicated 256MB vram. But there you have it – my predictions for next year’s thousand-dollar VAIO – and I’m curious to see what it will really look like.
And while these kinds of upgrades would be fantastic, I don’t see waiting a whole year for them – I’d just ask myself the same question then, and with multi-core processors leaking more into the mainstream, the differences in two years may be more pronounced than in one, especially for my would-be pet projects in Apophysis and Terragen (image rendering, one of the tasks where the advantages of multi-core cpus will be most pronounced).
Will I just hurry up and buy this thing? I still can’t decide if it’s affordable for me, at the moment.