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About to buy a Sony Z2. A few questions.

Discussion in 'Sony' started by Qaenos, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. Qaenos

    Qaenos Notebook Consultant

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    I'm about to pull the trigger on the new Z2. A few questions:

    -Are the solid state drives upgradeable, either through an authorized (i.e. non-warranty breaking) path or do-it-yourself with some screwdrivers like most desktops / laptops?

    -Can an internal mobile broadband card be added later or does it have to be factory installed?

    -Is the difference between the Carbon Black and Premium Carbon Fiber (PCF) just the lid? Would it be possible to buy a Carbon Black and a PCF lid/case and do a swap?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. anytimer

    anytimer Notebook Deity

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    Hard drives or SSDs?
     
  3. Qaenos

    Qaenos Notebook Consultant

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    SSD. My apologies. The original post has now been edited.
     
  4. jdbrookes

    jdbrookes Notebook Evangelist

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    1. The SSD is apparently a Samsung model without its outer casing that is right now only available to OEMs, but will soon be sold retail. Theoretically you should be able to buy a larger capacity version of this drive at a later date and do a swap, but it will be decidedly out of warranty. There is also a risk that Sony have customised the SSD with a special connector that will not work with any other drive (even the Samsungs). Will have to wait a few months for somebody to try it themselves to know for sure!

    2. Somebody posted up internal shots of the Z2 both with and without the Gobi WWAN card installed, and there are some major differences such as the connector missing, the sim card slot blocked etc. It might be possible in future to buy a WWAN kit directly from Sony as a spare and install it yourself, but I doubt you could buy an off-the-shelf WWAN card and pop it in there yourself. Although of course anything is possible so we'll see what the NBR users can come up with. This will become a hot topic in the coming weeks when US-based users start getting their machines and looking at swapping out the AT&T card for a Verizon or Wimax card.

    3. I got the premium carbon finish and it seems that the lid is the only part that is premium carbon (rest of the laptop looks the same as the basic non-carbon model). Should be possible to order a replacement part from Sony and do the swap yourself, but I'm almost certain there will be a major premium to be paid. It's only €20 to get the premium carbon finish during CTO.
     
  5. fhsieh

    fhsieh Notebook Consultant

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    1. The SSD uses a proprietary form factor and connector. You cannot simply switch it out with a standard 2.5" drive (without casing). However, the SSDs in the new Z2 apparently are the same size and have the same connector as the SSDs in the previous Z1, meaning you could get a Z1 and switch the SSDs. But if you want to do this, 1) you will only be able to use half of a previous Z1's storage (see pictures below); and 2) the previous Z1 used SATA-II/3Gbps SSDs, while the new Z2 uses much faster SATA-III/6Gbps SSDs (which you can only find in the Z2). So you will lose a significant amount of performance.

    Previous Z1 quad SSD (1 SSD on each side, and 2 physical devices):
    [​IMG]

    New Z2 dual SSD (same design as Z1 SSD, but only 1 physical device):
    [​IMG]

    2. As long as the unit comes with a mini-PCIe connector, you should theoretically be able to add your own WWAN card later. But as jdbrookes said, some early teardowns showed that Z2 without WWAN were lacking the mini-PCIe connector (which I would not recommend trying to solder yourself). You would also be missing the WWAN antenna, and possibly the mounting slot for SIM card (components which are included in the cost of a WWAN option). Your best alternatives are to wait and see if the WWAN card can be software-unlocked and used on your carrier, or consider using a MiFi device.
     
  6. anytimer

    anytimer Notebook Deity

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  7. lsr

    lsr Notebook Guru

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    Sorry, the Z2 doesn't have an express card slot.
     
  8. anytimer

    anytimer Notebook Deity

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    Bummer. :( Cuts down a lot of options.
     
  9. Qaenos

    Qaenos Notebook Consultant

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    Well here's one of the reasons I am asking. It is not possible to add the Premium Carbon Black finish on the CTO in the US. To get that finish, you have to get the overpriced off-the-shelf Signature editions. However, in Canada, the PCB finish is available in the CTO. Unfortunately, the Canadian CTO version does not offer the mobile broadband as an option.

    So unless I want to spend $4000 on the signature edition, it doesn't look like I can get a Z2 in PCF and a mobile broadband card installled.

    Decisions, decisions....
     
  10. anytimer

    anytimer Notebook Deity

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    Well, a USB WiFi dongle is not the greatest and best solution, but getting a decent one might work for you. Don't know what options are available over there - here we get 3G USB sticks that work off the cellular network.

    Try to think outside the box - I know a guy who carries around a standalone WiFi router - works great in hotels with only wired access.
     
  11. ComputerCowboy

    ComputerCowboy Sony Fanboy

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    I have the Premium Carbon Z1 and I wish I had just gotten black. I think the premium carbon is lame.
     
  12. jdbrookes

    jdbrookes Notebook Evangelist

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    Yeah in my case I carry my old Windows Mobile Touch Diamond 2 in my laptop bag with a prepay data sim in it. I get about 1GB of data for 30 days for €7. I set it up with a Wifi hotspot and connect to that, or I just plug it directly in via USB (Internet Connection Sharing automatically runs) if I want to save some battery (for both devices). I'll bet most people can find an old WM6.5 phone in a drawer somewhere / from a friend and give it a new lease on life as a portable modem. The "MiFi" mobile hotspots are a bit "meh" since they usually only get 4 or 5 hours battery life, when the Z21 of course goes at least 6 or 7 with just the basic battery.

    @ComputerCowboy - the premium carbon on the Z21 (at least my one - EU model) is so subtle as to be almost unnoticeable. If you were to put the premium carbon beside the black one, you would notice the difference, but the premium carbon on it's own is practically black. It's only in fairly bright light that you notice the carbon "pattern" running across the lid. The premum carbon finish on my old SZ was much brighter and "carbony" than this. Subtle is better I think :D
     
  13. rvrrat

    rvrrat Notebook Enthusiast

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    So far, with the exception of the embedded mobile broadband, I like it. Super fast on boot up. And as soon as Sprint gets the info they need, the embedded card should work. I hate external ever since my Z1 with embedded. Its pretty slick. As soon as someone figures out how to switch this to Verizon, I'm all over it.

    Product: US-VPCZ2190X-LBOM
    Component: Wireless mobile broadband
    Component: Intel® Core™ i7-2620M processor (2.70GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 3.40GHz
    Component: 8GB (4GB x2 fixed onboard) DDR3-SDRAM-1333
    Component: Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    Component: Power Media Dock™ with AMD Radeon™ HD 6650M (1GB ) graphics and Blu-ray Disc™ player / burner
    Component: 13.1" LED backlit Full HD display (1920 x 1080)
    Component: Microsoft® Office 2010 Professional (Reg. price $349.99)
    Component: 512GB (256GB x2) solid state drive with RAID 0
    Component: Internal lithium polymer battery (4000mAh)
    Component: Black
    Component: No Engraving
    Component: Norton Internet Security™ 2011 (30 Day Trial)
    Component: No Fresh Start
    Quantity: 1
    Estimated Shipped Date: 20110812
     
  14. Qaenos

    Qaenos Notebook Consultant

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    Ok another quick question. All other things being equal, is there a performance DROP with a 6GB RAM Z2 compared with a 4GB Z2? I was told once that if the memory modules aren't exactly the same in both DIMM slots, then the memory can't run in dual channel mode and there will be a performance drop. Since the 6GB is a 4GB + 2GB setup, would this not make the performance worse when using the computer in situations that don't need the extra RAM space?
     

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