Starting today, consumers and businesses can purchase the Samsung Series 5—the first commercially-available Chromebook. Businesses can also rent them for $28/month per user through Google's Chromebooks for Business program. When they were first announced, I characterized the Series 5 and Acer's companion Chromebook as being "more netbook than notebook". And in his first TechRepublic blog post, Kevin Purdy looked at "what Chromebooks can and can't do".
The Samsung Series 5 is available in two flavors—a Wi-Fi + 3G model for $499.99 (US) and a Wi-Fi-only model for $429.99 (US). You can purchase the Series 5 from Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. The Samsung Series 5 weighs 3.3 pounds and measures 11.6" (W) x 8.6" (D) x 0.8" (H).
We got our hands on the Samsung Series 5 early, and I couldn't resist cracking it open. While Series 5's design and internal hardware was as expected, there were a few surprises—RAM solder to the motherboard.Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
Cracking Open analysis:
- Simple to crack open and dissect: Samsung used standard Phillips #0 and #1 screws both outside and inside the case. Four of the seven outer case screws are hidden under the machine's rubber feet, but the feet are easily removed and reattached.
- Shares components with the Google CR-48: Not surprisingly, the Series 5 shares components with the original Google CR-48 Chromebook, such as the SanDisk 16GB SSD (SDSA4DH-016G) and Qualcomm Gobi2000 WWAN card.
- Some replaceable components: The wireless cards, SSD, and battery are all easily removed, but you must remove the computer's back cover to do so.
- RAM is soldered to the motherboard: Unlike the CR-48, but like the Apple MacBook Air, the Series 5's RAM is soldered to the motherboard, making a RAM upgrade impossible.
Internal hardware and chips:
According to IHS iSuppli, the total cost to produce the Series 5 is $334.32 (US). The motherboard is the most expensive component at $86.37 (includes the Intel Atom N570 processor and other attached chips). At $58.00, the 12.1-inch LED back-lit LCD display is the second most-costly component. The 7.4V Li-Polymer battery ($48.20), Qualcomm Gobi2000 WWAN card ($42.85), and 16GB SanDisk SSD ($28.00) also add to the unit's price tag.
Here's a breakdown of the Series 5's major hardware components:
- 7.4V 61Wh 8100 mAh Li-Polymer Battery
- 1.66 GHz Intel Atom dual-core N570 processor
- Intel CG82NM10SLGXX Platform Hub Controller
- Realtek ALC272 4-Channel High Definition Audio Codec
- Samsung K4B2G0846 HCH9 2 Gb DD3 SDRAM (2GB RAM)
- SanDisk 16GB SDSA4DH-016G SSD
- Two internal speakers
- Synaptics T1320A Capacitive Touchpad Controller
- Realtek RTS5138 SD card reader IC
- Qualcomm Atheros AR5BHB116 802.11n Wi-Fi card with Atheros AR9382 chip
- Qualcomm Gobi2000 WWAN board (Qualcomm MDM2000, Samsung 32MB Mobile DRAM, Qualcomm RFR6500 receiver, and Qualcomm RTR6285 UMTS/GSM/EDGE cellular transceiver with GPS)
- Alpha & Omega Semiconductor AON6912A 30V Dual Asymmetric N-Channel MOSFET
- Infineon SLB9635TT1.2 Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
- SMSC MEC1300-NU
- Silego Technology SLG8SP513V CK505 Clock Generator
- SMSC EMC2112 Fan controller
- Macronix MX25L1005C 1Mb Serial Flash
- Texas Instruments BQ24725 2-4 Cell Li+ Battery SMBus Charge Controller
- Texas Instruments TPS51117 1.8V to 28V Input Sync. Step Down Controller
- Texas Instruments TPS54319 2.95V to 6V Input, 3A Synchronous Step-Down Converter
- Texas Instruments TPA6017A2 stereo audio power amplifier
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.