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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  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    There was a 200 post thread on slickdeals that showed how you could get this notebook for around $400. Some people were even getting it under $400. I dont know if you still can though. Reply
  • Wieland - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    It's definitely not available anymore, but I was lucky enough to jump on while it lasted. I got one for $352.99 including taxes and shipping after cashback with no payments due for six months through BillMeLater. I finally have a replacment for my Travelmate 8006lmi. Reply
  • jrs77 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Can you load a copy of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and see if it works?

    I'd rather not have a bloated OS like Win7 on a netbook.
    Reply
  • MrVeedo - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    i thought i read the dm1z was shipping with ddr3 1066 memory? does the platform indeed run at 1333? Reply
  • xavier78 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    HP lists the webcam as VGA, not 1.3MP. Do they now offer that as an option to upgrade? Reply
  • Quixote One - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I agree that the new Brazos version of the dm1z is a slick little machine. The deal-breaker for me is the lack of the most current, higher-speed data-transfer interfaces -- an especially egregious omission in a netbook/"notbook"-class machine without an on-board optical drive. Other machines in this class have had either USB 3.0 or eSATA ports (and often both) for a year or more now as pretty standard features.

    If HP rolls out a follow-up model at around the same price point with at least one or the other (and hopefully, a less dismal screen), I'm there in a heartbeat.
    Reply
  • darkhawkff - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I think you're seriously mistaken on many comments here. I don't see this AMD Brazos platform as being any better than what's been out for a year plus.

    HP Mini 311 does as well as this netbook does, and it's been out for well over 1.5 years now. How is this a step up?

    Just a word of advice, look at the whole netbook scene before making an article. Even the Asus 1215N is similar in performance in most respects. There again, how is this giving people the 'netbook they've been waiting for'? It isn't. It's a side grade from AMD, if you don't like the evil powers of Intel/NVidia.

    Plain and simple, stop leaning towards AMD. The only real advantage I see, is the price. It's probably a little bit cheaper than the Intel/NVidia solution, which you barely make mention of.

    Overall, I see this article as a "Look what AMD did! You should buy it!", when comparable performing machines have been around for quite a while (my Mini 311 cost $700 1.5 years ago....when this was cutting edge).
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    The last bit you said in brackets is why this is a notable machine. Netbook performance that cost $700 just 18 months ago is now $449 (or ~$400 on some slickdeals post) thanks to integrating all the discrete components that were needed on that platform (CPU/northbridge/southbridge/PCIE bus/graphics chip). Battery life also benefits greatly from this as you would expect

    Apparently the netbook segment isn't as slow-moving as everyone thought!
    Reply
  • darkhawkff - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I think you missed the point. We could do this 18 months ago, and still achieve the same relative performance. Yes, it cost more 18 months ago, but that's how technology works. As time progresses, prices decrease for the same performance. The idea though, was that Fusion would be a big increase in netbook performance. So, where's my increase? It's not there, and thats the point. This article made it seem like this was an increase compared to whats out there. It's not, which is my point. Another thing of note, Ion is based on the 9000 series NVidia chips, so Fusion (ie 5400 series product) is only comparable to a 4 generation old competitor? As I said, the article makes this sound as if it's a new and exciting product. It's new, but it's not exciting, and it doesn't increase performance. The only thing this has going for it, is price. If NVidia could put a chipset out for Ion, this would be irrelevant when it comes to 'netbook performance'. Plain and simple. Reply
  • joe4324 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    its not cheaper even, ION on a 11.6" screen was $399 16 months ago... This is coming out at the same price I thought? Reply

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