Skip to main content

Three Sub-$500 AMD Brazos-Based Notebooks Rounded Up

Mobile Brazos Roundup

During a recent shopping trip to Best Buy, we checked to see if any Brazos-based notebooks were available. We only found only two systems: Gateway’s NV51B08u and Toshiba’s Satellite CS655D. As we looked at the notebook specs, we realized that these notebooks were in a 15.6" form factor. The first shipping netbook that AMD claims under the Fusion banner is HP's Pavilion dm1z. (The Asus Eee PC 1215B is shipping now). When it comes to the price, at least all three notebooks are priced under the $500 mark AMD so badly wanted to conquer.

Brazos has an edge on the competition when it comes to price. However, our desktop preview of AMD’s first Fusion-based product left us a bit disappointed. If you are planning a mini-ITX build, Brazos still feels lacking. It's more of an "Atom Plus" rather than the entry-level Pentium competitor that AMD had us believe. For all of the hype surrounding Fusion so far, the Zacate APU cannot beat a Pentium or Celeron when it comes to raw CPU performance.

AMD's E-350: Dual Core Zacate

However, that’s the desktop space. Mobile is completely different. Remember, an APU includes a CPU and a GPU on a single piece of silicon. This makes more sense for notebooks, where any reduction in the number of discrete components allows for important power savings.

Unfortunately, the mobile market always lags behind the desktop, which is why it has taken us this long to assemble a decent roundup. Now that we have three Brazos notebooks in our lab, we can say that there are a few things that surprised us. When AMD showed off its first Fusion APU in November of last year, we were told to expect thin-and-light notebooks, budget all-in-one desktops, and netbooks. However, this is not the case.

Market Price349.99449.99349.99
BrandGatewayHPToshiba
ModelNV51808udm1zC655D-S5126
CPUC-50 (dual-core, 1.0 GHz)E-350 (dual-core, 1.6 GHz)E-240 (single-core, 1.5 GHz)
Display TypeGlossyGlossyGlossy
Display15.6" WXGA LED11.6" WXGA LED15.6" WXGA LED
Native Resolution1366x7681366x7681366x768
GraphicsRadeon HD 6250Radeon HD 6310Radeon HD 6310
Memory3 GB DDR33 GB DDR33 GB DDR3
HDD320 GB, 5400 RPM320 GB, 7200 RPM320 GB, 5400 RPM
Wireless802.11b/g/n802.11b/g/n802.11b/g/n
USB 2.0332
HDMIYesYesNo
BluetoothNoYesNo
Card ReaderSD/MMCSD/MMCSD
Webcam1.3 MP1.3 MP0.3 MP
Battery6-cell (48 Wh)6-cell (55 Wh)6-cell (48 Wh)
Length15.00"11.38"15.00"
Width10.00"8.63"9.75"
Height1.25"1.25"1.38"
  • tacoslave
    they should have put a larger battery on these!
    Reply
  • matthewspencershell
    I got my acer E-350 for $399 w/ 3gb ram, and 320G hd from hhgreg
    Reply
  • one-shot
    I ordered a Lenovo X120e E350 4GB RAM Win 7 Pro for $529. Lenovo's build quality and matte screen made the deal for me. Personally, I think the DM1Z is hideous.
    Reply
  • hp79
    Yeah, I also had a lenovo x120e. Build quality is excellent on those. I wasn't impressed with the performance too much though. It's was little bit slower than my thinkpad x61t core2duo L7500 which was from 4 years ago. But video playback was really smooth. It played 1080p mkv videos with only 30% cpu usage.

    Since I got my x120e with e-350 for $305, I eventually sold mine for a small profit.

    ---unrelated to the article---
    Toms, please fix the navigation menu!!!
    Everyone that is annoyed at the navigation menu, please vote this suggestion.

    http://feedbacks.tomshardware.com/forums/14581-site-forum-ideas/suggestions/1297969-page-navigation-really-sucks?ref=title
    Reply
  • bobdozer
    The D525 can only go toe-to-toe with the 3-350 if you only look at the results of multi-threaded benchmarks.

    Use the D525 then use the E-350 and you will not go back to the D525 and it will be obvious why.
    Reply
  • juliom
    Impressive how much bias Tom's has these days... E-350 performs quite a bit better than Atom in pure CPU power and don't even get me started on the GPU performance. All in just ONE chip! As much as it hurts you Tom's, Brazos is a much, much better platform than Atom is.
    Reply
  • Strange how the first picture(from AMD) in the conclusion puts i7 higher than BULLDOZER!
    Reply
  • They wont put a large battery nor will they price it lower.Know why ,bcos the blue monster has found a new and novel way to continue its monopoly.
    Reply
  • acku
    9512452 said:
    Impressive how much bias Tom's has these days... E-350 performs quite a bit better than Atom in pure CPU power and don't even get me started on the GPU performance. All in just ONE chip! As much as it hurts you Tom's, Brazos is a much, much better platform than Atom is.

    9512451 said:
    The D525 can only go toe-to-toe with the 3-350 if you only look at the results of multi-threaded benchmarks.

    Use the D525 then use the E-350 and you will not go back to the D525 and it will be obvious why.

    I'll admit that is a bit of stinging indictment. :) Can't we play nice? But I understand the sentiment. I really was after the point that the E-350 isn't all that different from the D525/Ion2 combo. It is better in graphics but in terms of CPU it is probably the closest to SU3700. And to be fair, many applications and tasks we preform on a daily basis continue to be multi-threaded.

    I completely agree that Brazos is much better than Atom, but I don't think it's one of those automatic game changers, unless you're talking about a netbook. Now if AMD wants to completely and utterly destroy Intel in the the low-end market, I say drop the price another $50 bucks. Price per performance is where AMD historically has had an advantage. Remember X2? But right now, the company is benefiting from Intel having not released a successor to Pine Trail. For the netbook market, Brazos is great, but that isn't what is going to help AMD dominate the market. The lack of products in the mainstream mobile space is why AMD fired Dirk Meyer.

    On a side note, I'm a hardware agnostic. That's the way it should always be. I believe in competition and Brazos is delivering it. I just want AMD to bring a bigger fight to the table. They talked so much about Fusion, it's time to deliver. At the moment, I tend to cringe every time Gartner or IDC talks to me about market share.

    I think part of the disappointment is that AMD promised me an epic gunfight and I'm watching two people duke it out with peashooters. Ooo so Ion2 does 9 fps Brazos does 12 fps.
    Reply
  • juliom
    Yes, I also think that Brazos belongs to notebooks and not normal laptops.
    Reply