HP rolls Turion into updated notebook product line

HP introduced several new notebooks Tuesday, including three new models with AMD's Turion chip.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) updated its slate of consumer notebooks on Tuesday, bringing Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD's) Turion mobile processor to several models ahead of one of the more important PC-buying periods.

AMD's Turion chips are now available on notebooks in the Pavilion ze2000 series, the Compaq Presario M2000 series and the Compaq Presario V2000 series, an HP spokeswoman said. HP's first Turion notebook was the HP Special Edition L2000 PC, introduced last month as part of a benefit for cyclist Lance Armstrong's cancer-fighting foundation. The company also announced plans to refresh its other notebook families in time for the third-quarter back-to-school shopping season.

Turion is AMD's answer to the success of Intel's low-power Pentium M processor. The Pentium M, coupled with Intel's Centrino marketing campaign, has given Intel a dominating presence in the market for portable notebooks that AMD is just now starting to address with Turion. Turion is a 64-bit chip, unlike the Pentium M, but early reviews from chip enthusiast sites have given the Pentium M a slight edge on performance and battery life.

HP now offers Turion on three of its nine consumer notebook product families, which is the largest show of support for AMD's mobile technology from a major PC vendor. Notebooks are the fastest growing segment of the PC market, and that growth is expected to remain strong in the second half of this year, said Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis with NPD Techworld in Reston, Virginia.

With nine different product families, the plethora of choices available to consumers can be confusing. But HP is trying to do a better job of identifying which technologies are best suited for a particular category of home users, Baker said. The company has increased the number of options available for price-conscious buyers, giving them more powerful configurations at more affordable prices, he said.

The hot spot in notebook pricing right now falls between US$600 and US$1,200, Baker said. "When you look at it, in those price zones there's really no reason to buy a desktop," he said.

The starting prices for the three new AMD-equipped product families all fall within that range, but those systems usually feature AMD's Mobile Sempron processor, a less powerful chip. However, upgrading to a Turion chip on the Compaq Presario M2000Z notebook costs just US$75 more than the notebook's starting price of US$729 after rebate, according to HP's Web page.

The AMD models are available immediately on HP's Web site, and new configurations of HP's other notebooks will become available over the rest of the month, the HP spokeswoman said.

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