Sony VAIO VGX-XL100 review

Price when reviewed

Inside, you’ll find an AVerMedia hybrid card, providing analog, DVB-T and FM tuners. Sadly, the analog tuner isn’t visible to MCE and, as there’s only one fitted, you’ll be stuck watching anything that you’re recording – rather spoiling the freedom of an all-singing, all-dancing Media Center PC. You could easily add another via the spare PCI slot and backplane sitting right above it, but it would mean potentially voiding your warranty, so a USB version would be a more circumspect addition.

Sony VAIO VGX-XL100 review

There’s a sensible 1GB of RAM already present, leaving two slots free and easily accessible. You’ll also fit dozens of TV programmes and films on the 250GB Seagate Barracuda 7800.8 hard disk, with space to easily fit another two should that become too restrictive. The slot-loading DVD writer will cope with dual-layer media too, so you can archive and back up a good chunk of data on just one disc.

All in all, it’s a fantastic example of how to build a Media Center PC: you simply wouldn’t guess from looking at it just how versatile and well integrated it is. Why Sony opted for the single TV tuner is a mystery, and it means it can’t knock the Elonex Artisan LX off the A List. It’s easy enough to remedy, but changing the hardware will mean potential problems with Viiv compliance. It all comes with a surprisingly low price tag, though: at £100 cheaper than the Elonex Artisan, you could add the TV tuner and still end up with more storage, a dual-core processor, Viiv compliance and looks to die for.

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