Samsung Series 9 NP900X3B: Performance

April 15, 2012 by John Ratsey Reads (181,251)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 6
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 2
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 6
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 6.14
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

The Samsung Series 9 NP900X3B features the following specifications:

  • Processor: Intel i5-2467M CPU (1.6GHz with TurboBoost to 2.3GHz, 3MB cache)
  • Chipset: Intel HM65
  • Screen: 13.3 inch anti-glare 1600 x 900 WXGA+ LED Backlit
  • Memory: 4GB DDR3-1333 dual channel RAM (Samsung, 9-9-9-24 soldered on board )
  • Storage: mSATA 128GB SATA 3 SSD (Sandisk U100)
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Wireless: WiDi compatible Intel 6230 802.11abgn (dual band + Bluetooth 3.0)
  • Graphics: Intel HD3000
  • UK 81 key island type backlit keyboard
  • Elan touchpad (98mm  x 67mm  ( 3.85? x 2.6 ?)
  • Web camera (at display top) and microphone (on right side)
  • Battery: 11.1V 40Wh 6-cell
  • 40W ?slim? PSU
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Dimensions: 314 x 219 x 15mm  (including rubber pads about 2mm thick) or 12.4″ x 8.6″ x 0.6″
  • Actual weight: 1.15kg  / 2.54 lbs
  • Travel weight: 1.48kg / 3.26 lbs (with standard 40W PSU and 1m mains cable)
  • MSRP: $1,399.99 USD

In spite of top of range pricing, some of the core components are not top of range. For example, a 17W i7 CPU, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD would all further enhance the performance and were mentioned by Samsung at the product launch. As supplied, only about half of the 128GB SSD is available to the user because, in addition to the pre-installed Windows and software, there is a 4GB hibernation partition and a 22GB recovery partition. A user upgrade to a 256GB SSD is technically feasible.

Performance and Benchmarks
The Samsung NP900X3B has adequate performance for everyday usage. What is particularly noticeable is the very rapid bootup and the instant resume both of which enhance the user experience.

The wPrime benchmark shows that the raw CPU performance lags behind many other computers. This is a result of the relatively slow i5-2467M CPU which, while nominally having a TurboBoost speed of 2.3GHz has a sustained speed of 2GHz (according to HWiNFO). Perhaps I shouldn?t grumble since it is a lower power, lower speed, CPU (except that there are faster 17W CPUs around). However, the i5-2457M is a long way behind the performance of the nominally slightly faster i5-2557M in the ASUS Zenbook UX31. I have to wonder whether ASUS allows its CPU more power headroom.

wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark which measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

SSD Performance
Samsung makes some of the best SSDs. However, they chose to provide my NP900X3B with the Sandisk U100 SSD which has a mixed result in the CrystalDiskMark storage benchmark: The sequential read and write performance is good, but it shows a low 512k write speed and poor 4k results.

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:

I therefore sought a second opinion from the ATTO benchmark. This showed a more normal performance with a 512k write speed more than 10 times faster than suggested by CrystalDiskMark.

Wi-Fi Performance
Poor Wi-Fi performance was one of the most frequent problems encountered with the first generation Series 9 and caused some purchasers to return their machine. So did Samsung fix this problem at the second attempt? I took my S9 to the opposite end of the house from the router and ran speedtest and got results between 5 and 8.5Mb/s depending on the orientation of the computer (the internet is about 9.8Mb/s). For comparison, I took the ThinkPad T420s (which has Intel 6300 Wi-Fi) to the same place and the best it could manage was about 5MBs, which suggests that Samsung have addressed the previous Wi-Fi problem. How did they do this given the metal casing? Well, there?s one part that I think is not metal: The section between the hinges, which is where the antennae are located.


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