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HP Pavilion DV2-1123ax Review

HP DV2-1123ax is my new laptop.  It uses AMD Athlon Neo x2 processor and originally ships with Vista.  This laptop now runs Windows 7 from the HP upgrade program.  The Athlon Neo is not the fastest processor available, however due to their small signature, they are perfect to power small sized laptop and notebooks.  The Neo is much faster compared to Atom and offers a real dual core experience, which is unlike atom that only offers hyper threading.

Anyway buying AMD product means supporting AMD.  I do support AMD, and that is one of my motive to get an AMD powered laptop.

Strength

  • Dedicated ATI video card
  • A good deal
  • Small and lightweight, however solidly built
  • Beautiful styling

Weakness

  • Hot
  • Bad keyboard layout
  • External DVD Drive
  • No expansion bay
  • Easily got dirty

Strength

Dedicated video card

Dedicated video card made better hardware acceleration and contributes to overall computing performance.  Image rendering is a serous task that requires a lot of memory bandwidth.  By freeing up your memory by using dedicated video memory, the memory bus will not get clogged by image data.

Another advantage is the dedicated memory preserves the main system memory.

A good deal

This laptop is a real good deal.  At Rp 7.500.000,00, this HP bundled this laptop with a free external DVD-RW combo drive, free Windows 7 upgrade option, and free printer and laptop bag bonus.  They are valued at Rp 750.000,00, Rp 800.000,00, Rp 500.000,00 and Rp 200.000,00 respectively.  Therefore rendering this laptop cost down to Rp 5.250.000,00 or USD 559.80. 

Small and lightweight but solidly built

Although this laptop is small and lightweight, it was solidly built to HP standard.  It is not the flippy hinges found in most cheaper and lightweight laptop.

The laptop casing is also well made, and even better made than more expensive laptops.  It is solid and rigid and beautifully designed and laminated with glossy coating. 

However I'm not going to punish this laptop.

Beautifully built

I have nothing much to say about this little beauty as beauty comes was judged from people's taste.  However this laptop made a Mac owner envy and wanted to trade her Mac over this laptop. 

Weakness

Hot

The exhaust is located on your left palm rest and as other AMD machines, it gets hot.  Exhaust should be located on the back of the machine, and that is good to have hot exhaust fumes away from you!

Bad keyboard layout

I'm a big fans of using PgUp, PgDn, Home and End button.  I found none of them on my laptop.  My laptop requires me to press fn key before pressing the arrow keys then they works as those buttons.  It was my biggest disappointment from this laptop.

External DVD ROM drive

This laptop uses an external DVD-RW combo drive which gave me quite a hassle.  I have to carry a DVD drive with this laptop and risking of loosing if or leaving it somewhere out there.  Well, the external drive comes free anyway.

PS: HP warned you not to use the DVD drive bundled with this laptop to other computer.  I've tested to use it on my old Hasee (神舟) laptop running Windows Xp SP3, and the external drive worked well with Windows driver.  I guess it will work on other laptop and operating system as well as long as the driver is provided.

No expansion bay

This laptop posses no expansion bay such as express card or PCMCIA, which is bad.  However I saw that there were no spaces left on this laptop, due to its small size.

A little bit story

After opening the package, I've decided to copy my recovery partition to DVD disks.  You must do this when your laptop is new so no virus is going to infect your recovery partition!  This can be done automatically via Recovery Manager software which is preinstalled with the computer.  The recovery partition requires 3 regular 4.7 GB DVD-Rs to backup.  Then I deleted the recovery partition thus saving 10 GB of space.

This laptop comes slow with all the factory installed softwares.  Then I formatted this laptop and do a fresh install of Windows 7, which works swell.  It took me quite a while to reformat this computer, however it is worth the wait as I prefer a clean installed laptop with as few application as possible.  That made my computing simple.

SRS audio in fact worsen the audio quality.  Enabling the SRS audio with my Harman/Kardon SoundStick II made the sound muffled and not crystal clear.  When I switch off the SRS audio feature, then I heard a crystal clear sound from the High Definition sound card installed on this notebook.  Well, this is highly perceptible and every body has a different taste.  It just not my taste to enable SRS audio with the Harman/Kardon SoundStick II.

What is missing from my old laptop

Firewire port, which is not a big deal since I rarely use the Firewire. 

Sluggishness.  My old laptop was very sluggish.  Although it is stable and rarely crashes, it was slow as sloth.  This laptop is a lot more responsive and faster therefore improving my productivity by 10 folds (warning: hyperbolic).

Additional comment

A lot of lights is coming from this laptop.  I find at least 12 LED indicators on this laptop.  I hate it as it wastes the battery!

HP Pavilion dv2 versus Windows 7 64 bit

There is a bug on HP Pavilion dv2's HD Protectsmart driver and Windows 7 64-bit that causes my laptop can't recover from sleep or hibernation.  HP's older driver however gives a fix, and you can find it in sp44320.  You can open that link to download the update, and all the problem is gone!  The fix was suggested by Microsoft update on my computer, and it worked on my case.  I don't know on your case, however I sincerely hope this fix worked.  However I don't give any warranty or whatsoever that it will work on your machine.

Under the slightest possibilities (less than 1% I believe) however your computer might crashes and you will need to reinstall everything.  You should first back up your data before installing this outdate, and do not held me responsible for any loss of data.

An additional notes on this problem, if your Windows 7 computer still fails from resuming standby or hibernation, please open this article on a fix.

One and a half year of abusing the dv2

The dv2 is still performing as good as when it was new.  Battery live is still excellent, two hours 15 minutes after a full recharge.  I'll share how to manage battery later.

Problem with audio port, no sound from the speaker.

HP Pavilion dv2-1123ax BIOS F.28

HP Pavilion dv2 - 1123ax users, if you use a bios prior to F.28 and need an update, here I gave you a copy of my F.28 bios which is not available on HP website.  This bios version 7/01/2010 and is newer than the F.27A bios on the HP website, the F.28 bios I got from my computer which was returned to HP for a fix and returned with F.28 bios.  Then I download? the bios from my computer to rom file, tried to reflash my computer with F.27A and return it to F.28 and it worked perfectly.  Which means this bios is real and safe. 

Upgrading the bios is easy, first you will need to download the F.27A installer from the HP website here.  The applicable operating system is Windows 7.  You will need to choose the OS to suit your need.

The F.27A bios installer is called sp45822.exe.  After the download finishes, just run the file to extract the compressed file from Softpaq and do not update your bios.  Just left the installation open.  Usually the file will be extracted to C:\SwSetup\Sp45822.  You will find 2 sub directories on that directory, called Winphlash64 and Winphlash.  If your operating system is 64 bit please work in Winphlash64, and if your operating system is 32 bit, please work in Winphlash sub directory.  Remove the original bios.rom in that directory.

Now download this file which contains the F.28 bios.  This bios is intended only to use in HP Pavilion dv2-1123ax.  I will assume no responsibility for any problem caused by the bios update process.  Copy the bios28.rom to the Winphlash or Winphlash64 directory and rename the file to 'bios.rom' without quotes.  Now you can run the Winphlash or Winphlash64 executeable inside your working directory.  It should flash your bios and change your bios to F.28 with ease.  No need to worry here as the procedure is generally safe.  You can follow my bios updating tips here if you need more information.

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