Sony adopts Intel's Light Peak technology in new laptop

Intel's Light Peak will bring external graphics and extra device connectivity options to the new Vaio Z-series laptop

Sony has followed Apple's example and included proprietary data transfer technology based on Intel's Light Peak interconnect in its latest Vaio Z Series laptop, which was announced earlier this week.

The Vaio Z-Series VPCZ21V9E laptop, which includes a 13.1-inch screen, will come with an optional expansion dock that links to the laptop using an optical cable based on Sony's proprietary interface. The dock will include a graphics card to bring high-definition multimedia capabilities to the laptop, and also additional external device connectivity options.

Sony is the second laptop maker to publicly announce the adoption of Intel's Light Peak technology, which has faced resistance from some top PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard. Apple was the first laptop maker to adopt a cable connector based on Intel's Light Peak technology with its new MacBook Pro laptops introduced in February. Apple's version of the interconnect is called Thunderbolt, but Sony has retained the name Light Peak.

The interconnect can transfer data at speeds of up to 10G bps (bits per second), and initial builds of the technology in Apple's laptops are based on copper wires, but Intel said the Light Peak technology based on optical technology would be released later this year. Intel has said that optical cables -- which use light -- can enable faster data transfers over longer distances. Sony did not return requests for comment on the exact implementation of Light Peak and data transfer speeds.

The laptop weighs 1.18 kilograms (2.6 pounds) and provides seven hours of battery life. It includes an Intel Core i7-2620M with a clock speed of 2.70GHz, up to 256GB of solid-state drive storage and 8GB of RAM. The laptop also has HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) and ports to connect USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices.

Sony's optional Power Media Dock includes an external Radeon HD 6650M graphics card from Advanced Micro Devices, an optical drive, and HDMI and VGA ports to connect multiple monitors to the laptop. The dock also comes with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cards to attach external devices to the laptop.

The VAIO Z Series of ultra-portable performance notebook PCs is available from the end of July 2011. It is available for on Sony UK's website starting at £2,699.00 (US$4,307). Sony's European public relations team did not return an immediate request for comment about worldwide availability.

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