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Sony has unveiled a new version of its 505-series notebook computer, PCG-X505, also named “505 Extreme”. The company claims that it is the world’s lightest and thinnest notebook of such type. The laptop is one of two new members of Sony’s Vaio personal computer family that will serve as the company’s flagship models during the upcoming year-end sales period in Japan.

One of the first things noticeable about the computer is its thickness, which is 10.1mm (0.4”) at the front growing to 20.3mm (0.8”) at the back where the body and display are hinged together. Sony managed to cut down on the thickness of the machine by miniaturizing the mainboard so that it fits in a space between the keyboard, hard drive, battery, and PC Card slot, said Keiichiro Shimada, president of Sony’s Vaio products research and development group.

Usually the mainboard is much larger and overlaps other components requiring the machine to be thicker, but by shrinking the motherboard down in size – to roughly the size of a MiniDisc – the company has managed to cut the total thickness of the machine, he said.

Other space-saving measures include fitting the Memory Stick slot into the computer mouse and reducing the thickness of the keyboard backplane to 0.025mm (0.01”), Shimada said.

At the heart of the 505 Extreme is a 1.0GHz version of Intel Pentium M ULV microprocessor. Standard memory is 512MB and the laptop includes a 20GB hard drive and a 10.4” TFT LCD with maximum resolution of 1024 pixels by 768 pixels (XGA). Wireless LAN support is not built into the machine, but Wi-Fi card is available from Sony for PC Card slot.

The computer measures 259 x 208 mm (10.2 x 8.2”) and weighs either 680g (1.7 pounds) or 720g (1.8 pounds) depending on whether a carbon fiber or nickel-strengthened carbon case is chosen. The former model will go on sale in Japan on the 19th of November and the latter on the 6th of December, 2003. The machines will be priced at $3230 and $2776, respectively. Unfortunately, there is no information about “505 Extreme” availability throughout the rest of the world.

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