Pros: Priced at half the cost of an Apple Mac Pro, this is an attractive option for someone unable to plop down 3 or 4k for a new desktop. I don’t have access to a Mac Pro for comparison, but from the specs I’d say it’d be unfair to try – the Mac exceeds the ArtPC in every metric. But since I don’t do much gaming or processor-intensive video rendering, the Samsung should be quite adequate. And it’s a very cool machine: At idle the fan is almost inaudible, I could fit 6 of these in one of my old desktop cases, it boots instantaneously, displays 4k video beautifully, and it’s attractive enough to actually be a “desktop” computer. With the wireless keyboard and mouse, the ArtPC could provide uncluttered and powerful computing for any number of applications. The sound system is pleasant, though without stereo imaging.
Cons: I deduct two stars not for the hardware, but for malfunctions probably caused by the operating system. I honestly don’t know whether they're the fault of Microsoft, or Samsung, or the USB consortium, but the end result is a brand-new computer that doesn’t quite work. The Sleep function frequently fails, requiring a hard reboot (and loss of all unsaved data). Another reviewer just disabled the sleep function entirely, but for someone like myself who often uses it, this is no solution. Additionally, even if the machine does wake up, USB devices often fail to initialize, requiring a reboot anyway. And then USB devices sometimes aren’t recognized on reboot, requiring the device to be re-plugged. When I called Samsung about these problems, I was sent to a for-pay Windows support service -- Samsung's way of saying "It's not my problem!" But Samsung, it is your problem, because it's crippling your machine.
Overall Review: If you're accustomed to the reliability of Apple products, this probably won't be a satisfactory substitute. If you're a serious gamer, the ArtPC video processor will probably be inadequate. But if you're accustomed to the frustrations of Windows, and want a quiet, powerful computer the size of a bread loaf, this one's worth considering.
Pros: After reviewing the Samsung ArtPC what do I have to say? As always, it depends on who the target audience is and what their computing goal is.
This PC is marketed as a plug-in-and-go, creative center, gaming, and powerful small form-factor system, and I believe it hits those targets admirably. Comparing this to a full-size desktop with the understanding of lower performance, I was genuinely surprised at how decently the 6th Generation i7 performed at CPU tasks compared to my overclocked i7-4930K at 4.3Ghz being a few generations old now. This machine, coupled with the incredibly fast NVMe drive, is easily sufficient for photo and video editing, and the included GPU can game at moderate settings with some concessions, depending on the title. The Harman / Kardon speaker actually had some bass to it, sounded crisp and clear, and definitely cemented this machine as a desktop you could leave out, show your guests, or use as a media center system, rather than have it tucked away somewhere. Samsung naturally is eyeing the presentation and rich aesthetic appeal of a machine to be displayed and I can’t blame them.
You may have to reduce settings for your favorite titles but the included RX 460 is decently powerful. This is NOT a 4K capable machine, however. The ArtPC uses the Intel 530 series onboard graphics for desktop and 2D needs, and automatically turns on the 460 for 3D applications or gaming. AMD’s Catalyst Center could not even see any GPU was shown when dabbling around in settings. Due to limited time for testing and software availability on my end, I could only thoroughly test FFXIV Stormblood, World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and consulted a graph for Overwatch which makes for a mixture of newer and older titles at varying graphical demands. For performance numbers I found the following:
--World of Warcraft - Easily Playable at Preset 7 to 10 Ultra. 1920x1080 FPS was between 35-90. You could raid on this, easy!
--Diablo III - Somewhat Playable. 1920x1080 and anything above medium detail is a no-go. Drop it to 1360x768 all Low and Forced Low FX and you can get perhaps 20-30 frames. Not unplayable, not but ideal.
--Overwatch - I could not test this firsthand but graphs suggest a buttery smooth 1920x1080 High level of GPU settings. Ultra may need concessions, however.
--FFXIV Stormblood - 4K points so "High" on the Benchmark. 30 FPS in Housing outdoors at 1920x1080 Maximum. 60 FPS at 1920x1080 Standard Desktop or High Laptop. Reduce settings even a little bit, and you have a machine that can easily play or raid in this game.
While navigating in tools such as Blender was not an issue, it is probably production software dependant as to if this machine will pick up the GPU or not for your task. But the CPU surprisingly did not thermal throttle. The fan does ramp up two levels to a light hum but this machine is still super quiet compared to my large desktop’s PSU fan. I was incredibly surprised that while this tiny machine of course could not match my overclocked 4930K at 4.3 Ghz., it performed quite sufficient at photo editing and in some tasks, got reasonably close to my CPU’s performance while still having two fewer cores. I tasked this machine with the following:
--Blender BMW Render - About 10m 15s compared to 7m 23s for my primary desktop so only ~25% behind.
--Blender Classroom Render - About 33m compared to 25m 16s for my primary desktop so again, only about 25% behind.
--Canon DPP Batching and Export - From 85 to 117 seconds for pre-processing, single batch multithread exporting and multi-batch, multithread exporting. My desktop was roughly 20 seconds lower on these tasks so again the ArtPC is only 15-20% behind my machine.
Again, while I thought my Intel 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe x4 NVMe SSD was fast, even the basic Samsung M.2 form factor SSD blows mine out of the water, especially in lower file size writes at moderate queue depths! Wow! This system isn’t even using an expensive 950 EVO or Pro and it out-performs my drive handily except in sequential reads. It boots a fresh or lightly loaded Windows 10 Home install from power on to desktop in only about 10 seconds. Samsung’s BIOS is pretty fast and simplified though. You won’t see nearly the amount of fine-tuning as you would on EVGA, ASUS, Gigabyte, or other board makers’ systems however. It makes me really want more than 256GB! The disk is screaming fast. The 5,400 RPM 1TB slower HDD module though can be relegated to basic storage.
Cons: The only gripes I had with this little tower were the following:
1. The included wireless keyboard and mouse were serviceable but I found them to lock up and be laggy or totally unresponsive during copying to or from a USB drive. I do not know if this was due to the Intel storage controller, Windows itself, the wireless adapter, or the keyboard or mouse themselves, but it made the experience of using them frustrating. I just plugged in wired items instead and never had an issue.
2. The wireless peripherals themselves. They are minimalist, compact, rounded, and work decently enough. I didn’t really find them dropping connection much if at all, but the keyboard is again, serviceable. Coming from a mechanical keyboard, I found the keys crammed, the lack of any indication lights to be troublesome, and no real easy resting area for my hands short of looking literally at the home row to reset my typing position. Key travel was “ok” with a good press and bottoming but the keyboard itself was pretty compact. The mouse is a more sideways compacted style that you grip, however the scroll wheel and buttons worked fine. I’m nitpicking them also for Reason #1. Again the Keyboard and Mouse aren't horrible by any stretch, just that there are a few qualms I had personally.
3. No HDMI Cable. Look, I get it’s 2018 and those cables are cheap, ubiquitous, and plentiful. But for your average user who may not know they need a spare cable and no indication of this on the box, and only a “Additional cables sold separately” alert in the quickstart guide, this is surprising. You can always pull off one from a TV, Playstation, or cable box but why should an end user have to do this? It turns your $1,400 PC into a nice paperweight while you’re starting at a black screen display. Hope you kept your monitor’s display cable from your previous PC or GPU otherwise you’re out of luck, have to run to the store to buy another, or order it online. I understand the desire for minimalist approaches, packaging, etc., but please Samsung, include a $3 cable so your end users aren’t frustrated! This made setting up the machine a frustrating experience since I personally use DisplayPort to connect my 4K60 monitor and was even fortunate to have an HDMI spare.
Overall Review: I still feel though that for an average user with some multimedia needs who may game lightly, this system is a good value – just keep in mind that it’s NOT designed for 4K, and depending on the title, might struggle on games. I was not able to open the system to find out what if anything is upgradable, however most literature online seems to indicate soldered in place components.
So to wrap, I’m giving this system 4 of 5 Eggs. It does a lot well, but the sheer unresponsiveness of the peripherals during USB load, the general non-ergonomic aspect of the keyboard, and the lack of included HDMI cable despite the ubiquitous of such today (Really Samsung, spend the $3 and include a basic cable) leave this product on third base instead of a home run. Especially for being touted as a purchase, take-home, plug-in-and-go, machine. I didn’t have extra cables around without a search on my end and that literally stopped me, or a potential end-user from even being able to USE their new machine fresh out of the box.
But for all the comparisons I ran and tested, this tiny cylinder merits respectable performance, a good enough gaming experience to have fun, great sound, no thermal throttling, nearly inaudiable acoustics (and when it’s ramped up under load it’s still pretty quiet), and super fast operation due to the NVMe SSD. Kudos to Samsung for making a competitive product in the small form factor space!
Pros: You can expand the hard drive with the press of a button, and twist of the wrist.
I'd give this 20 stars if Newegg allowed. Samsung created this great design.
Love how this can fit just about anywhere well, cause the speaker is built in, and just makes the desktop pc that much better. Can't go wrong with Harman Kardon either. Love the sound from the speaker.
Cons: none that I found. I have seen people online complain about the keyboard, and mouse lagging or having issues, but that could be interference with stuff in your house. Or just faulty. A new mouse and keyboard aren't expensive either.
Overall Review: Definately Recommend. Hoping to see more computers built this way, but with the graphics, and cpu being upgraded the same way as the hard drive. So much faster doing it that way.