Samsung adds Ivy Bridge, two sub-$1,000 Series 5 laptops

Samsung primes two affordable laptops for the back-to-school shopping season.

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Aimed squarely at the back-to-school set, Samsung's pair of new Series 5 laptops look like affordable, workaday systems.

Neither the 15.6-inch Series 5 nor the 14-inch Series 5 500 falls into Intel's ultrabook category due to their general thickness, but they also look like reasonably attractive and capable mainstream PCs.

For the $899 Series 5, you get a quad-core, 2.3GHz Core i7 3610QM chip, a 1,366x768-pixel screen, 8GB of system memory, a 750GB hard drive, and a Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics chip. Samsung says the overall weight is 5.5 pounds, with "6-plus" hours of claimed battery life.

For $100 less, the $799 Series 5 500 (terrible name differentiation, no?) offers a 14-inch 1,366x768-pixel display, a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 3210M chip, and a 500GB hard drive. It has the same Nvidia graphics chip as the more expensive model, as well as the same battery life claim. It only weighs 5 pounds though, half a pound less than the vanilla Series 5, presumably due to the smaller display.

Both laptops also boast a built-in JBL speaker and subwoofer set, falling in line with the general trend of PC makers trying to set themselves apart by offering name-brand audio components.

In addition to these new laptops, Samsung has also announced that it will add Intel's third-generation Core CPUs to its existing Series 3, Series 5, and Series 9 laptops. Those systems will join the high-end Samsung Series 7 line, which already received Intel's new chips. Samsung says those updates and the new models above will be available mid-June.