Samsung Series 9 15″ NP900X4C Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Overview and SSD Performance Analysis

AS SSD BENCHMARK VER 1.6

Up until recently, ATTO was the only benchmark created specifically for SSD testing and it uses incompressible data.  AS SSD, for the most part, gives us the ‘worst case scenario’ in SSD transfer speeds because of its use of incompressible data and many enthusiasts like to AS SSD for their needs.

Once again, the uneducated consumer might believe that the SanDisk result on the left is comparable to that of the MyDigitalSSD on the right but let’s take a look at the two most influential factors in observing a visible performance increase, disk access speeds and that low 4k random write transfer speed.  The access speed is represented as ‘Acc.Time’ and we can clearly see that the result on the right is significantly faster than that on the left.  Once again, the 4k random write comparison again shows the SanDisk mSATA to be several times slower than the SMART SSD.  This is where we can understand the resulting scores.  Let’s try and bring a touch of reality into these tests:

The AS SSD Copy Bench simply creates three files (ISO, Program and Game) and moves them from one place on the SSD to another, much the way you might move things around when organizing your drive.  It then concentrates only on the time it takes to move that file and the highest transfer speed reached.  Any confusion here at all? Notice how fast the data was transferred with the MyDigitalSSD SMART mSATA (aka ADATA SX300)?

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

Up until now, one might believe that I have been criticizing Samsung unfairly for their past and present releases of the Series 9 notebook but this is not my opinion whatsoever.  In fact, on seeing the Series 9 15″ Ivy Bridge at my retailer today, she knew that I couldn’t get my wallet out fast enough to fork over the $1499.99 it cost me for this premium notebook/ultrabook. Without a doubt, this just may be the closest I have seen to the perfect portable, albeit it with the necessary switch from the worst to the best mSATA SSD on the market.

As with the first Series 9 release, it still has this small problem with fingerprint oil, however, the feel of this unit is solid and it’s display resolution is clear and bright.  Unlike previous complaints I have read about the trackpad of former Series 9 releases, this one is very smooth and I have yet to find fault in any way.  The plug seats itself solid into the ultra and, unlike the first release, the opposite end no longer contains a square plug in that can break in any way.  Samsung tried to charge me $53 when that occurred.

I also didn’t want to close off without pointing this shot out as it truly depicts what Ivy Bridge is meant to be.  On the left, we can see ATTO performance of 554MB/s read and 528MB/s write for the MyDigitalSSD which is an amazing score for any laptop.  I wanted to display this because, another pre-release rumor of Ivy Bridge was that it could not perform full tilt on battery power alone as the system automatically adjusted for longer battery life.

As shown, these scores were obtained while on battery power and also while in the Samsung Optimized Mode vice high performance.  To be honest, this was simply a mistake and I would have thrown it into High Performance if I had remembered.  Last but not least, to get 7.5 hours out of any 15″ laptop is three times longer than I have ever experienced so things are looking up!

FINAL THOUGHTS

If my swift nature in replacing the Toshiba Z830 for the Samsung Series 9 is any indication of my love for this new ultra, it is a good measuring stick.  The Toshiba has been by my side through trips to California, Jamaica, Las Vegas, Germany, Amsterdam and most recently Taiwan and I have shown it off to countless people at lectures, conferences and technology shows. In fact, I remember pulling it out to give a Spaniard a closer look in January at CES where his reply was that I just made several sales for Toshiba.  I never had the chance to explain that I was not a Toshiba employee.

The Samsung Series 9 just completed it’s first tech report and will see me through several more shows and travels.  Our Associate Editor simply says it was necessary to get the bigger screen as I just turned 47.  All in all, the Samsung Series 9 15″ Ivy Bridge Ultra just got removed from my ‘Must Have’ list and we are all the better for it.

Nice turnout Samsung!!

Samsung Series 9 Ivy Bridge Ultra Prices at Amazon!

MyDigitalSSD SMART mSATA SSD Prices at Amazon!

FORUM DISCUSSION

REPORT UPDATE:

There have been a number of questions with respect to this system as many are receiving information that the memory is integrated and cannot be replaced.  I can confirm that I have removed the RAM, replaced it with 8GB of Kingston HyperX and it worked perfectly.  Here is a shot of the RAM to verify that it is not integrated:

User Rating: Be the first one !

90
Leave a Reply

avatar
30 Comment threads
60 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
35 Comment authors
AJBrianKen EngströmridgeLes@TheSSDReview Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Martyn
Guest
Martyn

Nice review,
I purchased the 15 inch today from JBHIFI in Australia as it was on special for $1400 AU which had i7 ivy bridge instead of i5. Mine also came with the samsung SSD. I read a few forums and it seems only some machines have the samsung SSD which is a bit disappointing especially when you are paying for their higher end machines.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Agree totally. To me, disappointing is the fact that companies do not differentiate and list which SSD is installed, especially with such varying differences in performance. This was first seen in our Zenbook review and it’s good to have it spoken of here as well as I was not sure.

interhead
Guest
interhead

My samsung PN900X4C got the mz -mpc1280/okn samsumg ssd. New series! it is a much better disk but not faster than sandforce.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

There are many that would prefer the SSD you have in that system to any other. It is a good thing to see that they are now installing them, the unfortunate part is the lack of identification that allows us to know what we are getting.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Les, I just purchased a used Samsung 9-15 ivy bridge and would like to upgrade the SSD. With what is now available what would you suggest. I would like to go to 500GB. Thanks, Brian

Stoli67
Guest
Stoli67

Does the box say which SSD is installed – so you can check before you buy it?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

No, like the Zenbook one only knows after testing and understanding the performance, or lack thereof.

Satpal Chander
Guest
Satpal Chander

I can’t believe that Samsung haven’t put a 1080p screen on this 15″ ultrabook. The new Zenbooks 11″&13″ both have 1080p ips screens. Also surprised that they didn;t manage to squeeze a discrete gfx card into this 15″ chasis.
In all honesty if Apple can pack a Nvidia 650m and a quad core i7 ivy bridge into a package thats only ~1lbs heavier, then surely someone like Samsung should be able to produce something in the same league. The new MBP Retina is just about my perfect laptop, apart from the price!!!

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Never been a Mac Guy bt have to admit I may cave in once the new MacAir is released. Agree totally with the gfx card, however this screen s amazing. I almost wonder if battery life becomes a concern with the two factors you spoke of.

Satpal Chander
Guest
Satpal Chander

If the claimed run time on the MBP is as stated (7hrs) then, can we assume that Windows is the problem with battery life?

BTW great site.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Thank you…

jon
Guest
jon

So am I reading this correctly that the reviewer only loves this ultrabook AFTER he replaces the SSD?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

No, not at all. This ultrabook is one of, if not, the best on the market right now. It’s Achilles heal is the SSD which 99% of the population will never notice. I, on the other hand, run a website that has evaluated just about every SSD released in the last three years and I would be foolish NOT to put the best mSATA SSD available in the system since I have it right in front of me with countless others. My analysis, in the end relates that for the crowd in which it was intended, this is probably the… Read more »

jon
Guest
jon

Thanks. Some other questions: The AO3US (i7 model) doesn’t seem to be out in the states yet. Samsung doesn’t even advertise the AO3US on its own website– why is this? Any idea when to expect it in the US and is it worth the wait rather than just purchasing the AO2US (i5 model)? Also, do you expect other significant upgrades to the series 9 over the next few weeks?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Samsung doesnt announce until release much like others which is why the i7 is not public (for the most part) yet. Unless you have a specific reason, 99.9% of the population could never visibly tell the diff between the i5 and i7.

jon
Guest
jon

Amazon is selling an i7 version that comes with a serial ATA 256 GB SSD. Any idea which SSD this is and if it’s any good?

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Series-NP900X4C-A03US-15-Inch-Laptop/dp/tech-data/B0082PZ1JU/ref=de_a_smtd

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

As ours is the SanDisk and all I have read are the SanDisk…

keithcombs
Guest
keithcombs

Are you saying the SSD you installed is the best?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

If we are looking at the complete analysis we did on the MyDigitalSSD 256GB SMART Drive, I would have to say that, most definitely, this SSD has shown itself to be the top on the market BY A STRETCH for capacity (256GB), performance (Vantage scoring) and price. Do you know of another that can grab top spot in all three qualities?

Now, this is actually the ADATA XPG SX300 SSD and, if ADATA puts out a similar priceon release, the tables turn as we know ADATA will be offering a 5 year warranty, vice 3, for this same drive.

keithcombs
Guest
keithcombs

Yes. the Samsung Series 830 mSATA, right? Oh wait, you said available.

Did you do a side-by-side compare of the Sammy 256GB mSATA SSD and the MyDigitalSSD?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

You are dead on. the Samsung 830, as much as I like that mSATA SSD, is not publicly available. Furthermore, it’s performance did not match in any of our testing and a side by side isn’t necessary when we pride ourselves in consistency throughout our testing. So the 830 gets hit in availability, price and performance at the end of the day. Let me guess….that is the SSD in the new Surface??? Send me one and I will get it tested right away. By the way, I have very close contacts in Samsung and they all experienced my jumping up… Read more »

keithcombs
Guest
keithcombs

I can’t answer that. Wink.

Please tell Samsung on your end to make the 13.3″ Series 9 with 8GB RAM and the 256GB Series 830 mSATA. That would be my dream machine until they come out with a 15″ PLS screen.

Thanks Les. Your site rocks as usual.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Samsung is a funny company and heeds the advise of those ‘outside the group’ very carefully and so they should. Do you know of any other company that sells 2 televisions in every second of the day? As well, spot open here if your ever interested in joining the team Keith! eheh Until, you are always welcome to make guest contributions and I wil be waiting for that Surface for review!

Gordon
Guest
Gordon

You mentioned you swapped your old Toshiba Z830 for the Samsung Series 9.
Any reason why?
Currently, the issues I’m getting with my Z830 include: Fan noise, a glossy screen, and a (counter intuitively) bulky power cable.
Does the samsung series 9 ultrabook have these issues?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

The fan is not noticeable with the Series 9, the screen is a matte but not so that it appear matt and the cord is very thin given exception to the adapter which, peculiar enough, is shaped lik an SSD eheh. Love the Toshiba, however, very disappointed that they havent sent out that upgrade to run it at SATA 3 levels asI had discovered initially. The one thing in the industry right now that disturbs me is that, although we have advance to SATA 3, notebook manufacturers have fallen behind and believe the consumer will be just as happy with… Read more »