My ageing Core2Duo Toshiba 17″ laptop was OK whilst it lasted but I was starting to find it a bit sluggish even with an SSD and 2GB memory. At the time when I bought it, I thought I’d got a good price on it, but didn’t check the CPU which was bottom of the range – should really have explained the price, doh !
I wanted a new large screen 17″ laptop, so I shopped around. I looked at the now discontinued 17″ MacBook Pro, but couldn’t really justify the £2000 price tag. I looked at the performance 17″ “gamer” laptops and they were all either expensive (£1000+) or heavy, so heavy on the pocket or heavy on the arm to carry. I wanted the new laptop to be lighter than the old one as I carry it with me when I travel. I wanted USB3, a decent amount of memory and potential for expansion.
So I bought this laptop from Costco in the UK, a steal at £550. I didn’t want all singing all dancing with the associated price tag, but I did want a decent laptop for a good price. With Core i7, 8GB RAM (upgradable to 16GB) and USB3 the Samsung NP350E7C suited my needs. The harddrive can easily be upgraded to bigger/faster or SSD.
Overall I’m pleased with the laptop, it’s 500 grammes lighter than my previous one, which is great for travelling and it’s very much more powerful. It’s not as “solid” as the previous laptop, but it is lighter!
I considered an upgrade to 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, but at the moment funds are short and those items are relatively expensive – 16GB RAM around £100 and 256GB SSD around £200.
The upgrade that I did do was to replace the Optical/DVD drive with a caddy for a second hard drive (almost identical to the one in the picture). The caddy is 12.5mm and they can be purchased from ebay – eg “odd hard drive caddy”. The “kit” came with a small screwdriver to fit the hard drive into the caddy, screws for which form part of the caddy. The caddy is fitted into the laptop where the DVD drive goes, there’s just one screw securing it on the underside of the laptop, marked I think “ODD”.
Some of you may cry – what about the warranty. Well, remember my old Toshiba laptop I told you about. That had a warranty, the power supply went faulty a week or so after I bought it. I had got by that time the laptop setup how I wanted it. Toshiba flatly refused to send me a new power supply, insisted I return the whole laptop – how inconvenient and unhelpful. Obviously that wasn’t an option, so I had to get a power supply from elsewhere. My point being that I don’t really regard a warranty as anything particularly useful.
However for the new laptop I have kept the original hard disc as it is, and could put the laptop back to how it was when delivered if I needed to return it. So might be worth considering doing that if you wanted to make similar modifications yourself.
Personally, I really, really don’t like Windows 8, which doesn’t seem to be an uncommon theme. When I searched for “windows 8 is”, the above are the suggestions that Google give me! … window 8 is crap, rubbish, terrible, awful !
Windows 7 works really well and I’m happy with it, plus all my other machines have Windows 7. So I installed Windows 7 on a spare SSD that I had, installed from a USB stick using the Universal USB Installer from pendrivelinux.com – you can use their software to create a bootable installable Windows 7 “disc”
However, I had problems with the Windows 7 drivers (question marks in Device Manager etc). Samsung would only let me see the Windows 8 drivers on their SW Update in UK. Also I couldn’t see any way to get Windows 7 drivers off the Samsung support website.
As luck would have it I was travelling in Asia and again looked in the SW Update after I arrived, and to my surprise there were the Windows 7 Drivers. So I have downloaded all of them and shared publicly on hotfile.com (see resources below). Please download and share elsewhere as I probably won’t be able to keep share open indefinitely.
I haven’t extensively tested all the drivers, but things like Bluetooth and Wifi work fine, and the Windows 7 operating system is stable. It seems that Windows 7 is supported on this Laptop in other regions, just not the UK. As far as I can work out some of the “NP350E7C” machines such as “NP350E7C-S02UK” and “NP350E7C-A01US” are the same hardware, at least the core i7 ones, but obviously do your own due diligence.
There are certain drivers/software from Samsung that I didn’t install, more “bloatware” than anything else. So personally I didn’t bother with – Easy Support Center, Easy Settings, Software Launcher, EasyFileShare, Easy Migration, Fast Browsing, Norton Online Backup, Skype, User’s Guide, Mulitmedia POP, Samsung Recovery Solution … Most of which just waste space and resources, and I don’t have any need of.
Important are –
Chipset Driver – Intel Chipset Driver for Eureka 220.127.116.110
Graphics Driver – AMD Graphics Driver of Chief-River for Eureka 8.951.9.3
Graphics Driver – Intel® HD Graphics 4000 – v18.104.22.168.3071 (22.214.171.12471)
Sound Driver – Realtek Audio driver for Eureka-Win7 _ Win8 6702
LAN Driver – Realtek LAN Driver for Eureka-II (BRA) 7.61.612.2012
Wireless – Atheros WLAN Driver (Win7, 64bit) 126.96.36.1990
Bluetooth – Atheros Bluetooth 4.0 Driver (Win7) 188.8.131.52_N
Intel ME Interface – Intel MEI Driver of Cheif-River for Eureka 184.108.40.2064
Intel RST Driver – Intel RST Driver for Eureka 220.127.116.112
Intel USB 3.0 – Intel USB 3.0 Driver for Eureka 18.104.22.168
Windows Hotfixes I didn’t bother with so up to you, one of them is for IE9 and I don’t use IE at all. SW Update might be useful for BIOS updates, but don’t start installing Windows 8 drivers (I tried this already didn’t work too well!). Media center, depends on whether you use it or not.
The laptop is equiped with dual graphics, an AMD and an Intel graphics card. A right click on the desktop will reveal setting options for this. I’ve not had a reason to use this facility, but I believe gamers might want to switch off Intel display adapter in favour of AMD when they are gaming. As I don’t “game”, I don’t know!
You will also most likely have to turn off the UEFI secure boot in the BIOS prior to installing Windows 7 (F2 key during startup, at Samsung screen). Refer to my photo for what I’ve set my UEFI boot to (Boot section of BIOS), this works for Windows 7.
Personally I didn’t like the idea of the UEFI bios, due to lack of flexibility using Linux or any other operating system I may want to run, and my hardware being tied to a particular operating system. It might be a good idea for Joe Consumer but not for me.
Lastly as a footnote – Windows XP drivers are also available, links provided below
UPDATE Feb-2014 due to problems with hosting I have taken down the driver files.
pendrivelinux.com, Universal USB Installer – http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/
Windows 7 Drivers (and Software) for Samsung NP350E7C
Download link Intel_HD_Graphics_4000_-_v22.214.171.124.3071_(126.96.36.19971)_Win64_15313.exe
Download link AMD_Graphics_Driver_of_Chief-River_for_Eureka_8.951.9.3.part01.rar
Download link AMD_Graphics_Driver_of_Chief-River_for_Eureka_8.951.9.3.part02.rar
Download link AMD_Graphics_Driver_of_Chief-River_for_Eureka_8.951.9.3.part03.rar
Download link AMD_Graphics_Driver_of_Chief-River_for_Eureka_8.951.9.3.part04.rar
Download link AMD_Graphics_Driver_of_Chief-River_for_Eureka_8.951.9.3.part05.rar
Download link Atheros_Bluetooth_4.0_Driver_(Win7)_188.8.131.52_N.rar
Download link Atheros_WLAN_Driver_(Win7_64bit)_184.108.40.2060.rar
Download link Easy_Migration_Samsung_Menu_220.127.116.11.rar
Download link Easy_Settings_for_NP(enroll_version_for_Eurika)_18.104.22.168.rar
Download link Easy_Support_Center_1.2_22.214.171.124.rar
Download link EasyFileShare_126.96.36.199.rar
Download link FastBrowsing_for_IE9_188.8.131.52.rar
Download link Intel_Chipset_Driver_for_Eureka_184.108.40.2060.rar
Download link Intel_MEI_Driver_of_Chief-River_for_Eureka_220.127.116.114.rar
Download link Intel_RST_Driver_for_Eureka_18.104.22.1682.rar
Download link Intel_USB_3.0_Driver_for_Eureka_22.214.171.124.rar
Download link Media_Center_Update_2.2.2.rar
Download link Norton_Online_Backup_(Win7)_2.1.17869.0.rar
Download link Perfect_Balance_Theme_126.96.36.199.rar
Download link Realtek_Audio_driver_for_Eureka-Win7___Win8_6702.rar
Download link Realtek_LAN_Driver_for_Eureka-II_(BRA)_7.61.612.2012.rar
Download link Recovery_Solution_5_188.8.131.52.rar
Download link Skype_(5.8)_184.108.40.206.rar
Download link Software_Launcher_220.127.116.11.rar
Download link Super_Bright_Theme_18.104.22.168.rar
Download link SW_Update.rar
Download link Synaptics_Touchpad_Driver_for_Eureka-II_(BRA)_22.214.171.124.rar
Download link Win7_UserManual_Eureka(350V4C_355V4C_350V5C_355V5C)_126.96.36.199.rar
Download link Win7SP1-common_hotfix_188.8.131.52.rar
Download link Win7SP1-Hotfix-CriticalUpdate
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_184.108.40.206.part01.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_220.127.116.11.part02.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_18.104.22.168.part03.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_22.214.171.124.part04.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_126.96.36.199.part05.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_188.8.131.52.part06.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_184.108.40.206.part07.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_220.127.116.11.part08.rar
Download link M-POP_for_Eureka_350_Win7_18.104.22.168.part09.rar
Windows XP Drivers for Samsung NP350E7C
Download link Bluetooth_WXP_22.214.171.124.zip
Download link Chipset_WXP_126.96.36.1990.zip
Download link Internal_VGA_Intel_WXP_188.8.131.5200.zip
Download link LAN_WXP_5.798.523.2012.zip
Download link MEI_WXP_184.108.40.2064.zip
Download link MMCR_WXP_6.1.7601.39025.zip
Download link Sound_WXP_220.127.116.1102.zip
Download link Touchpad_WXP_18.104.22.168.zip
Download link TPM_WXP_22.214.171.124.zip
Download link WLAN_Atheros_WXP_126.96.36.1990.zip
Download link WLAN_Intel_WXP_188.8.131.52.zip