Vaio VGC-RA 820G and Vista Media Center




This Sony desktop gets its lowest rating in Vista RC-1 from the video card,
3.4, which is understandable, it's ATi's x300 which seems to be the
bottom-of-the-line in PCI-e vid cards.

It did work fine with the (unknown) MPEG encoder/decoder for XP Media
Center. However with Vista, I've only explored trying to watch live TV, and
getting listings. In Beta 2, the listings and live television worked fine.
In RC-1, using either the canned drivers from Vista or installing ATI's
drivers, there is a "glitch" in picture and sound, about 1 1/2 seconds every
10 seconds. The driver change does not affect this at all.

Would that mean I'm doomed for media center on Vista until and unless Sony
updates the unknown MPEG en/decoder? I'd be willing to put in a new video
card, but with the Sony I'm not sure that's practical as the power supply
might be inadequate, and television might still be "glitched." In other
sony models they call the MPEG card the "giga-pocket" but in this model it's
not touted in the Sony literature.

The computer does OK otherwise, since the x300 has 128 VRAM it does run Aero
immediately upon installation of Vista.

Advice much appreciated, and if anyone has upgraded their Vaio vid card
above the x300 without creating power supply problems please let me know. I
understand the power supply is odd-sized and can't practically be replaced.

Sony tech support has nothing to say about Vista, I guess the computer is
"just too old." :] ...then again tech support has one solution
to all problems: REINSTALL FROM YOUR RECOVERY DISCS. THis is the first
computer of a long string that I bought put together by an OEM; yes, they
work, but it's great fun to be told over and over again to reinstall from
recovery discs (or partition) meaning it takes another 45 minutes to get all
the AOL-type junkware out, and apply about 150 updates for Windows and
Office (the real reason broadband is so useful!)


Bill from KC


the PSU on these machines is plenty ~400 watts.

the tv tuner and vid card can also be swapped out. they are nothing special.

tv tuners are relatively cheap in comparison to the this vaio unit.

buy a video card from a store with a good return policy as many had reported that under older MB drivers the older ati cards like the x700 and x800 models did not work. subsequent updates i believe corrected this and "newer" RA models have nvidia 6600s in there.

Courtesy of
Earn money answering messageboard posts at


I think I'm the OP on this question, and I appreciate your response. I am
now in search of a humble vid card with just a bit more 3D capability so I
can have a couple games, the ATi x300 seems lame and is the lowest scorer of
the Vista test. I've never even looked at a Nvidia card as I have long
belonged to the ATi driver-of-the-week club going back to the bad old days
(things like Graphics Ultra Something... something like 4 mb video

Bill from KC

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