Sony Vaio P (VGN-P588E) performance and benchmarks


How well Windows Vista runs on the 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 processor isn't a new topic of discussion, and the Sony Vaio P isn't the first device to be an example of the combination. The Kohjinsha SC3 and Willcom D4 UMPCs have both been home to the OS/CPU duo for the past six months, yet just about any mention of the Vaio P is immediately followed by a comment about how ill-suited the operating system is for the mini notebook as though such an assessment is a revelation.

Why this is happening isn't a mystery, of course, as Sony is a mainstream company recognized by the masses, the netbook market is still on fire (my opinion that the P is not a netbook is not a widely held one), popular opinion on Vista is still low, and calling something "overpriced and underpowered" has a bit of a ring to it.

But if you ask me, Vista runs just fine on the Vaio P.

Yes, the fact that my unit (VGN-P588E) has an SSD makes a difference, but it isn't what separates good performance from poor performance. My Willcom D4 has a hard drive and half the RAM of the P, and I think I showed in my video demo that Vista isn't the bane of the computing world that it's usually made out to be.

It's important to keep in mind that what's acceptable to me won't necessarily be acceptable to you. We all have unique needs, preferences, and expectations.

This is one of the reasons I don't put any stock in benchmark results; they're meaningless to me because what a computer scores in a certain area isn't always directly related to how it feels when in use. But I understand their value, so here are the Vaio P's numbers. Note: All tests were taken with the P using the Vaio Optimized (balanced power plan) mode.



Thanks to jkkmobile for the CrystalDiskMark tip!


Now on to some numbers that are more meaningful to me: timed tests and CPU load/usage. Note: These tests were done with Windows Aero disabled, Vista lightly optimized using some of these tips, and 10 startup items.

Timed Tests

Cold boot:
1 minute, 33 seconds
to desktop
16 seconds
1 minute, 10 seconds
to desktop
6 seconds
3 seconds
Awaken, connect to internet, launch Firefox:
10 seconds
Launch Firefox:
4 seconds
Open Control Panel with Firefox, iTunes,
 Skype, and Adobe Reader running:
3 seconds
Switch to Classic View in Control Panel with
Firefox, iTunes, Skype, and Reader running:
3 seconds

CPU Load/Usage

10 tabs open in Firefox, playing YouTube:
75% load
Streaming radio with Pandora in Firefox
with Adobe Reader open:
40% load
Streaming radio with Pandora in Firefox with
Adobe Reader open while on active Skype call:
80% load
Streaming radio with Pandora in Firefox with
Adobe Reader, Skype (inactive), and Solitaire open:
45% load
Streaming radio with Pandora in Firefox with
Adobe Reader, Skype (inactive), Solitaire, and
IrfanView open while typing in Microsoft Works Word:
60% load
2 tabs open in Firefox, playing 720p WMV HD video
 in Windows Media Player:
75% load
2 tabs open in Firefox, playing 1080p H.264 HD video
in Cyberlink PowerDVD8:
70% load
Playing 720p WMV HD video in Windows Media Player
55% load
Playing 10280p H.264 HD video in Cyberlink PowerDVD8:
50% load

My typical usage of the Vaio P (and any computer, really) usually consists of nothing but Firefox running with about 5 tabs open, so I am obviously not a power user with demanding requirements. For my needs, then, I have no complaints about the P's performance.

:: Visit the Vaio P forum to connect with other owners and potential buyers, share tips, and troubleshoot. ::

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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28 thoughts on “Sony Vaio P (VGN-P588E) performance and benchmarks

  • Avatar of Bruno

    This is perfect, very good information! And the WEI is not half bad. I wonder how much difference will the 1.6GHz processor make.

  • What a great benchmarking piece of work this is. I was looking to get a P but was put off by the reports (and videos) that showed the machine taking 4+ minutes to boot up! You’re benchmark of 1 minute, 33 seconds is totally acceptable to me. Thanks for the link to tweaking Vista to eek out better performance.

  • Avatar of DaDude

    Now we only want to know something about the runtime of this little baby! I really hope it will reach about 3 hours. Wondering if Sony plans something like a extended battery… :)

  • Avatar of e90kid

    does the video lag in HD mode?
    it seems like gizmodo’s review was putting down on the performance. i can’t believe that they said it lags… please let us know your experience

  • I think Sony has announced extended battery, there are pictures of it on the web already. Not sure about the specs but as far as extended batteries go it does not look too bad.

  • nice device which does the same as others and costs 500 USD more – for design… i know i know..those who like it will hate me, but it’s true.

  • Avatar of Heavyharmonies

    That line is getting old. The form factor (weight/screen resolution/overal dimension) is completely different from other netbooks. To some that won’t be worth a price premium, to others it will be. Get over it please.

  • Avatar of bluemonq

    It’d be nice in the future if you could specify the version number of software (like Firefox, which has its ups and downs depending on the build :D)

    I think the other thing that helped is that you have 2GB of RAM. Less disk thrashing is always better, whether you’re on an HDD or SSD.

  • Avatar of e90kid

    too bad this comparison is based on vista. it doesn’t seem like sony will be providing drivers for those who want to downgrade to xp.
    xp’s performance might just perform better then vista

  • Avatar of DaDude

    I just saw that the SSD model will come with a secondary, extended battery included, at least that’s what the german onlineshop says. And it will be available with a T-Mobile contract in march, so I hope we will see a subsidized price of ~500 Euros.

    I think this is the ultimate machine for Web-Surfing on the run, because of that high resolution screen and the very low weight. Combined with the extended battery (and Win7 in the future) this thing will be a dream to use I guess.

  • Looking at those high-speed SSD results, i’d say that it really is making all the difference here. The same was true on the OQO 2+ with SSD. Trying to run Vista and even W7 on the (same hardware) SC3 with a 1.8HDD is terrible when compared to XP on the same hardware (e.g. Wibrain i1 that i’m testing too.)

    Looks like this setup would be acceptable for most people doing casual work but it’s just annoying that is could actually be a lot, lot faster with XP.


    Not one for me i’m afraid.


  • Avatar of markr041

    The upgrade to Windows 7 will be very easy from Vista, based on the beta, and then the machine will be better than if it had XP according to other reports. From the latter the migration path would involve a complete installation of the new operating system and the instalation of new drivers. Windows 7 mostly uses Vista drivers, and folks have already put Windows 7 on the P – see the Forums.

  • I’m waiting for my extended battery to arrive (it shipped on Friday but won’t get here until Feb 7 according to FedEx tracking) so I can do runtime comparisons, so I haven’t been keeping too close of eye on what kind of time I’m getting from the standard battery. Based on what I’ve kept track of so far (http://twitter.com/pocketables/status/1165665834), though, 3 hours of browsing looks very possible. I’ll post better pictures of the extended battery when I get it, but here’s one I took at CES that shows how it looks from the side: http://pocketables.com/2009/01/sony-vaio-p-ext.html

  • There’s no lag if you use the right programs. 1080p H.264 videos, for example, play flawlessly in Cyberlink PowerDVD.

  • Good idea. I’m not on the P right now so I can’t check, but all the software was downloaded fresh from the internet a few days ago so everything should be the latest version. As for the RAM, yes, I think Sony did right to include 2GB on all the configurations. When I’m just doing my normal stuff in Firefox, though, I really can’t tell the difference between the P and the less-equipped Willcom D4.

  • Avatar of Bruno


    that’s interesting, I am waiting for the SSD model to be released in the UK but I haven’t noticed the extended battery being bundled with it. I do hope they do that, or is it a German-only offer?
    So far I have not heard anything about a mobile provider contract for the Vaio P, that would be nice but I doubt they will do it anytime soon.
    I think the Vaio P could replace my HTC Shift – it is light but will be faster (I am quite happy with Vista on the Shift), screen will be better and the keyboard as well (I still think the keyboard on HTC Shift beats Eee PC and the rest of them anytime).
    Hmm… maybe I should schedule a trip to Germany…

  • Covering my Shift’s ears so it doesn’t hear your “I think the Vaio P could replace my HTC Shift” comment!

  • Will Sony add support for Win7 on this P? Sony, like Samsung, is notorious for lack of new OS support and post-sale patches. You get what you paid for, nothing more. Correct me if they’ve improved lately.

  • You are right, I take it back :-) Shift has become a staple in my mobile life – I really wish that Sony had implemented something akin to SnapVue instead of the Cross Media Bar (or whatever it is called), that would make Vaio P very nearly perfect in my book!

  • I have got very good experience with Sony when it comes to upgrading. When Vista came out Sony was very good at providing upgrades (free), drivers etc.

  • Hi Jenn.

    I’m new here, have followed your site for a couple months now, and love it!
    I like your indept coverage of the Vaio P. I was totally in love, when I first saw the pictures and specs of the Vaio P from CES.
    I don’t think it is overpriced, infact I think it is quite cheap! :-O I compare it with UMPC’s, which typically costs a lot more than the P! I was looking at at refurbished UX380N, but it is still more expensive than the P!

    What I love about the P: The size, the weight, no fan, no harddisk (I am getting the SSD-version), no noise at all, and less fragile. The WEI is better than my 2133 Mininote, which I am very satisfied about, it’s just to big and heavy!

    What I don’t like about the P:
    Denmark is not in Vaio-coverage :-/ I will have to get it from UK or Germany. They are more expensive than the US-models, but they include 3G WWAN, which is important to me. I just have to figure out if it can be used with our operators, but I think it can.
    Otherwise nothing!

    I was in love with the original Sony Picturebook, but it was (way) out of my reach. The P is absolutely within my reach, and I consider it to be great value!

  • i really enjoyed this review. there was some mention of the device being uncomfortabley warm during use, there is no mention of this in your review. so would you please tell your readers about any heat related issues. now with 3g getting cheaper the idea of having a 3g account and using skype to make all phone calls would not be so bad an idea. so maybe do some trials with that if possible. i plan to use skype often with this device and would really like to know about call quality. how well does it display japanese text. kanji does not look good on my 15.4 inch hp machine i can almost count the pixels in the strokes. also is possible could you take a picture of the other side of the power supply. i would like to know 10.2 volts at how many amps. once again very nice review.

  • oh just one more thing can you look and see what the model number and manufacturer of the ssd drive that is in the machine. it would suck to get stuck with an mlc ssd drive.

  • Avatar of GeoffreyM

    I just ran CrystalDiskMark on my SC3, while on battery, and the performance was abysmal in comparison. I will do it again when plugged in later, but I’m really thinking that the boost one might see from the SSD could prove noticeable.

    Now, does anyone have any reason to think the performance of the 128GB SSD might be better than the 64?

  • Were those heat comments about the hard drive units? My SSD unit barely gets warm at all! Skype runs well, kanji looks fine to me (though you should probably give me a specific link to check out for better comparison purposes), and the power supply output is 10.5 volts, 1.9 amps.

  • http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4795 here is the address for the heat. according to the review info they tested a device with a 64gb ssd hard drive. http://www.asahi.com/ here is the address to japanese newspaper i read. so most of my questions have been answered the only question remaining is wether or not the ssd drive in the vaio p series that you have is an “mlc”or a “slc” type of ssd drive it would be really nice to know this. i suppose i should have bought the 64gb drive model so i could find this out. i ordered a 60gb mechanical drive version yesterday so i guess i will be posting some tests of my own. as far as i am concerned the definition of a netbook should be defined by two things. how long the battery lasts. and the effective range of the wireless antenna. the idea of a net book to me is a device designed for internet portability, not computing portability. so the first asus 4gb model would be about right. this was not a machine for computing. but the wireless antenna was absolutely the best antenna i have ever had in a notebook. the battery however was not great the the heat issues caused the device to always be on a table 110 degrees is a bit much for my lap. i have also owned a acer netbook and the wireless range was horrible you had to be sitting on the router. but the device however could remain in your lap indefinately. and the battery life was the same. so as far as i am concerned the best netbook is not even a net book, the nokia n810,decent battery life and very good antenna i stood roughly 200 hundred feet from the router of my favorite internet cafe and got on line with the nokia n810 and they skype was quite good. the lack of decent keyboard made it a bit difficult although i have placed ads on craigs list with and checked email often. so that would be my definition of a netbook. the processor made computing almost impossible. so when my device arrives i will run the same computing test i run on all my device. that is to convert a dvd to avi. the asus did a 2hr movie to avi in 5hrs we will see how long it takes the p-series. so as far as i am concerned the criteria for a netbook would be at the least 4hrs of surfing the internet. and a antenna at least as good if not better than the asus 4gb celeron model. i think that was the 701 not really sure sold the machine due to the heat related issues. so really none of them have nailed it yet as far as i am concerned. so if i was to call sony’s new device a netbook it would obviously still be in a class all by itself. if anyone else who read this has information on the wireless performance of any of the other so called netbooks i would love to read about them. i would see how far away you can park from the router and still get a reception as the test. because first and foremost a netbook is used to get on the internet so this is the most important function. my apologies for this tireless rant. -robert

  • Asahi.com looks fine to me, though the kanji is small due to the P’s resolution. Zoomed in at certain levels, the characters begin to look more jagged. The SSD in mine is a Samsung MMCRE64GFMPP-MVP, which I believe is MLC. There are some photos and more details here: http://forum.pocketables.com/showthread.php?t=1818

  • http://plusd.itmedia.co.jp/pcuser/articles/0901/08/news043_2.html

    so this site clearly states that the drive is and mlc. so not at all worth the price difference. i am sure that the device would be quite snappy with a slc drive.
    hey the memory stick slot supports the new 8 bit hg sony memory cards maybe use one as the ready boost and see if there is any improvement. i am going to staples to buy hg memory stick and use the crystal disk to see about performance. although have not really seen an improvement on the machine i am using by employing a ready boost memory. so the font without zooming is clear, i mean you cant see the pixels. that is what i am looking for. the machine would absolutely have to suck for me to return it to sony. you didnt happen to see how far away you could get from your router before the antenna no longer could see it, did you? this is a big thing not having to get out of the car to make a quick skype call. or check an address. while roaming.

    HDDはZIFコネクタを備えた1.8インチ/5ミリ厚の60Gバイトドライブを採用(写真=左)。分解したモデルのHDDは東芝の MK6028GALだった。SSDは64Gバイトもしくは128Gバイトから選択でき、Serial ATAからParallel ATAへ変換するアダプタを経由して接続される(写真=中央)。SSDからアダプタを取り外したところ(写真=右)。写真のSSDは64Gバイトで、メモリチップは片面実装だ。型番はSamusungのMMCRE64GFMPPで、MLCタイプのSSDだ。128Gバイトではメモリチップが両面実装になる


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