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Old June 29th, 2005, 08:54 AM   #1
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Considering a Sony Vaio

I was in the market for a computer for editing video and other office applications. So far Iím interested in the Sony Vaio RB or RA desktop series. My question is would one of these systems equipped with their premium video package (Dvgate Plus, Adobeģ Premiere Full Version, and VAIO Media) be sufficient for video editing out of the box? Also, is their a compelling reason to chose the pricier RA system over the RB (it seems like Iím paying mainly for one hell of a sound system)?

http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...Dept=computers

Sorry for the noob question, but it is a hell of a lot of money to spend to be surprised by something.

Thanks.
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Old June 29th, 2005, 09:58 PM   #2
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Any of the systems with a Pentium 4 processor should be adequate for basic video editing, so you probably wouldn't need to get a more expensive RA system unless you really want those extra features.
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Old July 1st, 2005, 12:37 PM   #3
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Thanks! I will probably be ordering it next week.
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 12:44 PM   #4
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Jeff,

I am now on my third VAIO and I'm still very happy with them. I am currently using the VGN-S380P as my sole computer for everything from wordprocessing to laptop AVID editing. (Stay away from Avid's Xpress Pro HD v5 and up since it will work only with a lot of driver acrobatics - incompatible sound and video chipsets require installation of external cards or older video drivers - this is true only with the S series.)

On the up side - great multimedia support, fast CPUs, in the S series - ability to customize (e.g. 2 gigs of RAM), great screen.

On the down side - customer support leaves a great deal to be desired. You are likely to be talking to someone who is asking you about the lens even after you have defined the system as a laptop. "Is it automatic focus?" - this is a true story. Whe it happened to me I felt like recording it because no one would belive me.

Good luck.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #5
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HP/Compaq will have the Athlon 64 X2 available for custom building August 1st. If you've seen the benchmarks on this processor, you will see why it's worth waiting for -- outperforms even the new Pentium D at rendering. Also - the glossy Brightview Sony screens aren't the best screens to monitor with!

I've owned every type of computer out there and I can honestly tell you that when it comes to a desktop, Sony is just a name -- nothing in it is any different than what you can get from any other brand -- in fact, you can usually custom build a better, less expensive machine on any competitor's website. The one thing Sony has going for it on those computers is that they load a bunch of demos of consumer-level media software... not a factor for what you're using it for because you'll put your own software on it. Save your money and go for what's IN the computer -- not for the name that's on it!

EDIT: For screens, HP makes a very accurate 20 and 23" LCD that CNET claims rivals Apple's cine-displays... I also like samsung because they come w/ 3 year warranties and seem to give a lot of bang for the buck.

EDIT2: HP is the largest computer manufacturer in the world and in 2004 got rated as having the best customer service and tech support out of all of the US manufactuers... so you will have no problem getting support. I recommend you take a visit to your local Best Buy and check out the Pentium D systems they've got in stock -- there's a Sony and a couple HPs that are VERY reasonably priced -- the Sony has an 820 processor and the HPs have an 820 and an 830. Furthermore, they've got a good Samsung 20.3" monitor in stock that's 1600x1200 resolution... top that off with 0-interest financing and package rebates and you can't beat that deal... and if you need service, their service plans cover your computer AND monitor 3 years IN HOME or from anywhere in the world.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:51 PM   #6
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Alex, have you tried HP's technical support?
A lot of the OEM's support is India-based. Some like Compaq/eMachines are half-US half-India, and Dell is US-based for large businesses (India for home).
You can get an idea of what support is like on resellerratings.com
All the major OEMs have low ratings, although the ratings may be skewed and not necessarily representative of the company. For example, if you have a large contract with Dell their support is nice.

In retail stores, extended warranties are nearly always overpriced. Computers are getting to a point where it may just make more sense to buy another cheap computer if yours breaks.

2- Best Buy: Watch out for the upselling. Their sales associates have a lot of pressure to upsell you on extended warranties.
Most items in Best Buy are overpriced and cheaper elsewhere. A small percentage of their items are loss leaders however, so you can get a deal on them. It's also the case with some open box items. I believe computers are reasonably priced there.

3- CNET: Sometimes reviewers like that may be biased if a company is giving them a lot of advertising dollars. You can't always trust them. HP's displays are probably better, but it's a mute point because you should view your material on a TV or broadcast monitor. LCDs are good for a computer monitor though... it won't interfere with your TV.
Any TV is much better, and a broadcast monitor ($600+) is even better. Hook up the TV to your camcorder, and hook the camcorder to your computer via firewire.

If you want to look for a deal on a LCD, you might look out for when Dell has a sale on them. Dell rebrands LCDs, and they are typically excellent quality. Read the forums on hot deals sites like gotapex.com, bensbargains.net, etc. *Disclaimer: I live in Canada so I just hear about all the sweet deals Americans get. Some of my information above may be erroneous.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the info. I went ahead and ordered the Sony VAIO RA. It may have not been the best decision, but I needed a system fast. I look forward to leaning Adobe Premiere.

Anyway, I donít think Iíve been happy with anyoneís technical support lately. :)

Thanks again.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #8
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I've worked at Best Buy and Circuit City -- computers are always below cost if you find the packages that have the 150 bundle rebates. They only make money IF they get the service plan and/or other attachments on there. You get a better deal than employees do -- we got 5% over cost and the average markup on a computer is 9-11%. The rebates on those packages alone are some 300-400$ -- so you get a good % back. Not only are the already-built systems less margin, but you get the manufacturer's rebates PLUS the store's rebates. I'm not sure how this works in Canada (even though I'm from there).

Also, how do you put a price tag on service? I'll admit some are a bit pricey, but it's very reasonable considering the cost of fixing a desktop for most customers. They're not for everyone -- personally the only item that I'd ever get it on would be a laptop (replacing batteries myself is too expensive). It was $250 to cover my VX2100 for 4 years -- including the batteries and lens. Where else will you find something that cheap that covers so much? Most people will pay for INSURANCE-like coverage and SERVICE... so if that's what you want, then it's for you. Part of the issue was support from Sony -- I couldn't think of anything better than support at a store down the street and a 1800 number in the US.

If you've got a problem with the sales people, order online at BestBuy.com or circuitcity.com -- you get the same deals 99% of the time if not better.

Money isn't made on the computers -- it's made on the attachments. Have fun finding any item below cost online at anything other than a retail store. In fact, the custom built ones have the highest markup.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 11:32 AM   #9
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This is something that I throw out to all of my customers: As a professional, you are buying your computer as a tool to do your work to make your living. OEM, off-the-shelf computers are a liability to your business. Incompatibilities with complicated hardware and software, personnel that have no idea what you are talking about with Post Production, and outsourced/generic support are going to cost your far more than a discounted, mail-in rebate will save you.

Can you turn your cheek to HP's LESS THAN 1 score on resellerratings by their own customers for customer satisfaction?
http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1397.html
This is no independant research firm - these are the people who already spent their money.
Sony is the same:
http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1640.html
Every OEM is on there. Take a look.

Also, I want to point out a comment Ozzy made: "Stay away from Avid's Xpress Pro HD v5 and up since it will work only with a lot of driver acrobatics - incompatible sound and video chipsets require installation of external cards or older video drivers - this is true only with the S series."

This isn't a problem with Avid, it's a problem with the computer. What if Avid Pro HD is what you need to make money? Say you need the features in that software - are you going to "stay away from it"? Don't blame it on Avid - our systems are certified and the software runs flawlessly. It's the hardware!

Also, Alex made this statement : "In fact, the custom built ones have the highest markup." Now, this is a half-truth. Custom built machines, built by someone who knows how to build the computer for what YOU are doing, are worth a higher markup. There is more work involved, more testing, etc. On the flip side, to make that statement, you HAVE to be comparing computers on the low-end - and by that I mean sub-$2K. When you start going up from there, and building true high-end workstations, those same off-the-shelf builders CAN be much more expensive. And, I say "CAN" because it is an extremely hard comparison at that point. It is not apples to apples because they never do it right unless you can tell them EXACTLY the components you want and how it should be configured.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #10
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The problem with resellerratings.com is:
A- Low sample size for some vendors. For example, Hp only has around 50 ratings and 3 in the last six months. This can lead to very unrepresentative results.
B- The people who put reviews on resellerratings.com may not necessarily be representative of all customers. It may be that predominantly the axe grinders post ratings, hence skewing the results.
Companies that advertise their rating may get a more favorable rating since they are getting more satisfied customers to post reviews.

2- Conflict of interest?
Since you have an interest in promoting your products, perhaps it's best if you avoid making subjective claims about your products (i.e. OEM, off-the-shelf computers are a liability to your business.).

I could just as well argue than an OEM computer is more reliable. Look at the editing software's compatibility lists and sometimes they only list OEM computers (certain flavors of Avid, last time I checked). What you get is a pretty standard configuration of parts.
As well, they can be good value if you shop for refurbished computers or look for deals on OEM computers.
For a business, they could be the best choice.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 03:38 PM   #11
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Resellerratings : Your points may be valid, but doesn't that apply to all vendors? So, given the same situation for everyone listed, one can argue my first point has merit.

Conflict of interest : I don't actually think it would be appropriate for me to not voice my opinion just because it has to do with market competition. As this is a public discussion, your counterpoints to my statements are welcome. As far as software compatibility lists, we are certified system integrators for everything that we sell - hardware tested and certified by the software companies - just as many other integrators in the market with us.

My main purpose is this : Don't think that because HP or dell or sony is a huge corporate monster, they are going to give you a better product. For individuals in the Post-Production industry, I submit that you need more personal, experienced, and targeted vendors who are dedicated to you.
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Old July 8th, 2005, 12:29 AM   #12
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By custom-built being high markup I mean the ones you get on manufacturers' websites... ie Sony/HP/Dell... when you click "customize and buy." -- Trying to compare apples with apples among manufacturers... not putting truly customized ones into the game. When you get a custom built computer from a smaller manufacturer that specializes in building NLEs, you can expect even more markup because you are paying for all of their time that they put into the machines.
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Old July 8th, 2005, 11:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Barabas
When you get a custom built computer from a smaller manufacturer that specializes in building NLEs, you can expect even more markup because you are paying for all of their time that they put into the machines.
You can also expect it to perform better, be built much more suited to what you need (even to the point where you are getting suggestions for hardware that would enhance your workflow in ways that you didn't know), and run your NLE software/hardware flawlessly.
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Old July 8th, 2005, 11:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Borden
You can also expect it to perform better, be built much more suited to what you need (even to the point where you are getting suggestions for hardware that would enhance your workflow in ways that you didn't know), and run your NLE software/hardware flawlessly.
I too am looking at a new system in the future -- I'm running an Athlon 64 3200+ w/ RAID 0 (2 x 80 SATA), a Quadro FX4000, and 1GB memory... and it's all good until I've got to render in AE! I'd also be able to run PP in real time w/ filters and such... runs well now until I put on some filters.

I'm looking at a dual core system w/ 3 SATA drives, 3GB memory, and a new 7800 video card, but I just heard in another post that the Athlon 64 X2s don't run very well with some Matrox cards -- any good substitutions?
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Old July 9th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #15
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Alex, you might want to check out the compatibility info on Matrox's pages.

Chipset compatibility:
http://www.matrox.com/video/support/...c/chipsets.cfm

There's other information on which particular motherboards will work.

Perhaps people with a Matrox RTX100 could add to the list (i.e. Nvidia nforce4 for Intel, Sis 755 for AMD).
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