Samsung has today released four new laptops and they are branded as Series 7. Lets see the specs straight away:

Samsung Series 7
Model NP700Z5A-S02US NP700Z5A-S01US NP700Z3A-S01US NP700Z5B-W01UB
Screen size 15.6" 15.6" 14.0" 15.6"
Resolution 1600x900 1600x900 1600x900 1600x900
Processor Intel Core i7-2675QM (4/8, 2.2GHz, 6MB) Intel Core i7-2675QM (4/8, 2.2GHz, 6MB) Intel Core i5-2430M (2/4, 2.4GHz, 3MB) Intel Core i7-2675QM (4/8, 2.2GHz, 6MB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6750M AMD Radeon HD 6750M

AMD Radeon HD 6490M

AMD Radeon HD 6490M
Memory 6GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 6GB DDR3 6GB DDR3
Storage 750GB 7200rpm + 8GB SSD 750GB 7200rpm + 8GB SSD 750GB 7200rpm + 8GB SSD 750GB 7200rpm
Ports 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA
Battery life Up to 9 hours Up to 9 hours Up to 9 hours Up to 9 hours
Weight 5.05lb 5.05lb 4.30lb 5.05lb
Price $1149 $1299 $1099 $999.99
Availability October 2nd

All models are built from aluminum, which seems to be in right now (e.g. Dell XPS z15, ASUS UX21 and Macs). This isn't a bad thing at all and at least I prefer aluminum over the regular plastic case. Another interesting detail is the screen and bezel: The bezel is very thin. Unfortunately we don't know the dimensions so we can't make comparisons of the form factors, but Samsung is claiming that the 14" model is actually the same size as most 13.3" laptops due to the size of the bezel. The extra 0.7" should be handy with such high resolution (and hence high PPI). At least the 15.6" model has a numpad and matte screen too, which should both be good news. DVD drive is present in all models as well, but the specs and option for Blu-Ray are unknown.

When looking at the other specs, there are a few intriguing things. First, three of the four models come with an 8GB SSD. This is most likely soldered onto the motherboard, and Series 7 seems to be the first laptop with such configuration. The SSD works as a cache, similar to Intel Z68's Smart Response Technology (SRT). We don't know what Samsung is using to enable this but it doesn't seem to be SRT because it requires at least 18.6GB SSD. Samsung claims boot time of as low as 19 seconds and up to 60% gains in web browsing with Internet Explorer. Obviously, these numbers should be taken with grain of salt and as with all caching, the performance gains are only achieved when the data is in the cache (in this case in the SSD). The SSD isn't the only component that has been soldered because 4GB of the RAM is also on the motherboard, thus making it not upgradeable. There still appears to be one slot for regular SODIMM with either 2GB or 4GB pre-installed, so not all upgradeability has been taken away. 

As for the other specs, there isn't anything out of the ordinary. What should be noted is the similarity of specs between Series 7 and Apple's 15" MacBook Pros. The CPU and GPU in the $1149 and $1299 models are exactly the same as in the $2199 MBP. When you take the aluminum body into account, it looks like Samsung is clearly targeting 15" MBP buyers with Series 7. Okay, you don't get Thunderbolt but you get USB 3.0 in exchange. You can also get almost two $1149 Series 7 Samsungs for the price of one similar 15" MBP. The 14" Series 7 should also be attracting to 13" MBP buyers, especially for those who are after higher resolution screen and better graphics performance. 

All in all, Samsung's Series 7 should offer a great bang for buck. It even beats Dell's XPS 15z easily (you get quad core CPU and SSD cache for the same $). The SSD cache sounds promising and should definitely bring some healthy performance improvements without costing a ton. Right now, SSDs are still too expensive for mainstream (at least as sole storage) so a hybrid solution is the only affordable way to get rid of the hard drive bottleneck. It's surprising that we haven't seen setups like this before in other than desktops, but hopefully other companies will follow Samsung. 

Source: BusinessWireEngadget

 

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  • MarkLuvsCS - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    prices are very competitive for high end laptops with supposedly pretty solid battery life. I'm a little weary since they all quote up to 9 hrs. I'm guessing if they idle for 9 hrs they will all die around the same time but in reality I'm guessing the two quads ($1150/$1300) to get maybe half of that usage.

    The SSD caching is nice in the sense companies are looking at ways to increase responsiveness but 8gb is really too little to be useful. Unless their software somehow dumps whatever the current cache is while using to store boot items before shutdown. I can see this will either have slow boot times after using other programs a good bit, or cause little to zero caching of other programs outside of the boot process.

    Intel's msata SSDs have 20/40/80gb options. the 20gb SLC cache would likely add a $100 premium. If they did use intel's SRT, they eliminate a secondary software to worry about while using intel's proven SRT software. Their laptops would be more responsive for end users with larger cache and provide more options to customize their builds.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    It's a Sandy Bridge Quad, so it doesn't eat more battery while idle than a dual core.

    And you do realize that upon boot a Win 7 takes about 700 MB of RAM? That leaves plenty of space in a 8 GB cache. Seagates Momentus XT does well with just 4 GB.

    But I agree: using larger caches and Intels SRT seems better (for the buyer)

    MrS
    Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    "Seagates Momentus XT does well with just 4 GB."

    Where, by "does well" you mean "does very badly"?

    I've complained about Momentus XT many times --- it's basically useless in the real world. Now Samsung COULD have a substantially better algorithm than Seagate for deciding what lives in the cache --- but, honestly, I doubt it.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    For all the talk of the Apple Tax being gone at the MacBook Air level (with the struggles to get to sub-$1000 pricing), there certainly still appears to be a large "tax" at the MacBook Pro level. I wonder if Apple has any tricks up its sleeve (e.g. a 15" "Air" for this fall)?

    The Samsungs do look like good values for the money, and they also look well-built. The SSD cache is interesting, too.
    Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Apple have no reason to lower the price of the Macbook Pro's though. Sheeple will buy them simply because of the logo even though theres clearly better alternatives, like these Samsung laptops. Whats ridiculous though is that you get the same kind of hardware here with Samsung, but higher res screen and more RAM by default, along with the aluminium case for about half the price of a Macbook Pro. Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    I wasn't looking for trolling comments. Based on the number of anti-Apple comments on message boards I think more people reject Macs out of hand because of the logo than buy them.

    My point is that it's interesting that Samsung can manage to undercut competitors significantly with this notebook, but not with the Series 9, for instance, which is actually priced higher than a comparably-equipped MacBook Air.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Also, Samsung has undercut not just Apple, but Dell, per the article. Reply
  • ananduser - Thursday, September 01, 2011 - link

    Oh please. Look who is talking. The series 9 is more expensive than an air because it has REGULAR VOLTAGE processor as opposed to the low voltage underpowered one. The AIR still has the "mythical"(bye your perception) apple tax because Asus' ultraportables(same SKU this time) undercut the air by 2,3 hundred dollars. Keep in mind that the most reasonable spec-ed air is the 1.599$ one at 13", alas with low voltage sandy. Sheesh. Apple still affords to charge extra because it has the brand power. The windows hardware oem's compete with each other and cannot afford to charge as Apple, even if they have AT LEAST the same build quality.

    As only an apple fan would say, good for apple that they can charge extra and get away with it. After all they have 457% of the media coverage in the states.
    Reply
  • Gazziza - Thursday, September 01, 2011 - link

    Ummm, perhaps I am missing something but doesn't the Samsung 9 come with an Intel i5-2537M 1.4ghz processor? Those are 17W low voltage processors. There are other variants that use the 2467M processor but again, that's still a low voltage 1.6ghz part. I'm not sure where you got it that the Samsung 9 comes with a standard voltage processor. By contrast the newer MBA comes with the i5-2557M 1.7ghz processor which is also 17W.

    Now that we've gotten that out of the way there is no reason the Samsung 9 should be more expensive than the MBA. If Samsung was smart they would have released it the same price point as the MBA but for whatever reason they decided to overprice it. Again, the cpu in the MBA is actually better than the one in the 9. The rest of the specs are a wash basically, both have 128gb SSD's, 4gb of ram and both use integrated Intel HD3000 graphics.

    However, the MBA has distinct advantages in other areas. Lets not forget that the 9 carries a pathetic 16:9 1366x768 resolution screen compared to the 16:10 1440x900 resolution that the MBA has. Sorry but 1366x768 is a no-no when we're talking about a $1649 laptop. It also has better battery life than the 9 as well.

    The cheapest I've seen the 9 is $1299 at the Microsoft Store so that makes it the same price as the base MBA. I'm not sure what the 9 brings to the table from a hardware perspective that makes it a better buy than the MBA at the same price points. I'm not sure why you say the only reasonable MBA is the $1599 one. The only difference is that it carries a 256gb SSD. Why does that argument not apply to the Samsung 9 where it's 256gb SSD version comes in at the same price of $1599 on TigerDirect?

    I'm not even going to include the ASUS ultraportables in this argument. They are vastly inferior to the Samsung and Apple offerings. If you've felt them side by side you can tell there is a huge difference in build quality between the ASUS compared to the Sammy 9 and the MBA. Oh and not to mention that ASUS is infamous for putting in below average TN lcd's in their laptops.
    Reply
  • ananduser - Thursday, September 01, 2011 - link

    I admit my mistake. Was thinking at VaioZ maybe. The series 9, an older SKU, when released was compared to the core2duo air. I suspect the series 9 has dropped in price ever since dunno; the price u mentioned puts it right there near the 11" air, side for the lower freq. cpu on the samsung side. Samsung may obviously have different release cycles than Apple.

    The Asus and the forgot to add Acer ones aren't released yet, being their first foray into ultraportable niche segment; but as I read from Engadget's cover on the rumored specs and prices are sure to undercut the airs. You cannot know anything about Asus UXs as they are not released yet. Asus is also infamous for being no1 in reliability surveys if you want to nitpick.

    So yes I was wrong about the 9, my recollection on the 9 review was that it had a better CPU than the air, which was true in march when it was pitted against core2duo air. In september 1 2011 I was wrong and you are right. I give you that.

    Anyhow to keep my main point against KPOM, pc manufacturers do not undercut Apple because they cannot; it is Apple that puts a premium on their pcs(talking about same specs), while the win pc industry competes within itself in a commoditized( by MS )market which forces them all to diminish their margins; who cares, win for pc consumers :).
    Reply

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