Wednesday , 23 April 2014
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Samsung Series 9 15″ NP900X4C Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Overview and SSD Performance Analysis

The most confusing thing to me is why Samsung,  a company that makes one of the top SSDs on the market, would venture elsewhere to supply SSDs for their own Ultrabook, an Ultra that is arguably the best on the market in many respects.

Our report today will be an overview of the new Samsung Series 9 15″ Ivy Bridge Ultrabook along with a more detailed analysis and very biased opinion with respect to where Samsung seems to be falling short in their quest for the perfect Ultra.

MY SERIES 9 HISTORY

To start the ball rolling, I had been anticipating release of the Series 9 Ivy Bridge Ultra as much as I had anticipated the first release of the Series 9 just over a year ago.  The fiasco that I experienced back then, with four returns and being caught off guard on the other side of the world without a suitable laptop, would scare anyone off.  It seems there was a small problem with the wi-fi that prevented it from working anywhere but in the comfort of ones office.  But still, I followed the Series 9 story and persevered, today caving in and purchasing the new 2012 release of the Samsung Series 9 15″ Ivy Bridge Ultrabook.

As smart as some might think I may be, I actually wrote a review identifying the wi-fi problem and then got caught in a cycle of exchange only to realize my stubborn nature while sitting in the Hong Kong International Airport with no wi-fi whatsoever.  Sitting beside me was my wife plucking away on the Dell XPS M1330 that got us all started in SSDs and telling me how she had 4 bars.

BUT THAT WAS THEN…

Since that time, I have had just about every Ultra in my hands and had started a love affair with the Toshiba Z830 that has been loyal and stayed by my side for several months now.  At one point, I was even able to get it to push it’s performance into SATA 3, a feat that even Toshiba said wasn’t possible. Even so, I found myself watching the progress of the Series 9 as it grew and remained in awe of it’s amazing shape and design.  I admired Samsung’s quest for the perfect Ultra and knew we would meet again.

After all, the Series 9 is the lightest 15″ laptop in the world at 3.5 lbs and just over a half inch thick as it sits.  That is as high as your portable Blackberry Torch device.  As well, it is constructed of an aluminum unibody design, has an Intel Ivy Bridge Core I5-3317U processor, 8GB of Samsung DDR3 RAM and an SSD to make things right.

It comes standard with a LED 1600×900 resolution that tops it’s class with 400nit brightness, has some great viewing angles, a non-gloss screen and the final picture is created through Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. It’s color is mineral ash black, it feels as solid as pure steel and it includes two USB 3 ports, a USB 2 port, mini-HDMI, external LAN dongle, and other ports to include a SD card slot, a luxury that we have seen others drop in the last year.

Other mentionables include a backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor for preserving battery life, monster trackpad with built in left and right buttons, excellent quality speakers on the left and right sides of the base, and a oversized 65watt hours battery tucked inside that Samsung claims will get nine hours.  That is unheard of for any 15″ laptop.

Here is a shot of our star sitting back and relaxing away from the action.

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • johncarter

    does the np900x4c-a01us have upgradeable memory and hard drive?

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Did you read the review or look at the piks?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hashim.habiballa Hashim Habiballa

    I was also user of the Z830 and I have decided to switch to S9 NP900X4D-A01CZ. I think it is really a good deal – when developing apps, I really enjoy 1600×900 – it was the main obstacle in Z830 even it was great ultra. Also 63Wh battery seems gorgeous. I can assure that RAM is upgradeable – I have original 4GB + Crucial 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL11 SODIMM
    1.35V = 12GB total (I use 4GB as ramdisk for temp dirs etc. – really useful). It works well. I even canibalized departmental XPS 13 and replaced horrible Sandisk U100 with SAMSUNG PM830 :o) Finally Samsung SSD in Samsung NB as it should be…

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Nice setup… I have my XPS 13 right behind me and am tempted… Havent touched it since getting OSX running on it when all said it couldnt be done years ago. Might be an interesting project updating it.

      Something about the Z830… its just the feel. It doesnt feel cheap or too stiff like the Samsung.

      • http://www.facebook.com/hashim.habiballa Hashim Habiballa

        Samsung made perfect NB, but they a little bit damaged its picture with several problems:

        1. poor SSD

        2. Mini vga – even standard miniVGA (Asus, Apple etc.) is hard to get, but Samsung developed its own miniVGA implementations and I didnt find any solution only original cable to be bought additionally for CZK800 ~ USD 40. I need desperatedly VGA for lectures so I have to buy it :o( Another option is to buy microHDMI to VGA (little bit cheaper, but it seems to me sensible to use analog output instead of conversion to analog and then again to digital)

        3. Power connector – very atypical 3.00×1.1mm, for which it is almost impossible to find replacement. I have several NTBs,so I use lightweight universal adaptor for all of them, but it was insanity to find connector for it. Maybe my solution can be interesting for me: I have bought last 5 pieces of fork connectors 3.00×1.10mm and used plug from autoadaptor as can be seen on picture>

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/76597097/S9.jpg

        It is reduction from Z830 connector to S9 one (both have 19V). Connector itself I have bought for CZK 2,- (last pieces) ~ USD 0.05 :o)

        I also found the direct reduction for CZK 60 ~ USD 3 yesterday :o)

        So it is not needed to buy expensive Samsung adaptor for more than CZK 1000,- which even I can use for other NBs.

      • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        Agree totally with your comments. It is hard living with the Samsung S9 power connector, my first of which broke on its own within a few weeks, when we have such excellent designs as the Mac Air power connector which stays in place by magnet. I also never understood why Samsung, who arguably has one of the best mSATA SSDs since day one, would enlist SanDisk for their cheaper and less performing model. Totally unexpected.

  • ridge

    I got this laptop 13 inch 1600×900. lot of hardware problems and the display color temperature and range is unacceptable! big distorsion on yellow/magenta in all new products.

  • http://ken.nu/ Ken Engström

    Samsung could learn a lesson from the hardware options limitations. Sell the computer in two states. One with a pre-fitted option, and one with no HDD/RAM so the user can choose the one they want. Opening up more options than would be possible “in-house”.

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