HP Debuts Turion-powered Multimedia Laptops

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Hewlett-Packard has taken the wraps off its new widescreen dv8000 and dv5000 Pavilion notebook computers, which the company has built around AMD’s Turion mobile processors and is positioning as multimedia systems designed around home digital entertainment.

The new dv8000 notebook is available with the AMD Turion 64 mobile ML-44 processor, while configurations of both the dv8000 and dv5000 are available with earlier versions of the Turion line. AMD’s Turion CPUs are based on the same Direct Connect 64-bit technology present in the company’s popular Opteron and Athlon 64 chips, but streamlined to consume less power. However, AMD hasn’t been as successful at eroding Intel’s marketshare in the notebook arena as it has been amongst desktop and server configurations; Intel is expected to up the ante again this week at CES with the introduction of dual-core mobile processors (which HP is also expected to support).

The dv8000 and dv5000 systems, however, are a slightly different breed of notebook: rather than being aimed at road warriors who crave portability, ease of use, long battery life, and a large number of integrated features, the new Pavilion systems are geared towards home entertainment and digital media. Neither system is particularly lightweight – 8.1 pounds for the dv8000 and 6.6 pounds for the dv5000 – but they’re available with Windows XP Media Center Edition and feature HP’s QuickPlay technology for playing music or movies without having to boot the entire notebook, built-in LightScribe disk-labelling technology for all those home-burn efforts, and dual lamp BrightView screens for improved contrast. HP is also offering an Express Card-based TV tuner so users can view (and record) their favorite shows.

Bruce Greenwood, HP’s director of product marketing for their North America Consumer Computing division, said, “HP’s media center notebooks deliver an incredible mobile digital media experience, similar even to some desktops today, and AMD enables us to offer customers a truly differentiated system based on the latest technology.” Dave Mendlen, director of Windows Consumer Marketing at Microsoft, added. “Consumer demand for Media Center PCs is really taking off,” said “AMD recognizes this and is building on their success with Media Center desktops to create another win for consumers by powering Media Center notebook PCs that enable them to enjoy their favorite digital entertainment anywhere.”

Time will show whether demand for note-so-portable media-focussed notebooks is really out there. The base dv8000 configuration is priced at $1099 (after mail-in rebate) and features 512 MB of RAM, the Turion ML-32, a 60 GB hard drive, the ATI Radeon Xpress 200M video controller with 128 MB of video memory, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive, and integrated 802.11g wireless networking. Several upgrades are available, and the dv8000 also sports two drive bays for a total potential storage capacity of 240 GB in two 120 GB drives. The base dv5000 starts at $724 (again, after rebate) offers a Sempron 3000+ CPU, 256 MB RAM, a 40 GB drive, the ATI Xpress 200M with 32 MB video memory, and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive.