Why I stopped using the Sony Vaio VPCZ13M9E/B

Discussion in 'VAIO / Sony' started by Paloseco, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. Paloseco

    Paloseco Notebook Evangelist

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    Now I have a MSI GT73VR. These are the reasons why I stopped using my beloved Sony Vaio VPCZ13M9E/B. It's a terrible computer as a current daily driver for
    • Very low battery duration, less than 1 hour
    • Very bad performance for nowadays requirements, specially if you have lots of software installed. Playing 1080p 60FPS youtube videos in Google Chrome is not smooth, only feasible if you download the video and play it with VLC or SMPlayer.
    • Does not have UEFI, only BIOS.
    • Doesn't have USB 3.0 or USB-C ports, the fastest ones with ease of access are USB 2.0. Sure, it has a ExpressCard port, but it's very delicate and prone to physical disconnects, and if you connect Buffalo adapters for USB 3.0 ports it requires external power source to drive external hard drives.
    • Due to worn out thermal paste or bad thermal design or both, it currently gets too hot and shuts off when the CPU uses the highest power for a couple of minutes, specially in the summer. That forces me to set the Maximum Processor State or Frequency way below 100%: it works for normal use, except during Windows 10 updates, where the profile does not apply and forces me to put the notebook in the fridge so doesn't shut down every few seconds.
    • Only allows up to 8GB or RAM
    • Internal port is SATA II and not SATA III so can't take advantage of the Sandisk 2.5'' SSD which I have instead of the OEM DVD+RW drive.
    • Sony didn't update the proper hybrid graphic drivers for years, having to use the INF patcher to use the latest NVidia drivers, and even that way a reboot it's required to switch between intel/nvidia cards.
    • Some USB ports got loose and you need to move around the male connector to make it work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
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  2. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    Ah, the Vaio Z of your vintage is what interested me in subcompact notebooks in the first place! I worked with a coworker who had one, and it was very impressive to my younger eyes. Such a compact notebook with a screen beyond comparison, GPU, and an optical drive. To boot, it had an user controlled switch that allowed the user to choose between the GPU, IGP, or Auto. By the time I got back to the US, the Vaio Z had disappeared, and was about to be replaced by the joyless ultrabook (though it still had the somewhat impressive dGPU docking addon), forcing me to settle with a Vaio S instead.

    Thanks for the report and memories.


    EDIT: the MSI you chose is a huge laptop! What motivated this massive change; how do you like the MSI?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  3. senso

    senso Notebook Evangelist

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    The video part can be fixed using the h264ify extension, its due to youtube using VP9 encoding that relies on CPU decoding, using h264ify requests the video in mp4 that your GPU can decode in hardware.

    The battery can be replaced.

    Laptops NEED to be properly maintained and cleaned yearly, that is for all and any laptop.

    ODD drives are always SATA2, even in your new MSI laptop, SSD's always go in the internal HDD slot, use the ODD for HDD's.

    8GB of RAM is enough for an internet machine.

    The USB ports can be replaced with new ones that will be thigh and well fitting again.

    All in all, its a pretty old laptop, the fact that its still working today is a statement to the old build quality of laptops.

    With a good cleanup, a repaste, swap the SSD over to the HDD slot, using h264ify extension and a new battery its still a decent portable internet machine, sure, its no workhorse, but its what, almost 10 years by now?

    If you dont need anything Windows specific, using ubuntu would be even better, less RAM usage for the OS, drivers might be easier to work on.
     
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  4. anytimer

    anytimer Notebook Deity

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    Yay! We even got microcode fixes for the Spectre vulnerabilities (haven't applied them yet, though - still researching the performance hit). I was kind of worried that Intel won't release microcodes for CPUs that are this old. 8 years for the i5-540M in my VPCZ115, and I still love it. Have to buy a new battery, though.

    Does anyone know how to update the TPM firmware? Windows 10 1803 is nagging me about it. I'm seeing firmware update utilities from different manufacturers, even stuff to change the mode from 1.2 to 2.0, but, naturally, nothing from VAIO. Will TPM update utility from, say, Dell, work?
     
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  5. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    VPC Z13 uses 1.8" uSATA. Hard to find that form factor today. It also further makes things odder by using two SSDs in RAID0 (factory setup - top end models had 4 SSDs in RAID0). Then to make it all more fun - they are installed without the normal 1.8" drive case.
     
  6. anytimer

    anytimer Notebook Deity

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    The OP was talking about a 2.5" SATA SSD. senso was replying to that - that it should replace the HDD, not put in place of the optical drive using a caddy.
     
  7. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    Try fitting a 2.5" SSD in the Z13's 1.8" SSD slot. The way Sony set it up, it's like asking to install a 2.5" SATA SSD in a M.2 Nvme slot (which is a closer visual analogy than you may think).
     
  8. Paloseco

    Paloseco Notebook Evangelist

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    Yes I removed the dvd writer and replaced it with a caddy and 2.5" ssd 1TB
     
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  9. anytimer

    anytimer Notebook Deity

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    I had the HDD to begin with, installed at the shop when purchased. So for me it was a simple swap out - 2.5" HDD out, 2.5" SSD in. It is SATA II, sure, but the performance gain going from HDD to SSD is truly awesome. Even now, my old VPCZ115 (with the 2.5" SSD) outperforms modern entry level laptops with HDDs.
     
  10. galaxyge

    galaxyge Notebook Consultant

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    I'm looking for alternate uses for it. My VGN-Z is still working well, just too slow for daily use and photo processing, so I replaced it with a Lenovo MIIX 720 ideapad.
    One idea is to install Ubuntu on the VAIO and configure it as a media server / player.

    Any experiences, or other suggestions?
     
  11. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops MY FRIENDS CALL ME JEFF!

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    Wow, I had no idea people were still talking about this vintage model! I have a 2011 VPC-Z13 with original:
    core i7-640
    8GB RAM
    384GB original quad SSDs in RAID-0
    WWAN (3G but easily modded to LTE)
    900p screen (with mod featured by the legendary "Beaups" in these pages in 2009 that increased the brightness to 400 nit!
    2 large, 2 std batteries, all register over 85%

    This computer has had less than 6 mos active use - it mostly lived in a box! It looks brand new. It has no shiny marks, no dents, just perfect!
    It plays 1080p Youtube videos perfectly. I'm typing this post on it!

    I'm about to sell it in an estate sale for about $100.

    Anyone interested, for parts or daily use - with all these ports, the excellent keyboard and still competitive screen (sure, 900p and TN, but still great), it performs as well as most Haswell ultrabooks but it is such a joy to see and use. What an amazing piece of engineering! I've kept it all these years because it seemed like such a classic, such a shame to give up. But clearly I have no use for it.

    Anyone interested? I'm not sure I still get PMs sent to my email but I do get posts to this thread so tell me if you're interested.

    If I wasn't so lazy I would update wifi and WWAN card and this would be a wonderful machine to use every day. When you compare cpu/gpu to more recent ones on notebookcheck.net it's amazing how close it comes - from 60% to 90% on benchmarks compated to Skylake i5. Even closer to m-series.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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