[Vaio X Teardown (5)] Looking Into 4 Circuit Boards

Nov 16, 2009
Nikkei Electronics, Teardown Squad
The Ethernet connector that seems to be attached in the post process. This is the only part that is soldered through a hole.
The Ethernet connector that seems to be attached in the post process. This is the only part that is soldered through a hole.
[Click to enlarge image]
The network board equipped with the 3G module. Sony employed Qualcomm Inc's "Gobi2000."
The network board equipped with the 3G module. Sony employed Qualcomm Inc's "Gobi2000."
[Click to enlarge image]
The feed-through capacitors on the main board of the Vaio X. They are placed around a microprocessor.
The feed-through capacitors on the main board of the Vaio X. They are placed around a microprocessor.
[Click to enlarge image]
The ferrite inductors shielded by resin. It is normal to use inductors with coil-type shield, which has high shielding performance, for PCs.
The ferrite inductors shielded by resin. It is normal to use inductors with coil-type shield, which has high shielding performance, for PCs.
[Click to enlarge image]

The Vaio X is mounted with four circuit boards: the main board, SSD, network board and touch pad.

After the boards were taken out from the chassis, engineers commented as follows. "They are so mindful of details." "It must be very challenging to design this PC. Many parts were designed exclusively for it."

On the network board, a dedicated VGA connector draw an engineer's attention.

"This is attached by hand, isn't it?" he said.

Judging from the location of solder fillet, he thought that only the VGA connector was added in the post process while the other parts were attached in the front-end process by machine.

Then, we looked at the 3G module, which is printed with "Gobi 2000." The Gobi2000 is a product of Qualcomm Inc and incorporates GPS function. Sony probably employed it to add GPS function to the Vaio X.

Number of parts reduced

"Of all the features of the Vaio X, I was most impressed by the fact all the components are mounted on one side," an engineer said. "It is necessary to reduce the number of components to realize such a design. Also, patterning is much easier when components are mounted on both sides."

Sony seems to have made efforts to reduce the number of capacitors.

"As the main board for a PC, it has a small number of chip capacitors," an engineer said. "They probably reduced the required number of capacitors by using many feed-through capacitors and employing polymer type capacitors with a low inductance."

Also, Sony used some ferrite inductors that are shielded by resin. They are smaller than inductors shielded by magnetic material, enabling to reduce the sizes of circuit boards.

"This is the first time that I saw this kind of part used for a PC," an engineer said.