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
POST A COMMENT

108 Comments

View All Comments

  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    11.6" is close enough to netbook size that I have no issues calling it a netbook. I typically call 11.6" to 13.3" ultraportable, 10.1" and smaller netbook, 14-15.6" laptop, and 16" and larger notebook. However, notebook and laptop are almost terms that reflect the entire category of mobile computer, and netbook can just as easily mean "slower, smaller, and with good battery life" as it can "less than 10 inches". Reply
  • The Crying Man - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    I thought 10" and under was a Microsoft restriction with regards to which edition of Windows OEMs could install. In the case of netbooks, they could only install Starter. Which is why I think HP, in another review, insisted that this isn't a netbook. Reply
  • Zoridon - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I bought my wife a ASUS 1000HE about 2 years ago. It came with a atom 280 1.66 ghz processor, 160 gig hard drive, intel onboard graphics and 1 gig of ram for about $380. It had a 10.1 inch 1024x600 screen and bluetooth. My compliants were many and I tried to warn her it would feel slugish after loading xp, antivirus, itunes, and whatever else she found to install. It will now serve as my bitorrent client machine because thats all its really good for, or watching whenever I find myself on a plane.

    Complaints:

    1. Screen does not quite fit an entirew webpage so I have to scroll = wasted time
    2. No gaming ability what so ever
    3. Lack of flash support
    4. Sluggish windows performance once you get a few programs running

    This system blows it away in every aspect. Battery life is almost as good,

    1. duel core processor that is 50 percent faster per core.
    2. twice as much ram or triple as HP has offered
    3. Modern windows OS
    4. twice the hard drive space and not 5400 rpm
    5. flash card reader built in
    6. The screen is over an inch and a half larger with enough pixes to fit an entire web page
    7. full size keyboard
    8. Easy access to inner parts for do it yourself upgrades (RAM, Hard Drive)

    All in all this is a hell of a improvement. If I were in the market to buy a computer for mobile use right now I'd buy this in a heartbeat. I can't wait till they go to 2nd generation and upgrade the processor speed to at least 2 ghz and incrementally improve the graphics and add USB 3. Did I mention bluetooth 3.0? I may even suggest the Army take a look at these systems for the SIPR machines (Secret) since we are not allowed to use uptical drives on those systems anyway. MIght as well remove them and have admins have some externals handy for a case by case need.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    well at least it is available now in some EU parts.

    large consumer electronic vendors offer now the dm1z with 3gb ram and 320gb hd for approx 380eur, not that bad at all.
    Reply
  • Arnulf - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    "Jarred's working on some additional gaming tests for his E-350 review"

    Once again I implore you to run some older game titles (from 2005 or thereabouts) that Fusion should be able to run at satisfactory FPS rates. Pick the titles that you used as your benchmarks back then so that your readers can see what's actually playable on Fusion platform.

    Sub 20 FPS scores in modern games mean nothing (except to masochists perhaps), you've made it clear Fusion is incapable of running any modern game so please take some more time to show us what it *CAN* run.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    And dont forget League of Legends. (max settings) Reply
  • pafnucy - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I have waited for Anand's review of dm1z with anticipation. I am quite disappointed, honestly.

    1. dm1z ships with HP CoolSense application for balancing noise vs temperature of the system. By wiping the HDD clean and then complaining about the fan noise the reviewer not only displays laziness but also disinforms the readers.

    2. Other websites mentioned that the HDD performance is underwhelming. Here, the reviewer instead of running e.g HD Tune for 5 minutes just assumes that it's fast because it ships with a fast drive. For an entirely new platform, especially one that cuts corners to achieve low power consumption, it seems crucial to be wary of potential performance problems.

    3. The entire review doesn't even mention sound quality. Are the Lantec speakers any good? What about the audio chip? Is it a part of the platform or something entirely different? 92HD81B1X does not tell me anything at all.

    4. The whole point of Fusion on netbooks was to provide a way of using GPU cores to accelerate certain applications and not to play games. And there are more and more application capable of taking advantage of that. What about testing for example Firefox 4 beta (http://hacks.mozilla.org/2010/09/hardware-accelera... CPU usage numbers when video (flash or h264) is played wouldn't hurt either.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Sorry, but several of your points are not accurate. We do not generally do clean installs on laptops; we uninstall useless programs (you know: McAfee, Norton, TrendMicro, and the various tools that don't do anything other than delay the boot speed and pop up at annoying times). The default install was tested, but probably without the HP Support Assistant active (I find that "tool" rather annoying, just like the Lenovo, Dell, etc. equivalents). It was found to be somewhat noisy compared to other laptops, but I've asked Dustin to check results for temps/noise with CoolSense active.

    As for the HDD, sure, a WD Black is underwhelming relative to SSDs, but compared to the 160GB and 250GB 5400RPM drives found in most netbooks, I can guarantee it does better. HD Tune is a nice synthetic test of HDD performance, but it's not going to cover everything. Finally, this is our first Fusion laptop, and we're working on reviews of others; I'll take a look at some of the other elements you mention in point four in the future. But I can say that 720p Flash video works fine (I haven't checked 1080p yet).

    Dustin will have to respond to the sound comment, but if it's like other laptops I've used I expect it is at best serviceable. Anyway, thanks for the feedback; I wish HP would have put the CoolSense into the BIOS rather than in a separate software tool.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately I no longer have the unit on hand as I had to send it back.

    That said, the sound quality seemed pretty decent but you have to remember these are laptop speakers: if speaker quality isn't explicitly stated it's reasonable to assume it's the same middling laptop audio we've come to know and tolerate.

    If other websites are underwhelmed by HDD performance, I honestly don't know what would placate them other than an SSD. As far as mechanical drives go, the Scorpio Black is among the fastest. I actually did do some testing on a clean install of Windows and I was amazed at just how snappy the dm1z actually was.
    Reply
  • chiadog - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    So the netbook we've been waiting for is too thick, too heavy, and too slow. No thanks. I like the old HP mini's more than this. I rather carry a real notebook at this weight than a half neutered computer. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now