@Holdfast: I've had two Sony Vaio's, the first from 2003-2008 that worked one day and wouldn't another before finally dropping apart around three years ago now. This one from 2009 until now, just got it back from town after repairs, the harddrive failed completely, and the disc drive is still iffy.
Basically avoid Sony and or Vaio's unless you absolutely have no choice.
We've had very different experiences it seems. My first I kept 4+ years and this one 6+ years, each with no problems until very close to the end of their respective lives. So I'm very happy about going back for a third. I had a Dell in between (that's what I'm temporarily using now again, but the disc drive broke on it after just over a year or two). IDK, I have a lot of different Sony stuff and haven't really found any problems with any of it and it all seems to last nigh-on forever.