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on July 8, 2004
RS630G is a new model based on Sony's website. However, in stead of using a 3.4 GHz P4 CPU, it used a 3.2 GHz to bring the price down to compete with other desktops in this category. It supports 2Gb RAM but only has 512 MB installed. The speakers are a pair of cheap ones that might cost $20 if you buy them in a local computer store. Windows XP Home edition also brings down the cost.
Pros:
1. It is a Sony! It comes with good sony software that no other computers can compete -- if you plan to use your desktop computer to do a lot of multimedia project -- this is the machine you can choose. The machine comes with Sony's Giga pocket TV/video recording program; Sony's DV Gateplus video capturing/editing software; Drag'n Drop to DVD and Click to DVD disc authorizing program; Sonicstage music editing and managing program; Picture Gear picture editing and managing program plus Quicken, Microsoft Works suite, and a couple of trial programs such as Internet Security (a terrible program by Symantec) and Microsoft Office Standard version, both are 60 day trial. Compare to former Sony desktops, this one has a lot less application programs, but the ones that come with the computer would be good enough for anyone to complete pretty sophisticated multimedia projects.
2. It comes with a few card reader slots and seven USB-2 slots.
3. Good size hard drive (250 GB) and unlike former Sony desktops, the hard drive was not divided into two partitions.
3. It is fast and quiet.
4. It does not come with a recovery disk, but you can make a set using a simple program that comes with the machine and don't need to buy. You may choose to use CD or DVD for the recovery disk set. I spent about 15 minutes to produce a set using one DVD-R and one CD-R media although the program indicated that the process may take an hour to complete.
5. The ATI Radeon 9200 graphic card has 128 MB video memory, enough for most of the new games.
6. It can be used as a media server, which you can connect to your TV and stereo components.
Cons:
1. There are only two IEEE 1394 ports, one in the front (6-pin) and one (9-pin) in the back. I have yet had a change to test the front one. According to my past experience with Sony VAIO video studios, the front one will not be recognized unless you are hooking up with a Sony DV camcorder and fire up Microsoft Movie maker. This really sucks.
2. The modem port lacks a port to connect the telephone. Usually, the internal modem card should have two ports: line-in and line out to phone, but this one, like Dell machines, only has one port for line in. I don't know how you can connect both your computer and your phone without buying a spliter.
3. This machine is intending to market the Home users, but in fact, it is more suitable for experienced computer users. For example, the machine has a good TV tuner, but unless you use the machine as a media server for your home network, you won't be able to enjoy the TV using its 3x2 inch TV setup window. Sony's RZ series that come with Windows XP media edition might be a better option if you want a better GUI to enjoy TV, VCR, DVD functions.
My machine did not have any problem upon its arrival and I have kept it on for two weeks now and still runs great. Everything has been working.
Some notes for buyers:
1. Delete Microsoft Office Trial Edition before you install one that is not trial, otherwise they may conflict with each other.
2. Delete Internet Security. After 60 days, you have to purchase it anyway. It is cheaper to buy Symantec's Norton Antivirus then get a free personal firewall through [...] Internet Security is a terrible program if you are using DSL or any home wireless network.
(...)
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on August 28, 2004
I bought this system from Circuitcity(because I thought I might need some extended service plan) with Samsung SyncMaster 912N 19" LCD monitor. System looked and worked good so far. (I personally like the blue "VAIO" power indicator.) Portable media slots for memory stick and compact flash came in very handy, since I use Sony F717 and Canon Powershot S50. On the keyboard, there are volume controls, mute, and hibernation function keys; keyboard is very simple and quiet, unlike some keyboards with practically-useless features. System is also very quiet.
I'm very satisfied with the system so far, except that I had to uninstall some of bundled programs; because they were all trial versions. Price was also higher than competitor, but I would recommend this system to anyone looking for new desktop.

Add-on:

Although I haven't used other Sony desktops other than RS630G, I think that same problem may occur at other system.
The sound device of this system is SoundMax, which is integrated into motherboard. However, it suddenly fails and stop playing any sound. It works again upon reboot or re-installing driver, I assume that it's the problem of software, not hardware; yet Sony hasn't provided fixed version of driver so far. Although it may be not a big deal to someone, it sure bugged me; I now use Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 NX external sound module.
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on August 23, 2004
Through my own miscues, I managed to screw up the confiuration of my new Sony VAIO desktop within four hours of taking it out of the box (slightly different product, which included a 2.8gHz P4, 1gb RAM, 160gb hard disk, and virtually the same configuration described in the first review above. The only difference is that my purchase included a delicious 17" LCD display.) I installed a Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition product without first uninstalling the unbeknownst-to-me complimentary antivirus and Norton firewall. The computer -- rightfully -- slowed to a crawl.

I called Sony's 800 number. Magic, or nearly so. The person on the other end was courteous, knowledgeable, patient, and had a sense of humor. He talked me through the Windows restore I'm new to XP and wasn't aware of the beauty of this feature), waited until I did my own tests to ensure I would be able to continue on without him, and then we went our separate ways. Thanks to this fellow and to Sony for a quick, effective safety net to bail me out.

From that point on, I've been happy with the product.

PROs:

* The included 17" Sony LCD display is great with color and clarity. I intend to do a lot of photo and video editing and DVD creation, so this monitor is really going to come in handy.

* The 1gb RAM is very useful, given my penchant to write documents using Word 2003 with Excel, PowerPoint, and maybe Visio open at once. No problem with this unit.

* The card reader is a great feature to have on the front panel, along with a firewire port, three USB 2.0 ports, composite video, and S-video inputs. See CONs, below, for the downside of this arrangement. The fornt firewire port recognized my Canon camcorder right off the bat.

* I'm not a software developer or network administrator at heart, so Windows XP is really OK for administering a home network consisting of three users and four computers connected via a wireless/wired network.

* The unit is quiet, with variable speed fans to solve the cooling needs.

* Construction is more substantial and of higher quality than other similar devices on the market (notably HP), which is to me worth a few extra bucks if you don't plan to trade your computer every year or so.

* The multimedia software included seems very good and comprehensive, although I know I will be using my Photoshop software to do the detailed editing I like to use for digital photos.

CONs

* How can 7 USB ports not be enough? Easy. The front patch panel/card reader bay is placed at the very bottom of the front panel, which makes it difficult to insert cards and cables into the right hole if the computer is set on the floor or in a cabinet below a shelf. Sony should take a page from the manufacturers of component cases (like Antec) and place the card bay at the top of the front panel or maybe at the front of the top panel for convenience.

I solved this issue by buying two items: a powered 6-port Firewire hub, and a powered 4-port USB hub. Now I can hook up everything (printer, Palm PDA, wireless network adapter, and the USB hub) that's a "permanent" part of the configuration to the back 4 USB ports, and the "transient" items, like the sensor for the remote, the external hard drive, and the myriad of thumb drives, can be hooked to the free holes in the hub. I used some double-sided tape to affix everything to the inside walls of my desk knee-hole, and it neatened up the installation a lot. Now at least I don't have to grovel on the floor to hook up my various USB and Firewire compponents (iPOD, video and still cams, blah blah blah).

* Small point, but the motherboard should have four memory slots instead of two.

* Sony should build in a wireless adapter. It's the future. Hell, it's the present. No doubt this is for price competitiveness, but they should be able to buy cards like this for about five bucks and charge us $20 more for the convenience. No install, no tirp to CompUSA, no frenzied calls to equipment vendors ...

I love the video viewing and capture feature. It's great for grabbing news clips and editing them into little election year parodies to amuse your friends. No realy, I'm still not quite sure to what use I'll put it. Maybe there will be something good on TV one of these years that I can't get on HBO or On Demand. Who knows.
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on April 10, 2006
Very good

By joeloveland 4/10/2006

Pros:

P4 3.2G DVD R/RW/+/- vid cap TV tuner front USB and Media card slots

Cons:

included SONY software ATI 9200 vid card Power Supply RAM

Comment:

Nice system, but included extra media software from Sony is very buggy and I have removed all of it. Some include an unreconcilable conflict between Norton Antivirus and part of the Sony suite, that creates a pop-up error every few minutes. Also significant errors and lag when trying to use software for video capture and authoring. Another is an unrepairable error with Gigapocket (the TV viewing software) after running a spyware scan that causes it to not function. The only solution was a complete reformat and recovery. I am still satisfied with the purchase, the included hardware is very good, except for the ATI 9200 video card which has severe compatibility issues with many games. The included Power Supply and RAM are somewhat light for a media centric system. My advice is to buy it, clean it out, and reinstall better software that is out there. Up the RAM to at least a GIG, replace the POWER SUPPLY and VIDEO CARD.

0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
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on July 9, 2004
I usually do not write reviews, but I am so happy with the PCV-RS630G that I would like to share my enthusiasm.
Most recently I had a Sony Pentium 3 VAIO desktop purchased in 2001 which I felt was ready for replacement.
Unlike the previous reviewer who had problems "out of the box" (which can happen to anyone), my computer purchased at Circuit City was up and running immediately. With previous computers, I was always able to get programs running but often had problems connecting to the Internet. This time, my Earthlink DSL connection worked right away. All my programs loaded properly and ran ok with no error messages. There were a few minor issues using Outlook for sending and receiving e-mail, but Earthlink helped me work them out within five minutes. It was an Outlook issue because I could immediately send and receive e-mail through the Earthlink e-mail program.
The hyper-threading technology seems to be very good since I am able to run many programs simultaneously and do things like anti-virus and spyware checks in the background while doing other tasks without anything slowing down.
Specific points:
I cannot comment about the speakers that come with the PCV-R630G since I run my VAIO through an external audio system. But I can tell you that audio CD's sound crisp and clean so this system must use very good digital converters. DVD's also look top notch using Windows Media. I have not used it yet for burning DVD's.
I cannot make any comments about gaming since I am slightly out of the computer gaming demographic.
So far I have been using this new Sony desktop for two weeks with excellent results. There has not been even one instance of freezing up, or where I have needed to "inform Microsoft of the problem!" Likewise, I have never had to restart the computer other than by choice.
Earlier VAIO's had operating system discs and lots of bundled software. Those days appear to be over. Sony suggests you make a back-up of XP which is probably a good idea, although since I bought Windows XP for my last VAIO, I have XP discs should the need ever arise.
If you use Microsoft Office for Word/Excel/Outlook/Power Point, you will note that you are teased with a 30-day free trial. When you realize you are hooked, you will have to go through a conversion (this is not a religious procedure) to switch from free trial to "I actually now own this expensive Microsoft software!" You can accomplish this online with a "key" to unlock the program. But if you want the packaging, you can simply go to your nearest Staples/Office Depot-type outlet and buy an Office 2003 Upgrade edition which will work. Since this is not backward compatible, you cannot use a previous version of Office (i.e. Windows 2000). You will need to buy an upgrade of Office 2003. But it's worth it. I think it has some nice refinements from Office 2000 and besides, Bill Gates really does need your money.
Also, a new trend seems to be not to include hefty booklets with software anymore. You get the computer (slightly less weight than previous VAIO's in a more compact box), with just basic "how to turn it on" instructions with the advice that you can find anything about the computer's operation at a VAIO website online. XP is already preloaded as are the few other programs and games so you can literally turn the computer on and be ready to roll.
The only part of the design that doesn't thrill me is the design of the CD and DVD trays. It would have been better if you could use the same external button to close the trays which you can use to open them. You have to put just the right amount of pressure on the tray so it closes all the way. On my VAIO, too little pressure will leave the tray partially closed. If you have people using your computer (i.e. tiny tots), make sure you show them how to load the trays and close them because they are a tad fragile.
One last point: I bought the 17" Sony Flat Screen monitor which looks great but does not have the greatest refresh rate (typical of LCD monitors.) I did some research online and found that Hitachi LCD's have a faster refresh rate so I returned the Sony to Circuit City (which charges a 15% restocking fee which I was unable to beat even with a certain amount of begging and groveling and resorting to those "Circuit City has now lost me as a customer for the rest of my life" veiled threats which the store managers probably hear all day long and laught at!) It cost me about $80 for having had the monitor for just ten days. Oh well.
Anyway, I wound up buying a Hitachi CML175SXW 17" LCD monitor online. Unfortunately the Hitachi monitors are not sold at any retail stores. It is, however, the same price as the Sony but I feel a better product. When scrolling, it refreshes better than the Sony so you do not have quite the same blurring issues. This attractive LCD display also comes in 15" and 19" sizes.
All in all, you cannot go wrong with this new desktop from Sony. Highly recommended and I feel well worth the price.
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on June 23, 2004
Most electronics in my home are from SONY. But, this time I am so disappointed with the purchase at Sonystyle.Com.
1) When I opened the computer, the computer can not be started. I spend much much time to call the custom service. Unfortunately the custom service is very difficult to be reached.
2) It gave a lot of difficulties to return this big stuff. So I decided to send it to a SONY authorized Service Ctr. There is only 1 in Massachusetts. It needs 7 bussiness days to repair - Oh, my god!
3) I spent $2150 for the computer and 19" LCD monitor at sonystyle.com. But, no computer manuals, no software manuals, no recovery discs (you need to buy it!) with the computer. You need to spend much time to call them for every detail.
So bad service, which waste me a lot of time and feeling. I will never buy SONY again. I feel so bad with SONY ... ... SONY brings me a lot pain ... ...
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on June 23, 2004
Most electronics in my home are from SONY. But, this time I am so disappointed with the purchase at Sonystyle.Com.
1) When I opened the computer, the computer can not be started. I spend much much time to call the custom service. Unfortunately the custom service is very difficult to be reached.
2) It gave a lot of difficulties to return this big stuff. So I decided to send it to a SONY authorized Service Ctr. There is only 1 in Massachusetts. It needs 7 bussiness days to repair - Oh, my god!
3) Rebate cheating:
(...).
4) No computer manuals, no software manuals, no recovery discs (you need to buy it!) with the computer. You need to spend much time to call them for every detail.
So bad service, which waste me a lot of time and feeling. I will never buy SONY again.
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