There's no doubt about it. After its debut in upscale laptops earlier this year, Sandy Bridge is now clearly catering to the unwashed masses. As CNet News reports, Best Buy has started carrying a Sandy-powered HP notebook that's priced at a scant $349.99.
One might be fooled into thinking the HP Pavilion g4-1104dx's 2GHz Pentium processor is based on previous-generation silicon. However, the mention of Intel HD Graphics 3000 suggests otherwise. A quick look at Intel's ARK database confirms the existence of a processor with corresponding specifications: the 32-nm Pentium B940, which has two cores, two threads, a 35W thermal envelope, and integrated graphics clocked at 650MHz (or up to 1.1GHz via Turbo Boost).
The HP notebook itself is equally noteworthy, if only because of its surprisingly well-rounded set of specs. It packs a 13.4" 1366x768 display, 4GB of RAM, 320GB of 5,400-RPM mechanical storage, a DVD burner, a six-cell battery rated for 4.25 hours of run time, and Windows 7 x64. Not half bad for 350 bucks, huh? Of course, we wouldn't call this the most lightweight or slender notebook in the world—Best Buy mentions a 1.2" thickness and a weight of "5.5 lbs or less."
Folks dying for a cheap Sandy Bridge ultraportable may get their wish soon enough, too. If you'll recall, Intel has quietly introduced a handful of low-speed, low-power, and low-cost mobile Sandy derivatives over recent weeks. I wouldn't be surprised to see those CPUs land in sub-$500 thin-and-lights.