HP Pavilion DM1Z Review

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Specs:
CPU: AMD Zacate 1.6GHz Dual Core
Memory: 2x4 GB Allcomponents Memory
HDD: On Video Seagate 320GB 7200 RPM
*Boot time reference 128GB Samsung PM800
Video: HD6310 APU
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Screen: 11.6 inch LED display
Price: Base system $428 free shipping w/o taxes
Total with upgrades: $670 with taxes.

I’ve owned the HP Pavilion DM1Z now for two weeks. During this time I’ve managed to use it under various conditions. I’ve used it as a word processor, as an MP3 player, as a video player and as a gaming unit.

This is AMD’s first outing incorporating video and processor under one microchip. The result is a chip that is able to run everything without the need for more cooling and more battery use.

Currently, the Zacate e-350 uses 18 watts. This is while running at 1.6 GHz dual core and a GPU Clock of 500 MHZ. The GPU has 80 cores too, which enable it to render 1080p HD content without much hesitation.

The chipset, which is nicknamed Bobcat, is not meant to be a processing or rendering beast, but instead a chip that can combine every day processing, while also being able to be used as a multimedia device.

The processor has the capability to decode H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 with hardware acceleration. It also supports STS-HD MA bitstreaming over HDMI and Dolby TrueHD. This makes the Zacate more capable than Intel Atom processors when incorporated in a multimedia unit.

The one drawback, currently due to Adobe Flash and the Zacate architecture, is the ability to cleanly run Flash video at 1080p. Some people are experiencing lag when running video in full screen and when using the HDMI out on their screen.
What happens is that the CPU cores get maxed out trying to render the video and the video comes out choppy. Something AMD is aware of and is currently working with Adobe to fix.



The HP Pavilion DM1Z:
The laptop itself is a nice looking laptop. It has a glossy outside shell with a footprint design.
The feel of the laptop is sturdy, with a well-built chassis. I couldn’t find any parts that raddled or any gaps in between components.
The netbook does not come with a DVD/CD player. You will have to purchase that separately.

Keyboard:

The Chicklet styled keyboard has become a big deal ever since Apple popularized it on the laptops. Coming from an IBM x61s and a MacBook Air, the keyboard is solid. It’s a full-sized keyboard with minor inconvenience. I do miss the END, HOME and Page UP and Page Down keys. Something IBM was able to implement on their X series.
The keyboard has dedicated multimedia buttons on the top. Rather than looking for the function keys to make the screen dimmer or brighter, they are just assigned. The same thing can be said for the Multimedia control buttons. I would like to see these buttons control other multimedia devices/players on the background. Currently, they only control Windows Media Player, but I use iTunes to catalog my music. The only way to go to a next track is by pulling up iTunes and then pressing the NEXT key, which defeats the purpose.

Mouse/Track Pad:
Though not as good as a MacBook, it is pretty good. However, I’m noticed that sometimes while typing if my hand goes over the trackpad it can cause the pointer to move. This can be a problem if you are typing away without looking at the screen.
You can use two fingers to scroll up and down on a page and also make a page larger or smaller.
Overall, an improvement over the regular trackpad, but I wish it was better thought out.

INPUTS: 3 USB 2.0, HMDI, 1 headphone jack, SD card reader, Kensington Lock
On the right side of the netbook there is a Memory card reader, a headphone jack, 2 USB 2.0 inputs, and a networking cable jack capable of 10/100/1000 speeds.
The cover design for the network adapter is awful. To fully access the adapter you have to lift the laptop a bit on the right-hand-side and move the cover. Some manufactures do not cover the network adapter, but HP did.
On the left hand side of the device there is another USB 2.0, an HDMI input, the fan outtake Kensington lock hole and the AC adapter.

Screen:
The screen is truly beautiful. The 11.6” HP BrightView LED display runs at 1366x768 with a refresh rate of 60 Hertz.


As per the picture, I have 3443 MB of Available Graphics Memory and 384 MB dedicated to video. This is partially due to the scaling based on the amount of memory in the system.

Graphics:



This is what one of the things that makes this processor/APU unit so unique. In computing power the E-350 compares to Intel Atom processors; however, when it comes to rendering graphics the chip is more than capable. This is where the difference between the Atom processor and the Zacate start. Rather than separating the work load on an integrated or dedicated GPU the e-350 does it all without dividing the workload.
The APU is capable to run Team Fortress 2 on default screen resolution. The settings were also set on High and I got an average of 30 FPS and a high in the 40’s.
It is also able to handle Starcraft 2 at default resolution on Medium settings.
With an external USB Blu-Ray player, the DM1Z is able to play content at 1080p without hesitation.

Webcam:
The laptop comes with a Logitech made camera and special effects software. The camera is 1.3MP. However, beware that as soon as you try to do a fresh install of Windows you will lose the FX software.

Speakers:
The speakers are supplied by Altec Lansing and are Dolby Advanced. Though it's something most people will not pay attention to it does make a difference while listening to video and music. The speakers are very loud and sound great for a machine so small. In fact, I can say they are way better than a MacBook Air's 11.6" speakers.

Memory:
Currently the DM1Z is only able to work in a single channel capacity. It also works at a maximum speed of 1066. So there is no need to get 1333 memory or worry about dual channel capability.

HDD:
Sadly, the DM1Z is not able to take full advantage of a solid state drive’s (SSD) speed. The controller is limited in speed and is something most users are hoping is upgraded by software patch or a BIOS update.
The Samsung PM800 boots up the system in 39 seconds from system boot up and 51 seconds when it connects to the Wi-Fi.

Battery:
The HP website states battery life is 9 hours. With the Wi-Fi on and screen set at 60% brightness it is more like 6 hours and 46 minutes.
If you have Skype on you are looking more at 4 hours of battery life.
While viewing pages with Flash you are looking at about 4-5 hours of battery life.
With the SSD drive, Wi-Fi off and screen set to the lowest viewable option I did get about 9-10 and a half hours.

Conclusion:
This is perhaps one of the easiest netbooks/notebooks to upgrade. As per the video all you need to do is take out the battery and lift up the plastic bottom. This should be a sign of how easy it is to deal with this machine.


For $427, this mobile computer is able to handle 1080p video, game TF2 on high, and Starcraft 2 on medium settings. The DM1Z is definitely on top of the list. Not to mention that at base price it is still still cheaper than its Lenovo and Sony counterparts.

New AMD E-350 Drivers from AMD HERE


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