Samsung Aims to Impress with its First Gaming Notebook

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When it comes to gaming notebooks, the usual suspects are mentioned. ASUS, MSI and of course, Alienware are all considered to be popular brands for portable gaming. What about Samsung? Not so much. While their HDTVs and monitors are often used by console and PC gamers, Samsung has never had a gaming notebook to call its own… until now. Introducing the Samsung Series 7 Gamer 17.3” Notebook Computer.

While the Series 7 Gamer was released in Europe last fall, its U.S. release was delayed until Intel announced its shiny new Ivy Bridge processor so it could be included in the computer. Thanks to the wait, the Series 7 Gamer now has an Ivy Bridge Intel Core i7-3610QM processor. The processor has quad cores that run at 2.3 GHz, but can also be overclocked up to 3.3 GHz, thanks to Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technology. Intel Hyper-Threading technology allows the processor to run up to eight threads for quick and efficient multitasking. The 6MB of L3 cache combined with 16GB of DDR3 RAM allows the Series 7 Gamer to run smoothly and seamlessly.

Of course, a gaming computer wouldn’t be complete without a powerful graphics card and the Series 7 Gamer certainly delivers with the nVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M. With 2GB of dedicated memory, the nVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M provides amazing graphics while still maintaining respectable frame rates. This graphics processing unit (GPU) has Microsoft DirectX 11 with Shader Model 5.0 support, which means it can take full advantage of GPU-accelerated tessellation for ultra-high performance. Full support for nVIDIA PhysX technology is also included, which enables the GeForce GTX 675M to provide a more dynamic and realistic experience of gaming physics. Since this GPU is in a portable gaming notebook, the GeForce GTX 675M uses nVIDIA Optimus technology to automatically optimize battery life while maintaining the outstanding graphics performance you’ll expect, whether you’re watching a movie, surfing the Web or playing an intense PC game.

A powerful graphics card is meaningless without a compatible display, and it just so happens that screens are where Samsung truly shines. The Series 7 Gamer features a 17.3” widescreen display that is backlit with LED lamps, which brighten faster, use less power and provide better picture quality than their CCFL counterparts. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is also the same standard for Samsung HDTVs and monitors. The display also has a Full HD 1920 x 1080 native resolution for crystal clear high-definition video quality and native support for 1080p HD content.

Sound is usually considered the weakest part of gaming notebooks and notebooks in general. However, Samsung decided to reverse that assumption with Dolby Home Theater v4 technology. Combined with the built-in stereo speakers and dedicated mini-subwoofer of the Series 7 Gamer, you can turn the volume up louder with a minimum of distortion. If you truly want to be immersed in your movies and games, throw on a pair of headphones or grab a headset with a microphone to communicate with friends while playing online.

While the Series 7 Gamer is primarily a gaming notebook, there will be times where you want to use it for other things, such as checking email, surfing the Web or chatting with friends. In order to help optimize your experience, the Series 7 Gamer has a unique dial that enables users to switch between four modes. General Mode optimizes the Series 7 Gamer for regular computing tasks. Quiet Mode disables sounds and turns off the fan for a quieter experience, useful in quiet environments or late at night. Power Saver Mode saves battery life and keeps only the critical parts of the processor running.

And last but not least, Gaming Mode. You’ll know that you’re in Gaming Mode because of the distinct graphic that pops up on the screen. The main gaming keys are highlighted on the keyboard in red, and lights are turned on around the speakers, which pulsate to match the game’s sounds. The Windows key and touchpad are disabled in order to eliminate the possibility of accidentally hitting the wrong key and sending you to the desktop while in the middle of an online firefight. The keyboard also features ergonomic u-shaped key caps, a 2.7mm keystroke and separated arrow keys to enable you to engage in rapid play with minimal errors.

With other notable features, such as 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, WiDi capabilities, Bluetooth v 4.0, a 1.5TB hard drive with ExpressCache, a Blu-ray player, 7-in-1 media card reader, an integrated two-megapixel webcam and microphone, the Series 7 Gamer is an impressive first attempt by Samsung at a gaming notebook. If you’re looking to branch out from the usual group of ASUS, MSI and Alienware gaming notebooks, the Samsung Series 7 Gamer is a worthy alternative.

Processor 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM Quad-Core (Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
up to 3.3 GHz)
Cache L3: 6MB
System Bus 5GT/s
Memory 16GB of DDR3 RAM
Graphics Card nVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M with 2GB of dedicated memory
Type Widescreen
Size 17.3" (43.9 cm)
Backlight LED-Backlit
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Brightness 400 nit
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Hard Drive 1.5TB SATA with ExpressCache Technology (8GB)
Optical Drive Blu-ray Player
Ports 2 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0 (1 Sleep-n-Charge)
Display 1 x HDMI
1 x VGA
Audio Integrated Stereo Speakers with Dedicated Mini-Subwoofer
Integrated Microphone
1 x 1/8" (3.5mm) Headphone Output
1 x 1/8" (3.5mm) Microphone Input
Flash Media Slot 7-in-1 Media Card Reader (SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC Plus, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, xD-Picture Card)
Network 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45)
Modem None
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiDi Yes
Bluetooth Bluetooth v 4.0
Mobile Broadband None
GPS None
Webcam Yes (2-Megapixel Web Camera)
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Security Kensington Lock Slot
Keyboard 101-Key Backlight Keyboard
Pointing Device TouchPad
Battery 8-Cell Lithium Ion
AC Adapter 200W AC Adapter
Dimensions (WxHxD) 16.1 x 1.29 - 1.96 x 11.2" / 40.89 x 3.28 - 4.98 x 28.45 cm
Weight 8.39 lb / 3.81 kg