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Introducing the HP dm1z

HP's been on board AMD's ultraportable bandwagon since the chipmaker first shipped the underwhelming Congo platform, and HP continued to produce reasonably compelling not-quite-netbooks with the Athlon/Turion II Neo-equipped Nile platform. But now that AMD has made a concerted effort to dethrone Intel's Atom with Brazos, HP has been able to produce a true netbook competitor. We have the shiny new dm1z equipped with the AMD E-350 in our hands: is this the netbook we've been waiting for?

HP has refreshed their dm1 line with AMD's Fusion APUs, but what else does their shiny new netbook bring to the table?

HP dm1z Specifications
Processor AMD E-350
(2x1.6GHz, 40nm, 1MB L2, 18W)
Chipset AMD Hudson FCH
Memory 1x2GB DDR3-1333, 1x1GB DDR3-1333 (Max 2x4GB)
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6310 IGP
(80 Stream Processors, 500MHz core clock)
Display 11.6" LED Glossy 16:9 1366x768
(AU Optronics B116XW03 Panel)
Hard Drive(s) 320GB 7200 RPM
(Western Digital Scorpio Black)
Optical Drive -
Networking Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Realtek RT5390 802.11b/g/n
Ralink Motorola BC8 Bluetooth 3.0+HS
Audio IDT 92HD81B1X HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Headphone+mic jack
Battery 6-Cell, 10.8V, 55Wh battery
Front Side Altec Lansing speakers
Left Side AC adapter
Kensington lock
Exhaust vent
Indicator lights
HDMI
USB 2.0
Right Side SD/MMC reader
Headphone+mic jack
2x USB 2.0
D-SUB
Ethernet jack
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 11.42" x 8.43" x 0.8"-1.2" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.52 lbs
Extras 1.3MP webcam
Flash reader (MMC, SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo)
Altec Lansing speakers
Warranty 1-year limited warranty
Pricing Starting at $449
Priced as configured: $449 (at time of writing)

The most interesting thing about the HP dm1z, right off the bat, is that it's the first netbook we've reviewed to feature AMD's Fusion APU, and HP equips the dm1z standard with the most powerful one in the lineup. The AMD E-350 comes with dual 1.6GHz Bobcat cores, 1MB of L2 cache (no L3), along with a Radeon HD 6310 GPU integrated into the processor die. The HD 6310 is more or less an on-die Radeon HD 5450, with 80 DirectX 11-class stream processors in AMD's VLIW5 configuration and clocked at 500MHz.

The E-350 features a single 64-bit DDR3 memory channel capable of supporting up to two DIMMs for a total of 8GB of RAM. The whole shebang has a TDP rated at 18 watts, which may seem like a lot until you remember the IGP is built into the processor instead of the Northbridge, and instead of having a Northbridge+Southbridge combo as is traditional for AMD, the E-350 requires only the Hudson FCH, a tiny chip that includes just enough SATA, USB, and PCI Express connectivity to get by. Besides, TDP isn't the same thing as actual power requirements—18W looks to be close to the maximum the APU can draw.

Given the small form factor of the dm1z and its intended market, HP is actually fairly generous in its stock configuration. At the time of writing, HP offers a "free upgrade" from the base 2GB of DDR3 and 250GB 7200RPM hard drive to 3GB of DDR3 and a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive; this is the configuration you're most likely to see in retail. The Western Digital Scorpio Black is pretty fast for a mechanical drive, too, so it's nice to see HP step up and offer this 7200RPM drive as standard. Connectivity is handled by Realtek Gigabit and 802.11b/g/n wireless networking along with a Bluetooth 3.0-capable Ralink chipset. About the only complaint we really have on this front is the lack of a separate microphone jack, but that's relatively small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

The Swankiest Netbook You Ever Did See
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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Funny thing is that I even reviewed something like that:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2503/2

    $2000 ($2600 with a 1st-gen SSD) and you were still saddled with Intel's GMA X3100. Look at the performance scores in 3DMark03-06 and PCMark05; heck, it even has Cinebench 10 results in there. So today you get roughly the same performance as the old Core 2 Duo U7500, with six times the graphics performance, and about twice the relative battery life, all for one-fifth the price. That's a pretty good advancement for only three years!
    Reply
  • swaaye - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I think that in a 11.6" form factor you can do better. With this thing you're plunking down a good amount of money for some very basic performance. and GMA X3100 is not that much of an issue for most people. But if price is all that matters, sure this is a decent choice I suppose.

    I'd rather see Brazos used in a 9" netbook, myself. Really take advantage of its low power consumption and heat output.
    Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    You can, but not for 449 USD. Rember Atom netbooks costs as much if not more when they come with W7HP and Crystal HD accelerator. Especially if you want a bigger battery then some anemic 3-cell. There's even no need to special order this (bto). If you go down to ridiculous small batteries, there's literally not much of a point of it. If you want something like a ULV or normal Core i5 in it you will have to pay 250 USD just for the CPU, add 40 USD for chipset. Add in TFT-panel, motherboard pcb and associated components, wireless, hdd, battery, keyboard, touchpad, memory and case(charger etc) and it's already at about 750 for the cheapest possible configuration. Probably 800 in real world. I.e another product. Built in support for basics (today) such as H.264 and H.264 flash video acceleration is key here. Not that you almost can game on it. It replaces the dualcore higher end atom netbooks and makes them obsolete. With this setup your high-def online videos works, no matter if it's flash or netflix Sliverlight. Not so much on netbooks with atom, even with the Crystal HD accelerator. Adobe has real problems with those kinds of platforms till they have moved over to a real video oriented workflow like they are trying to do with stage video api. It solves todays needs.

    Hell it's even fast enough to do high res software decoded H.264 with CoreAVC. It's pretty important because you can't always muck about and reencode files and reencoding files takes a long time.

    This is about filling and meeting the needs of the low-end. AMD can keep TSMC busy with these I suppose.
    Reply
  • swaaye - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I just dumped a HP 12.1" from 2009 which had a Turion Neo X2 1.6 GHz (faster than Brazos) with a discrete Radeon 3450. The Turion was not exactly snappy and the 3450 was pretty sad overall. It was passable yes, but not really impressive. I got it as a factory refurb for $450 but they retailed for around $800. Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    There's a couple of differences. Brazos supports more instruction sets as well as a faster IMC (albeit single channel). The performance difference should be slight, if anything. Reply
  • swaaye - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    According to another look at Brazos here on Anandtech, an Athlon 64 X2 at 1.5 GHz can be over 20% faster per clock in some applications. That's not slight. Sometimes they are similar, but then other times you see 20% slower which is quite ugly. A 1.5 GHz Athlon 64 X2 is already very slow. Reply
  • swaaye - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    I shouldn't have said per clock. The comparison was an Athlon 64 X2 1.5 GHz vs. Brazos 1.6 GHz. Reply
  • fshaharyar - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    The build up to the fusion was very good. But I'd like to say they late by 6 months to the party.

    If they had intrudoced this product to the market 6 months back it would have stolen the Intel thunder and their would have been a huge shakeup in the netbook market.

    But still not taking anything away from their success we will see better alternatives in the mobile market with this teck piece.

    AMD will have ensure that they refresh there current gen proc. every 8-9 months.
    with regards to their GPU refresh as well as plan their CPU strategy.
    Reply
  • Hal2011 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    NBS=No Glossy Club

    Would love a new, little portable but waiting till manufacturers figure out that glossy screens are absolute crap. They are only there to hide the poor screen quality and to look good in the shop. Even on a cloudy day outside the local coffee shop, you still only look in a mirror. Hey, a mirror is more portable if I needed one! A small notebook is made to be used all over the place but these can't. Am I the only one?
    Reply
  • cosmotic - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    "The only thing that hurts about using the dm1z, really, is the amount of bloatware it ships with from HP."

    "The only major dents in the dm1z's armor are the poor screen and constantly running fan."

    "The only fly in the ointment is that while the E-350 is a step up, it's a long overdue one and it's not quite the huge one we needed." … "but we don't need more cores in the E-350; we need faster ones."

    Sound's more like three problems instead of one.
    Reply

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