Sony unveils first non-Mac 'Thunderbolt' laptop coming this summer

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Sony on Tuesday took the wraps off a redesigned VAIO Z laptop, which is scheduled to arrive in Europe at the end of July and will feature a proprietary version of Intel's Thunderbolt technology. Meanwhile, Apple has issued a firmware update to improve Thunderbolt performance.



VAIO Z



The new 13.1-inch VAIO Z will take on Apple's MacBook Air in the ultraportable category, weighing just 2.6 pounds with a thickness of 0.86 inches. In order to reduce the size of the notebook, Sony moved the optical drive and dedicated graphics to an external box, dubbed the Power Media Dock.



Though the dock uses a proprietary version of Intel's codenamed "Light Peak" architecture, which is the same technology that Thunderbolt is based on, Sony has chosen not to market the optical connection as such. Full details on the custom connection are lacking from the company's press release, but it appears Sony has forgone the Mini DisplayPort solution that Apple co-developed with the chipmaker.



In addition to a Blu-ray optical drive and AMD Radeon graphics, the Power Media Dock will include an ethernet port, additional USB ports, and VGA and HDMI outputs.



The VAIO Z features a 1600x900 display, Intel Core i7 processors and up to 256GB of SSD RAID storage. Sony also touts a Quick Boot feature that loads Windows 7 "up to 50% quicker than conventional notebooks."



The electronics giant plans to launch the notebook first in Europe at the end of July. Sony declined to provide details on pricing or the timing of international availability, though the laptop is expected to make its way to the States.







Intel and Apple collaborated on the Thunderbolt specification, with Intel providing its then-codenamed "Light Peak" technology and Apple offering its Mini DisplayPort standard. The high-speed interconnect debuted alongside Apple's new MacBook Pros in February.



The first Thunderbolt-compatible peripherals are expected to arrive this summer. Storage maker LaCie demoed a "Little Big Disk" Thunderbolt solid-state drive last week, with read speeds of up to 827.2 MB per second. Several high end video equipment vendors are preparing breakout boxes and other devices that will take advantage of the technology.







Thunderbolt firmware



Apple issued a Thunderbolt Firmware Update for relevant Macs on Monday, providing "performance and stability fixes." for the new technology. The 486KB download requires Mac OS X 10.6.8.



The Cupertino, Calif., Mac maker has been steadily working out the kinks on Thunderbolt. In May, the company's new MacBook Pros and iMacs, currently the only Macs to support Thunderbolt, received several updates to improve performance and compatibility.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,114member
    The Sony suckitude continues...
  • Reply 2 of 42
    quambquamb Posts: 143member
    Good stuff. It's great to see the lightpeak/thunderbolt tech hit the market on multiple platforms. Let's hope it becomes a standard, with affordable devices, in the next few years.



    Also to the poster above - well done on showing your fanboy might! Though I guess this is an apple forum...
  • Reply 3 of 42
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,017member
    Way to go Sony... you had such success with your other proprietary formats for all these years, I guess you decided to continue with that winning formula right??? NOT!



    How'd that memory stick thingy work for ya???
  • Reply 4 of 42
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    I'm hoping Apple or someone else makes something similar for the MBA.
  • Reply 5 of 42
    algralgr Posts: 18member
    Industry abhors simplicity - they just had to make it complicated.



    Unless this port does something dramatically better then the mini-display port, (Speed? Cable length?) then I'd say that this is just childish vindictive behavior. They need the port, but don't want to admit to using the best technology?



    They did the same thing with firewire, calling it "iLink" and using only the camcorder version of the cable. This hurt both Sony, (People didn't know they could attach faster drives to their PCs) and Firewire. (People didn't realize how many windows PCs had Firewire.)
  • Reply 6 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Way to go Sony... you had such success with your other proprietary formats for all these years, I guess you decided to continue with that winning formula right??? NOT!



    How'd that memory stick thingy work for ya???



    Exactly. And they call Apple "proprietary"
  • Reply 7 of 42
    I'm glad to hear Sony will be using Thunderbolt, but I think it is extremely lame they will use a different name and a different connector. After all what is the point of creating a new standard if you are gonna use different names and connectors! I wish there was someone with the balls to say cut the crap Sony and call it Thunderbolt and use mini display port.
  • Reply 8 of 42
    strobestrobe Posts: 369member
  • Reply 9 of 42
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Kubrick View Post


    I'm glad to hear Sony will be using Thunderbolt, but I think it is extremely lame they will use a different name and a different connector. After all what is the point of creating a new standard if you are gonna use different names and connectors! I wish there was someone with the balls to say cut the crap Sony and call it Thunderbolt and use mini display port.



    I thought Apple had exclusivity for 2011 which may be why Sony wasn't allowed to use go the mDP route. It could just be Sony working on getting TB poised for a real roll out next year with some trial models and using the USB port (which Intel was told by the USB-IF not to use) to work out some of the engineering kinks. IOW, next year we may see Sony start using the open mDP port as their TB port.



    One thing to look for is performance between the two. I'm guessing that the same high-speed peripheral connected to a Mac running Mac OS via TB will be considerably faster than a Sony running .Windows. Call it a hunch.
  • Reply 10 of 42
    sailorpaulsailorpaul Posts: 281member
    Sony epics:

    Beta

    iLink

    Memory Stick

    (Blue ray schick too)

    a few small hacks and/or security breaches

    and now the new, non-standard, soon to be overrun Sony Lightfart/Little Thunderdongle thingy



    There's also a bunch of Sony DRM and other small stuff all to insignificant to mention.

  • Reply 11 of 42
    Is this one laptop displayed two different ways. Or is this two parts for one machine?



    "The new 13.1-inch VAIO Z will take on Apple's MacBook Air in the ultraportable category, weighing just 2.6 pounds with a thickness of 0.86 inches. In order to reduce the size of the notebook, Sony moved the optical drive and dedicated graphics to an external box, dubbed the Power Media Dock".



  • Reply 12 of 42
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Kubrick View Post


    I'm glad to hear Sony will be using Thunderbolt, but I think it is extremely lame they will use a different name and a different connector. After all what is the point of creating a new standard if you are gonna use different names and connectors! I wish there was someone with the balls to say cut the crap Sony and call it Thunderbolt and use mini display port.



    You can probably thank Apple for having a one year exclusive rights to Thunderbolt for why Sony is having to go the USB-like route.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macminiwii View Post


    Is this one laptop displayed two different ways. Or is this two parts for one machine?



    "The new 13.1-inch VAIO Z will take on Apple's MacBook Air in the ultraportable category, weighing just 2.6 pounds with a thickness of 0.86 inches. In order to reduce the size of the notebook, Sony moved the optical drive and dedicated graphics to an external box, dubbed the Power Media Dock".







    So it's 13% heavier and 26% thicker than the 13" MBA and while it does offer more total RAM it starts at $2,294 (UK site) and doesn't even include the dock, which is another $640.



    Nice machine but I sure hope Sony isn't calling it a MBA killer.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,374member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SailorPaul View Post


    Sony epics:

    Beta

    iLink

    Memory Stick

    (Blue ray schick too)

    a few small hacks and/or security breaches

    and now the new, non-standard, soon to be overrun Sony Lightfart/Little Thunderdongle thingy



    There's also a bunch of Sony DRM and other small stuff all to insignificant to mention.





    I'm not sure what you are trying to say



    Beta was very successful, as was iLink, and Blu-ray.



    And can you list the Sony DRM that you are concerned with?



    Plus, can you tell me why Sony creating their own items is bad, but Apple doing the same is good?
  • Reply 15 of 42
    Hmm...



    The thicker, heavier, more expensive laptop that comes with an extra box to make it work well?



    I see how that will sell well. Sony does great things but has a habit of then either dumping them entirely or releasing a new model that is worse.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post


    Hmm...



    The thicker, heavier, more expensive laptop that comes with an extra box to make it work well?



    I see how that will sell well. Sony does great things but has a habit of then either dumping them entirely or releasing a new model that is worse.



    Comes with an extra box to make it work even better. The basic specs are better than the Air, and I think the dock idea is great, I wish more companies did it. I used a Henge dock with my MBP for while to see if I could combine my desktop/laptop to save money, it worked in theory, but needed a better dock. The new ByteDock might make me try again.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    aiolosaiolos Posts: 228member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Scaramanga89 View Post


    Comes with an extra box to make it work even better. The basic specs are better than the Air, and I think the dock idea is great, I wish more companies did it. I used a Henge dock with my MBP for while to see if I could combine my desktop/laptop to save money, it worked in theory, but needed a better dock. The new ByteDock might make me try again.



    I also agree with the dock idea. I think that is the most interesting part of this announcement. It makes me hope that Apple might offer a new Superdrive external that combines a dedicated graphics card with the optical drive. Then you can overcome the limitations of the graphics of the new SB processors that will be in the Air. It would vastly improve the MBA's performance with both gaming and other GPU intensive processes, like Final Cut Pro or Aperture. This would also open up the Air as a viable option to more people, as they can have portability, and then use it more like a desktop replacement when the dock is attached.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jfanning View Post


    I'm not sure what you are trying to say



    Beta was very successful, as was iLink, and Blu-ray.



    And can you list the Sony DRM that you are concerned with?



    Plus, can you tell me why Sony creating their own items is bad, but Apple doing the same is good?



    Consumer Beta was a complete failure. i.Link was a joke. The DRM was called ATRAC. Are you going to call that a success?
  • Reply 19 of 42
    majjomajjo Posts: 574member
    Unless I'm misreading the announcement, it sounds like Sony is only using LightPeak for the connection to the power media dock; when that is not connected, the port will behave as a normal USB port.



    Interesting idea, putting dedicated graphics on the dock. I don't know if LightPeak has the bandwidth / latency required to feed a high end video card though. I'm skeptical, but intrigued.



    I wished they made the power media dock in the formfactor of the external sheet battery though. As it is, if you need to travel with optical media, it's going to be a pain to carry a separate box with connecting cables. If it was in the same format as the sheet battery, then you dock it and carry a slightly heavier and thicker laptop for when you need the optical drive.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    Is it just me or is there nothing to plug into the thunderbolt port at the mo? Seems funny there are updates, lol... c'mon itz too long already...





    quote:



    Thunderbolt firmware



    Apple issued a Thunderbolt Firmware Update for relevant Macs on Monday, providing "performance and stability fixes." for the new technology. The 486KB download requires Mac OS X 10.6.8.



    The Cupertino, Calif., Mac maker has been steadily working out the kinks on Thunderbolt. In May, the company's new MacBook Pros and iMacs, currently the only Macs to support Thunderbolt, received several updates to improve performance and compatibility.
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