HP announces AMD-powered $899 notebook

Today HP is announcing the Compaq Evo N1015v notebook, and though we don't have a lot of notebook coverage here at TR, this one deserves a little special attention. You see, not only does this notebook feature AMD's mobile Athlon XP processors and ATI's IGP 320M chipset (including Radeon VE-level graphics), it also starts at only $899. Yes, only $899, and don't think this is one of those desknote products that uses desktop parts and doesn't ship with a battery. The Evo N1015v is all notebook, with three hours of battery life to boot.

So what kind of portable power does $899 buy?

  • Mobile Athlon XP 1400+ (1.2GHz)
  • ATI IGP 320M with Radeon VE-level graphics
  • 20GB hard drive
  • 13.3" XGA screen (1024x768)
  • 24X CDROM drive
  • Integrated modem, 10/100 Ethernet
  • Windows XP Home
That's quite a package for $899, especially considered that Windows XP Home is bundled in there as well (the notebooks also officially support Windows 2000). Dell, the current notebook price leader, can match the $899 price point with its Inspiron 2600. With the Inspiron you do get a 14.1" screen (same XGA resolution), but you're stuck with a 1.2GHz Celeron on a 66MHz front-side bus with plain old PC133 SDRAM and Intel integrated graphics. I don't have the two notebooks sitting in front of me to compare, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that the Evo N1015v would have little problem running away from the Dell.

For some, the Evo N1015v's base specs might seem a little weak, but there's a total of eight different configuration options that up the ante to include faster processors, bigger screens, DVD and DVD/CD-RW combo drives, more memory, bigger hard drives, and wireless networking. At the very high end, for $1499, you can get a Mobile Athlon XP 1800+, DVD/CD-RW combo drive, 40GB hard drive, 256MB of DDR SDRAM, and a 15" XGA screen. So, whether you're at the high or low end of the spectrum, you're still getting a pretty good deal.

The Radeon VE-level graphics probably won't satiate even a casual gamer's needs, but I don't think that's going to deter many businesses, educational institutions, or even price-conscious individuals. The way I see it, the only thing you need to really add to that $899 model is another 128MB of memory, which you can do using a free memory slot. With that little upgrade, you'll be good to go with Windows XP and just about any mainstream application.

You may remember that, back in August, AMD landed a spot in Compaq's desktop line targeting education, government and small-to-medium business markets. Now Compaq has a line of AMD-based notebooks aimed at the same market. It will be some time before we know how much of a dent these AMD-powered machines can make in the Intel-dominated business world, but with the Evo notebooks apparently available in the channel and through HP's web site by the end of the week, it looks like they've at least nailed the execution on this one.

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