Back to Article

  • MAsterCATZ - Thursday, June 11, 2009 - link

    If only it had an Fibre Optic for sound

    I would be all over it :S

    Even COAX ... I never was to keen on running a cable per speaker to the Decoder

    Add Raid Function and would be nice Torrent / Media Centre

    I wounder if the GPU can Turn off whilst no in use ?

    Any one know whats its power save features are like
    ( Drools over possible new WIN 7 Media Pc .. )
  • MAsterCATZ - Thursday, June 11, 2009 - link


    How did I miss those Connectors :P

    ok Now that Box is looking Mighty fine

    and will order regardlss of price
    ( if it has blue tooth and wireless intergrated :P )
    but I guess i can USB Dongle them in

    ( any Idea if those sata ports support Raid ? )
  • chamcham - Sunday, December 28, 2008 - link

    Resolution is one area where netbooks can stand to improve. The abysmal 1024x600 is often too small to fully read menu dialogs,
    with the buttons below the screen and unreachable.

    In fact, I'd argue that higher resolution is more important to netbooks than gaming performance. Finally, maybe we can have 1280x1024 on an 8.9" screen
  • OBLAMA2009 - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    sounds cool but wait til the product actually comes out. it will be so buggy that it will be too annoying to use Reply
  • Fanfoot - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    Very interesting. I'll take Nvidia's claims about battery performance (which is CRITICAL in a netbook) with a grain of salt until somebody actually rolls one of these suckers out in a netbook, but seems very encouraging.

    Like other I think this would be a very nice HTPC solution. I don't need a DVR, thanks, I've already got one of those, I just need a media tank that can double as a Hulu/ media player. So a little quiet low power box with HD playback capabilities, support for a SATA 2.5" drive, and an HDMI port would do the job. Pair it up with a USB driven wireless keyboard/mouse and you've got a great solution!
  • ianken - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    ...with a 9400 and an atom CPU.

    Also, I have gotten an Eee PC to do 1080i decode and rendering in Media Center on Windows 7 with the 945G. You just need the right drivers, because 945G does support rudimentary MPEG2 decode acceleration. It berly does it, but it does work.
  • ty1er - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    omg, I have been holding out on building a HTPC. The good alway seems to out weight the bad. The cost is one thing, and having a big htpc under my tv is another. I just can't let go of my xbox running xbmc, i love it. But a version of this small powerful device will probably make its way into my living room to replace my xbox. Woot, very exciting! Reply
  • realneil - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Intel needs a poke every now and then to keep them focused. The business that they're in thrives on innovation and if others are using their parts to come up with something better than they have, they'll take notice and get leaner and meaner. Considering their resources, they should be doing all of this innovating and not trying to (maybe) control the pace of new ideas.
    NVIDEA's little gadget looks like a winner,...I wish I had one to play around with, no matter how it looks.
  • DukeNukemCZ - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    OBR from
    its review before NDA, it was hide again but i have save it.

    Review for download (several html files in RAR):">

    ITS in Czech launguage so use translator or something
  • Visual - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    "NVIDIA claims that a netbook running with the Ion platform should have the same battery life as one running on the conventional Atom + 945G setup."

    This is actually disappointing. The intel chipset is power-hungry and my netbook gets too warm very fast. I applaud the nVidia engineers for managing to fit all the extra performance into the same power envelope, but it would've been much better if it could work with less power when not using features like video encoder/decored and 3d graphics beyond aero level.
  • swizeus - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    It's fine with me, i'll buy that so called ugly ones if they were to sell it.

    Anyway, the nVidia slide stating that 9400M have more processing power while drawing up same power it's a lie. ASUS netbook review which equipped with 2 video cards (GMA X4500 n 9300M) states that with GMA, battery can last up to 5 hours, while with 9300M only last for 1 hour
  • Pok3R - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Great news Anand!

    I have 3 questions (2 and a suggestion ;)

    1) We would like to see some comparison benchmarks vs 945!

    2) I'm not totally convinced how ddr3 fits here...power saving?

    3) What about Atoms 230 and 330?
    Does Ion include a "high end" version with them?

    thanks and great job!
  • philosofool - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    People pretend like predicting what's going to happen at the various mac extravaganzas is hard. It hasn't been at all since the Intel switch. If you watch what intel has rolling out, you can pretty much predict it.

    This year we will see two major hardware announcements (possibly more): "the fastest Mac ever" which will be a Core i7 based machine. And we'll see a new Mac Mini based on the piece of hardware seen here (though with an internal HD.)
  • iwodo - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I have always been saying Dual Core Atom ( N330 or even faster version ) with be used in the next Mac Mini, Since Hyperthreading gives it 4 thread which should give it some performance boost with Grand Central in Snow Leopard.

    If Geforce 9400M could have some improvement with 55nm die shrink i suppose would be even better.

    These pair with 30GB SSD, the new Mac should be very fast in 90% of day to day desktop application.
  • BlueBlazer - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I would like to see a faster Atom, maybe in the 2.5GHz range? Would make that quite fast for gaming as well.. Should be around 6W or so at that frequency. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Just 5 minutes ago I bought the mini-ITX Zotac nForce 7100 board + 2ghz Pentium processor for like $100, then this comes out.

    I'm very surprised at this. The only thing VIA here is the pico-ITX form factor. I would have liked a Nano processor instead, but I can settle for a dual core Atom.
  • gochichi - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I like the "ugly" design. It's so basic, and so crammed with high quality inputs/outputs. USB, HDMI, 2 x eSATA, it's flippin awesome.

    The article says that it includes a 2.5" hard drive inside. So you're good to go there.

    No optical drive is no problem at all. It's ironic that they kept comparing it to the Mac Mini with all the pictures, because it makes the most sense IN a Mac Mini.

    I think that SSDs will be under $50.00 soon, just like we had a taste of that from OSZ the last few weeks. 30GBs and even 60GB middle-high performane SSDs should be inexpensive enough for these machines. 30GB should be enough to set up something using with these things. An external, self-powered 2.5" 500GB hard drive would go well as a tag along.

    I'm pretty sure that USB 2.0 is enough for HD video, particularly processed stuff (as opposed to Blu-ray) but even Blu-ray drives come in external enclosures with USB connections.

    I personally own a Blu-ray player and it sincerely seems like overkill at 25GB-50GB per movie. Mkv HD movie files between 4GB and 12GB are plenty for 720P HDTVs. Frankly, I see nothing wrong with 720P movies at 4GB a pop so long as the encoding goes well. But for arguments sake let's give 12 GB per movie and 1080P. That's roughly 40 movies in a 500GB 2.5" hard drive. And since they cost about $110.00, that's $2.75 per movie of media space (not great but doable).

    I don't even primarily care about the media stuff though, it's just a really cool toy/tool. I wish it were somewhat less remedial of a CPU though, like a dual-core something.
  • pslow - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    However, its needs firewire or esata since all storage will be external if it stays that small. Yes I'm a mac guy, but try to play 720HD video over usb, it drops frames. I wouldn't get one if it only has a usb 2.0 connection. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    You'd want storage for an OS anyway. Plus there's networking... Reply
  • rmlarsen - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I just bought an Atom based netbook (Lenovo S10) for a family member for Christmas, and was pretty happy with the performance for simple tasks (watching SD video is certainly also doable). But with a chipset like this, the netbook world becomes A LOT more interesting, as you add decent gaming (hold back the Crysis jokes, people) and HD playback to the mix. Sign me up.

    Does anybody know how fast (if at all) the CUDA-based Badaboom video transcoder would run on the 9400M, compared to transcoding on the Atom itself? Anandtech, any chance you could try this?

  • tonjohn - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I would buy one right now if it were out.

    I was looking at buying an Eee Box ("> but this looks like a much better solution.
  • autoboy - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    We all knew this was possible. Why is everyone so surprised? The Asus EEE box has an ATI 3450 but nobody wet their pants over it. Asus has a netbook with the 9300M chipset but it is not selling that well. The 9400M is a great chipset, but it is simply filling a void that Intel left open by not allowing their G45 chipset to be used with the Atom.

    Nobody is going to be playing many games on this thing. Maybe WoW but that is about it. The Atom is pretty slow guys. I have one. It works, but it isn't very fast. You definitely can tell that you are using a slow machine.

    And why is everyone so excited about using this as a front end for a media center? VMC does not have softsled so you can't use it as an extender. MythTV can't play Blu-ray videos. I suppose you could rip them. Myth just now got some video acceleration. Boxee and XBMC don't use video acceleration at all so you lose the advantage of the 9400M. That leaves a few niche DVR applications and SageTV (which you can argue is also niche) where this thing would be useful as a HTPC client. A sageTV extender or popcorn hour are much more useful IMO than this.

    As a low power desktop replacement it just doesn't do it for me. I would never consider using an Atom as a main machine, and it has been proven that a cheap Pentium Dual core and a G31 chipset are actually just as low power and 4-5 times faster than an Atom. Adding a 9400M won't change that. If all you want is a torrent box you can get routers that do that for you.

    Ok, so the picture of it playing Dark Knight is cool. But I'm not going to dirty my pants over it.

  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I think it's because people like the direction things are going even if the details aren't worked out yet. I'd to see this in the future with a dual core Atom and could see using that as a low power tiny basic desktop. The software/hardware chicken and egg is always going to be there, someone just has to blink first and in this case NV has blinked and created reference hardware. Reply
  • mm2587 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I think that little black box looks just perfect. Not fancy at all, but incredibly functional. These would make the perfect carputer. Reply
  • sidewinderx2 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    The Asus N10J netbook already pairs an Atom with a 9300M GS. Reply
  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    The ASUS uses the Discrete version of the 9300m. (Nvidia has both a 9300 integrated chipset as well as a discrete chip in the GS variant and the G variant.) The discrete mobile is different from the integrated mobile which is different from the desktop version

    The 9300M GS is a 16-shader chip
    256MB of DDR2 memory at effective 800MHz
    GPU core running at 580MHz
    shaders clocked at 1.4GHz">

    The 9300 integrated variant is using 16 shader chip
    GPU core running at 450MHZ
    Shaders clocked at 1.2GHZ

    The 9400 integrated variant is using 16 shader chip
    GPU core running at 580Mhz
    Shaders clocked at 1.4 GHZ
    But it is using the faster DDR3 ram, how much memory it is paired up (steals from the rest of ram) with is dependent on the OEM.


    That said the netbook you refer to is using the single core n270

    n270 2.5w TDP 1.6 GHZ, 1/2 MB Cache, 533 FSB (C States aka its different idling modes C0, C1, C2, C3, C4)
    n230 4w TDP 1.6 GHZ, 1/2 MB Cache, 533 FSB (C States C0, C1) Pretty much the same chip but does idle as well as has a higher TDP
    n330 8w TDP 1.6 GHZ, 1 MB Cache, 533 FSB (C States C0, C1) Same thing as the N230 but there is two chips on the same die.

    Now to put this in comparison the new Core 2 Duo P series has a TDP of 25w. The n330 won't get as good as battery life as the n270 or the n230 but cost wise the n330 is very similar to the n270, this is a few months out of date but according to the article the n330 is $43 dollars per chip for a 1000 chip tray vs $44 dollars for the n270 for a 1000 chip tray">

    Eventually intel will also release a dual core netbook version and they are currently working on moving the atom to the new 32nm process
  • uibo - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    DDR3 SO-DIMM ??? is the performance advantage for IGP-s really that big? Reply
  • praeses - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    You can either think of it as a performance benefit or power savings.

    In either case its a benefit. For single channel configurations, I think its pretty much a given that they would have to go with DDR3 at a decent clockrate to avoid bottlenecking the IGP significantly.
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    That's an impressive little basis for an integrated box. If it were cheap enough I'd pick one up just to have a tiny low power web browsing box and wouldn't even turn on my main PC half the time.

    Things it needs though: 1) more than one internal SATA connection, HD+optical at a minimum needs two. No USB for optical please. That kind of dashes the hopes of some that have posted here except it does have eSATA ports...are they functional? 2) Although Atom is 'sufficient' I'd like to see a true (not HT) dual core variant. VIA Nano would be nice atm, or just wait until it's available with a dual core Atom.
  • UNHchabo - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    This was a reference design, made to get the creative juices flowing at Asus, Dell, HP, etc. They could put more SATA ports, component instead of or in addition to HDMI, etc. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Reply to both above: yes, I'm sure the OEMs would come up with a HDD+optical solution. This just would have been a no-go if it only had one SATA overall. Hopefully DIY solutions would have two internal SATA ports, however they're implemented (main motherboard or picoITX board.) Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I'd imagine that all the eSATA, additional USB, sound, etc is provided by additional chips on that larger board. Reply
  • Thorburn - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I don't believe Netbooks tend to use Poulsbo. This is the chipset used for MID devices (and the Dell Mini 12 I believe), and I think it supports some H.264 decoding (baseline 720p?). It is paired up with Silverthorne Atom CPUs (Z-series) which I don't think support GTL+ front-side bus due to its higher power requirements.

    Most Netbooks use the Diamondville Atom CPUs (N-series), which have a slightly higher TDP, support GTL+ and are paired with the older, higher power, 945GC chipset.
  • R3MF - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    finally the netbook becomes a useful computing device with the addition of CUDA/OpenCL.

    i say this as the owner of a Lenovo S10e.
  • djc208 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    This could be the device that finally makes me consider building a carPC.

    And while the Sage HD extender and Popcorn hour are great for video playback, the added functionality of a full PC in this form factor could make it a winner for HD capable HTPC client machines.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Will this be cheaper than using the Poulsbo chipset? As none of the netbooks seem to be willing to offer Poulsbo for an increased cost, will the 9400M be cheap enough to get some business?

    Looks great for a carputer though.
  • superunknown98 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    How I would have like a NANO in this. Seeing as how even with a Nvidia mobile 9600 the Atom can't play half-life 2. Just look at the Asus N10Jc-A1 netbook. So again what happened to the platform Nvidia said they were designing for the Nano? Did Via just get played? Reply
  • UNHchabo - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Keep in mind that HL2 (and Source engine games in general) are pretty CPU-intensive, with much less emphasis on the GPU than other engines, like those made by Ubisoft, id, and others.

    I'm pretty sure one of these two articles investigates that, but I can't check at the moment...">">
  • SkullOne - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Wow...very very nice. I say increase the size just a little bit, add a slim BluRay player and kick the MacMini between the eyes!!! Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I bet this will drive the next Mac Mini revision. Reply
  • mmntech - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    It's too bad it won't have Blu-ray though should the Mac Mini ever get revised. Most likely it will end up as the CPU/GPU combo for Apple's much rumoured netbook. Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Anadtech, can you please do an in depth article on how Nvidia was able to put a GPU and a Northbridge controller and a Southbridge controller all in one chip PLEASE! I would just really love for someone to dive in and dissect the way this chip works the same way you have for G80, G92 and G94; and Larrabee even though it's not out yet. Those are probably the most interesting articles on this site. PLEASE do one on the 9400M! Reply
  • degeester - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Please see this article. Reply
  • degeester - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Whoops, links aren't working but see under @ Anandtech motherboards, The IGP Chronicles Part 3: Nvidia GeForce 9300 Reply
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    "If you tossed a 500GB 2.5” HDD in one of these things, you could carry your HTPC with you."

    Is a 2.5" HDD fast enough for DVR functionality though? There are really two HTPC models as I see it: the DVR model ala Windows Media Center/MythTV where you have a DVR for television that also does a good job playing back recorded media; or the network media tank model ala the Popcorn Hour where it can only play back recorded media. The DVR model means you need space for a TV tuner, and even then the cable industry seems to be doing its best to kill anything that isn't one of their set-top boxes.

    That leaves the network media tank model. If it can only play back things and you're going to run it from a network source, then Ion seems entirely too overbuilt for this purpose. A Popcorn Hour is cheaper and smaller yet, not to mention you don't have to dink with an OS. It has a bit less flexibility than a true computer like the Ion, but it's not as if there are any new codecs on the horizon that the Ion can decode anyhow.

    This strikes me as something similar to a MID; it's too big to be a network media tank, and it's too small to be a full HTPC.
  • FITCamaro - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    They make 7200 rpm 2.5" HDDs. And I'm not really sure how fast the hard drives in DVRs are. They might be 5400 rpm. Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    This would be fast enough:
    Seagate Momentus 7200.3 320GB 16MB SATA 7200 RPM ST9320421AS">

    But your other points are valid.

    Still, this could make one heck of a portable media center if you put it into a laptop.
  • strafejumper - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    when i saw the pic of the little box it reminded me of popcorn hour and the Network Media Tanks, here is a pic of one that looks similar to the nvidia box (no internal hdd on this one i don't think):">

    New players using the sigma chipset found in blu-ray disc players (sigma 8635) come out every week, here is one from Western Digital that sometimes hits the $99.99 US price point (the WD box has no network capabilities):">

    these player play all kinds of formats, and can do up to 1080P HD video.
  • HollyDOL - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    As long as these devices don't sound like a swarm of spatting bees it could be interesting HTPC.

    The other thing I would be curious about is the quality of sound (MP3, CDDA etc.). If it is supposed to plug in your home theatre system ( != $10 pc speakers) I would expect at least Audigy2 sound quality. Though so far integrated mobo soundcards all sound to me pretty badly (especially if you can compare the same sample just next to it with some sound card).
  • glennpratt - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    The DACs will probably be up to the individual solution, but I'm sure that with decent DAC's and any line inputs muted, it will be more then adequate for analog music play back. For me, it supports 7.1 LPCM over HDMI, that's all I need to hear, can't get better then that. Reply
  • plonk420 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    if you need your DAC outside of an A/V amp solution, you can choose one of these:"> Reply
  • fishbits - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    "NVIDIA claims that a netbook running with the Ion platform should have the same battery life as one running on the conventional Atom + 945G setup."

    Gimme! Seriously hope they can have some units with this for sale in the next three months, but doubt I'll get that lucky. Make the RAM 2GB while you're at it. Yum!
  • therealnickdanger - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    But I just got the biggest e-rection ever. Nerdgasm alert! OK, so when can I buy one? Reply
  • teohhanhui - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    It definitely is cool. Wonder if they will actually make such machines... Reply
  • gwolfman - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    With CUDA support as well to top that off. I'm liking this idea already! Reply
  • murphyslabrat - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Lol, I saw the picture of the mobo, and read "NVidia Ion", and I liked it then....Though, I was expecting something with Via.

    I am hating the Atom, though. There's currently a netbook out, from Asus, with a GeForce 9300, and it performs miserably in games.
  • Murloc - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I can play gta san andreas on a pentium m 1,1ghz processor with integrated 3 years old intel graphics.

    This thing is cool, you can play games on your TV.

    For extreme gaming use the desktop.
  • CurseTheSky - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Netbooks aren't meant to game on. They're meant to be small, light, and have great battery life. Similarly, you wouldn't bring a Prius to the drag strip and expect a 12 second run.

    Even the 14.1" ASUS with a P8600 and 9650M GT that I'm typing on is barely satisfactory for newer games. If you want to game, shell out the $1300+ for a "gaming" laptop, or build a desktop.
  • SirKronan - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Speaking of the Prius ... I have one that has a nice integrated LCD screen just begging for a car PC to be installed. I can't wait until these come out. I will integrate wi-fi, bluetooth, a PC based GPS unit, and a USB port right by my other dashboard buttons. Screw the bug, I'm going to make a REAL geekmobile.

    This is AMAZING. Imagine your HTPC build into your TV.
  • Jedi2155 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Well...its a Mac integration...but a comptuer nonetheless. So it is possible but you just gotta do a lot of your own work :).">
  • afkrotch - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Hell ya, I did too. I so want the one that's pictured here. I'd find a spot of dead space in my TV and mount it inside. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now