CES: HP unveils new AMD Turion-based multimedia notebooks

New home media notebooks feature upgraded AMD chip

Hewlett-Packard Co. said it plans to announce tomorrow new consumer notebooks that further its support for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Turion mobile processors at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

HP's new dv8000 and dv5000 series notebooks are already available for purchase on HP's Web site, said Kevin Wentzel, technical marketing manager for notebooks at HP. They are available with a new Turion ML-44 processor from AMD as well as older versions of Turion, AMD's most recent attempt at cracking Intel Corp.'s dominance of the notebook market.

AMD had a notable 2005 in its long-running battle against the world's largest chip maker. But while AMD has made gains at Intel's expense in the server and desktop market, it has found less success eroding Intel's notebook market share. Notebook PCs are the fastest-growing segment of the PC market and are expected to overtake desktop shipments in the coming years.

Turion is based on the same 64-bit Direct Connect architecture used by AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron chips, but it consumes less power in order to keep notebook batteries running as long as possible. However, Intel is expected to unveil its first dual-core mobile processor this week at CES that should allow the larger chip maker to keep the mobile performance lead during the first part of the year.

HP already offers several Turion notebooks, but the 17-in. dv8000 series and the 15.4-in. dv5000 series represent the PC maker's latest efforts to encourage notebook users to embrace the PC as a home entertainment device, Wentzel said. Both notebooks are available with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP Media Center Edition as well as a television tuner that fits into an Express Card slot.

PC makers enjoyed success this year selling stripped-down Windows Media Center PCs in 2005 that did not feature a TV tuner, but HP believes consumers are now ready for the full Media Center experience, Wentzel said. Including a TV tuner allows users to record TV content to their hard drives, much like TiVo Inc.'s popular set-top box, he said.

The widescreen displays on each notebook can display high-definition content from DVDs or HD broadcasts, Wentzel said. Optional HP Ultra Brightview technology improves the screen brightness for a clearer and more defined picture, he said.

Neither notebook will make it out of the house very often. The dv8000 weighs 8.1 pounds, and the dv5000 weighs 6.6 pounds. Both are available on HP's site, but they will also be available in retail configurations, Wentzel said.

A base configuration of the dv8000 series costs $1,099, after a $50 mail-in rebate, with AMD's Turion ML-32, 512MB of double data rate (DDR) Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM), a 60GB hard drive, ATI Technologies Inc.'s Radeon Xpress 200M with 128MB of video memory, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, an integrated 802.11g chip and Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition. Windows XP Media Center Edition costs $49 extra.

The dv5000 series starts at $724, after a $50 rebate, with a low-end Sempron 3000+ processor, 256MB of DDR SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, ATI's Radeon Xpress 200M with 32MB of video memory, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive and XP Home. The Media Center operating system costs $49 more, and consumers need to cough up an additional $25 for integrated 802.11g wireless.

HP, like many PC vendors, is expected to support Intel's dual-core processors later this week at CES in Las Vegas. Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini is expected to unveil the chips during his keynote address on Thursday.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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