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Samsung 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 13.3-inch Ultrabook Notebook Review

Samsung 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 13.3-inch Ultrabook Notebook Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Samsung's 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook is the first touch screen laptop to cross PCSTATS test bench with Windows 8 installed. Our first impressions of this new touch screen interface are positive...
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Samsung May 08 2013   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > Samsung NP540U3C-A01

Looking Under the Hood

Fixed Internal Battery / Build Quality

Being as slim as it is, Samsung's NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook uses a fixed four cell rechargeable lithium polymer battery pack that's housed in the front half of the notebook. The battery is rated at 52Wh, charge time is about 3 hours. In PCSTATS tests with no USB devices connected and WiFi enabled, the NP540U3C-A01 notebook survived 6hours 18 minutes in Bapco's MobileMark 2012 battery life test. During this run of MobileMark 2012 the ultrabook scored an Office Productivity Performance Qualification Rating of 79 which is good, but down from the results achieved by the 9-series Samsung Ultrabook PCSTATS previously tested.

As to the question of build quality, the NP540U3C-A01 is quite robust when held only by the corner; the chassis doesn't really flex and definitely does not sag or bend like cheaply built notebooks with cheap plastic frames tend to. Build quality is first rate; the chassis feels sturdy when typing and no parts of the notebook feel bulky or out of place.

Getting into the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 Ultrabook for a look at the hardware is tricky - only one screw needs to be removed but the panel is held shut with sticky frag tape that requires a little coaxing with a thin plastic tool to free. An old credit card or hotel key card is good for this as it won't mar the softer plastic.

Samsung NP540U3C-A01 with access panel removed.

Ultrabook's are too compact for bulky hard drives and optical drives, for storage the NP540U3C-A01 uses a 128GB 'SanDisk U100 SMG2' mSATA SSD hooked up to a SATA adaptor plate. The solid state drive is partitioned into a 95GB primary partition, 21GB primary recovery and 1GB/300MB/500MB recovery partitions.

Configuration of user serviceable components in the Ultrabook.

The access panel allows users to change memory, clean the small fan should it ever become clogged with dust and access the storage device. The 52 wh Li-polymer battery is stored in the front half of the notebook and can be replaced if the rest of the back plate is removed.

The hard drive bay accepts standard 2.5" SATA devices. The Solid State drive in the notebook PCSTATS received for testing came in the form of a 128GB mSATA device plugged into a 2.5" SATA caddy. Most of the mSATA-to-SATA adaptor pictured below is dead air. The caddy plugs into a standard SATA data and power connector so users can upgrade to a full size SSD or HDD if they wish. The benefit to using the small mSATA SSD is that is requires less electrical power and thus lengthens battery life..

For storage the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 relies on a SanDisk SDSA5DK-128G-2104 "U100 SMG2" SSD. The speed of this SSD is okay; quicker than a 5400RPM hard drive for sure, but slower than a full fledged SSD in the 4k Read/Write tests according to PCSTATS storage benchmarks. In brief, the SanDisk U100 SSD is a 6Gb/s SATA III device capable of 480MB/s read / 380MB/s Write (Sequential) and supporting TRIM, NCQ, nCache Acceleration Tech., power consumption as low as 10mW and a rated endurance of 80 TeraBytes Written (TBW). Full tech specs on the SanDisk U100 SSD are listed here.

The single DDR3 SO-DIMM memory slot holds 4GB of DDR3-1600 Samsung PC12800 memory. The Samsung NP540U3C-A01 ultrabook is equipped with 4GB of onboard RAM and 4GB of SO-DIMM memory, for a total of 8GB system memory.

Bundled Software and Accessories

Samsung include little with the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 ultrabook other than a printed quick start guide and the AC/DC power adaptor. Given that the external VGA monitor hook up is miniaturized, a mini-VGA dongle would have been a welcome addition.

On the software front you'll find Samsung's NP540U3C Ultrabook loaded with a trial installation for Microsoft Office and Norton Antivirus, Cyberlink PowerDVD and XeroxPhotoCafe, Skype and several miscellaneous Samsung applications. The full list of a pre-loaded applications are pictured below for the curious.

PCSTATS installed 'Classic Shell v3.6.7' from IvoSoft about 5 minutes after booting up this Windows 8 notebook for the first time - we highly recommend it. On with the benchmarks! First up, battery life tests with BapCo MobileMark 2012.

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Contents of Article: Samsung NP540U3C-A01
 Pg 1.  Samsung 5-Series NP540U3C-A01 13.3-inch Ultrabook Notebook Review
 Pg 2.  360° View of the Samsung NP540U3C-A01
 Pg 3.  360° View of the Samsung NP540U3C-A01 Continued
 Pg 4.  LCD Viewing Angles and a Shoddy Webcam
 Pg 5.  Challenges with the Touch Screen Windows 8 Interface
 Pg 6.  — Looking Under the Hood
 Pg 7.  Notebook Benchmarks: MobileMark, Sysmark 2012, PCmark Vantage
 Pg 8.  Notebook Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark06, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11
 Pg 9.  Notebook Benchmarks: Sandra 2013 CPU / Memory / SSD
 Pg 10.  Notebook SSD Benchmarks: PCmark Vantage HDD Suite, AS SSD
 Pg 11.  Conclusions: Samsung's NP540U3C-A01 Core i5 Ultrabook

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