Nearly a year ago, I received a Samsung Q1 Ultra-Mobile PC for review. I still have it laying around, although it hasn’t gotten much use lately. I tried using it for a while as a mobile TV device when my wife and I go on trips with the kids, but the 1GB RAM and the 4200 RPM hard drive were not enough to keep just about any video from stuttering to the point of unwatchable.
So this Christmas, I got brave, and decided to perform some minor surgery on this underpowered little device. For just about $50, my Q1 now has 2GB RAM, as well as an Intel WiFi Link 4965AGN card. Coupled with a clean install of the Windows 7 Beta, I now have a mobile entertainment system that streams media from my home network, and plays it off the hard drive, with ease. It is also surprisingly responsive to everyday tasks like web browsing and e-mail.
So how did I do it?
If you follow the video, you should be able to get the thing open in relatively short order. The secret is a clip under the VGA access door, and then popping the case over the headphone jack. On my model, the memory was on top, and the WiFi was underneath the mainboard, but YMMV. But be careful, as the Ethernet card is mounted as a daughter card to the motherboard, I’d highly recommend leaving it screwed in. I took mine out, and my wired internet connection no longer works :(.
Windows 7 appears to have adjusted their Windows Experience Index scores (also known as WinSAT) as a result of the Vista Capable lawsuit. You’d never get Microsoft to admit that is the reason, but I’d be willing to bet money that’s why my WinSAT scores dropped half a point for the processor, and a full point for the Intel 945 integrated graphics (which is at the center of the Vista Capable suit). The only thing that stayed the same was my crappy hard drive.
The memory upgrade, coupled with the speed and memory footprint improvements in Windows 7, have FINALLY made my Q1 a pleasure to use. It feels much zippier and responsive, and I don’t have to wait for… well, hardly anything, even at 800MHz.
I’ve started using it as an eBook reader, so that I can take books with me on the go. And with the new HomeGroup built right in to Media Center, I can *FINALLY* use it to watch TV the way I want to. Though you still can’t use it as a full-blown extender, you CAN still watch Recorded TV, without skipping or lagging.
The only thing I’m still not happy with is the hard drive. I think if it had an SSD, it would be far more responsive. I’m looking at getting one of the new ZIF SSDs from RunCore, but now computer upgrades get to compete for attention with the ‘66 Mustang my parents gave their adult children for Christmas (they drive it around the country every few months and let one of us use it… it’s my turn until the spring). Maybe if someone gave me one for review *cough cough* I could report back any improvements. I was also thinking about the cheaper SuperTalent PCIe SSD… but then if I wanted to put in a WWAN card, I’d be out of luck. Hmmm.
But for now, I’m anxious to see if my beefier UMPC will make me any more productive. Stay tuned.