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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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  • Dex1701 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    So...typing reports is the only advantage a netbook has over current-generation tablets? I can't see how someone could think that's true unless the only thing they use a computing device for outside of work is basic web browsing or MP3 listening. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    What about those tablet-laptop hybrids? For on-the-go computing, I still would like something more powerful than Atom level performance.

    From looking at 2 generations of Atom, I think the problem with x86 is that whenever the architects target low power, they reduce the performance so much that is is no longer a good experience with Windows.

    The reason I am 'hyping' up tablets is that it gets rid of the Windows OS altogether. (Another reason why I think Windows 7 slates and tablets are going to be DoA). The moment consumers see Windows, they expect a minimum level of performance which is sorely lacking in the Atom class CPUs.

    Btw, I would like to get an idea of how much the nettop / netbook market has gone down since the hyped up 2008 days... I don't even see Intel's CedarView getting much coverage now.. It is probably going to be restricted to embedded SKUs.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Don't forget that a big problem with Atom netbooks is that the inexpensive models most people purchased only had 1GB RAM, which is simply not enough for Windows 7 (or Vista) -- though it was "okay" in XP netbooks. The HD 6310 is about 10X (20X even) better than the GMA 950/3150 in Atom, and the E-350 is more than twice the speed of single-core Atom (and still 50% faster than dual-core Atom in most cases). Heck, Vivek even has a C-50 model in hand and I played with it briefly yesterday. It certainly felt faster than netbook Atom, even at 1.0GHz (but I'm not sure if it has 1GB or 2GB).

    The problem is, in ditching the Windows OS you also ditch all of the applications made for Windows. If you're on a smartphone or tablet, I can understand that. Move to a full laptop, though, and even if netbooks are slow I'd still rather have my standard applications and not dumbed-down (or non-existent) versions. Brazos is really what the second generation of netbooks (after the first Eee PC with the old 600MHz underclocked Celerons) should have been. Atom was a bad design (because of the crippled IGP) from the start, and all it really succeeded in doing is giving a lot of people a really poor impression of netbooks.
    Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    "Windows 7 slates and tablets are going to be DoA"
    No they won't. Or rather, weren't. Because they've been out and about for years now, and though not a huge success, they aren't dead either. They've been a niche product because the performance just wasn't there before, and the price was high, but time improves both of those aspects.

    Today, finally, a tablet convertible, or maybe even better a pure slate combined with a wireless keyboard with a touchpad can have a great performance and run Windows and all the apps and games for it quite well, at an affordable price. Once such a device is released, it will spell the end of all non-windows "tablets" that can only run cell-phone applets.

    Take as an example the HP tm2. Performance wise, it was great for its time: a decent CULV CPU way above anything Atom; a great dedicated graphic card on which I've played WoW and EVE Online and Civ V and whatnot; switchable with the integrated intel crap for great whole-day battery life; both finger and pen-enabled touchscreen by Wacom. It wasn't without disadvantages of course, mainly the terrible screen viewing angles, touchpad buttons and a weight a bit on the high side, at least for holding in one hand in tablet mode. But these could be easily overcome now, all while also improving on the good sides that it had. I can't wait for it's update, it will be a great hit.

    I feel windows tablets and slates are up for a good increase in popularity in the next couple years.

    You're right for one thing though, I don't mean devices that are using Atom. Not when low-voltage variants of real CPUs are so much better.
    Reply
  • Conficio - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I own a Windows convertable laptop and I tried to use the tablet portion about for two weeks. The most annoying thing? Each orientation change needed to recalibrate the stylus, so switching between laptop mode and tables was a 1 min exercise. Teh second annoyance. The character by character hand writing recognition, did three characters correctly just to fould the eintire word after the forth. And character correction is a pain.

    And I also realized that you can't just translate the Winodw smoue oriented UI memes into good tablet UI gestures.

    So yes it was dead and I have not heard of any revival of Windows tablet capability.
    Reply
  • Dribble - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Have you actually tried to use windows 7 touch interface? Basically you have to use a pen - it's pretty well unusable with fingers. Even then windows is really designed for mouse+keyboard - anything less and it gets hard to use.

    Given a slick designed-from-the-ground-up to support tablets OS/UI that will be these new android/mac tablets there's no comparison. They will both be very easy to use, feel fast and be dead quiet.

    The windows ones will feel slow (despite having much more processing power), be much harder to use, and be noisy (tablets with no spinning HD and no fans are just so nice in comparison to even a *quiet* windows box).
    Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    So you want a tablet rather than a netbook but you also want something more powerful than Atom?

    Think you need to sit down and think through just what it is you do want.
    Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    You need to stand up and get acquainted with reality. As I posted just above you, a 12" tablet with something more powerful than Atom and even a dedicated graphic card already exists. Meet the year old HP tm2. Reply
  • nitrousoxide - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Try get a tablet below USD 500 that can play 1080p video, do word editing, play modern 3D PC games at medium or low settings(but way better than those on an iPad) before saying that netbook is out of the game. Reply
  • pja - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    "With the tablet craze about to take off following the year of the iPad, I am not even sure people want to throw away their money on anything so anaemic and running Windows..."

    Well I for one considered an iPad and perhaps a wait for an Android alternative but when the rational side of my brain took over I found that I could not justify the cost (AUD1,000 + for the 64 Gb iPad with no phone in Australia). Instead I got myself a Toshiba NB550D which is similar to the HP above (Brazos C-50 rather than E-350 and smaller screen but bigger than an iPad).

    The Toshiba is half the price, has a similar form factor (when folded), uses the same operating system as my desktop PC _AND_ runs all the same applications as my desktop so the new machine learning curve is NIL!

    I'm more than happy with my Windows 7 based anaemic netbook! At least its not just a toy or fashion accessory, it can actually do real work while I'm on the road.

    Regards,
    Peter
    Reply

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