© iFixit Business | June 14, 2011

Samsung Chromebook carries USD 332.12 BOM

Besides serving as the first physical example of Google’s new vision for computing that puts less emphasis on PC hardware in favor of the cloud, the Series 5 Chromebook from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. sports attributes commonly found in a full-featured notebook, writes IHS iSuppli.
Including a high-quality 12.1-inch display, a full day (8.5 hours) of battery life, a new dual-core Atom processor, 2 gigabytes (GB) of memory and a 16GB solid state drive, the new Chromebook carries a bill of materials (BOM) of USD 322.12. When the USD 12.20 manufacturing cost of the Samsung Chromebook is added in, the total cost to produce the device rises to USD 334.32.

Motherboard leads the price parade

The motherboard is the most expensive subsystem of the Chromebook, at USD 86.37, or 26.0% of the device’s total BOM. The major cost driver for the motherboard is the main memory supplied by Samsung Semiconductor, consisting of a 2 GB Double Data Rate 3 (DDR) SDRAM.

The motherboard also features a dual-core Atom N570 processor from Intel and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for computing security from Infineon Technologies—a component seen more often in enterprise-level computers, but not so much on value computing devices.

A bright display entices

The Samsung Chromebook features a 12.1-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) with improved light-emitting diode (LED) backlight technology that achieves 300nit brightness. Made in-house by Samsung, the display has a pixel format of 1280 by 800 pixels and a 16 by 10 aspect ratio. At USD 58.00, the display is the second most expensive subsystem after the motherboard, accounting for 17.5% of the total BOM.

Longer-life battery

Samsung also chose to invest on an all-day, 6-prismatic cell battery pack—a component that takes up nearly two-thirds of the total volume of the Chromebook. The 7.4-volt lithium ion polymer battery is sourced from Samsung SDI and carries a cost of USD 48.20, or 14.5% of the overall BOM.

Parsing out the 3G Module

Coming in fourth in terms of cost is the global 3G wireless wide area network (WWAN) module from Hon Hai Precision Technology of Taiwan, consisting of a quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM, a quad-band HSPA/UTMS and a dual-band CDMA. To keep its costs down, Samsung elected to use an older Gobi 2000 baseband platform from Qualcomm, the IHS iSuppli Teardown reveals. All told, the 3G WWAN module comes to a cost of USD 42.85, or 12.9% of the total BOM.

Figuring in other components

At USD 40.45 or 12.2% of the BOM, the other mechanicals and enclosures, including the keyboard assembly and touchpad assembly, take up another sizable share of cost.

The other costs in the BOM include:

A 16GB solid state disk (SSD) for storage, at USD 28.00, or 8.4% of the total cost. Ironically, the drive was sourced from SanDisk and not from Samsung’s own internal line of flash memory and SSDs. Most likely, Samsung did not have an SSD of equivalent capacity, and the company wanted to keep overall BOM costs low by supplying an acceptable, but not overly large, storage capacity.

The peripheral printed circuit board, which contains the Wi-Fi and PC camera modules, coming in at a cost of USD 17.85, or 5.4% of the BOM.

The box contents, which include an AC power adapter and other accessories, costing USD 10.40, or 3.1% of the total.

Note: The table presents the preliminary BOM estimate of the Samsung Chromebook by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Service. Note that the BOM assessment accounts only for hardware costs, and does not take into consideration other expenses such as manufacturing software, licensing, royalties or other costs. / © IHS iSuppli
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