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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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  • ganeshts - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Not only is AMD late to the party, it is trying to come in after closing time!

    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...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Boo! Down with the naysayers! I'm honestly not really interested in tablets. They're fun gadgets to show things to people, but typing on them sucks. Add a separate keyboard, and now you're lugging around a laptop equivalent (that's still slower than any netbook, only with a somewhat optimized OS).

    Brazos finally makes netbooks viable as an overall computing platform. 7+ hours of battery life, performance that's substantially better than Atom (particular Atom on its own), and a reasonable cost. Maybe you'll get some decent HTPC setups with Brazos now... though honestly, I think for serious HTPC stuff like you test, you'll need something clocked quite a bit higher than the E-350's 1.6GHz.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I concur, I'm not interested in tablets running a mobile OS and ARM either.
    I've actually got myself a convertible netbook running Windows 7, I use it more in a laptop mode than a tablet mode.
    I've got friends with an iPad and they say crazy things like: "It's changed my life!" (Really? It's just an over-sized iPod.)

    The annoying part about Tablets I find is how bloody awkward they are to hold when you are sitting at something like a table where they can't hold themselves up and typing is well... Slow.

    I say bring on Fusion, more performance at the low end is a good thing, just wish these manufacturers would start putting decent screens in mobile PC's.
    Reply
  • mgl888 - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    +1

    Tablets feel more like amusement devices at the moment. Without a keyboard and your standard applications, you really can't get much "work" done.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    A 5 inch tablet is so much more carryable and hence useable than a netbook, it's not even funny. The only netbook that really is worth any consideration is the insanely priced sony Z/V/P? series...the one with the 1600x768 screen.
    Cheap computing isn't really worth the trouble...
    And as long as I need a separate bag to carry my on-the-go computer, it's really a no-go.
    Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Eh? A 5 inch tablet is almost insignificantly more usable than my 4 inch phone. It is redundant. Reply
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Actually, 5 inch is quite a bit larger than the 4" phone. It is the largest universally pocketable size I found, and I actually have a non-smart-phone (S40 based) so that some software issue won't shut me out from telephony (bodged firmware update still did exactly that even on the S40....) and so that I wont have to hold a giant screen thing to my ear, and have access to my organizer/internet while on the phone....
    Plus, my 5" tablet has suport for keyboard via bluetooth or usb, it has a mini-hdmi output which goes up to 720p, all of which is quite hard to find on a 4" phone.
    And the screen surface is almost 50% larger. (20% in the diagonal should be 44% of the area) This makes reading much more comfortable. Also, the relaxed size and lack of 3G allow a higher power envelope for the SoC resulting in better performance.
    Reply
  • acsa - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Amusement? It is very annoying to hold a tablet all the time during playing, movie watching, browsing, reading while sitting on any comfortable furniture. Even a 5 lbs brick on the lap is better. But even for sharing anything with others (also working thogether), while sitting at a desktop, a "standing-up" netbook/notebook is still much more comfortable. Of course, the are specific areas where the interface itself is very useful but at recent stage of software services I don't see many. And partial it is useful for portability if you have a lot of other luggage always carrying with you by foot. But that's again rare. Maybe where lack of cars and public transport is significant ;) Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Until "pickable" apps are written for tablets, they won't really do much. The issue is whether developers will figure out how to data model "pickable" apps. RDBMS will do that, but most developers aren't smart enough. Reply
  • Powerlurker - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    That's probably true, but I don't see how that's too big of a problem. Most consumers don't go home and type reports in their free time. Reply

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