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netnative
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Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB)
      #44444 - 03/31/13 11:28 AM

First, I would like to congratulate and thank Lisa Gade for her video reviews. Based on her review I purchased a Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB).

For several hours I thought that my unit was defective. When I ran the Windows Experience Index assessment, I got a 3.6 processor score rather than the 6.9 processor score shown on Lisa's video review. Samsung's technical support did not help at all and I was decided on returning the notebook to Best Buy. However, after restoring the PC to its factory state with Recovery (F4), I ran the Windows Experience Assessment again and got the expected 6.9 processor score.

Now that I am back to square one, I would like to ask Lisa two questions:

(1) What is the safest way of deleting the recovery partition to reclaim the space? I already exported the factory disk image to an external storage device.

(2) What 4GB memory module should I purchase so that it matches the installed memory module?

Thank you for your help.


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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: netnative]
      #44445 - 03/31/13 02:02 PM

That's very odd about the Windows Experience Index. Silent mode wasn't enabled, was it? There's an Fn key that puts the machine in low power/low noise mode and that probably tanks benchmarks. At any rate, glad it's working properly now.

I haven't test out Samsung's recovery program on the Series 7 Ultra yet, but some versions I've used previously do have the option to both create a USB recovery drive and delete the partition. In general, Samsung really loves their recovery partitions and tries hard to get you to keep it around. Do make sure that your recovery image actually works before nuking the recovery partition. If there's no option to delete the partition using Samsung's recovery app or Windows 8's (usually Win 8 asks if you wish to delete the recovery partition after making a successful USB recovery copy), then you may have to use diskpart in a command prompt to remove it. I'd leave the Intel Rapid Start partition alone (usually found at the end of the drive).

For RAM, just make sure it's a DDR3 1600MHz standard notebook SODIMM. Get a 1.35v module, not the somewhat more common 1.5v version.

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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: LisaG]
      #44461 - 04/02/13 08:05 PM

Ah-ha! I just delved into Samsung Recovery Program in Windows and read the help file. It states that you should copy the Recovery-Uninstall.exe app from Program Files/Samsung/Recovery to the desktop and run it. The program will remove the Samsung Recovery Windows app and it will delete the recovery partition so you can use it as you see fit or extend your C drive.

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netnative
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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: LisaG]
      #44462 - 04/02/13 08:21 PM

Thank you for your reply. It is possible that I could have pressed Fn + F11 by accident. And, at the time, I was unaware that there was a way to throttle the CPU on Samsung notebooks. Samsung Technical Support should have pointed that out; it would have saved me a lot of time.

I was very pleased with the “Samsung Series 7 Ultra vs Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A Touch Comparison Smackdown”. Those were my choices as I went to Best Buy last Saturday. I chose the Samsung Series 7 Ultra primarily because of its upgradeability. Moreover, it appears from forum postings that the ADATA mSATA SSD in the Asus Prime X31A has a TRIM issue. It has been said that while other manufacturers using the SandForce controller have resolved the issue with a firmware upgrade, inexplicably ADATA has not released it.

I ordered a pair of PC3-12800 SODIMM modules from Crucial. I will let you know how it affects the memory and graphics subscores in the Windows Experience Index. I am also considering upgrading the SSD but have not completed my research.

Samsung should do better than releasing in the U.S. market a stripped-down version of one of its better ultrabooks. The Samsung Series 7 Ultra was designed with an i7 processor, AMD HD 8570M switchable graphics, a 256GB SSD, and TPM security. I would have liked to order it with all the available options.


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netnative
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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: LisaG]
      #44463 - 04/02/13 08:22 PM

Wonderful!

Quote:

Ah-ha! I just delved into Samsung Recovery Program in Windows and read the help file. It states that you should copy the Recovery-Uninstall.exe app from Program Files/Samsung/Recovery to the desktop and run it. The program will remove the Samsung Recovery Windows app and it will delete the recovery partition so you can use it as you see fit or extend your C drive.




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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: netnative]
      #44464 - 04/02/13 08:44 PM

I know, I'd absolutely love to see the model with Radeon dedicated graphics! Alas, Best Buy generally requests downgrades since they're terrified of anything that costs more than $1,200 and won't stock them in store.

I've upgraded to matching 4 gig RAM modules and while the Windows Experience Index desktop graphics didn't budge, PCMark7 gained over 200 points, putting it 20 points ahead of the Zenbook UX31A (which isn't enough to call meaningful, but the new 4690 score is where I'd like to see the Samsung). With a single 8 gig RAM DIMM there was no improvement, so dual channel RAM is the difference. Honestly, I trust PCMark more than the WEI. It is weird that two machines with the same graphics card, resolution, chipset and Intel drivers can score so differently. But it seems that Ultrabooks with the HD 4000 either score around 4.6 or 5.5, with no clear reason and no difference in actual performance when transcoding video or playing games.

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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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netnative
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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: LisaG]
      #44579 - 04/25/13 03:56 PM

After waiting for the Crucial m4 256GB mSATA SSD drive to be in stock and delivered, I finally opened my Samsung Series 7 Ultra and installed the Crucial 2-channel kit (2 x 4GB DDR3 non-ECC PC3-12800 1.35V 204-pin SODIMMs) that I had previously purchased together with the new 256GB SSD drive. Opening the Samsung Series 7 Ultra was not difficult thanks to Lisa's video. And the mSATA SSD drive was easily replaced without removing the ribbon cable.

I created a GUID partition with Windows Disk Management and cloned the Samsung SSD drive with the Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 Suite. The Paragon Copy Hard Disk Wizard resized the C: drive partition automatically and took care of the proper alignment for the 5 partitions.

With the Crucial upgrades my Windows Experience Index (WEI) results are now as follows:

Processor - 6.9
Memory (RAM) - 7.4
Graphics - 5.7
Gaming graphics - 6.4
Primary hard disk - 9.1

They compare favorably with WEI results for the Asus Zenbook Prime Touch UX31A that were shown in Lisa's review.

Processor - 6.9
Memory (RAM) - 5.9
Graphics - 5.5
Gaming graphics - 6.4
Primary hard disk - 8.1

I noticed two things. Samsung Settings lost the Battery Life Extender setting which suggests that the setting did not reside in any of the 5 partitions but was hidden elsewhere in the SSD. This is inconsequential since Samsung Settings accepted the Battery Life Extender setting again.

Also, whereas prior to the SSD replacement I was able to see all 5 partitions for drive optimization (TRIM), now only the C: drive is shown. In Windows Explorer click on Local Disk C: > Properties > Tools > Optimize. This might be an issue if TRIM will no longer be performed automatically by Windows on the other partitions. Any thoughts?


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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: netnative]
      #44580 - 04/25/13 04:40 PM

Wow, that's an excellent benchmark result for the Crucial m4!

BTW, Samsung's recovery app can also clone drives, though I'm not sure the results would have been any different. As for TRIM on the other partitions, my stock machine lists 4 partitions under the Optimize option, with 1 partition described as "optimization not available". Mine does not have the Intel hibernation partition, yours might? The C drive would be the only one where deletes are common (again assuming you don't have a hibernation partition), so TRIM wouldn't have much of an effect on the recovery partitions which aren't written to.

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netnative
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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: LisaG]
      #44581 - 04/25/13 05:32 PM

The advantage of using the Paragon Copy Hard Disk Wizard was that I did not have to resize the C: drive partition or be concerned with the alignment of the partitions.

My Samsung Series 7 Ultra has a total of 5 partitions as follows:

Recovery Partition - 499 MB
EFI System Partition - 300 MB
C: Drive - 216.85 GB
Recovery Partition - 19.72 GB
Recovery Partition - 1.00 GB

Except for the C: drive, all the partitions in the replacement Crucial SSD have the same size as in the original Samsung SSD.

I remember that in the original Samsung SSD drive one partition could not be optimized but I do not remember which one. I will to determine why Windows can see the recovery and EFI partitions in Disk Management but not in Optimize Drives.

Edited by netnative (04/26/13 06:06 AM)


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netnative
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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: LisaG]
      #44602 - 04/29/13 01:09 PM

The wonderful 9.1 WEI subscore for disk data transfer did not last. I am down to 8.4. After a restart Samsung Settings failed again to keep the Battery Life Extender setting. This prompted me to redo the disk copy with Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12.

This time I use the “HDD raw processing” setting rather than allowing the software to resize the C: drive partition automatically. According to Paragon, “HDD raw processing” copies the hard disk “in the sector-by-sector mode, thus ignoring its information structure (e.g. unallocated space or unused sectors of existing partitions will be processed as well)” which “can help to avoid problems with hidden data created by certain applications or the system administrator.”

I was surprised that Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 did not allow me to use the unallocated space to extend the C: drive partition after performing the disk copy. However, MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition 7.8 accomplished this effortlessly.

Now, Samsung Settings keeps the Battery Life Extender setting and Windows Optimize Drives shows all four partitions as follows:

(C:) - OK
SAMSUNG_REC - Optimization not available
SAMSUNG_REC2 - OK
Windows RE tools - OK

However, I was disappointed to lose the 9.1 disk subscore. This supports your assertion about WEI being unreliable. I measured disk performance running the Windows System Assessment at the Command Prompt (C:\windows\system32>winsat disk) and got the following results.

Disk Random 16.0 Read - 394.70 MB/s - 8.2
Disk Sequential 64.0 Read - 512.08 MB/s - 8.1
Disk Sequential 64.0 Write - 267.99 MB/s - 7.6
Average Read Time with Sequential Writes - 0.567 ms - 7.9
Latency: 95th Percentile - 2.961 ms - 7.0
Latency: Maximum - 4.305 ms - 8.6
Average Read Time with Random Writes - 0.665 ms - 8.6

Is this typical for a Crucial m4 256GB mSATA SSD drive?

Quote:

Wow, that's an excellent benchmark result for the Crucial m4!

BTW, Samsung's recovery app can also clone drives, though I'm not sure the results would have been any different. As for TRIM on the other partitions, my stock machine lists 4 partitions under the Optimize option, with 1 partition described as "optimization not available". Mine does not have the Intel hibernation partition, yours might? The C drive would be the only one where deletes are common (again assuming you don't have a hibernation partition), so TRIM wouldn't have much of an effect on the recovery partitions which aren't written to.




Edited by netnative (04/29/13 01:16 PM)


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Re: Setting-up a 13.3" Samsung Series 7 Ultra (NP740U3E-A01UB) [Re: netnative]
      #44603 - 04/29/13 02:40 PM

Thanks for the detailed follow up. Yes, a bit by bit copy is always best with all the voodoo software hiding behind the scenes these days. The scores look right to me and are quite good among mSATA SSD drives. WEI is a ballpark tool, nothing more. WinSAT and CrystalDiskMark are much more useful.

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Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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