Sony Vaio PictureBook PCG-C1VE

Building ultra mobile computers always pushed the limits. With the PictureBook, Sony set the stage, with a unique and advanced design, standing out of the grey and boring world of the time.

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Historic Overview

It’s the year 1998. Not too long ago, there existed only grey and uniform computers. Built for the purpose, function follows technology. That was also true for Notebooks, being mostly clunky and monotone in color and design. This was slowly to change when Apple hit the Market with their colorful translucent G3 iMac lineup. Sony then set the stage in a similar way, with their unique VAIO brand appearance and the PictureBook series.

Being in the market initially only in Japan, the PictureBook eventually also made it’s appereance in the European and US markets in around 2000.

As it was typical for the time, delivering decent computing performance on portable devices was near to impossible to accomplish without sacrificing battery running time.
Hence no wonder we’d see only low rated CPUs in the beginning: The first PictureBook featured a 233 MHz-rated Pentium MMX. Later, 400 MHz rated Pentium II and higher clocked Transmeta Crusoe CPUs became available during 2000, though addmittedly not meeting up top-performance needs, whereas contemporary desktop PCs where already scratching at or exceeding the 1 GHz barrier at the time.

As noted in the U series, Sony was to introduce the Transmeta Crusoe CPU for the ultra mobiles, and we saw that CPU propably the first time ever in the PictureBook series during the second half of 2000. Trading power efficiency and battery running time against the rather low performance of the Transmeta CPU, owed to the code morphing technology and the overhead it brought along, was something these little beauties suffered from.

I actually owned one of these myself back in the days, unfortunately selling it off during the mid 2000s, something I deeply regret today. I later reacquired a french version of the PCG-C1VE, which fortunately came with all accessories. The only drawback is the display, which luckily works, but the outher display protective layer is totally borked and thus needs replacement.


The PHINTAGE Collection currently holds a Sony Vaio PictureBook.

ModelVaio PictureBook PCG-C1VE
Original Streetprice<TBD> 
Weight1 KG
Dimensions24 cm x 15 cm x 2.8 cm
Builtin DisplayYes, 8.6″ UXGA (1600×1200) display
Builtin BatteryYes, <TBD>
CPUTransmeta Crusoe TM5600 600 MHz
RAM128 MiB
Storage12 GiB ATA 2.5 Harddrive
Memory Stick slot
Network Support
  • builtin 56k modem
USB1 USB 1.1
Video Output
Other1 x modem – phone line – RJ-11
1 x display / video – VGA – 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15)
1 x USB 4 pin USB Type A
1 x microphone – input – mini-phone mono 3.5 mm
1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) 6 pin FireWire
1 x audio – line-in – mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
1 x headphones – output – mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
1 x display / video – composite video/audio output
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows XP
Overall Condition
  • some scuffs and marks on the case
  • Display works, but the top protective layer is dissolved and needs replacement
Restoration Parts needed
  • Display
Benchmark ResultsSiSoft Sandra 99, CPU benchmark:
CPU Dhrystone: 1090 MIPS
CPU Whetstone: 396 MFLOPS

SiSoft Sandra 99, Multimedia benchmark:
Integer ALU: 505 it/s
Floating Point FPU: 259 it/s

Norton Utilities 3.1:
Computing Index, relative to IBM/PC: N/A

Norton Utilities 4.5:
Computing Index, relative to IBM/XT: 853.7

Norton Utilies 8.0:
CPU Speed: 456.4


Coming soon.


PCG-C1VE recovery images (french)

PCG-C1XD recovery images (french)

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