Samsung 700G7C review:

Samsung 700G7C

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Sarah Tew

If you're paying $1,899 for a laptop, you expect lots of features. This Samsung Series 7 doesn't disappoint, although it doesn't deliver anything unexpected. The requisite USB 3.0 ports (2) and video ports (HDMI, VGA and even DisplayPort) are present. There's onboard Blu-ray. The only thing I wish this laptop had that it doesn't was a Thunderbolt port, but I don't know what I would do with it.

The Series 7 Gamer comes in only one configuration, just like Ford's first Model T. For $1,899, you get two 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drives with 8GB of ExpressCache SSD for frequently used core functions, a generous 16GB of RAM, a quad-core third-gen Core i7-3610QM processor, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M graphics. That compares favorably with a system like the recently reviewed Maingear EX-L 15, which included a slightly faster Core i7-3820QM CPU and the same graphics, but less RAM and hard-drive space, for $2,349. The also-recently-reviewed but less expensive Asus G75VW had the same CPU, slightly less powerful Nvidia graphics, and less RAM.

This laptop's 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU, a quad-core processor, is part of Intel's newest, third generation of Ivy Bridge processors. It's the same processor we've already seen in the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 and Asus G75VW, and, not surprisingly, it performed nearly the same in our tests. Multitasking is blazing fast, and nearly any task you can think of, from video encoding to large software installations, can be handled lightning-quick. This is more computer than anyone really needs, but if you want something even faster, the Origin EON17-S and Maingear EX-L 15 do best it in performance speed.

The graphics, from an Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M, are even better. They match what was included in the Maingear EX-L 15, and performed nearly identically. Street Fighter IV screamed at 161.5 frames per second at native 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. Metro 2033, a demanding game, ran at 19.3fps at full 1080p with DX 11 and graphics settings at High. Batman: Arkham City ran at 51fps at 1080p with graphics settings at High, and DX11 off. The recently released Diablo III flew, at about 80fps based on my time playing. Battlefield 3 played very well at 1080p with graphics settings ramped up, too. In fact, the performance was extremely close to the Origin EON17-S, a far more expensive machine that's the current top end of 2012 gaming systems.

By the way: keep this laptop plugged in when playing games. Even in Gamer Mode, unplugging the Series 7 Gamer from its power brick resulted in big dips in framerate for most games. To get the most out of this system's performance (as well as hot air blasting through the back vents that feels like a space heater), stay on AC.

Annual power consumption cost
Asus G75V
Samsung NP700G7C-S01US

Don't expect great battery life from a gaming laptop this large. The Samsung Series 7 Gamer eked by with 2 hours and 33 minutes of video playback, but expect that number to shrink way down when playing any type of game. You'll want to keep that charge brick plugged in, which, incidentally, is gigantic.

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Sarah Tew

Samsung includes a standard one-year warranty with the Series 7 Gamer. Samsung's Website has an easy-to-find phone number (1-800-726-7864) and a variety of live chat support options, plus manual and driver downloads. You can gain an extra three months of warranty support by registering with Samsung.

Gaming laptops often feel like an extinct breed, and are frequently priced and sized to match. The Samsung Series 7 Gamer does nothing to subvert the stereotypes, but delivers an excellently performing, sharp-screened, fully geared-up example of the form at a price that's exorbitant but not unearned. Simply put: Samsung's made a big-boned gaming beast, and it's yours for the taking if you can afford it and fit it on your desk.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Street Fighter IV (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Native resolution, 2X AA, V sync off  

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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