Sony VAIO T14 Ultrabook Review – Out With Express Cache In With DataPlex For SandForce Driven Speed

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

If you followed through our entire report, things might seem like a mixed bag and even a ‘no go’ with the Sony VIAO  T14 Touchscreen Ultrabook which isn’t entirely correct.  Although the Sony T14, is a bit large for our needs, it is as quick as any similar hybrid system would be in typical consumer use and we found the screen to be very responsive and accommodating.  In fact, I find myself using it now to upgrade my Windows 8 skills in effort to consider incorporating this OS into at least one of our test systems.

The Sony VAIO T14 has a much lower price than similar touchscreen ultra books on the market, an incredibly attractive build and the Core Intel i3 processor with 4GB of memory is great. Extras include an optical drive (Do we still use these?), HDMI port, Ethernet, USB 3.0 and Sony ProDuo and SD card slots. We might suggest that finding this bundle of extras is impossible in any other ultra book. Something I particularly like is the fact that the glass screen carries well passed the Windows 8 desktop which is excellent for left and right swiping.

Sony T14 Ultrabook OpenSony VIAO T14 Deck Buttons

Something else we particularly liked were the Assist, Web and VAIO buttons by the power switch on the top right of the deck.  Assist starts VAIOCare which speaks to system performance, system settings and troubleshooting.  When the system is off and turned on, there is also a selection to start from the USB which is very convenient for W8 installation.  The Web button pulls up the default browser while the VAIO button starts the VAIO Control Center which allows button re-assignment as well as configuration of such things as power and battery, mouse and keyboard, image quality, hardware, network and others.

ADATA XM13 ‘LSI SANDFORCE DRIVEN’ SSD

Sony’s choice of the ADATA XM13 SSD is both good and bad.  Typical consumer laptop and ultra book systems utilize a pretty even mixture of compressible and incompressible data transfer which makes the choice of an ‘LSI SandForce Driven’ SSD ideal.  The controller used in this ultra book is the SF-2141 flash storage processor and Sony was bang on in grabbing a 30GB capacity SSD for caching.  Limiting the cache volume to 14GB by creating an 8GB OEM partition was questionable and, although this system will outlast most users, we would have preferred a larger cache.

Sony’s choice in storage placement might be better accomplished by putting the caching SSD on the 6Gbps port and the hard drive on the 3Gbps port.  The hard drive cannot reach SATA 3 speeds whereas the caching SSD can.  Speed is accomplished through the use of ‘hot data’, or data that is frequently accessed, from the caching SSD.  This includes just about every typical Windows 8 desktop operation.

Sony VAIO T14 ADATA mSATA XM13 SSD

NVELO DATAPLEX CACHING SOFTWARE VICE EXPRESSCACHE

Condusiv ExpressCache works but it is not NVELO Dataplex and, as far as we know, nobody has equalled Dataplex yet.  ExpressCache provides a visibly upgraded user experience which starts at eight seconds from the press of the start button to the T14 being ready to go.  This doesn’t speak to what only can be described as ‘Instant On’ from sleep or hibernation.  What it doesn’t provide is the ability to use and manipulate media, at decent transfer speeds, above that of watching movies, listening to music and looking at pictures.  Smaller, less intensive media creation and manipulation software would work fine but an AutoCad speed demon this system isn’t.  NVELO Dataplex provides this.

Come to think of it, we have to ask ourselves why NVELO hasn’t reached caching portable laptops as of yet and what Samsung must be thinking.  From a site perspective, our published evaluations of NVELO Dataplex remain unmatched and we seem to be the authority on Dataplex, at least in terms of ability and performance.  Simply, this caching software needs to expand to areas such as we tested today.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you are one of those few that skips through the meat and gravy for the desert, we would definitely recommend the Sony VAIO T14 Touchscreen Ultrabook for value, it’s touchscreen and the added extras.  Would we purchase same without the added touchscreen; definitely not.  As much as we would prefer an SSD, using the touchscreen is almost magic with this hybrid SSD combination.

Stay tuned in upcoming weeks as we strip the hybrid storage system from the Sony VAIO T14 laptop and insert a full fledged SSD for monstor performance.  Could you see this system with a new Crucial M500 960GB SSD??

UPDATE:  Popped in a Samsung 840Pro 512GB SSD as Samsung had the migration software I needed.  Give it a few days and we will see if this merits a follow up report!

Check Out Sony VAIO T14 Ultrabook Pricing at Amazon!

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Les@TheSSDReviewTheonOWHJohn Fitzgerald Recent comment authors
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OWH
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OWH

Hey there! Regarding NVelo on laptops – I’m pretty sure there was a Razer laptop that was delivered with NVelo Dataplex at some point. You might want to check that out! 🙂

Les@TheSSDReview
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Found it and you are absolutely correct, however, I was considering more aof a mainstream front such as we see with the Sony’s. Rereading the article, you are dead on though and Razer is the first. Will check into and possibly do up a review if I can get my hands on one.

OWH
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OWH

Yeah :). Just thought i’d provide the info still. Thanks for looking into it!

Something i’ve been wondering about is the Expresscache vs Dataplex issue. Dataplex seems to be doing a better job so far, but i wonder how coming updates will affect that. It would be bad with no competition, so let’s hope in some time they will just have different perks, not different overall performance. And that they’ll start the “race” from there.

John Fitzgerald
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John Fitzgerald

Les, at the end of your review you posted an update message. With regards to that message, how about doing a review of the various migration software programs that you have used, possibly adding that to the Guide section of your site. Migration software complaints run abundantly on Newegg and other forum sites.

Also, I would like to see a review of the Plextor mSata PX-M5M with the latest firmware.

Theon
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Theon

What about the exmor hd webcam having poor quality?

Les@TheSSDReview
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I am sorry but that unit is no longer in our possession.