Samsung Series 9 Ultra Portable Notebook

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TEST RESULTS

During testing the screen brightness was adjusted to an approximate reference level which is comfortable for indoor use (we try to match the brightness level as closely as possible to a reference laptop we keep on hand). The NP900X3A's screen is incredibly bright so 15% was enough to accomplish this.

AC Power Draw

Test Results: System Power
Test State
Samsung NP900X3A
Asus UL30A
ThinkPad Edge 13
Asus UL80Vt*
Sleep
1W
1W
1W
1W
Idle
10W
(15%)
8W
(45%)
11W
(70%)
8W
(45%)
Idle
(max. brightness)
15W
11W
12W
H.264 Playback
15W
16W
17W
18W
CPU Load
25W
23W
26W
34W
CPU + GPU
Load
30W
26W
29W
37W
*UL80Vt processor overclocked to 1.73GHz.

First a quick check of the power draw when running on AC power. When idle the machine ate up 10W, 2W more than the Asus UL30A and UL80Vt but 1W less than the ThinkPad Edge 13. All of the compared notebooks were powered by a 10W Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor so it's not clear whether the Core i5-2537M is more energy efficient, though it is a 17W part. With the brightness pumped up to maximum, the NP900X3A's consumption increased by 5W, proportional to the seemingly unholy glow of the display. The screen might be visible on a clear August afternoon in the middle of the Sahara.

When playing H.264 video, the Samsung laptop was the clear winner thanks to its integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics chip which is simply superior than the two generations old GMA X4500MHD running on the other systems. On load, it was on par with the ThinkPad Edge 13, maxing out at about 30W. The UL30A used 2~4W less, but as we noted in our UL30A/ThinkPad Edge 13 comparison review, Asus might have used some undervolting magic to give it an edge.

Thermals & Acoustics

Internal temperature were recorded using SpeedFan/RealTemp while external temperatures were taken with an infrared thermometer on the hottest point on both the topside and underside.

Samsung NP900X3A-A02CA
Activity
System Temperatures
SPL @0.6m
CPU
Topside
Underside
Idle
45°C
33°C
33°C
12 dBA
H.264 Playback
56°C
36°C
36°C
12~13 dBA
CPU Load
75°C
42°C
43°C
28~29 dBA
CPU + GPU Load
85°C
47°C
49°C
28~29 dBA
Ambient temperature: 24°C.

The NP900X3A ran cool to the touch on low load, but like most other notebooks, was uncomfortably warm on heavy load. When playing high definition video, the hottest points on both the keyboard and underside stayed at a fairly comfortable 36°C, while on full load, temperatures approached 50°C (perhaps this is why most people call them notebooks rather than laptops today).



The NP900X3A measures just 12 dBA@0.6m when idle and 28~29 dBA@0.6m on load.

The acoustics were phenomenal at idle and during video playback. The system's fan was spinning the entire time but it was barely audible, measuring just 12~13 dBA at 0.6 meters. When the machine's not working hard, it is literally whisper quiet. Unfortunately the same cannot be said when the computer is put on a heavy load. The noise level shot up to 28~29 dBA@0.6m and while the sound of air being expelled from the fan was quite soft, the fan itself (probably the bearing) generated an annoying high pitch whine. It is unlikely a user would push the system this hard in normal use.



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