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HP has quietly begun selling budget laptops powered by AMD Mendocino processors. These are AMD Athlon and Ryzen-branded chips that combine Zen 2 CPU cores with Radeon 610M integrated graphics featuring two RDNA 2 GPU cores.

Designed to bring decent performance to low-cost laptops, the chips are also powering notebooks from Acer, Asus, and Lenovo. Now HP is also offering several laptops with Mendocino processors.

HP Laptop 15-fc0047nr

As I discovered when I reviewed Acer’s first laptop with a Mendocino processor, the Zen 2 CPU cores deliver the kind of performance you would have expected from a mainstream laptop in 2021, but at a lower price point.

While the Radeon 610M integrated GPU uses the same RDNA 2 GPU architecture as the chip in Valve’s Steam Deck, these chips have just two GPU cores, making them a poor fit for gaming (unless you plan to stick to older or less demanding games).

But Mendocino processors are still bringing a higher level of performance to the budget laptop space than we’ve seen in a while. Not all Mendocino chips are created equal though: Athlon-branded chips feature fewer CPU cores and lower burst frequencies, for example. Here’s an overview of the Mendocino lineup:

ModelCPU Gen & nodeCores / ThreadsBase / Boost CPU freqCacheGraphicsRAMUSB4TDP
Ryzen 5 7520UZen 24 / 82.8 GHz / 4.3 GHz6MBRadeon 610M
(2 x RDNA 2)
Ryzen 3 7320UZen 24 / 82.4 GHz / 4.1 GHz6MBRadeon 610M
(2 x RDNA 2)
Athlon Gold 7220UZen 22 / 42.4 GHz / 3.7 GHz5MBRadeon 610M
(2 x RDNA 2)
Athlon Silver 7120UZen 22 / 22.4 GHz / 3.5 GHz3MBRadeon 610M
(2 x RDNA 2)

As for HP’s Mendocino-powered laptops, I’ve found several different models available in the US so far.

17.3 inch

The HP Laptop 17z-cp200 is a 17.3 inch notebook and a choice of AMD Athlon Gold 7220U or Ryzen 3 7320U processors. While it has a list price of $500 and up, this model is currently on sale for $330 and up.

HP Laptop 17z-cp200

Just keep in mind that the entry-level configuration is pretty basic: you get an Athlon processor, 1600 x 900 pixel display, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of PCIe NVMe storage and support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2.

But you can pay extra to upgrade to a Ryzen 3 processor, 1080p display, up to 1TB of storage, and up to WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

All models of this 17 inch laptop weigh 4.6 pounds, have a 41 Wh battery, and feature 5 Gbps USB Type-C and Type-A ports, a headset jack, and an HDMI 1.4b port.

15.6 inch

HP has at least two different 15 inch laptop models with Mendocino processors. The HP Laptop 15z-fc000 sells for $460 and up, with the starting price covering an AMD Athlon Silver 7120U processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of PCIe NVMe storage, 8GB of RAM, a 1366 x 768 pixel display, and support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3.

Upgrade options include support for up to a Ryzen 5 7520U processor, up to a 1920 x 1080 pixel display, and up to 1TB of storage.

HP Laptop 15z-fc000

The laptop weighs 3.5 pounds and has a 41 Wh battery, a 65W power adapter, and a 720p webcam with a privacy shutter and a mic mute key.

The HP Laptop 15-fc0047nr is similar in most respects, but this model is only available in one configuration for the US market at the moment: pay $500 and you get a 15.6 inch notebook with an Athlon Gold 7220U processor, a 1366 x 768 pixel display, 8GB of LPDDR5-6400 memory, a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

It’s a bit disappointing that there’s no option to upgrade the display.

14 inch

The HP Laptop 14-em0047nr is the smallest of the bunch: it’s a 3.1 pound notebook with a 14 inch display. HP is only selling a single configuration of this laptop in the US so far: for $430 you get a model with an AMD Athlon Gold 7220U processor, a 1366 x 768 pixel display, 8GB of LPDDR5-5500 memory, a 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, and support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3.

Like HP’s other Mendocino-powered laptops, this notebook has a 41 Wh battery, 5 Gbps USB Type-C and Type-A ports, a headset jack, and an HDMI 1.4b port.

HP Laptop 14-em0047nr

All of HP’s new Mendocino laptops are budget notebooks that lack features like support for more than 8GB of RAM. And while the product pages suggest that HP may offer backlit keyboards on some configurations in the future, right now it doesn’t seem like you can order any of these notebooks with backlit keys.

But the biggest challenge may be the pricing. While it’s nice to see PC makers bringing better performance to low-cost laptops, I’m not sure that most of these particular notebooks are cheap enough to justify the compromises HP has made when you could probably pick up a 2-3 year old laptop for the same price and get better specs and performance.

That said, the fact that HP is already offering the 17 inch model for $170 off the list price suggests that prices for these and other Mendocino-powered laptops could fall pretty quickly, which could make them attractive alternatives to budget laptops with Intel Celeron or Pentium chips.

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4 replies on “HP launches AMD Mendocino-powered laptops for $330 and up”

  1. $250 for a HP Laptop – 14t-dq300
    …If only you hadn’t already bought an expensive laptop.. Instead you can have multiple laptops, each assigned to a different specialized task instead of a single expensive laptop who’s only perk is being capable of low end gaming.

  2. For 300, these budget hp laptops will run your Linux of choice, that is after you wipe Windows 11.

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