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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  • motomen2 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I am also hoping for a review of the Thinkpad x120e! I am a previos owner of a Thinkpad and if it stacks up well against this one, I plan to buy it.

    Any news on this front?
    Reply
  • JumpingJack - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I thought netbooks were considered to be screen sizes 10 inches or less, this is a bit large to be a 'netbook'. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    "Netbook" seems to be as much in relation to performance as size. There are 12 inch units that can't be considered anything but netbooks given that they use the same internals, just a little larger. So basically if you are looking at an 11.6" screen and Atom, it is a netbook. If it is an 11.6" screen and a C2D, not a netbook. Reply
  • mgl888 - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Thanks! Been waiting for this one to get reviewed!
    Can't wait for mine to arrive. I can tuck away my N270 Atom. w00t!
    Reply
  • AmdInside - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    At this point in time, I would only be interested in this netbook if I was a college student and couldn't afford a notebook or if I was just too poor to afford a notebook but needed a portable PC for some reason. The netbook craze has died since the iPad. I tried to like netbooks last year but either they were too expensive (and thus approaching notebook pricing) or just too limited. The iPad fill the void I had with a netbook. I just have no desire for this or any other netbook. Reply
  • mgl888 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    It really depends on what you use the device for.

    For me, an ultraportable (not an iPad) like this fills the gap between my desktop and my smartphone. There's no point for me to get a tablet because an Android tablet/iPad would simply be a repeat of everything I can already do with my phone on the go.

    I would not choose a 14"+ notebook because it's just too bulky to carry around and the battery life is usually not as great. I've tried Atoms, but yes they are too slow for my taste. Fusion, on the other hand, fits my taste almost perfectly.

    It would be nice to have better CPU performance and perhaps a slightly larger screen, but this is as close as it gets right now. Perhaps Llano will strike on target?
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    The first half of the pricing link "Starting at $4" goes to cyberpowerpc, not hp. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks, fixed... and the HP shopping link works properly as well now. Reply
  • Aone - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I would appreciate if the auther have used the proper terms.

    Netbook, as it was introduced by Intel, is 10" box. HP DM1z has 11.6 screen and that is the big difference.

    If AT wants to compare AMD's offering with Intel's one in proper manner i.e. in netbook space he should take C-50 but not E-350. Do it and you feel the big difference!
    Reply
  • cyrusfox - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Markets change and so do terms, Intel didn't create the term by the way. Been around before atom or Asus. They gained the most recognition through the intriguing asus eee 700 and its successors.

    See wiki excerpts below:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netbook

    "The generic use of the term "netbook", however, began in 2007 when Asus unveiled the ASUS Eee PC. Originally designed for emerging markets, the 23 × 17 cm (9.1 × 6.7 in) device weighed about 0.9 kg (2 lb) and featured a 7 in (18 cm) display, a keyboard approximately 85% the size of a normal keyboard, a solid-state drive and a custom version of Linux with a simplified user interface geared towards netbook use."

    "In the short period since their appearance, netbooks have grown in size and features, now converging with new smaller, lighter notebooks. By August 2009, when comparing a Dell netbook to a Dell notebook, CNET called netbooks "nothing more than smaller, cheaper notebooks," noting, "the specs are so similar that the average shopper would likely be confused as to why one is better than the other," and "the only conclusion is that there really is no distinction between the devices.""

    So you can be like engadget and others and call it a notbook if you choose, everything a netbook should be(peppy/versatile with the battery life and size of a netbook).
    Reply

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