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New HP Pavilion laptops add optical drives, AMD processors

The latest updates to the HP Pavilion line feature a move away from thin-and-light design, and an infusion of AMD processor options.

The HP Pavilion dm4. HP

Remember "thin and light?" The idea almost seems like a 2009 concept nowadays, as many manufacturers seem to be shifting back to more old-fashioned mainstream machines that emphasize optical drives over system weight. The newly announced lineup of HP Pavilion laptops, covering a wide range of models, was notable for not offering anything slimmer than the Pavilion dm3 a sleek thin notebook we reviewed and liked quite a bit. That system had no optical drive, but the new HP Pavilion dm4 adds one back in despite being under an inch thin. An etched metal chassis and new wider clickable touchpad evoke design echoes of the Envy series more than ever.

The HP Pavilion dv5. HP

The dm4 has a 14-inch LED display, dual-core Intel standard-voltage processors (meaning no quad-core i7), optional discrete ATI graphics, and up to 640GB of internal storage, with a starting price of $729 once it's available for sale on May 19.

Meanwhile, the Pavilion dv5, dv6 and dv7, also with a more Envy-esque overall appearance, come with the additional option of AMD Vision processors or Intel's Core i-series CPUs. AMD CPUs should offer a more affordable bottom line for the Pavilion dv series, as that seems to be the motivating factor in a lot of the AMD-oriented laptop releases we've seen recently. (HP is also adding AMD processor options to the above-mentioned HP Pavilion dm3 model, too, but not the dm4.)

The somewhat confusingly named dv5 actually as a 14.5-inch screen--part of HP's attempt to combat the fractional confusion of many current laptop screen sizes--while the dv6 has a 15.6-inch screen. The dv7 comes with a more logical 17-inch screen. As for storage capacities, the dv5 and dv6 can expanded up to 1TB, while the dv7 can go to 2TB.

The dv5 and dv6 models both come in black cherry, champagne, and Sonoma red, or an additional brushed aluminum for the dv6. Both come with Altec-Lansing speakers and processor options that go up to quad-core. The dv6 also has an optional touch screen, the first on a regular Pavilion laptop.

The HP Pavilion dv7. HP

Higher up the laptop food chain, the Pavilion dv7 has a higher range of discrete graphics, and adds a built-in subwoofer. Dolby Advanced Audio or Beats Audio can be configured in, giving this laptop even more in common with its Envy cousins.

All three dv5, dv6 and dv7 models will also be available starting May 19, with starting prices at $649, $699 and $849 respectively.

Read about HP's other new laptops from the Envy and ProBook lines here.