Samsung RV720 17in Core i3 notebook
Big screen bargain?
Performance is middle-of-the-pack, which, to be fair, is all you can realistically expect of a 17.3in machine costing this much. The processor inside is an Intel Core i3-2310M running at 2.10GHz, providing two physical cores capable of handling two threads each, and backed by 4GB of DDR3 RAM. The result isn't exactly racy, but the RV720 will nonetheless handle virtually anything you can throw at it in terms of 2D processing tasks.
Like all 17in machines, its size and weight are imposing
The one area it falls down more seriously is gaming. The on-chip Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor makes a decent fist of running Windows, but there's not much left over in terms of 3D grunt. With no support for DirectX 11, 3DMark 11 doesn't even run, and in the older 3DMark 06 it scored an underwhelming 3242, so even older games can't be expected to run at silky-smooth framerates. It's a pity really, given the rest of the RV720 is so well-suited to home use, a bit of gaming power would have been the icing on the cake.
Battery life isn't spectacular either. The 4400mAh power pack slotted into the back of the machine would look par for the course on a much smaller laptop. Here, where it's expected to drive a huge, bright screen and it was no surprise to see it fall down slightly. Looping 3DMark Vantage tests with the screen at full brightness, it lasted for just 1hr 50mins.
With the screen at half brightness and the laptop connected to a base station, the RV720 ran for 4hrs 48mins, so in real life you'll see a figure somewhere between the two. That's not bad, but size notwithstanding, it does limit the practicality of the RV720 for travelling or working remotely. As a desktop replacement and shuffling from lounge to bedroom, it's not really an issue.
The Sandy Bridge Core i3 CPU turns out a decent performance overall
The Samsung RV720 is a very capable machine, and those looking for a general purpose PC to use at home won't do much better for the money. There's not a spectacular amount of performance, but it will handle most jobs including creative tasks such as photo or video editing, and it's only gaming that is more of a no-no. ®
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