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Tired of NVidia - Switching to ATI


Anchel

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You may remember I had a major problem with a Sony VAIO FZ18M laptop which came with an 8400M GT. Somehow the graphics were slower than my old GeForce Go 7400 in my previous laptop. And just one day problems started happening like the graphics card restarting Windows or crashing the whole computer while watching a Youtube video or a DIVX movie for example. I sent the laptop to Sony and they told me that the graphics card was broken.

So I managed to replace the laptop with a new one: another Sony VAIO, but this time the FZ21S, with Blu Ray reader, bigger HDD and the Nvidia 8600M GS. So I tested it as soon as I got it and... well... the performance wasn't as good as I expected. The problem came when a few weeks ago, I started having the same problems as with the 8400M. Crashes, too much heating, etc. And then I read about the 8600M chips being bad in several articles around the net and how Dell and HP were offering BIOS upgrades to increase the fan speed to prevent the graphic cards from breaking so soon.

AGAIN I have sent my laptop back to Sony. AND I have bought a new one (THIRD LAPTOP IN THE SAME ACADEMIC YEAR!!! THAT'S TOO MUCH!!!). Again I have gone with Sony, as I really like the designs. It's the FW11J, which is available in Europe with 4Gb of RAM, a 2,26 Penryn processor (not too much, but it has a good price for me) AND this time it comes with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 (curiously Sony has stopped producing laptops with the 8400/8600M cards, and has also stopped selling the FZ laptop series which came with them in all Europe). The price I got is 902 ? (straight from the manufacturer, not through stores like SonyStyle or other brick-and-mortar stores).

I'm tired of all the problems I've had with NVidia cards. So I was really happy to get the ATI one instead. Many websites list it as being between the 8600M GT and the 9500M GS, sometimes faring better than the 9500M in certain games.

I haven't got the laptop here yet, it will still take a week before it arrives. But I do have some questions already.

How do you think the card will do? Is it good enough to play Crysis with medium settings?

And also I was wondering is there is any place like this for ATI drivers for laptops (Sony is not the best driver distributor, they usually update once every two years).

Thank you in advance!!

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What up Anchel....

First of all i want to ask a guestion. Did you REALLY buy 3 different laptops in a year? or were they replaced? because thats probably the most ridiculous thing ive ever heard.

But anyway to answer your questions.

1. It is definitely enough to play Crysis at medium settings (i have an 8600m GS and it plays pretty well on mostly medium settings)

2. Go here for ATI drivers for your video card....your going to have to use a mod tool that is basically used with 2.0 .net framework and it seems to be pretty darn stable. (think of it as a modded inf from here)

Edited by Darmdorf
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Haha no, I didn't buy three laptops. As I said, I have direct contact with the distributors (my father owns a small computer store in town) so when a laptop gives me problems, I can deliver it back for a full refund if necesary and then switch it back for another one.

So after the FZ18M troubled me, I switched it for the FZ21S for the same price. This FZ21S I'm giving back to Sony, but when it comes back repaired I'm going to sell it as a second-hand laptop. After all it's a pretty good one even today.

Thank you for the info. I did get to play Crysis on medium settings, but with some major slowdowns when things got full of gunshots and explosions, all with the 8600M GS. The resolution had to be reaaaaally low though (800 x 600, with grass looking specially ugly when at closeup).

As for the driver site, thanks again. I'll check it up.

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You may remember I had a major problem with a Sony VAIO FZ18M laptop which came with an 8400M GT. Somehow the graphics were slower than my old GeForce Go 7400 in my previous laptop. And just one day problems started happening like the graphics card restarting Windows or crashing the whole computer while watching a Youtube video or a DIVX movie for example. I sent the laptop to Sony and they told me that the graphics card was broken.

So I managed to replace the laptop with a new one: another Sony VAIO, but this time the FZ21S, with Blu Ray reader, bigger HDD and the Nvidia 8600M GS. So I tested it as soon as I got it and... well... the performance wasn't as good as I expected. The problem came when a few weeks ago, I started having the same problems as with the 8400M. Crashes, too much heating, etc. And then I read about the 8600M chips being bad in several articles around the net and how Dell and HP were offering BIOS upgrades to increase the fan speed to prevent the graphic cards from breaking so soon.

AGAIN I have sent my laptop back to Sony. AND I have bought a new one (THIRD LAPTOP IN THE SAME ACADEMIC YEAR!!! THAT'S TOO MUCH!!!). Again I have gone with Sony, as I really like the designs. It's the FW11J, which is available in Europe with 4Gb of RAM, a 2,26 Penryn processor (not too much, but it has a good price for me) AND this time it comes with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 (curiously Sony has stopped producing laptops with the 8400/8600M cards, and has also stopped selling the FZ laptop series which came with them in all Europe). The price I got is 902 ? (straight from the manufacturer, not through stores like SonyStyle or other brick-and-mortar stores).

I'm tired of all the problems I've had with NVidia cards. So I was really happy to get the ATI one instead. Many websites list it as being between the 8600M GT and the 9500M GS, sometimes faring better than the 9500M in certain games.

I haven't got the laptop here yet, it will still take a week before it arrives. But I do have some questions already.

How do you think the card will do? Is it good enough to play Crysis with medium settings?

And also I was wondering is there is any place like this for ATI drivers for laptops (Sony is not the best driver distributor, they usually update once every two years).

Thank you in advance!!

your problem is you keep buying sony!!!! they are the most over rated laptop on the planet and most expensive.. they cost you a fortune and always come with a cheap lame video card!!! i would never spend that kind of money for a laptop like that!!! on a side note i do like the look of ati graphics, they just look better!!! it must be better rendering but if i had two laptops side by side with the exact same image displayed and one is ati graphics and the other is nvidia, to me the ati just looks better, nvidia graphics always look just a little more grainy and jagged than ati.. if your lookin for a new laptop, lenovo makes a nice 17" notebook for mutimedia and gaming.. the Y710 comes with the ati HD2600XT 512mg graphics and a cre2 duo up to the x9000.. hope this helps..

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Whiteash, thank you for your answer. However I do like Sony laptops. They have good designs and I find them to be the equivalents of Macbook Pro but with Windows Vista in terms of design and reliability (which I happen to like a lot more than Mac OSX). And they don't have such bad graphic cards, but they don't target gamers directly so they don't include 8800M cards for example.

Sony just divides their laptops depending on the kind of user you are. For their "gaming" and multimedia laptops they have right now the FZ, AR and now FW. The FZ have the 8600M GS as their best card, which is not bad either. The AR have the 8600M GT. These FW series I already bought use the ATI one I mentioned, and it is not a bad card at all. Not the top one, but enough for the customers it tries to target.

Also I didn't want a bulky 17" laptop. I always take the laptop with me to classes at college for example (I take notes during the different classes and I need it for practical lessons like Radio News - I'm studying Audiovisual Communications, learning to create TV shows, news programs, newspapers, radio programs...). So far I've been using 15'4" laptops like the VAIO FE and FZ because they were thin enough and not heavy at all. But at the same time I needed enough power to edit video quickly and perform a lot of multimedia tasks. So the Lenovo you mentioned is a no-go for me.

This FW laptop has a 16'4" screen. A little bit bigger than my usual fare, but still small enough to bring it with me everywhere (it's only 0'1 kilograms more than my previous laptops and only a little bit wider, not more height or depth).

I might post a review of it here for all of those who might want a Sony VAIO and are deciding which one to buy.

The only bad thing I can say about VAIOs is the huge loads of crapware that comes with them. But luckily in Europe this is not so important, as most applications included are really good (Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0, Premiere Elements 4.0, Roxio Easy Media Creator for burning DVDs (like Nero), Office 2007 Trial (which I can activate with my already paid license without having to install again) and some others that make use of special VAIO functions like the webcam or the multimedia buttons on the laptop).

Others are less important or totally irrelevant. Norton Antivirus for example. Or Google Desktop. I mean, why would I want Google Desktop Search in my laptop taking a lot of RAM when I have Window's Vista built in search working just as well?

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lenovo also makes the y510 which has a 15.4" lcd if that intrests you...

Edited by Darmdorf
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Well, that y510 looks good enough in design, but not the kind I was looking for. Also the specs seem lower than the FZ I already had before this. Besides, I have some Blu Ray movies so getting a laptop without Blu Ray was throwing the money away.

Take into account the following: I'm moving to the USA for a whole year in 7 days to study at the University of North Texas in an exchange student program. I need to take a computer that is both portable enough and powerful enough. The 16'4" screen of the FW fits my needs perfectly, with Blu Ray and good specs. Plus, it has the "all-in-one" package that Sony usually offers and good quality materials are almost guaranteed.

I have to admit that I like Sony designs quite a lot lately and find them both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Anyway, I have already bought the FW, it will arrive by Monday. So I will post some comments about it.

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