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Handhelds Hardware Hacking Portables Sony Build Hardware

Modded UX490 UMPC Shows Off Years of Community Development 75

An anonymous reader writes "The community at have spent the last few years devising all sorts of mods and tweaks for the Sony VAIO UX-series UMPC. Now they've thrown nearly all of their major breakthroughs into one machine. Using the latest UX model (UX490) as the base, the original SSD has been swapped for a speedy 128GB SSD, the CPU has been unsoldered from the mobo and replaced with a Core 2 Duo U7700 (making this probably the smallest computer to use said CPU). The original EDGE module has been removed, and carefully put in its place is an E169 Huawei terminal which provides up to 7.2mbps 3G (HSDPA), voice and texting. On top of this, the unit quad-boots Mac OS X, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP (and the Huawei terminal works under Mac OS X as well)."
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Modded UX490 UMPC Shows Off Years of Community Development

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  • doesn't necessarily mean you should. This might just be a case of that. What's the usability of OSX on this? For that matter what about the resource hungry Vista and 7? XP was probably as far as it needed to go. That and perhaps Linux.
  • There's no magic here. It's all the same old standardized PC hardware.

    What would be surprising is if they couldn't replace the CPU and peripherals. Or if they did so on a non-Intel platform.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually the U series cpus are BGA. IE they would've needed to hot-air solder them down. Ever since atom and the whole 'lowest wattage possible' the day of the socket is swiftly approaching an end :(

      • Actually the U series cpus are BGA. IE they would've needed to hot-air solder them down. Ever since atom and the whole 'lowest wattage possible' the day of the socket is swiftly approaching an end :(

        Does a socket require more power?

        • by darthflo ( 1095225 ) * on Monday November 23, 2009 @06:57AM (#30200522)

          (This is just a somewhat educated guess, any EEs reading this: Please correct me)

          A soldered BGA contact point will probably have a greater contact area with better signal quality. Since all of that signalling is done digitally, they can lower the voltage potential between their ones and zeros to the lowest point where they can still reliably be distinguished, and that point ought to be lower with a neatly soldered BGA chip than a socket with it's tiny contact points. Also, including the socket generates cost for the socket, additional CPU packaging and wastes very precious space. Lastly, keeping the cooling system yet upgrading the CPU isn't a smart move if you're not *really* sure your cooling equipment is up to the job. Thus an enthusiast thing.

          • by dozer ( 30790 )

            A socket adds a significant amount of parasitic capacitance and inductance. At high frequencies, this can cost quite a bit of power. You're right about it also contributing to space and cooling issues.

            BGA has among the lowest parasitics of all IC packages so it's not surprising to see it everywhere nowadays. Except for how hard it is to desolder, it is an awesome way connect ICs to PCBs.

            Contact area (wire size) doesn't really matter... Your connection needs to be big enough to handle the worst case powe

          • by RattFink ( 93631 )

            While it's true that a socket is going to introduce, the bane of high speed designers, both capactiance, inductance a good socket can add no more of it then one or two PCB vias. In the end the most important thing is PCB design. Practically you probably aren't going to see much play with voltage on a socket vs BGA.

            Cooling, space and cost are still very valid points.

    • by gerryn ( 1416389 )
      I'm looking forward to your own modified VAIO! =)
  • by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @02:42AM (#30199798) Homepage

    ...does it run 3 versions of windows for no reason?

    • ...does it run 3 versions of windows for no reason?

      But seriously for a second. Why run 3 versions of Windows?! So yes you *can* - the ostensible reason for doing anything 'adventurous' like climbing a mountain - ''cos it's there like'; but running three versions of windows is hardly adventurous is it? Answers on a post-card puhleeze. Apologies for the hideous punctuation in that last uber-sentence :/

    • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @05:37AM (#30200268)
      I only see two version of Windows installed.

      Incidently, there are only three Star Wars movies, two Terminator movies, and what the hell does "Back to the Future" mean?
      • I only see two version of Windows installed.

        Hmm, then how come I see four Windows versions on that list?
        The newest one goes first. Not that I see much difference between it and the second, to be honest. And the third. Each time I think that Microsoft is as glamorous as it gets, but NO - here goes the next shiny surprise! It even reminds me that company - err... you know, the dorks who sold mice with a single mouse button.

      • You forgot, there is only one Matrix movie too.
  • ...for her birthday. She needed a space heater and also had some problems with needing to use the internet anywhere in the house.
  • As of Nov 23rd, 18:05 AEST, the link you have provided is dead.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So lets see, they spent $2500 for the base computer, and probably another $500 for extra parts. All this for basically a netbook. Good job umpc portal, and why would you bother hosting your website on a umpc? (slashdotted already) :/

    • by mcvos ( 645701 )

      Aren't modern high-end smart phones basically the ultra mobile PCs of today?

      And does it run Android?

  • by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @06:00AM (#30200358) Homepage

    In a parallel universe, there's a bunch of space aliens laughing about the mods they made to an old satellite they found drifting in deep space.

  • maybe there is something awesome about this i'm not getting? it's commodity hardware thats been tweaked a bit, nothing that should take "years"
    • maybe there is something awesome about this i'm not getting? it's commodity hardware thats been tweaked a bit, nothing that should take "years"

      Obviously it took years (and how many wrecked machines?) to get the BGA CPU unsoldered and resoldered.

      (But, seriously, the good news is the 128Gb PATA SSD, I've been waiting for that baby for my VAIO TX3).

      • We waited a lot for: 1- 128gbssd without jmicron controller, 2- put 2gb of ram in it... but the motherboard can't match any relevant chips on this planet...
  • by Civil_Disobedient ( 261825 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @09:22AM (#30201110)

    You know, the really sad part about all of this is that Sony could have easily done this themselves. They've got all the fab plants and production facilities at their disposal. All it would have required was a simple "YES" from above and they could have been making money hand/fist.

  • So... after all the modding is said and done, how much does this cost? (not to someone buying the finished product, but just how much do all the parts here cost).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by garynuman ( 1666499 )
      there is this neat place on the interwebs called newegg, i bet if you look there, using the information from the story, you could probably answer it yourself.... just a suggestion...
    • You don't have to use a 490, any UX with 1gb ram will do=500$ on ebay+ 400$128gbssd+ 130$cpu+ 120$ wifi and vodafone k3520 (to get the modem components within). Then do it yourself, or pay Anh at to do it for you (much easier)
  • I read mostly out of topic posts on these forums... I should precise the point of creating this device: 1- It's the most powerful computer you can have at your belt (57k at crystalmark...) 2- It's the only 'mac' of this size with wifi N working+3.5g+voice+touchscreen 3- It hasn't been made by Sony/Apple... but by a single man... what are their 'engineers' doing? 4- It weighs 524gr/1.1lbs! 5- If only it should 'tickle' those 'innovative' corps to release 'innovative products'..... we wouldn't have to do it o

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle