2020 15" Samsung Galaxy Book Flex [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 1909 [itsage]
After returning the 2019 Razer Blade Stealth due to a hardware defect (vertical bands on display), I've been looking for another Ice Lake host laptop. My plan was to get the latest MacBook Pro with Ice Lake CPU. Apple played it safe with the same design and 13-inch display so I decided to skip on it. What I found instead was from a company I did not expect at all. Samsung released the Galaxy Book ultrabook lineup that seems very competitive. The version that's available with an i7-1065G7 CPU was the 15-in Galaxy Flex 2-in-1, finished in a deep blue color.
Being a 2-in-1 ultrabook, the Galaxy Book Flex has touchscreen and comes with a Bluetooth stylus called S Pen. It has its own slot next to the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right side. The left side I/O consists of headphone jack, USB-C (3.1 gen 2), and microSD slot. I'm especially intrigued by the QLED display Samsung uses in this laptop. In the past couple of years I have been a fan of Samsung QLED TVs, most favorite is the FRAME TV series.
Other accessories in the box were the 65W USB-C power adapter, 2x pen tips, USB-A to USB-C adapter, and manuals. The AC adapter can be accommodate different mobile devices too with other outputs set at 45W, 27W, and 15W. I didn't get to use this charger yet because as soon as I had the laptop opened, it was connected to the AORUS RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box (100W Power Delivery).
2020 Galaxy Book Flex – i7-1065G7/Iris Plus Graphics iGPU/12GB RAM/512GB SSD
Installation was straight forward but there were stability issues in terms of GeForce driver versions. The laptop kept freezing while running with the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti eGPU. I tried older versions and eventually found 431 to be most stable. I concluded this was a driver issue because the Gaming Box behaved the same way with another laptop. The Galaxy Book Flex comes with one of the newest NVM FW versions I've seen, 76.0. Samsung set Thunderbolt 3 security the same way as Mac computers, no approval of Thunderbolt devices needed.
Next check was TDP setting on the CPU. Unfortunately it's at 15W. While I have not opened the back cover to check the cooling system, this laptop has been running very cool and quiet so it explains Samsung's primary focus. Other unusual finds were the 12GB total RAM and the use of an Intel 660p NVMe 512GB drive in a Samsung laptop.
AIDA64 confirmed the performance advantage Ice Lake provides for eGPU applications. Prior to this, Nvidia eGPU through Thunderbolt 3 connection could not reach higher than 2,2XX MB/s for H2D. There are two Integrated Thunderbolt PCI Express roots. They provide a direct x4 PCIe connection to the CPU.
I ran Blender benchmark, Unigine, and 3DMark. One thing I encountered was a refresh rate cap at 60FPS when running the eGPU through internal display mode. I checked V-Sync, power mode in GeForce Experience, and other settings but couldn't figure it out. Then I found a Compatibility mode that disables fullscreen optimizations. This was the culprit that caps FPS.
|Internal Display Mode||FHD External Monitor||Ultrawide External Monitor|
I've never used a Samsung phone or laptop before and I have to say I'm impressed. The build quality is excellent. The QLED display did not disappoint. Putting the Galaxy Book Flex next to the 2019 16-in MacBook Pro showed a stark contrast. This ultrabook also has an outdoor mode which Samsung claimed crank the brightness from a max 400 to 600 nits. One more thing that's a cool feature is wireless charging of compatible devices through the track pad. Simply pressing FN and F11 buttons switches the track pad into a charging pad! At $1,399 retail price, the 15-in Galaxy Flex 2-in-1 is a very good value.
Lovely unexpected build this. But man, an Intel SSD in a Samsung laptop - that's the news here haha.
"Desultory reading is delightful, but to be beneficial, our reading must be carefully directed." — Seneca
Author: kryptonite ✧ purge-wrangler ✧ tbt-flash ✧ purge-nvda ✧ set-eGPU
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@mac_editor, Unless Samsung factories are producing those NVMe drives for Intel, I don't see why they didn't use their superior drives in their own laptops.
It's refreshing to try a completely new brand of laptop, or any product really. The QLED panel is not the same as OLED but it's definitely better than other laptop panels I've used. The bloatware Samsung included is not great but they provide a great value in this laptop.
Isn't Intel 660p cheaper than any Samsung SSD? I have a 2TB 660p in a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 enclosure because of the low price/GB. It's fast enough for 10 Gbps USB but isn't the best performer for NVMe.
@joevt, I agree Intel 660p series is one of the most affordable NVMe x4 drives on the market. With the vast portfolio of solid state products, I would imagine Samsung can source its own drive with comparable cost and better performance. Here's the ATTO screen cap of the 512GB Intel 660p drive in this laptop.
I also tested the memory slot with a Samsung Evo Plus 64GB U3 microSD card. This very memory slot supports UFS memory card which has read speed up to 500MB/s. My plan is to get one of these newer memory cards and install Windows on it. That would free up the M.2 socket for ADT-Link R43SG adapter testing.
Wow, those benchmarks really differ from your setup with the Razer Stealth, especially the 3DMark ones? https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2019-13-razer-blade-stealth-10th4cu-rtx-2080-ti-32gbps-tb3-gaming-box-win10-1903-itsage/
While the processor is the same, so they both have the on die TB controller; I would've expected them to be more in line. But this of course being a 15 inch model, maybe the secret is in the cooling? I wish there were more 15 inch models with the 1065g7 but the Samsung Flex is not available here in Europe.
The biggest model I found with a 1065g7 is the Acer Swift 5 (SF514-54GT-..) which is a 14 inch... I'm really in a bind, is it better to take a 15 inch with a U, or maybe an H processor, or go with a thin and light with a G processor, which could mean crappy cooling :(. Maybe the crappy cooling can be improved with a laptop stand with fans in it.
@kevin_smets, The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex does seem slightly better regarding those benchmark numbers. Keep in mind the 3DMark tests are not the same except for Port Royal. I have another host laptop that I will post a build soon, LG Gram 17. The one I have is unfortunately not equipped with the Ice Lake CPU. It is however a remarkable ultrabook. If I can choose only one laptop, the LG Gram 17 with i7-1065G7 would be the one.
1) In the NVIDIA Control Panel, Manage 3D Settings > Global Settings Tab > Power management mode: Prefer maximum performance
2) Added two vales to the registry (both DWORD):
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers + TdrDdiDelay = 20 (dec)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers + TdrDelay = 10 (dec)
This resolved the freezing issue I was encountering, and allowed me to remain on current drivers.
Oh, and my Galaxy Book Flex came with a Western Digital NVMe disk (SN730 SDBQNTY-512G-1004), instead of the Intel one yours had. So I guess they are just going with the cheapest supplier? Who knows.