HP drops price of popular Pavilion DM1 laptop to $399

HP also now offers faster AMD E-series chips in laptop

Hewlett-Packard upgraded the popular Pavilion DM1 laptop and also lowered its price as the company shows that business continues as usual amid efforts to sell or spin off the PC unit.

The DM1 comes with an 11.6-inch screen and is now priced starting at US$399. The DM1, introduced early this year, is one of HP's best-selling laptops and was most recently priced at $449.

The laptop will run on new Advanced Micro Devices E-series chips, which includes the CPU and graphics processor on a single chip. The chip offerings include the dual-core E-300 and E-450 chips, which draw up to 18 watts of power and run at 1.3GHz and 1.65GHz, respectively.

HP will also for the first time offer Intel's low-voltage Core i3 chip, with laptop prices starting at $599, said Kevin Wentzel, technical marketing manager at HP. However, users have to buy an external DVD drive with the Intel-based laptop. Buyers will not immediately have the option to buy the laptop without the drive, though the company may rethink that.

"At this point, this is just the way the product has been structured," Wentzel said.

The laptop otherwise includes minor improvements from its predecessor that make it easier to use. HP has tweaked the taskbar and start menu in Windows 7 to make commonly used programs such as Skype easier to locate. The six-cell battery fits into the laptop's chassis, which is an improvement from a cylindrical battery that jutted out. A six-cell battery gives the laptop a battery life of around 9.5 hours. The laptop weighs 3.53 pounds (1.6 kilograms), which is a bit heavier than its 3.46-pound predecessor.

HP in August said it would exit the PC market as it focuses on the higher-margin enterprise business. HP prefers to spin off the division, and has launched a publicity campaign that pitches it's PC division as a "$40 billion startup." The company has said it will continue to meet its support and warranty obligations on PCs sold.

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