HP Mini 311 — Specifications

We begin as usual with a look at the specifications and design of the HP Mini 311. Most of the features found on current netbooks are standardized, but the Mini 311 does bring a few extras to the table. There are also different Mini 311 models, ranging from 1GB of RAM to 3GB RAM, Windows XP or Win7, and HDD size as well as an SSD option. Here's the rundown.

HP Mini 311 Specifications
Processor Intel Atom N270
(1.60GHz, 512KB L2, 45nm, 667FSB)
Intel Atom N280
(1.66GHz, 512KB L2, 45nm, 667FSB)
Memory 1x1024MB DDR3-1066 onboard
1 x SO-DIMM slot supporting up to 2GB RAM
(Max 3GB total)
Graphics Integrated NVIDIA ION LE
(~GeForce 9400M without DX10)
Display 11.6" Glossy LED-Backlit 16:9 WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 2.5" 160GB 5400RPM 8MB
2.5" 250GB 5400RPM 8MB
2.5" 320GB 5400RPM 8MB
2.5" 80GB SSD (Intel)
Networking Wireless 802.11g or
Wireless 802.11n
Bluetooth (Optional)
Audio Realtek 2-Channel HD Audio
(2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 6-Cell 10.8V, 4910 mAhr, 53.028 Whr
Front Side None
Left Side HDMI
1 x USB 2.0
Heat exhaust
AC Power connection
Kensington Lock
Right Side SD/MMC/MS Pro/xD reader
Microphone/Headphone combo jack
2 x USB 2.0
Back Side None
Operating System Windows XP Home SP3
Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Dimensions 11.4" x 8.03" x 0.78-1.20" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.22 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Webcam
Optional External USB DVD or Blu-ray drive
Warranty 1-year standard HP warranty
Price Base configuration starting at $399
Test system priced at $635

The mini 311 uses an 11.6" chassis and LCD, similar to the Acer 751h. There are some nice upgrades to your typical netbook, however, like an HDMI output. We've seen HDMI on other netbooks in the past (like the ASUS N10Jc for example); is it a coincidence that both netbooks had graphics from NVIDIA? Nope. Without a faster GPU to help with video decoding tasks, 1080p video output would be difficult at best.

The N10JC is actually an interesting point of reference; it uses the same N270 CPU and it was available for $650 about a year ago. The HP Mini 311 should offer similar performance without the need to switch between discrete and integrated graphics (with a required reboot in between). Pricing has also dropped relative to the N10JC; the base model Mini 311 costs $400, and you also get a 1366x768 LCD and an 11.6" chassis. LCD quality (contrast ratio) is unfortunately not as good as the N10JC, but battery life is similar. If you liked the idea of the ASUS N10JC last year but didn't want to spend $650, $400 today will get you a similar configuration. We mention this because we liked the N10JC so much that it garnered our Gold Editors' Choice award; can the HP Mini 311 do the same?

Going along with the HDMI port and video decode acceleration, HP offers an external USB Blu-ray/DVDR combo drive. The drive is actually quite nice and matches the shiny exterior of the Mini 311 (which means it attracts fingerprints as well as anything). It draws power over the USB cable, so you don't need an external adapter, and what's more it only costs an extra $130. Certainly that isn't cheap, but getting an internal Blu-ray combo drive on most laptops will cost that much if not more.

The remaining features on the Mini 311 are pretty standard: three USB ports, VGA output, and a flash reader. HP also uses a combination headphone/microphone jack, which means you can't connect both at the same time. The base model includes 802.11g networking (802.11n is an upgrade, as is Bluetooth support), and while the NVIDIA ION chipset includes gigabit Ethernet support, HP goes with a 100 Mb PHY. (Boo! Am I the only one that likes gigabit Ethernet even with netbooks?) The battery is a 6-cell 53Wh unit, which should provide decent battery life. HP claims up to six hours, and we were able to match that claim albeit only in the idle battery life test.

NVIDIA was kind enough to provide the Blu-ray drive along with the Mini 311, so we can take a look at performance and battery life with Blu-ray playback later. NVIDIA also provided a few upgrades relative to the base model. Our test system also came with Windows 7 Home Premium and 2GB RAM (1GB onboard and a 1GB SO-DIMM). The minimum cost for the Mini 311 is $400, but our test system comes priced at $630. Along with the extras just mentioned, we got the N270 CPU, 2GB DDR3, 160GB HDD. That price is basically the same as the ASUS N10JC, but the lion's share of the added cost of course goes to the external Blu-ray drive.

Index HP Mini 311 — Design
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  • takbal - Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - link

    I turned the net upside down to find some comparisons in gaming with Acer AS1410 vs ION. None found, although there are plenty of videos on youtube about the ION-powered Samsung N510, showing games which look perfectly playable, while there are barely any for the 1410 or the 1810.

    And then came the surprise: the only comparable benchmarks I found were for Doom 3, where the N510 is said to have around 28 FPS while the 1810 had about 12 FPS, although it was with the SU3500 CPU. N510 costs £380 here while the Acer 1810TZ costs £430. Twice the performance is pretty good for less the price, isn't?

    So whatever the specs on paper, probably the reality is that GPU-limited games are perfectly playable on ION, and having a CPU 2x-2.5x stronger usually counts less than having a stronger GPU. It would be nice to see clear and I hope you will do a fair heads-on comparison on games in that upcoming article.

    And exactly what does the 2x more powerful CPU helps? Video encoding is something I never do on the move. If I really-really need to, I can just simply remote into my quad i7, and I do it quicker than anything here. Actually, the review at http://www.rgbfilter.com/?p=1923">http://www.rgbfilter.com/?p=1923 says about the 1410:

    "When officially benchmarked, the Core Solo SU3500 is about 20 percent faster than an Atom N270 at 1.6GHz, but ‘real world’ it felt about the same."

    If I add to this that N510 has bluetooth, matte screen and a much better keyboard imho, until somebody shows strong arguments against, my vote is currently for the ION.
  • takbal - Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - link

    Some more found with 3DMark03. Sources:

    Acer 1410 SU3500: 1529
    Acer 1810T SU7300: 1543

    and the dual-cores seem to perform worse as they are lower clocked.

    Compare it the N510's result which is 3470, more than 2x better.

    You may hate Atom, but looks like that for gaming ION wins hands-down over current CULV platforms. For other purposes, I am fine until Atom can play all videos, run a text editor, office apps and remote desktop, which it does. Oh, and add decent Linux support, too.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 3, 2009 - link

    3DMark is NOT a game. At all. Sorry. I include is mostly because the earlier versions in particular are great "theoretical gaming" benchmarks -- they show what the GPU can do when CPU performance isn't much of a factor.

    The reality is that many games do a lot of work on the CPU. There are games that don't run acceptably on a 1.3GHz dual-core CPU (Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Call of Duty World at War...) and that CPU is still more than twice as fast as Atom. As you can imagine, that makes Atom very questionable on all but the least demanding games, even when paired with ION.
  • CZroe - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    "The HP Mini 311 is one of the first netbooks to ship with NVIDIA's ION platform. The question everyone's... "


    "The question everone's [asking]" is, where is the question? ;)

    This is gettting ridiculous. Anandtech has had truncated opening statements for as long as I can remember with no continuation inside the article. If you can't fix it, stop typing up opening statements that don't fit!
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    You'd need to look at the "Mobile" tab to get the full abstract. Here it is:

    The HP Mini 311 is one of the first netbooks to ship with NVIDIA's ION platform. The question everyone's asking is: does ION improve the netbook experience? The answer is yes, but there are other questions we still need to address.
  • rwrentf - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    I don't know why the review sites seem to be ignoring this (I can't find a decent review anywhere), but what about the HP Pavilion dm3z? The specs I've been able to find specify a 4-5 hour battery life, 13.3" display, Radeon 4330 graphics (on the high end, but low end is still Radeon HD 3200), 7200rpm hard drive options, and a dual core AMD Athlon X2 Neo processor. There's a sweet system for $650 AR at the egg (just search for dm3 - 4GB, 320GB 7200rpm, and Radeon 3200 graphics). If you're already talking about close to $500 for this HP netbook, it's not a lot more, and it sounds like it would be enough for me to retire my real notebook. Please review it if possible.
  • rwrentf - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    If you go to Amazon you can get just about the same machine (with Windows 7 home) for $550
  • noquarter - Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - link

    I'm curious to how well these Ion netbooks handle popular MMO's, specifically World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online, any chance to test those and maybe Eve?
  • zxc367 - Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - link

    i want gigabit ethernet too! 100bit fails!
  • Roy2001 - Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - link

    And what's the point to watch HD movies on a netbook? 18fps with 800x600 and lowest quaility for game, that's a joke. 18fps == 0fps.

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