It seems that good things do come in small packages every now and then. At CES we saw the release of the smallest gaming laptop yet – the 11-inch Alienware m11x. The 13-inch, 3.2-pound VAIO Z is obviously larger, but makes up for it by packing the most powerful 32nm processor yet, the Intel Core i7 620M, an Nvidia GeForce GT 330M and no less than four (yes 4) SSDs in RAID0. It’s worth mentioning that this is not one of the quad-core Core i7s released last year, but a dual core (but 4-threaded) variant that consumes less power (35W) and emits less heat than its quad-core counterparts (45W). Nevertheless it is a powerful CPU at 2.66GHz, and the Turbo Boost feature will bring that number up to 3.33GHz when one of the cores is idling.
Nvidia’s GT 330M is one of the latest 40nm DX10.1 cards with 48 unified shaders. I haven’t found any benchmarks for this one yet, but judging from the specifications it should be more than adequate for all of today’s games. It’s not one of the fastest mobile GPUs on the market but should make it to the upper end of the mainstream segment, which is not bad at all for a 13-inch laptop.
Then there’s the quad SSD, RAID0 solution. I don’t know how they managed this feat, but it will no doubt make it incredibly fast. Of course, with this more-of-everything philosophy there’s another side of the coin, being that the new VAIO Z is exorbitantly expensive. But if you want a massively high-performing laptop in a smallish 13-inch frame it will come with a matching price tag.