Introduction, Design, User Interface
In August of 2011 I reviewed the Acer AC700-1099, one of two Chromebooks available in the North American market. The review was almost entirely negative. The hardware wasn’t great and the operating system was a bit of a mess–capable of only the most basic tasks.
Since then, the small surge of hype that surrounded the Chrome OS release has receded. You could be mistaken for thinking Google has abandoned it, but they haven’t. In typical Google fashion it has been slowly, quietly improved. Performance tweaks have allegedly improved web browsing, a proper file manager has been added and Google has just launched Google Drive, its cloud storage service.
Such enhancements could address a lot of the concerns I had with the Acer rendition. Do they? That’s what we’re here to find out. Let’s start with the basics - what’s inside?
The hardware inside the Samsung Series 5 is nearly identical to what was inside the Acer AC700-1099 that we reviewed late last year. We’re talking an Atom processor that must rely on its own IGP, two gigabytes of RAM and a tiny–but quick–16GB solid state drive.
While the equipment is the same, the pricing has changed. When we reviewed the Acer Chromebook it was $349.99. That has been slashed to $279.99. The Series 5, which used to be priced at $429, is now sold for just $299.
Subject: Mobile | May 7, 2012 - 02:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: smartphone, Samsung, galaxy s3, galaxy s III, Android
Previous rumors of a quad core smartphone from Samsung proved to be true at the 2012 Samsung Unpacked event in London on Thursday. There, they officially unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S III Android 4.0 smartphone.
The new smartphone runs the latest Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” mobile operating system with an updated version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface that adds additional functionality on top of the vanilla Android experience. Many sites have mentioned that Samsung really focused in on the software and experience aspects of the phone rather than the underlying hardware specifications and performance characteristics.
The company is introducing a number of new features with the Galaxy S III including voice control with S Voice, “S Beam” wireless file transfer, and a feature called “Pop up Play” that allows users to play videos while checking email and browsing the web. The S Voice feature lets users turn their phone on by saying “Hi, Galaxy” as well as writing emails, sending text messages, hitting “snooze” on the alarm, organizing schedules, and taking photos. Another feature that the Galaxy S III offers is NFC payment.
On the hardware side of things, the smartphone measures 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, and weighs 133g. On the outside, there is a 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED Pentile display with a resolution of 1280x720. There is a 1.9 megapixel camera on the front and a 8 megapixel camera on the back with backside illumination to improve low light performance. The phone is available in Pebble Blue and Marble White at launch, with additional color options to follow. Powering the software and HD display is a 2,100 mAh battery, 16, 32, or 64 (coming soon) Gigabytes of storage, microSD card slot, 1GB of RAM, and a Exynos 4 quad core processor. It also features 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi (support channel bonding), GPS, GLONASS (radio navigation system), NFC, and Bluetooth 4. As far as cellular technology, it supports EDGE, 3G, and 4G (depending on which model you buy–more on that below).
Matt at Engadget managed to shoot some video of the new Samsung phone at the launch event, seen below.
While some models will run the Exynos 4 quad core processor, the US version will likely have a dual core Qualcomm processor due to incompatibilities between the necessary LTE radio and the Exynos 4 SoC. In the end, the general user experience should not suffer as a result but it is still regrettable that there is not a quad core part from a hardware perspective. Because the Exynos 4 SoC is based on older ARMv7 CPU cores and a Mali 400 GPU core, it will be faster in multithreaded tasks but the newer dual core Qualcomm in the LTE models will be faster in general usage thanks to the newer CPU technology and Android’s notoriously poor multithreaded performance. Users should not write off the dual core Galaxy S III phones on specifications alone.
The phone will be available for purchase in Europe at the end of May, with other countries to follow. No official word on pricing has been given yet.
Are you still excited for the US Galaxy S III now that it is official? Will you be upgrading or waiting on one of the other upcoming Android smatphones?
Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2012 - 11:47 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SoC, Samsung, quad core, galaxy s 3, Exynos 4, Android
Samsung has an event scheduled for May 3rd called Mobile Unpacked where it will be unveiling their latest Galaxy series smartphone. It seems as if the company was too excited about the new hardware to wait because they have teased small bits of information on the processor. The new chip has been named the Exynos 4 and is a quad core processor running at 1.4 GHz.
Based on a 32nm HKMG (High-K Metal Gate) process node, Samsung claims the SoC uses 20% less power than it’s 45nm predecessors. The quad core processor is more power efficient thanks to the lower process node and the ability of the chip to turn individual cores off when not in use. As far as performance, the company claims the new quad core part is twice as fast as the older dual core 45nm chips. The Exynos 4 also has an integrated image signal processor for high quality camera processing and support for multi format codec (MFC) decoding. The MFC engine allows the chip to process a variety of 1080p HD video files.
A few things that are noticeably absent from the Samsung product page include any specific performance numbers, architecture details, and benchmarks. Samsung is keeping a tight lid on that information until the release but once reviewers get their hands on the Galaxy III independent benchmarks are soon to follow. The comparison between the Exynos 4 and NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 should be interesting.
Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 03:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: apple, Samsung, Intel, qualcomm
Apple is getting some help in its legal quest to force Samsung out of the mobile phone business, even though Samsung is one of their major suppliers. Both Intel and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through Samsung's source code and are offering more potential infringements for Apple to use in their case. Qualcomm helped develop the 3G standard and so possess quite a bit of intellectual property that pertains to the use of 3G, while Intel owns an immense amount of telecom and chip patents which Samsung may have infringed upon. The Register speculates on just why Qualcomm and Intel would offer their legal teams to Apple, as well as pointing out the obvious irony of Apple attacking its memory and screen manufacturer.
"CHIP VENDORS Intel and Qualcomm have agreed to help Apple in a lawsuit against Samsung by providing source code, according to one of Apple's lawyers.
Apple's seemingly never ending battle with Samsung over smartphone patents will get helping hands from Intel and Qualcomm as the firms hand over source code to support Apple's case. According to Andrew Fox, Apple's lawyer, Intel's and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through the source code and agreed to provide it to Apple."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 3D printer with insane accuracy uses a DLP projector @ Hack a Day
- 600,000 infected Macs are found in a botnet @ The Inquirer
- SharePoint 2010 now supports Chrome, Firefox @ The Register
- Google starts data center construction in Taiwan @ DigiTimes
- Google shows off Project Glass augmented reality specs @ The Register
- Ars browser shootout: which Web browser is best for business?
- Ubuntu 12.04 Is A Mixed Power Story @ Phoronix
- Win an OCZ Vertex 4 SSD with OCUK and Kitguru!
Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
Samsung has been in the SSD business for a good long while now. My first "serious" SSD setup consisted of a pair of 32GB G.Skill 'FlashSSD's in a RAID. A few months later I upgraded to an Intel X25-M, starting working for PCPer, and have since seen a slew of different controller types come and go. Of those, Samsung and Intel both come to mind as the most reliable controllers out there. Of those two, Samsung has always been the primary choice of PC OEMs. It may have been because the Samsung controllers have always leaned towards the slow-but-steady approach. Other fire breathing controllers would be quick out of the gate but slow over time as fragmentation effects set in, while Samsung controllers would take the hit on random IOPS, but they maintained that lower level even after repeated and sustained abuse. They were not the fastest, but as a testament to their consistency, I continue to use one of the two aforementioned G.Skill drives in the PCPer Storage Testbed to this day.
Subject: Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 05:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy note, tablet
The Samsung Galaxy Note is probably the biggest cellphone since the ill fated N-Gage, though instead of being a portable gaming system that thinks it is a phone you have a phone which thinks it is a tablet. Dual purpose devices have a somewhat flaky reputation but some combination tools end up being more useful than their separate component pieces. With an ARM cortex A9 powering a 5.29" 800 x 1280 AMOLED screen this Android device seems to have a lot of promise. Read the full review at Hardware Look to see how well Samsung combined the two devices into one.
"The Samsung Galaxy Note is a smartphone that has gone in the opposite direction of the conventional modern technology. As we see technology advancing, we see it getting smaller and smaller, the Samsung Galaxy Note is the largest smartphone on the market, posing a huge 5.29-inch display..."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP Pavilion Phoenix h9 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Case Logic Compact Systems Camera Bag Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Samsung Galaxy Note Smartphone/Tablet Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Powerful personal projector for iPhone ready to launch @ Kitguru
- Pixel-pumping prowess: Ars reviews the third-generation iPad
- Apple iPad (3rd-Gen): The TechSpot Review
- The new iPad: Retina Display Analysis @ AnandTech
Subject: Memory | March 23, 2012 - 03:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, Samsung Green PC3-12800, low profile, low power
There is a reason that Samsung's branding of these new DIMMs is green; they suck a mere 1.35V at their full speed of DDR3 1600MHz @ 11-11-11-28 and with the low profile they will fit in just about any machine. Of more interest to some readers would be their overclocking potential, which TechPowerUp explored and discovered that 2400 MHz with 1.575V was not only possible but also stable. They also went the other way and discovered the DIMMs could still run at stock speeds at 1.2V which gives you a lot to tweak on this RAM. Read on to see how the DIMMs performed and to learn a little about tWCL as well.
"Several tech forums are buzzing about Samsung's lastest "Green" 30 nm DDR3, that sips the voltage, and sits on a tiny low-profile PCB. We snagged a pair to see what all the fuss is about, and boy, were we surprised!"
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- G.Skill RipjawsX F3-2133C9-32GXH 32 GB PC3-17000 1.6 V DDR3 @ techPowerUp
- Topower Gold Vapour Injection-HD DDR3 1866MHz 8GB Memory Kit Review @ eTeknix
- GSkill RipjawsZ PC3 17000 CL9 Quad Channel Memory Kit @ Ninjalane
- G.Skill ARES 16GB 2133mhz Memory Kit @ Kitguru
- G.Skill ARES PC3-17000 16GB @ Tweaktown
- Ivy Bridge High-Speed RAM Run with G.Skill PC3-20800 2666MHz RipjawsZ @ Tweaktown
- Patriot Viper Extreme PC3-16000 CL9 1.65 V DDR3 @ techPowerUp
- Crucial Ballistix Elite 8GB 1866MHz @ OC3D
- Kingston HyperX Red Limited Edition DDR3-1600 2x4GB Memory Kit Review @ Hi Tech Legion
Subject: Memory | February 29, 2012 - 02:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, Samsung Green 8GB VLP 1600MHz, low profile
With the way that current generation motherboards squeeze the DIMM slots in close to the CPU socket and with the enourmous size of high end coolers, low profile DIMMs are not just for SFF PCs anymore. Samsung's new Green VLP kit is not only incredibly low profile it is also versatile and intended to run at a variety of speeds from 1600MHz @ 11-11-11-28 with 1.5v of power to 800MHz @ 6-6-6-18 pulling 1.35v. Overclock3D's testing did reveal one small problem with these DIMMs; by focusing on lower power and lower profile first they did sacrifice performance. On the other hand if you are in such tight confines that only these DIMMs will fit, slow RAM beats no RAM every time.
"With their own RAM sticks Samsung have redefined what we consider Low Profile to be. Does the performance match up?"
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- G.Skill Ares 16GB 2133MHz @ OC3D
- G.Skill RipjawsZ DDR3-2133MHz 16GB (4x4GB) Memory Review @ HardwareHeaven
- AMD Performance Edition 8GB DDR3-1600 Memory Kit Review @Hi Tech Legion
- G.Skill Ripjaws-Z DDR3 1866MHz 16GB Memory Kit Review @ eTeknix
- Mushkin Blackline PC3-17000 (994015) 16GB Quad Pack Memory Kit Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Patriot Viper Xtreme Division 2 DDR3-1866 (PC3-15000) 8GB Kit @ Funky Kit
Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 01:56 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra, Samsung, quad-core, MWC 12, MWC, exynos
While details are still sparse as we await the official start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona tonight/tomorrow, it appears that Samsung plans to announce a new quad-core processor as part of its Exynos line. It will be the first Samsung SoC based on 32nm technology rather than the 45nm currently in production and will be available in both quad- and dual-core variant.
According to the story over at Unwiredview it will be available in frequencies ranging from 200 MHz all the way up to 1.5 GHz while offering lower power consumption than current options. I am curious how this actually stacks up though as we have seen that Tegra 3 doesn't REALLY offer lower power consumption and longer battery life even though that was a promise from NVIDIA. It definitely can offer less power consumption per performance unit, but in the end battery life is king for these mobile devices.
What about graphics performance? The story had this to say:
The new Exynos comes paired with the latest version of Samsung’s own graphics chip, which has 4 pixel processors and 1 geometry engine with 128 KB L2 cache. The graphics support OpenGL ES 2.0 and can generate up to 57 MPolygons/s.
Samsung claims that the new processor will offer 26% more performance compared to Exynos parts based on the 45nm process and I assume they are referring to dual-core vs dual-core results. Other claims include battery life improvements of "up to 50%" - we'd love to see it but we'll wait for actual devices to ship and showcase it before really getting excited.
The good news is that quad-core performance will be coming to more devices and NVIDIA won't be the only SoC designer on the block offering them. The use-cases for quad-core performance on a mobile device, phone or tablet, may still be in question though we never doubt the software side of the equation to utilize as much horsepower as it is provided.
Subject: Storage | January 30, 2012 - 02:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, enterprise, eMLC, Samsung, SM825 400GB
Enterprise level storage has vastly different priorities than consumer grade storage as data that is lost is of a different level than lost pictures and home movie. As precious as those memories are it is unlikely that family members will sue you or disown you because you lost their data, internal and external customers on the other hand are very likely to. This places a large priority on reliability which must be considered even before the cost savings are considered. For companies with large databases and numerous users connecting to them concurrently there is a huge time savings possible from introducing an SSD to the front end, but only if it can be guaranteed to be available and not down.
The SSD Review takes a look at Samsung's enterprise class SSD, the SM825 which has 400GB of eMLC flash storage which is rated at 7000TBW (terabytes written) before failure; consumer models are usually 60TBW. When the SSD Review cracked the case and did some addition, they spotted 112GB being used for over-provisioning as well as four impressively sized capacitors for protection against power outages. Check out the full review to see how it performs.
"In reviewing the Samsung SSD SM825 Data Center Edition 400GB eMLC solid state drive, we understand that we have wandered off the beaten path of normal consumer reviews but there are some things in this SSD that will just grab your attention. Although it’s interesting to see that Samsung has chosen its own premium eMLC NAND flash memory in the SM825, we believe that it is the total write endurance that truly stands out in this enterprise class SSD."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Patriot Pyro SE 240Gb @ FunkyKit
- OCZ Nocti 128GB SATA 2 mSATA SSD @ SSD Review
- ADATA S396 30GB Value Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- Samsung 830 Series 128GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- OCZ Synapse Cache 64GB SSD @ Bjorn3D
- Silicon Power Velox V30 SATA 3 240GB SSD Review @ The SSD Review
- Crucial m4 512GB @ Legion Hardware
- OWC DIY Solid State Drive Upgrade Kit Review @ circuitREMIX
- Zalman F1 120 GB Solid State Drive @ X-bit Labs
- Asus DRW-24B3LT SATA DVD-RW Drive Review @ Tweaknews
- ADATA S107 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ kitguru
- Seagate Barracuda 3TB in RAID 0: Performance Unleashed @ Hardware Canucks
- Synology RackStation RS212 @ Kitguru
- Western Digital will show a two drive Thunderbolt storage unit @ The Inquirer
- Verbatim Store'n'Go 1 TB USB3.0 Portable Hard Drive @ Metku
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