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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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  • Gigantopithecus - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    "When the internet gave everyone a voice, we discovered how few people were actually worth listening to." Reply
  • Halley - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    In my spare time I enjoy listening to music. Music by youtube - 720 or 1080, please - or by Windows Powerpoint .pps files is better sometimes IMHO. Am I better off with a tablet or with this HP dm1z netbook?
    Reading and replying email must be done, too. Without a keyboard, replying would take more time, I guess.
    Tablets are definitely more portable. It's nice to have both - tablet and netbook - but tablets are too expensive to me. If I can afford, I would have both.
    Reply
  • cyrusfox - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I second this question, is the other mini-PCIe slot msata compatible? Reply
  • nitrousoxide - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I am expecting a Fusion-based netbook with USB 3.0 support, slightly larger screen (12.1 or 13.3 inch) with better display quality and really low noise (as noise is a matter of concern with dm1z), 4GB RAM packed in a form factor lighter than 3.2lbs while charging me no more than USD500. dm1z is not a perfect choice, ASUS 1215B(USB 3.0+overclocking) or MSI U270(USB 3.0) may be better but they are not shipping at this point. One thing I worry about 1215B is upgrade flexibility as 1215N is extremely hard to disassemble so this may be a problem `cuz I want to install an SSD on it. Hope to see more Fusion-based netbook reviews. Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I'm right there with ya... Gimme USB 3.0 plus maybe a slightly larger battery and/or screen and I'm sold, though I'd take 11.6" over 13.3", 12" would be ideal. I don't even care if it's a pain to disassemble, I did it with my 1st gen Acer netbook (to install an X25-V), I don't mind going thru it again if everything else (ports, screen, noise) is ideal. Neither the dm1z (couple of small compromises, and frankly I don't care for the aesthetics) nor the X120 (somewhat overpriced) have struck that perfect balance so until then I'll stick to my current netbook. Reply
  • QChronoD - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Maybe I'm not the typical gamer, but I wouldn't even bother trying to play something that only gets 15 or 20fps on the lowest settings. Looking to replace my old 1.2GHz C2D machine and want to be able to game a little when I have an hour or two between classes.

    I'm more interested in how it scores on some of the older and less demanding games? I would assume that it can play games from 3-4 years ago much better than the ones that you have benchmarked.

    I don't think we'd need exact numbers, but would it be possible to test this level of machine with some older games and just give us a report on whether they ran smoothly at around medium settings? Maybe also test a few of the more demanding flash games, and possibly minecraft.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I'm working on it with the MSI X370... you'll notice the last paragraph on the gaming page mentions additional testing. HL2 runs okay, though EP2 starts to get sluggish. Quake 4 is another title that runs fine. I figure anything from before that time will also be good, so maybe grab the original Deus Ex (with the enhancement mod) while you're at it. :-) Reply
  • QChronoD - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Sorry Jarred, reading comprehension fail on my part.

    Keep up the good word on your reviews.. definitely the best in the business!
    Reply
  • Powerlurker - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    If you're a gamer, you probably wouldn't be looking at a netbook in the first place. The extra graphics horsepower in Brazos is mostly intended for things like video decoding and Flash acceleration. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I looked at this very netbook at a local store, and I saw that it came with 71 services running from the factory. It's such a disservice what OEMs do to machines. I can't imagine any machine would feel responsive with that much running in the background. Though I am impressed with the 7200rpm drive on a netbook.

    Did you do a clean install for your tests?
    Reply

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