Sony Electronics Inc. is expanding its line of VAIO Digital Studio desktop PCs, releasing in February a slate of new systems that includes a pair of Intel Pentium 4 PCs with both CD-RW and DVD drives as well as software to lure multimedia fans.

Also, the line now includes an $800 entry-level system that runs on an Advanced Micro Devices Duron CPU, as well as one lower-end Pentium III multimedia system.

The VAIO Digital Studio PCV-RX380DS runs on a 1.5-GHz Pentium 4, while the PCV-RX370DS has a 1.3-GHz P4. Both have 128MB of Rambus memory with a 400-MHz front side bus, and are loaded with a 10/100BaseT ethernet connection, V.90 modem, two i.LINK and three USB ports. Bundled with both systems are Sony’s Picture Toy drawing program and MovieShaker digital video editing.

The PCV-RX380DS has an 80GB hard drive, a 16X DVD-ROM, and 12X/8X/32X CD-RW drive. It carries an estimated street price of $2400.

The PCV-RX370DS, with an estimated street price of $1800, has a 60GB hard drive, a 16X DVD-ROM drive, and 8X/4X/32X CD-RW drive.

Entry-Level Options

The low end of the Pentium models is the PCV-RX360DS, powered by an 866-MHz Pentium III and priced at $1200. It comes with 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, v.90 modem, 10/100BaseT ethernet connection, two i.LINK ports, and four USB ports. Instead of the nVidia, it has integrated AGP graphics, and it comes with a 16X DVD-ROM as well as 8X/4X/32X CD-RW.

Sony positions them as “powerful and cost-effective systems for the hardcore PC enthusiast and first-time buyer, alike,” according to Rich Black, director of marketing for desktop PCs.

The PCV-J150, the sole Duron system, is intended for a first-time buyer or novice video editor. For its $800 price, it has an 800-MHz Duron plus a 30GB hard drive, 64MB of standard memory, v.90 modem, and 8X/4X/32X CD-RW drive. It also has two i.LINK and two USB ports, an open PCI slot, and a network interface card, and comes with only the MovieShaker software.

It’s cheaper than earlier PCV-J models. The PCV-J100 made its debut at $1130 and runs on an Intel Celeron-600; later models run on a Pentium-III CPU.

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