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Cracking Open the Samsung Series 9 (13.3-inch) ultraportable notebook

Bill Detwiler cracks open Samsung's answer to the MacBook Air. Inside the ultrathin notebook, he found hardware from Samsung, Intel, TI, and Broadcom.

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Topic: Samsung
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At CES 2011, Samsung revealed its answer to the Apple MacBook Air--the Series 9 notebook. This ultraportable laptop has some impressive hardware (Intel Core i5 CPU, 128GB SSD, and 4GB of RAM), but it also has an impressive price tag.

Samsung sent TechRepublic a 13" Series 9 to test, and I just couldn't resist taking it apart. I'm glad I did. Unlike the MacBook Air, the Series 9's case is easy to open, you can upgrade the RAM, and it uses standard Phillips screws. Follow along as I crack open the ultrathin Samsung Series 9 laptop.

Check out the TR Dojo blog, for my observations about the Series 9 and our teardown process.

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As of this writing, the 13" Samsung Series 9 (Model: 900X3A) has a suggested retail price of $1,649.99 (US).

The 11" Series 9 (Model: 900X1A) has a suggested retail price of $1,199.99 (US).

Our 13" test machine had the following technical specifications:

  • Processor: 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-2537M
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3 (8GB max)
  • Storage: 128GB Samsung SSD
  • Display: 13.3" LED display (400nit; 1366 x 768 max resolution)
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium, 6300 mAh (up to 7 hours of battery life)
  • Ports: Micro HDMI, Ethernet (requires dongle), 1 USB, 2 USB, Micro DS Card slot, headphone jack, mic-in jack
  • Speakers: 3W Stereo speakers with HD audio
  • Camera: 1.3MP HD webcam (optional)
  • Input device: Touch pad (supports multitouch)
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth V3.0 High Speed
  • Warranty: 3-year
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

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The 13" Samsung Series 9 has a unique Duralumin case, weighs 2.88 pounds, and measures 12.9" (W) x 8.9" (D) x ~0.62" (H).

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The 13" Series 9 and 13" Macbook Air (2010)'s dimensions and weight are nearly identical.

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Samsung 4GB DDR3 RAM chip (M471B5273CH0-CH9)

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128GB Samsung SATA II SSD - MZMPA128HMFU-00000

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Broadcom 4324A-BRCM1048  802.11b/g/n WLAN+BT PCI-E Mini Card

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Broadcom 4324A-BRCM1048  802.11b/g/n WLAN+BT PCI-E Mini Card

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Realtek ALC269 - High Definition Audio Codec with Embedded Class D Speaker Amplifier

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Genesys Logic GL823 USB 2.0 SD/MMC Flash Card Reader single chip

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Intel Core i5-2537M Processor (3M Cache, 1.40 GHz)

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Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub (PCH)

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SMSC MEC1310-NU Keyboard and Embedded Contoller

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NEC USB 3.0 controller (D720200AF1)

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Macronix MX25L5121E 512Kb CMOS Serial Flash Memory

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Alpha & Omega AON6786 30V N-Channel MOSFET

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Advanced Power Electronics AP0803GMT-HF 30V 50 A Single N-channel Power MOSFET

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Alpha & Omega AON6912A 30V Dual Asymmetric N-Channel MOSFET

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SMSC EMC2112 Fan controller (link to newer EMC2113)

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Advanced Power Electronics APE8953 3A Ultra Low Dropout Linear Regulator (top markings 8953MP A3929B)

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Thanks to its standard Phillips screws, pop-off cover, internal layout, the Samsung Series 9 was a snap to disassemble. I also like that you can upgrade the machine's RAM. Something you can't do on the 2010 MacBook Air. Unfortunately, the Series 9 uses the Intel Core i5-2537M processor's integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 technology. For the price, I would have preferred the Series 9 to use a separate GPU, such as the MacBook Air's NVIDIA GeForce 320M.

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