Computer Electronics

Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer Teardown

15 August 2011
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Overview / Main Features

The Samsung Series 9 is an ultra light PC laptop designed to compete directly with Apple's MacBook Air line of flash-based storage notebook computers. Taking design cues from the Apple, Samsung created an even thinner (16mm) profile 13.3-inch laptop design that did not contain an optical drive and dispenses with the niceties of having removable batteries (both of which were necessary to achieve the thinness of the final product).

Overvall, the premium Samsung laptop comes with the latest generation Intel Sandy Bridge processor (Core i5-2327M) that runs at a 17W TDP along with 4GB of memory on a single SO-DIMM module and a 128GB mSATA flash storage card. The display is supplied, unsurprisingly, by Samsung and features a 1366 x 768 pixel density. The Samsung Series 9 comes configured with a Broadcom half miniPCIe networking card featuring 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. A 6-cell Li-Ion polymer battery supplies capacity for an all-day mobile computing experience.

Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer Main ImageSamsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer Main Image

Target Market

Ultra Light Laptops


Feb 2011

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - The Samsung Series 9 retails for approximately $1700.

Availability - Global (assumed)

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have applied a lifetime production volume of approximately 5M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer Cost AnalysisSamsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers ~90% of Total Materials Cost

Samsung Semiconductor - MZMPA128HMFU-00000 - SSD Module Value Line Item - 128GB, MLC NAND, mSATA

Intel - AV8062701047107 - CPU - Intel Core i5-2537M, Dual Core, 1.4GHz, 3MB L3 Cache, 32nm Process

Samsung - LSN133AT01 - Display Module - 13.3' TFT LCD, 1366 x 768 Pixels (16:9), 16M Colors, 400nits Brightness, Anti-Glare, LED Backlight

Samsung - M471B5273CH0-CH9 - SO-DIMM DDR3-1333 - 4GB, 1.5V, Contain 16 Samsung K4B2G0846C Memory ICs

Samsung SDI - AA-PLAN6AR - Battery Pack - Li-Ion Polymer, 6-Cell, 7.4V, 6220mAh, 46Wh

Enclosure, Display, Top - Machined Aluminum, Anodized, Brushed

Intel - BD82HM65SLJ4P - Platform Controller Hub - HM65 Express Chipset, 3.9W

Enclosure, Main, Palmrest Plate - Machined Aluminum, Anodized, Brushed

Keyboard Assembly - Injection Molded Plastic Keys, Mounted on Stamped Metal Backing Plate, LED Backlit, w/ Interconnect Flex & 9 Metal Standoffs

Nan Ya PCB Corp. - 8-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free, Halogen-Free

Broadcom - BCM943225HMB - Bluetooth / WLAN Half Mini PCIe Module Value Line Item - IEEE802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Contains Broadcom BCM43225 and BCM2070 Single Chip Solution

Enclosure, Main, Bottom - Die-Cast Magnesium Alloy, Painted, Printed

AD-4019W - AC Adapter - 19V, 2.1A, 40W, w/ 8ft Cord, Velcro Strap, White Mylar Label & Protect Film

SC-13HDL10931N - Webcam Module Value Line Item - Contains 1.3MP Fixed Lens Camera Module, USB2.0 PC Camera Controller, 512Kb Flash & Supporting Elements

Keyboard Mounting Bracket - Injection Molded Flame Retardant ABS Polycarbonate, Painted, Clear Coat, Printed, w/ ESD/EMI Coating & 18 Brass Inserts

Foxconn - Memory Socket - SO-DIMM DDR3, Right Angle, 1.5V, Gold Plated Contacts (Qty:2)

LAN Cable - RJ45 to Wired LAN Jack, 0.6ft, w/ White Paper Label, Clear Mylar Insulators & Protect Films

Box - Paperboard, Printed, w/ Magnets

Hinge Assembly - Die-Cast Magnesium Alloy Mounting Plate, 2 2 Stamped / Formed Metal Brackets w/ Hinge Pin & Hardware

Cooler Assembly - Die-Cast Metal, 2 Stamped / Formed Metal Mounting Brackets, 2 Copper Plates, Copper Tube, Aluminum Fins, Painted

Microphone Element - Electret Condenser

Texas Instruments - TPS54319RTE - Regulator - DC-DC Converter, Synchronous, Step-Down, 3A, 2MHz (Qty:2)

Renesas - uPD720200AF1-DAP-A - USB Host Controller - USB3.0, 2-Port, PCI Express

Direct Materials + Manufacturing $646.19

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on device markings, we've based our analysis with the final assembly in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were also sourced in China.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as Ethernet connectors), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer - Disassembly View 1Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer - Disassembly View 1

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Samsung Series 9 ultra thin laptop has an overall component count of 1577 (excluding box contents), of which 977 components reside on the Main PCB. In comparison, the Apple MacBook Air has an overall component count of 1846.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

In order to achieve the thinness specifications of the Samsung Series 9 a number of design changes were made to the laptop design. First and foremost, any extraneous functions were squeezed out of the design. The first casualty of this design principle are the optical disc drive and the removable battery. Next, the motherboard underwent a drastic diet. In fact, the Samsung Series 9 motherboard is only populated on one side to reduce thickness of the electronics. The only compromised offered here is the use of SO-DIMM memory which are arranged in side-by-side layout as opposed to the more traditional stacked format. Also, to round out the compact design, Samsung has heeded the pioneering designs from Apple and have used multi-cell prismatic Li-Ion Polymer battery technology to shape a high capacity (non-removable) battery pack that fits into the remainder of the empty space within the Series 9 ultra light notebook.

Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer - Box ContentsSamsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) Notebook Computer - Box Contents

Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter
Find Free Electronics Datasheets