Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought this for $500, which is a great deal., March 9, 2013
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This review is from: Samsung Series 5 NP500P4C-S02US 14-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)
I opened this computer's package on March 5th, 2013, and it's been around 4 days since then, so I have been able to review this computer from its beginning to the end of its first four days. Please keep in mind that college student is reviewing this and likes to play games (not first person shooters, though) when he has free time. Any updates have the form YYYY/MM/DD.

*~The basic specs, which I think are important, are:

1. Intel i5 3210 2.50Ghz processor (a fantastic 3rd gen i5 processor at this time)

2. 4 GB RAM (I'm pretty sure that it's a DDR3, assuming that it's one stick)

3. 64bit with Win 8 (I don't mind Windows 8, but I'll list out its points later; the points I made are irrelevant to the laptop as a whole, since it's just the operating system and not about the laptop itself)
4. Integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics card (Intel has come far in its integrated processors)

5. Dedicated Nvidia GeForce 630M graphics card (this is what stands out for being $500; such a great deal. It's not that much better than the Intel HD 4000 graphics (I looked up video card reviews), but it's nice to have a graphics card with a processor dedicated to it.

6. Four USB ports (two of which are 3.0 USB)

7. A headphone/microphone jack (the only con to this computer in my opinion; I rather have separate jacks but can't wish for everything).

8. 5400 RPM hard drive (the "bottleneck" as one reviewer describes; will explain this later).

9. Fan on the leftside (it does a little hot when you game, but it's not alarming; personally, I like this better than having it on bottom, but lefties should be wary if they can tolerate this type of thing).

10. No backlit keyboard, even though some Fn keys on the keyboard exist for it. I plan to change these Fn keys in the future, if I can. Will update in comments if I ever get around to it (and if I remember >.>)

11. Speakers are good. If you're a musician or want something bassy, consider getting speakers for your needs.
UPDATE 2013/03/11: Speakers are clear and fairly loud. My previous laptop was pretty quiet, so I experienced a nice transition of sound.

12. Not as light as a ultrabook, but it's definitely not heavy to carry around.

13. I love this type of keyboard (the keys, man, THE KEYS). Not sure how to describe it, but I love it.

14. The screen size is a nice size.

15. UPDATE 2013/03/11: I did not know that this laptop had a SD card reader until today. It's located on the left side of the mouse bad, under the light that shows that the power is on for the laptop. Another plus for me.

16. UPDATE 2013/03/25: Screen collects dust/dirt, and it's noticeable. Not sure how I feel about this.

17. UPDATE 2013/03/25: Wireless connection has dropped me twice within an hour today for some reason. I'm not sure what is the cause for this, but I suspect that it has to do with the firmware or the driver of the wireless part. I contacted Samsung about this issue, and the customer service representative, after telling me update the driver through SW Update (which I already did), made sure that I didn't set the connection as a meter connection (it's a setting that turns off your connection after a certain amount of time, which I don't have on). Then, he advised me to "Forget My Network" (another setting) and to reconnect again. This may or may not solved my problem with wireless connection (we'll have to see), but it did fix my issue with loading Facebook's News Feed (which often seems to stop loading after I scroll down or click on "More Stories"). The customer representative mentioned that there may be incompatibility issues with the new Samsung drivers and the route older firmware. If this problem proceeds, either one should roll back the wireless drivers, or back up his or her information, do a system restore to the original factory settings, and proceed to update all drivers except for the wireless one. I'll update in a week to see if I still have any problems with the wireless connection.

*~Things that I have not checked out:

1. If RAM and hard drive are easily accessible (I'm pretty sure that they are, but too lazy to check :p ; will probably update this later either her or in the comments).

2. If fan is accessible (will check out later when I have the time; update will either be her or in the comments).

*~Important points concerning with changes that I made to the computer:

1. Intellimemory: this greatly overuses your RAM. I think that it's suppose supply things into your cache to load things faster, but it's just a hindrance. It shoots up my RAM to 87%. Your memory should be fine, around 30 to 40% if you don't add more RAM to the 4GB you already have, once you uninstall this program).

2. Uninstalled of some of the Samsung bloatware and apps.

3. Destroyed Norton trial, and used the default Windows antivirus and firewall.

4. Installed important or entertaining programs and apps (Firefox (including NoScript), Chrome, Malware Bytes, Spyware Blaster, CCleaner, foobar2000, AIM, Google Talk, Steam and other games, Python, Java SDK package, IntelliJ, Sublime, TortoisesVN, WinSCP, putty, DropBox, Media Player Classic, etc.)

5.1. Installed important Windows Updates. I recommend installing the optional updates if they concern your drivers or Microsoft programs that you use (ex: Office 2013).

5.2. SW Update/Updating Samsung drivers. This is important. It will take a while, but it's definitely worth it. You may encounter problems in updating some drivers (for me, it's the BIOS (now UEFI BIOS, which makes Windows 8 boot up much smoother) and one or two Bluetooth drivers). To fix this problem, go to SW update, look for the model, download the drivers that you need, run and install them (and you can delete the files afterwards). This will definitely help the update with Samsung drivers. I solved this by calling Samsung's Customer Service. In my opinion, one guys does not entirely represent the customer service (I don't view an apple tree as terrible if it has a bad apple), but I did have a great guy who helped me through the drivers issue.

UPDATE 2013/03/11: I also apply the "Bad-Apple-Not-Equal-Bad-Apple-Tree" perspective to computer products, but there is no doubt in my mind that Lenovo (Asus is pretty up there as well) makes great laptops; however, Lenovo laptops, unless they have great deals, are a bit too pricey for my basic needs, which is why I basically bought this laptop, even though it barely had any reviews at the time that I bought it. Don't get me wrong, I did see some great Lenovo laptops under $600 and even under $500 that were deals or on sale, but the Samsung Series 5 NP500P4C-S02US's 630M graphics card won me over.

6.1. Here's where the hard disk bottle neck comes in. The computer was very slow in getting to the login screen/loading the OS; it took more than forty seconds. I'm not entirely sure if the problem was due to the computer getting accustomed to itself (an analogy is opening the of spaghetti sauce for the first couple times; it's really hard to get that lid off, but it's easier after multiple tries!) or if it was the boot order, but I did alleviate some of the problem in the following point. However, keep in mind that the disk usage will still sometimes spike, but it'll not be as often as before I made the change that is mentioned in the following point.

6.2. Anyways, what I did was that I changed the boot order. I changed the boot order to the hard drive as first and the Windows Boot Manager as second. To do this, press Win key + I (go to Settings), click on "Change PC Settings", click on "General," and, under the "Advanced startup" section, click on "Restart now." After restarting, you will go a light blue screen. Click on "Troubleshoot," click "Advanced options," and click on "UEFI Firmware Settings" (the "new BIOS"), and restart your computer once more. You can change your BIOS settings (but I just recommend just changing the boot order). An alternative route is just hold the SHIFT key at the login screen access the UEFI. For some reason, the computer boots up less than thirty seconds after that. Now, the computer seems to boot up less than fifteen seconds, which is too much for me to comprehend this speed (I still feel like I live in the XP era). Programs load much faster than before.

7. Defragged my computer using the default defragger that came with Windows 8.

*~How does the Samsung Series 5 NP500P4C-S02US fare in games:

1. LOL: After several games, I got a bug splat once in League of Legends for putting everything on very high, so I went to Riot's "debugging" tools to help get rid of the bug splat. Once I put shadow on medium, I haven't ever had it since. I manage to get 60 fps on very high settings before and after the bug splat.

2. DOTA2. Plays Dota2 just fine on everything high (I did put shadow on medium, though). Don't remember the fps, but everything was mostly smooth.

3. OTHERS: Other games that I have are Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Portal and Portal 2, Bastion, and other Steam games, but I haven't tested them yet. Might update here or in the comments in the future.

This computer is great for casual gaming. It also works well in competitive and current games, but for some, medium settings are needed to play smoothly (ex: Crysis 3, there are some reviews about Geforce 630M graphics card). If you do not have a budget, consider getting a laptop with a much better graphics card. If you do have a budget and want to experience the highest graphics for every current game, consider getting a desktop. If you are a college student like me who likes to play games (sometimes, even competitively) in decent graphics, have a budget, and need a transportable computer device for school needs, this laptop is for you (the deal was so much better when it was $500, but now, the price increased).

Altogether, this laptop is fantastic and is fit for my school and gaming needs.

*~The pros:
1. Very fast now.
2. Boots up very fast.
3. The processor is really fast.
4. Did I mention that it's really fast?
5. Dedicated graphics card (even if it's low end).
6. Sound is nice.
7. Light to carry around campus and not hurt your back.
8. Keyboard design and the feel of the keys (personal preference).
9. Screen size is perfect (may be a little small for those who game, but I like it; again, a personal preference).
10. Plays some games on very high settings.
11. (UPDATE) Has an SD card reader.

*~The cons:
1. one jack for microphone and headphone (a small, unimportant, and personal preference)
2. Intellimemory (easily solved)
3. Boots up slow at first (a very difficult problem at first)
4. Minor driver update problems (for me, I had to call customer service; the guy I called was great, but Samsung should address these driver issues soon).
5. Disk usage sometimes spike (not sure why it spikes, but the spike will go down after a while; a SSD should easily solve this problem).
6. Cannot play all games on high settings very smoothly (Not a con for me == another personal preference; I'm fine with medium settings).
7. (UPDATE) Fn keys for non-existent lit keyboard settings; I'm not sure why this bugs me, but I'll update if I can find a solution for changing the settings for Fn keys.
8. (UPDATE) Screen collects dust, and it's noticeable.

*~The potential future:
1. Buy RAM (seriously, it's cheap. If you customizing any laptop on a website, get the smallest amount of RAM possible, and buy and install the RAM later. It's worth the effort and the price).
2. Get an SSD (can solve the boot problem without what I did earlier. SSD prices are going down and can only continue to go down. It will make all of my programs boot so much faster. I would buy one if I had the money).

*~Now, for the little Windows 8 tidbits that is not relevant to the laptop review:

1. Not really sure what the hate is about. Sure, the learning curve is a bit high, and it's hard to find some things, but you'll get used to it, especially most of it is just like Start button in Windows 7; what I'm saying is that Windows 8's Start Screen is just a glorified Start button.

2. Besides everything mentioned in the first point of Windows 8, everything in the desktop is the same. EVERYTHING.

3. I do not like the default settings for some programs in Windows 8, but they are easy to change (though, they could be unnoticeable). Examples include default defrag every week and default recycle bin warnings are off.

4. Task Manager is absolutely awesome and appealing. Now, you can change your Startup in there (a great, new feature!).

5. I really don't mind Windows 8, but there are some features that I wish that it kept from Windows 7 (like having folders in your search when you type some stuff in; Windows 8 doesn't detect all folders, but it does detect all progams and apps).

Conclusion: Windows 8 is pretty cool, and I like the direction that Microsoft is going.

Keep in mind that what I think of Windows 8 does not affect the overall laptop whatsoever.

I'm really content with laptop, since it's great for school and a little gaming, which is why I gave it a five out of five. I do have small personal preferences, but it shouldn't hinder the laptop as a whole.

If there is any additional comments that you would like to know, please comment below, and (hopefully, if I remember) I'll get around to it.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 25, 2014 4:39:27 PM PDT
COHikerGirl says:
Just an FYI for anyone hesitating to uninstall IntelliMemory: In answer to the question about why Samsung loads IntelliMemory -- Samsung pre-loads IntelliMemory on most of their Windows computers, and it's the first thing to remove from a machine with an SSD drive. It can speed up slower conventional spinning hard disks by caching lots of stuff to RAM (memory), but when you have an SSD this isn't helpful and it tends to hog all the RAM. It can be safely uninstalled from systems that use an SSD drive.
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