Thursday, June 29, 2006

It has been about...

It has been about one and a half years since I last bought a laptop. That is pretty long for me – the technology changes so fast and I use it so much that I typically got one per year. The last one I got, an HP Pavillion zd7000 has worked very nicely and still does – but, it is really large. Large and really heavy, really really heavy. So large that it just fits between the arms of the seat in a plane. So large it requires two fans to keep the heat down. So heavy that you cannot really use it on your lap – it is more of a desktop replacement. The battery life is a tad “short” as well – maybe 40-60 minutes these days.

So, I shopped around for a replacement and picked up a Sony Vaio TX790:

Big and Small

It has a pretty fast processor (1.3GHz Pentium M), battery life is 5 to 7 hours, the screen is small but has lots of pixels (1366x768), plenty of RAM (1.5 GB). At 2.76 lbs – versus the 9 lbs for the HP (closer to 12 lbs with the plug!) – this is truly lightweight. The screen looks amazing (I like small fonts to begin with and this thing is just crisp looking). I wanted to be able to read books (the Treo can do it, but the screen on that is a bit too small and getting it to read a PDF file reasonably is not something I could accomplish) as well as watch the occasional DVD on a plane – and this laptop will do that just fine.

I’ve got most of my software installed, have my VMWare images up and running – they seem to perform acceptably – haven’t yet decided if I’ll go 100% to the small laptop while on travel. I’ll probably pack the big one in my carry on the first couple of trips – to make sure I can do everything I need on the small one, with respectable performance.

I’ll be giving it a workout next week when I’m on vacation. It’ll be the only computer we are taking for the four of us – we’ll be sharing. That is a hint that asktom will be a little less updated than normal!
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36 Comments:

Blogger Pete_S said....

I used to have a Sony - had problems with the paint job where the Intel sticker came off - a bald patch in the LILAC paint job... but other than that a great, small PC!

Have a good trip!

Thu Jun 29, 01:07:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Tom,
Isn't that a pain to migrate files, re-install software etc.., from one beloved laptop to an other each other ??

Thu Jun 29, 01:37:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

>> correction -- each year

Thu Jun 29, 01:37:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

The migration gets easier and easier each time.

I have very little software to install (my Virtual Machines move from machine to machine!) and much of my data is now on the network...

Say about 2 hours of download and install (much of the 2 hours was un-install all of the useless, needless "junk" new PC's come with -ugh)

Thu Jun 29, 01:41:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I too have a zd7000. Love it; it's my "desktop" computer, but small enough to take to client setups.

Yes, it's big, but I wouldn't trade it in for any thing smaller. I don't travel by air nearly as much as you. I probably would want something smaller if that were the case...

Thu Jun 29, 02:22:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert Vollman said....

Q: "What is most important in a laptop"

I expected:
A: "Memory, CPU speed, disk space, etc"

Instead I get:
A: "Weight, battery life, screen size."

Is my perception accurate? What else is most important when choosing a laptop?

Thu Jun 29, 02:41:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

almost 3K...wow

Thu Jun 29, 02:49:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Robert Vollman said...

Memory, CPU speed, disk space are all very important.

This new tiny laptop has the same disk as the old...

has 1.5gig of ram instead of 2gig - pretty equitable.

CPU speed - here they differ, but I'm starting to want/need the battery life (to read, to watch movies - I either needed a much larger phone OR a much small laptop :)


My priorities are:

screen size is very important, more pixels.

memory+cpu - balance with battery life. this is pretty fast but can step down when batteries are involved.

Weight and size - for traveling reasons.



I'll probably still take the big one, just in my carry on luggage.

Thu Jun 29, 03:18:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

almost 3k..

I was convinced for a long time, all of my computers would
cost 5k


This was a little less than the HP actually...

Thu Jun 29, 03:20:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I am 23 and I own a TX650 (one of the first series models of the TX series -- varies only on configuration from yours) and while I agree the screen is *great* (best screen I have ever seen on a laptop, did I mention is about 0.3" thin ?) I can't for the life of me adapt to so tiny fonts, without mentioning it doesn't adequate very much with OracleX (I believe the CPU is just too tiny for it), which makes me wonder if it would even run a VMWare session ok (yes, it has 1.5ghz of ram, but the bus is limited to 400mhz). Tom, how can you _see_ in just a tiny screen ?

Thu Jun 29, 03:35:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I am 23 and I own a TX650

I love the teeny tiny fonts :) As long as the screen is crisp and bright - and this one definitely is.

In single user mode, running my VMWare image (linux with 512mb of ram), it runs it fast enough.

Did a tiny test (tiny test... must do more, will do more)

create 1,000,000 records using all_objects as a source and insert /*+ append */'s -

vaio 24 seconds, hp 20 seconds...


add primary key to a number column

vaio 17 seconds, hp 13 seconds

gather stats (all indexed columns, cascade=>true)

vaio 9 seconds, hp 12 seconds

count(*) (index fast full scan)

vaio 0.1 second, hp 0.08 seconds

delete all 1,000,000 rows
vaio 3:30 minutes, hp 3:17 minutes


so, pretty close so far.

Thu Jun 29, 04:07:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Where are you going on vacation?

-Alexander

Thu Jun 29, 04:15:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous doug c said....

How's your non-techie blog generated reading list coming along?

Thu Jun 29, 09:17:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

the reading list continues and will take - what - maybe years :)

still reading the three musketeers (good), a sci-fi book (not on the list, just liked the series) and a book given to me at a talk.

Curious - do others read more than one book at a time? I sometimes read one book for a while, pick up the other, go to another, go back to first... All on the same flight..

Thu Jun 29, 09:26:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous doug c said....

Speaking for myself.. I try to read one book at a time because if I get started on too many I end up not finishing several of them.

Thu Jun 29, 10:55:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

Wow i'm surprised that with the amount of traveling you do, you've been lugging that 12-lb Pavilion around.
Is that a "travel-only" laptop ? because I'm curious why big screen is your priority.
----------------------
Re VM machines - you give your VM machines running single instance (only) 512MB RAM ?
----------------------
So you have like one "main" VM machine where all the everyday software is installed, that you start in the host right after booting and use it as your PC ?

Thu Jun 29, 11:00:00 PM EDT  

Blogger TigerX said....

Hi Tom,
Never tried a Macbook ?

Fri Jun 30, 04:49:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Robert said...

I feel very confined with a small screen, on my desk - I have the big screen laptop plus a 21" monitor next to it - so

1680x1050 plus 1600x1200

more screen = better experience for me.

My database VM's have between 384 and 512mb of RAM yes - more than sufficient to demonstrate concepts with.

My main software is

o gaim for instant messaging
o firefox
o thunderbird
o word

beyond that - I don't have much software to install. My database machines are all in VM's now, they come with me.

Fri Jun 30, 07:02:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Have I ever tried a Macbook?

Yes - just never got into it. Not have vmware was a big deal for me. Not the only reason, but one of the big ones

Fri Jun 30, 07:03:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Connor McDonald said....

Nearly 4 yrs on, I'm still mighty impressed by my Dell 600m. Only a couple of kilos, 2G RAM, 1.4GHz centrino, 1400x1050 resolution, and its very kind on batteries.

Handles the vm's nicely - the only change I've made since day 1 was to replace the 4200rpm 40G disk with a 5400rpm 100G disk (that was simply due to the CD collection chewing up too much disk)...

The latest Dell's are now touting up to 4G RAM...very nice but very pricey...

Fri Jun 30, 08:54:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Tom,

Just curious - when you get a new laptop, do you wipe it clean and rebuild yourself or leave the pre-installed OS intact and just remove the pre-installed junk you don't need?

Fri Jun 30, 09:51:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Cameron said....

Check out Paralells Desktop for Mac for virtualization on Mac OS X.

I personally would never consider another PC laptop after using the Apple notebooks. The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros do run Windows XP as well. I don't know of any reason why you couldn't run vmware on them.

The new version of Mac OS X (out later this year) is purported to have hardware virtualization support built in.

Fri Jun 30, 10:41:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

Tom,
your VM machines w/ Oracle, what type of network config - Host-only/Bridging/NAT - do you use ?

I'm still on VMWks 4.5.2,
What type of networking did you use
when you were using 4.5.2 ?

I have always used "Host-only"

Fri Jun 30, 11:04:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

where are you going on vacation? beach? mountains? or in-between?

Fri Jun 30, 11:05:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I've used all of the networking options depending on what I needed.

Mostly NAT...


(will be hitting the beach in Mexico...)

Fri Jun 30, 12:13:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Gabe said....

So what do you do with the old laptops?

Fri Jun 30, 03:58:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

previously - they were always "Oracle" laptops, so they got handed down...

These last two, my own - I'm still using both. If I stop using the big one, it'll become Alan's upgrade...

Fri Jun 30, 04:02:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Never again unless I'm unconscious, or virtually no other choice will I buy a pentium.

I had a sony vaio. Hated it. Piece of junk.

I recently bought hp dv5000 with 2.0(amd) ghz(64 bit) cpu, 2 gig of memory, brite screen 17 wide screen, light scribe tech, dual sided cdrw burner, bluetooth, windows xp media(really xp professional on steriods) tax and all 1750.

Best choice I could've made

Fri Jun 30, 05:16:00 PM EDT  

Blogger TigerX said....

And vmware is about to launch a version for macOSX.
I agree, once you tried a Mac, you simply cannot go back to a PC laptop.

Mon Jul 03, 04:03:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Byte64 said....

Hello Tom,
i am a Sony VAIO fan too, besides being a fan of Oracle of course.

I just signed up to the seminar you'll be holding in Rome in November, so see you there.

And don't forget the digital camera!
:-)

Thu Jul 13, 05:39:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Byte64 said

I didn't think I would switch entirely over to the Vaio - but so far, I'm very impressed by it. I haven't turned on the big laptop in a long time.

Thu Jul 13, 07:12:00 AM EDT  

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Sun Jun 29, 09:47:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Hey Tom, how's the vaio working out? Any complaints, would you buy another?

I'm looking at getting one, it would be my first laptop so I want to make sure it's quality. I don't have the skills to fix one if it breaks ;)

I've never had a problem with a Sony product.

Wed Sep 03, 01:23:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I've had that vaio for 2 years and 2 months now.

I haven't had to upgrade it or change it or fix it (I got a new battery recently as the old one wasn't holding a charge for 6-8 hours anymore, it is back to being an 8 hour machine without being plugged in)

I am thinking of getting a new one - their new 13" one with a 128gb solid state disk and 3-4gb of ram (bigger screen, bigger faster disk, more memory).

But I'm not in a huge rush, this one is working great still.

But - caveat emptor - that doesn't mean I'm recommending Sony above any beyond anything else - for every positive story, you can likely find a negative one..

Wed Sep 03, 01:48:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Hold that thought:

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/090408-sony-recalls-73000-vaio-laptops.html

Thu Sep 04, 01:01:00 PM EDT  

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