Gear 05/05

Reviews of the latest tech gadgets and goodies
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This story appears in the May 2005 . Subscribe »

Sony VAIO VGC-RA820G Media Center PC

CNET's rating: 7.5 Good

The good: Near-silent operation; powerful Pentium 4 processor; double-layer DVD burner; large hard drive; big software bundle

The bad: Large case won't fit in a standard AV rack; cheap plastic drive and port covers on front panel

What it's for: Running regular Windows apps plus managing digital pictures, music files and video via remote control

Essential extras: Double-layer DVD+R discs, Pioneer PDP-4340HD

The bottom line: Sony keeps its processor cool without an army of cooling fans, making it nearly silent and giving it living-room appeal.

Street price: $1,490

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