Tag Archives: sony vaio

ReadyBoost on a Sony Vaio SZ notebook

Recently, I was researching trying to find the best option for adding flash memory to my Sony VAIO VGN-SZ381p notebook to take advantage of the Vista ReadyBoost feature.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any good information on which flash memory options were best for the Sony SZ. With flash memory being so cheap these days, it’s conceivable to get a 2GB USB or SD card for ~$40 and ideally leave it in my notebook fulltime.

According to the ReadyBoost information, you need flash memory that has at least 2.5 MB/sec for 4kb random reads and 1.75 MB/sec for 512kb random writes.

The Sony SZ series notebook have a few different options for connection flash memory.

First it has the conventional USB 2.0 ports so you can use simple USB keys. I don’t like this option since all USB keys would protrude from my laptop forcing me to remove it every time I shut it it down.

Second connection option is through the ExpressCard slot through a 5-in-1 memory card adaptor which supports Memory stick, Memory stick Pro, SD, xD and MMC.

The third option is through a dedicated Memory Stick DUO port on the left side of the notebook.

To do my tests, I used the built in Vista tool winsat which can be run from the command-line as follows:

Read speed:

winsat disk –read –ran –ransize 4096 –drive <drive_letter>

Write speed:

winsat disk –write –ran –ransize 524288 –drive <drive_letter>

Notes:

  • Substitute <drive_letter> with your drive letter without the colon. So ‘D:’ would be ‘D’.
  • You have to run the command line as administrator in order to use the winsat to measure read and write speeds.

Here are the tests I’ve done so far:

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Simplify bluetooth on your Sony SZ series laptop

Let me start off by saying I hate bluetooth on laptops.  I love my bluetooth headset for my cell phone, but for laptops, connecting any type of device, namely a cellphone, is just a freakin’ nightmare.  When I previously had a Toshiba M200, I solved the problem by replacing the Toshiba stack with the Microsoft Bluetooth stack in XP SP2.

However, I now have a Sony VGN-SZ381p laptop for which I’m having the similar problems as I did with my M200.  The software that comes bundled with the Sony SZ series laptops is absolutely terrible.  I’ve finally found a solution in the NotebookReview.com forum’s that is worth re-iterating here.

The solution entails is installing the much friendlier Widcomm v5 bluetooth utility followed by install a modified version of the Sony SZ bluetooth drivers that will allow it to work with the Widcomm Software (Updated 2/4/2009).  Why use the Widcomm software?

  • vastly superior and easier setup than all other bluetooth software I’ve seen
  • ability to sync Outlook contact and calendar data with non-Windows Mobile cell phones
  • view and copy files on your phone in shell mode.
  • set-up virtual serial ports to use bluetooth in certain applications

In my case, it finally made it possible for me to connect my Plantronic Voyager 510 headset to my laptop so I could use it with Skype.

Step-by-step:

  1. Uninstall all previous bluetooth utilities/software
  2. Turn off your bluetooth using the Sony utilities (VAIO Wireless).  On my laptop this is Hotkey combination Fn+F1.
  3. Download the Widcomm v5 software and install it.
    1. While installing it, it will tell you that it cannot find a bluetooth device, which makes sense since we turned it off in Step 2 🙂
    2. Choose “Cancel” to continue with the installation.
  4. After installation completes, turn your bluetooth on using Fn+F1 (or whatever other method you want to use).  When prompted for drivers, you the modified Sony SZ drivers. These are only 41kb so I’ve hosted them here (Updated  link on 2/4/2009).

Now everything should work!