Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world?

Posted on 22 November 2009 by

boot screen Sony might have stopped updating the VAIO UX series ultra mobile PC a while back, but the amazing guys over at MicroPCTalk certainly haven’t. In what is being championed as the masterpiece of the forum, a modded UX490 (the lastest UX model from Sony, released November 2007) features nearly every major mod that the community has come up with over the last several years. [original thread here]

  • The original 48GB SSD has been swapped out with a 128GB RunCore Pro IV SSD. runcore
  • The original Core 2 Solo U2200 @ 1.2GHz has been replaced with a much more powerful Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 @1.33GHz and is overclocked to 1.438GHz.chip-2
  • The insides have been carefully maneuver to fit the E169 Huawei terminal which offers HSDPA/UMTS (900/2100MHz) 3G data up to 7.2mbps, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900MHz) voice calling and texting.
  • The original Intel 3945ABG WiFi card has been swapped for the Intel 4965AGN card which offers WiFi A/B/G/N and functions under OSX.intel4965agn

Pretty intense right? But wait, there’s more!

  • The UX490 quad-boots Mac OSX Leopard 10.5.7, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Vista Business, and Windows XP Professional (the words “incompatible software” don’t exist for this UX490.)quad boot
  • The Huawei terminal even works under OSX making it probably the smallest 3G capable Mac in town!

I’m waiting on some benchmarks and will update this post when I get them, but this UX490 is said to be able to hit 57k in Crystal Mark, which would make it the fastest ultra mobile PC in the world, and almost certainly the fastest for it’s size (524 grams/1.1 pounds).

I’m absolutely impressed with what a small but dedicated community can do with a device that they love. Honestly, who thought a computer this small would be this moddable?

Major props to everyone at MPCT who collectively worked out all of the tweaks and mods over the years which have made this possible. Huge shout-out to Ahn who pioneered the first U7600 mod, and did all of the mods on this UX490. Also a giant shout-out to MPCT forum member darkerx who endeavored to create this monster of a mobile machine.

I think we can officially dub this unit the, community created, MPCT UX590.

Maybe the guys at Sony will catch wind of this and become again interested in the UX series!

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  • Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some (voice, 3G, quad-boot, Core 2 Duo). Is this the fas..

  • wasd

    it’s a shame that sony didn’t continue their ux-umpc-series. imagine an improved (i.e. thinner, better keyboard etc.) ux-slider powered by 2ghz intel atom. would be cool :D

    • raimondo

      I don’t think intel 4965 works in OSX as you can see in the iwi project and the project camphor. Do you have developed the right kext? I don’t think because all the hackintosh community it’s working to realize this effort…If you have developed the kext, please sent it to the community. Thank you

      • darkerx

        You are right, the wifi card is not the 4965 that was intended… it’s a Dell 1490 for OSX purpose (and I didn’t check the wifi card when I received the 490… so I didn’t update the thread… my mistake…)

  • Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world?

  • darkerx

    Yes, it’s a shame to have discontinued this product line… anyway, this one blasts any atom’s based computer, even at 2ghz… ;)
    Anh has gold-fingers… it’s even the smallest Touchscreen/Tablet-Mac with embedded cellphone and 3,5g… and in fact the only one in the world…you know, the one Apple just didn’t do… :P

  • deriuqer

    battery life > thinner

    I wonder when people will stop thinking thin is cool,maybe when those devices are so thin that they brake apart while unboxing.

  • turn_self_off

    i am surprised the cpu was not soldered to the board.

    • blaster

      it is soldered. he had to desolder it using what i am guessing is this special solder that stays liquid longer so you can remove stuff like this. when i get the money i am going to do it my self

      • darkerx

        Hum… I think Anh used a hot air soldering station…

        • blaster

          hum interesting. i havn’t looked into thees, i think we might have have one at school. how can i contact this guy. i want to try this my self. does any one know where i can get the blue aus one that had a cf slot instead of the sim card?

        • darkerx

          You can contact Anh on (it’s a forum dedicated to UXs).
          Blue UX are rare… they have nothing special except color… they can be found on ebay… sometimes.

  • Brook Zerihun

    It was, he had to remove it first, not for the faint of heart.

  • darkerx

    lol…don’t do it at home.. :)
    Desolder a cpu, reball an other one, and solder it on the motherboard (without killing anything…) is why I say Anh has gold-fingers… and you have to see it by yourself… there is no sign of handy work left… :)

  • lanlanb

    Wow incredible job!

    Terms of thin, I am a fan, but yes, there is a limit, you still need something to grab, you know what they say, |ya’ll always need some cush’n for the push’n”.

  • Britman


    Kind of show that the people that develop these things don’t have much vision and a community of fans have more.

  • ben

    how about the battery life? if we need sacrifice battery life, i won’t do that…

  • Vakeros

    When are they going into production ;-)

  • promet

    A superhuman feat of modding, really; bravisimo!

    But, three different Windows installations…really? This level of technical achievement deserves at least one Linux OS, does it not? I would love to see this little guy run the Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix…

    • skitzo

      I have one and it took Gusty without doing any additional hacking, just load and go.

  • Xion

    You already get OSX – a proper Unix OS; so there’s no need for “amateur” solutions like Ubuntu :)

    • auntieNeo

      How is Ubuntu “amateur” compared to OS X? Besides, why not BSD, Slackware, or a dozen other operating systems? That’s some strong flamebait you’ve got there. :(

      For all practical purposes, the inclusion of three versions of Windows is just silly because of 7’s XP emulation mode.

      • dave

        Seriously? Maybe you should look up the word ‘amateur’ in the dictionary :) It’s not necessarily an attack. But considering OS X does pretty much anything anyone would want to do under Linux, and apart from that runs apps most people want to use, it seems pretty idiotic to go for Ubuntu over it, or even along side it.

        • Sam

          Absolute rubbish. The differences between a true linux build and the OSX bastardization of BSD are vast.

  • Randall Jouett

    Nice job, although I have to agree that BSD (or a variant) and/or Linux would have been preferable over OSX for me, dudes. OTOH, this looks like a no-holds-barred umpc, so why not OSX :D. Not only that, but a true hack wouldn’t bitch about making those operating systems work on the thing and would just spend the time and make em work. Awesome job!

  • Dankoozy

    nice work de-soldering the cpu. should have got it to run linux though or some other *nix OS besides OS X

  • gary

    Great work, I was wondering however cant you un solder and re-solder cpu’s with special equipment that make it much easier? I mean completely by hand is possible but not efficient. – and i would have dropped vista from the OS line up and went with maybe “back track”/ just personal option. – also i wanted to add that some nice people have added functionality to win7 to enable wifi sharing / acting as a router, yes it does kill some bandwidth but this could also be called a wireless repeater, router ect. You should make and re-sell these =)

  • markus

    I did get an UX380 a few weeks ago, you can get them now for 500-600 usd on ebay, and they are way more powerful, even without the modding, than all the current atom umpcs around, the core 2 solo is so much better, and they use a real GPU like the GMA950 and not the bastard child that is GMA500. Also you can get the extended battery quite cheap on ebay too. It’s an amazing device, incredibly small and powerful.

    • blaster

      well the gma500 is more powerful. faster clocked gpu(gma950is allways underclocked), derect x 10.1 vs 9, opengl2.0 vs 1.4. the only think the 950 has is better drives and a hiyer ramn asces speed but that only works when you have dule chanal ram that no laptop or smaller has

      • darkerx

        The gma950 runs at 200mhz in a stock UX… but @400mhz in this one. Exept for some video decoding, the gma950 remains faster than any gma500 (heats more power too…).

        Thanks to the U7700, this device can read any HD video… :)

        • blaster

          so do the gma950’s speed very across the different ux models or was this one over clocked (or relay re clocked) to 400? if they do very wich ones have the 400

          i still have the problem with the lack of support ie direct x 10 and opengl 2.0

          remember clock speed isn’t everything

        • darkerx

          This one is overclocked to 400mhz with a simple app. (gmabooster). The cpu speed remains the key for those ‘integrated graphics chips’ anyway (so overclocking x2 will only give an averaged 10% increase).

          Every UX have the same motherboard/gpu/gpu speed.

        • blaster

          gma booster is gone now and the guy made it so you had to re dl it every few weeks or something. and yeah as i said clock speed isn’t everything

  • Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world?

  • RT @sascha_p: Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world?

  • Scottsy

    What would it cost to have one made?! I likes it…

  • OldSchoolHardwareHacker

    What is so amazing about this, and why did it take 2 years? A mediocre tinkerer can do all this at home in a day. Including CPU replacement without soldering station.

    • darkerx

      Hum… it’s the fastest netbook in the world, and/or the most little laptop, whatever the OS.

      We were waiting for good 128gbssd… without jmicron controllers, and without stuttering… the runcore pro IV boots W7 in 15s, and have 6mbps at 4k random write.
      We tried for a very long time to make a 2gb mod… but the motherboard would have to be rebuilt, to cope with compliant chips (took 6 moths to source…).
      Last, the modem was not that easy to install.

      Now that it has been done, I think most can be done in one day (but I’ll let you try the pleasure of soldering the flexible circuitry…)

  • Slashdot effect! Thanks to @benz145 for the story:

  • RT @benz145 Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world?

  • markus
    • darkerx

      Hum… you should ask Anh how much it should cost to upgrade a UX280P instead (as the motherboard/ram is the same, and the cpu/hdd will change anyway…). I used a brand new UX490 because I like my computers and cars black…

      Based on a used 280P, such a device should cost 1600$ (without the useless extra OSs).

  • UMPCmodder

    Some people have said they had trouble with the Runcore Pro IV being recognized by the UX at full speed. Something about the POI mode or UDMA mode being confined to 33MB/sec. How did you get past this and you may want to post it on Runcore’s forum on as I have seen a number of complaints about it during my research. Also if you tell people how to unlock the speed I am sure it will cause a frenzy of buying old UX’s on eBay and you will have plenty more people to converse with hehe.

    • darkerx

      You won’t be able to boot (I use XP, so far…) at full speed with a runcore pro IV, but then you can use hdparm and have it forced at udma6 (for reading at least). I use a little .bat to do it fast after coming back from a ‘resume’ and/or having it launched during the boot. (Anyway, Anh has windows 7 boot in 15 seconds… and the native 6mbps at 4k random write gives a very reactive system)

      @echo off
      cd “c:\Program Files\hdparm\bin\”
      hdparm -X udma6 /dev/sda

      • UMPCmodder

        True I bet with those high random #’s the sequential read and write speeds would be negligible.

        I still wish it could be perfect in the UX like it is in like all other computers so far.

  • wow really nice sony ux vaio

  • Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world?

  • Panther1262

    Wow …. where can I get one of these bad boys!

    • darkerx

      Well… you can try asking the guy who made it: Anh at

      He made this one for me, exactly as I wished. I provided all the components and he handled the design, the hardware modifications of the components and the unit itself, and worked out the software issues…

      I think he can create whatever you wish (and even source the components), and/or have TV and/or GPS instead of 3.5g+voice (<which I wanted…).

  • 改造VAIO UX? CPUのCore 2 Duo化に、4OSセレクタブル……?

  • 何がなんだか分からない・・・ RT @Shingi 改造VAIO UX? CPUのCore 2 Duo化に、4OSセレクタブル……?

  • ほお!面白い事やるネェ RT @Shingi: 改造 VAIO UX ? CPU の Core 2 Duo 化に、 4OS セレクタブル……?

  • dan

    I want one!

  • eli

    where can i buy it ?

    • darkerx

      hum… well… I don’t have in mind to sell it…

      But you can ask Anh at to make one for you…(I wanted 3.5g+voice and wifi N, but you can ask for TV and/or gps, etc.)

      I don’t know who wll hire this guy someday… but they won’t pay him enoug…. :)

  • umpcwannabe

    I just bought a 390N from Ebay. I was planning to do it myself, but after reading Ahn’s post on the processor upgrade, I’ll just have him do it. I’m confident enough to do the rest.

    • darkerx

      The cpu upgrade was too tough for me…Anh didn’t miss one so far…
      The ssd upgrade is ‘easy’ there is a video on youtube showing how to do it (and the runcore is packed with everything required to ghost your drive and even the screwdrivers… I have done it myself on the prototype…)
      The wifi N should be very easy too.
      The modem seems very dangerous… I wouldn’t have done it myself…

      Have fun, and be carefull of badly written apps. that put the cpu at 100% for nothing (firefox sometimes… I use chrome now…) and suck the battery…

  • .@hisagi そういやVAIO UX改造して・・・ってのを思い出した。

  • yves

    euh… Huawei E169 terminal? The E169 is a USB-stick!

    • darkerx

      Yes… good point :)
      That’s why it was fun to explode it, find some usb signals within the UX, find some 5v, find some room… wire it to the UX antenna and wire a new simcard reader to keep the possibility of changing the simcard without having to open the UX… Anh is really a kind of gemius… go see here for all the details ( I defined the features of this computer, but Anh is the one who did everything…), you should read at least the first page

  • Cyprien

    ive got a few question :)

    i got a Ux1N it got a cpu of 1.33

    1 . but doesnt have a 3g modem can i put one in ?
    2 . can i put in a new hard drive ? if so witch one it has a 32 gb flash drive says on the box. overclocking save ? if so what program is easy to handle ?
    4. were can i get a better battery in europe or how can i better te battery life ?

    ope you can awnser it THANKS IN ADVANCE :)

    • darkerx

      1- I suggest you put a k3520/e169 inside (it’s an usb key, so it has to be exploded and deeply buried in the UX… as the UX1XN hasn’t a case with a simcard slot, there would be some Sony’s casing parts to buy (same as all US models). Either you are a very experienced expert in modding UXs, or I would suggest you contact Anh ( to do the job. Hum… I even think it should be best for you to buy a k3520(e169 flavor) and keep it as a usb key, it will be MUCH cheaper for the same feature.
      2- you can put any hdd or ssd that is 1.8″ zif pata. Or keep your 32gb ssd and use MS Pro Duo 16gb for storage.
      3- Overclocking is safe, but changing the cooling is almost impossible, so you won’t get much higher than 1500mhz with your U1500. The only way is to use setfsb (with ics9lpr321bkl as clock generator).
      4- You can buy extended battery from e-bay, there is little risk with trusted sellers (and check it with BatteryBar V3.1 which will tell you if it has signs of wear or not). Any laptop will have his battery drained faster when: radios are ON, applications with high cpu load, high screen brightness… It’s the only weakpoint of the UXs…pay atention to apps that waste cpu cycles…(I don’t use firefox anymore, as it often overloads at 100% my two cores when idling…)

      You are welcome :)

  • Mr. Mck

    Can someone make one of these for me i would pay quite a sum for it im just not good enough with my hands to build it my self

  • darkerx

    It’s easy, as written in this thread, the guy who did it can be found on His nickname is Anh (well, he is called Anh Nguyen).

    Contact him… he is the only one guy, I have heard of, having been able to do such things within a UX… (he modified deeply two UX for me…cpu+many other things). The job was perfect everytime, you can ask people on micropctalk.

    If you intend to buy a UX to have its cpu and hdd/ssd maxed out, I suggest you go for a used 280 (e-bay500$) as every UX share the same motherboard, and 280 have 1gb ram…

  • Cyprien

    WOW thanks for reply :) realy helpd me :)

    but i have to dissapoint you i stil have 2 questions :P

    im running windows 7 and i installed all the drivers from microPC forums but my camera button doesnt seem to work and the programm is no ware to be found but i could seee it in the startup. after i uninstalled it and reinstalled it but now i can find the program anyware not even in the startup. (msconfig).

    so no cam for me for now.

    2nd my zoom button does work but gives me this weird trippy screen wile zooming in doesnt realy work tough it isnt that of big deal couse i never use it but when i press it exedently well it just trips :P

    ps thax in advance again you realy know alot i see ( i just bough my UX difficult to find in netherlands)

  • Cyprien

    P.S Itryed setfsb with ics9lpr321bkl But it doesnt save it when i restart windows and take alook at it again it says its still on 1.33

  • darkerx

    For W7 driver issues, check the threads on the forum, as I don’t have tried W7 myself (my 490 is still at Anh’s place for further upgrading).

    In every laptop, most parameters will be reset after a suspend, hibernate, and of course a boot… so, when you use hdparm or setfsb you have two solutions:
    1- create a .bat that will stay on the desk and re-activate you parameters (it’s what I do)
    2- use a windows service to re-apply the parameters if a suspend event has been made. ( I saw this somewhere on tweaktown if I remember well…)

    for example: (overclock.bat)
    @echo off
    cd \
    cd “C:\Documents and Settings\vaio\My Documents\Downloads\setfsb_2_1_87_0\”
    setfsb.exe -b1 -s144

  • Cyprien

    HA thank you your fast :) ill search the forums for the rest :)

  • Cyprien

    HAHAHA im sorry i got a nother question you probebly had your self.

    The mouse thumb Stick is to Sensitive when i want to move it always slects or drags or what ever i always does that i want tto disable the mouse click on the thumb stick is this possible ?

    • darkerx

      I remember having found a way to disable it (and/or change sensitivity) some time ago… but I don’t remember how it was done… the driver I use now, don’t allow it…

      I suggest, for all those questions, to ask a user base much bigger than me…( which is dedicated to UX, or some specific forums here…) :))

    • darkerx

      Ok… it tickled me… something f..ed up our driver.
      Solution: control panel/mouse/hardware/Alps stick pointer for vaio/properties/driver/uninstall!

      Then after a reboot, everything went back to normal (I can now choose to set or not the ‘press to select’ through the mouse parameters…) the system re-installed the working driver all by itself (windows xp/sp3).

      I reinstalled the driver at first (by ‘updating’ the driver…)=>did nothing… then I only uninstalled=>worked

  • Cyprien

    can i use the camara key as a normal keyboard key ? ( would be nice for easy agaming :)

    • darkerx

      I don’t think so… some people tried on the forum, but I don’t think they made it…

  • the ultimate mod, Sony VAIO UX (runs 4 OS, including OSX)

  • ola adorei
    este sony UX modificado estou no brasil são paulo
    gostaria de comprar um MPCT UX590.
    quanto pago ja falei estou em são paulo brasil
    fale valores
    e para onde mando o dinheiro
    aqui uso 3G da GSM Claro.
    preciso de GPS
    e de wnd.7 ou vista
    em Portugues, e de uma bateria a mais com um carregador só de bateria.
    aguardo seu retorno

  • darkerx

    Sorry… I don’t speak spanish..

  • Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world? | UMPC…

  • Delicious: Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in th… [UX]

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    RT @uxfeeds: Modded Sony VAIO UX does everything – and then some. Is this the fastest, most versatile UMPC in the world? | UMPC…

  • ¶l@ñ3+$±3v3ñ

    I’m in the market for one but I would like to know if I can put a larger hard drive in the unit. I have a 500GB 2.5″ laptop drive lying around that would be perfect in that.

    • bigley ling

      sorry not possible, as the Sony UX takes a 1.8″ ZIF IDE type drive.

  • Daniel Timberwolf

    µPC Forum went “good night sweet prince” just as I got my ux 380n back.. has anyone an idea of how much it would cos to have the pBGA C2D u7700, IR soldered?

  • Felipe Siqueira

    Yeah, i know i’m late, but what about changing that mPcie for a video board? Search for egpu

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