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  • Swivelguy2 - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    A little typo right up in the title: "Next Gen is ION" should say "Next Gen ION is" Reply
  • shotage - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I've been waiting for one of these to hook up to my HD TV. This looks near perfect, but the fact the flash playback sucks is going to make me wait. If Nvidia can fix it with an updated driver i'm off to the shop. Otherwise I'll be back... to curse Zotac Reply
  • jvdb - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    They raised the price again? if it's true, I'll wait for the shuttle. Reply
  • Roy2001 - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I need to point out that Broadcom Crystal HD decoder has a 40Mbps limitation and Ion does not have. XBMC would report dropped frames with higher than 40Mbps bitrate. That said, BD spec is less than 40Mbps and you can hardly see > 40Mbps mkv files. But I have seen that. Even XBMC with CPU decoding has the 40Mbps limitation and drops frames with CPU utilization less than 70%. Reply
  • sucram03 - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    You've seen >40mbps encoded MKV's? Whoever encoded them must have done a horrible job if they're at 1080p. Nothing should have to be encoded with that high of a bitrate -- that's overkill.

    A 40mbps limitation shouldn't be a problem. One thing that isn't touched on here, though, is CUDA-enabled decoding, which removes pretty much all limitations on H.264 content when done with DXVA. With CoreAVC 2.0, you'll pretty much never have a file you can't play. That would be the nice thing about this new ION, being that it has VP4 PureVideo. But.. as some have already said, this platform is way too expensive for that usefulness.
  • mcnabney - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I have the original Zotac ION HTPC and am relatively pleased with it. Added more RAM and upgrade XP to 7. The memory upgrade made it run much more quickly and moving to Win7 allowed Mediacenter usage (it is a DVR for an HDHomerun and recorded TV is automatically moved to my WHS box).

    Old ION $200 @ Best Buy
    Win7 upgrade $50
    Upgrade to 2GB $40

    So under $300 complete.

    compare to:

    New ION $250
    HDD/SSD $80
    Win7 OEM $100

    Now we are at $430 when complete. That is a LOT more money for almost identical performance.
  • Bateluer - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    This is a poor comparison. The 200 dollar Ion system the Acer Revo R1600, is an Atom 230 based machine. Single core. The new Ion featured in the review is a D510, dual core machine. Performance won't be light years better by any means, but this isn't a good comparison.

    Still, if you already have an Atom 330 Ion system, there's no need to pick up one of these machines unless you have money to burn. Like the Pine Trial platform itself, NG-Ion falls flat.
  • mcnabney - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Why wouldn't it be a good comparison? Under the tests that the new ION does surpass the old (would more memory help the old one?) the difference is moving from 49% of the performance of a slow Core2 to 53%. So there is really a very slight difference in performance. But there is a very clear difference in cost. In fact, the original Zotac ION can be purchased for $170 now. Reply
  • sucram03 - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    You missed the point of the poster. The comparison you're making is between ION2 and the original ION with Atom 330 processor (note the difference -- this is dual-core). The $199 desktop at Best Buy is an Aspire Revo1600, as the poster said, which does NOT have an Atom 330 dual-core, it has a single-core Atom 230. If you want to talk about performance, go ahead and take a look at the benchmarks again, instead now looking at that last-place ranking with the Atom 230 processor which falls short in every benchmark. Not by a huge margin, but enough to make a significant impact, which is exactly what that poster was trying to say.

    It was a very valid argument. Just make sure you're backing up your claims with solid proof, links, or other general information instead of throwing together $'s and manipulating the outcome.
  • shotage - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    This quote "Streaming high definition Internet video on popular sites such as YouTube™, Vimeo™ and Hulu™ render smoothly and flawlessly in full screen with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 and Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1. Video stuttering is a faint thought of the past with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 with NVIDIA® ION™ graphics technology."

    from Zotacs site:

    Obviously this is incorrect. Anand; maybe someone should tell Zotac? :p
  • Rayb - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I'll go with the ION1, since the flash 10.1 patch everything else became a non issue. Reply
  • QChronoD - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    Are there any tiny systems like this out there which have something faster than an Atom that use the ION chipset? Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    Yes, but only if you want an LGA775 processor. It uses the 9300/9400 chipset, which is basically the same thing.

    Works great. Except I really, really want fanless.
  • icrf - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    I've got a Wolfdale HTPC now with one of the Zotac NV9300 Micro-ATX boards, and it works, but it's noisy. The lack of wake-on-USB from S3 and the lack of fan control access from Windows pissed me off about the board enough I'll probably avoid Zotac boards for the foreseeable future. I can live without the wake on USB from S3, but not being able to dynamically control fan speeds is just terrible. Every motherboard I've bought for more than the last five years have had that. I didn't even think to look for it.

    More than a little OT, but for me, the big competition for this is something like the Boxee Box, which I haven't heard a peep about since CES. Anyone know any more details about it? I thought it was originally slated for 1H10 but I've seen a bare 2010 quoted, too. I'd probably pick one of those up just to see how well it'd work. I'd be on the pre-order list if I knew I could get XBMC running on it. I've got Boxee, XBMC, and Hulu installed on my HTPC now and can flip between them. Boxee is the one run least often because the other two do what they do much better.
  • hpmoon - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    My suspicion about the Boxee Box delay is quite simply that the media assholes are standing at the ready (and have scared Boxee to this effect) for suing them with full force as soon as the hardware hits the market. They must believe (or at least their questionably schooled lawyers must believe) that the legal ramifications suddenly change when it's not just a PC running the Boxee software and thus framing Firefox Web site visits anymore, but an actual non-PC device doing something very different without full-blown Firefox PC functionality.

    Of course, if this were the backstory, no one would tell you this.
  • icrf - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    The experience of running Hulu through Boxee is bad enough I'm not sure I'd worry about it too much. You can play/pause it, but that's it. Seeking forward or backwards isn't supported. If the stream dies halfway through and you need to restart, or you have to pause it for a long time and the connection times out, or if you just want to repeat what someone said, you're SOL.

    If I'm wrong and some of this got fixed, someone holler, but Boxee seemed more about the social aspect than anything else. You can get these little clip videos from all over the internet, publicize what you're watching and what you like or don't, etc.
  • ClagMaster - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I wonder if the memory controllers on board the AMD and Intel CPUs are as optimized as those found on the P965, P35 and P45 ?

    The P965/G965 has a wonderful memory controller that was far more efficient than that on the AMD 64.

    How can one evaluate this ?
  • aj28 - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    A bit off topic, but I think it's worth pointing out that AMD64 (754/939) was a DDR controller, while Intel's P965 was a DDR2 controller. I miss the old nForce controllers, which were some of the more feature-rich, error-free (at least in my experience) chipsets out there. It's a shame that Intel has designed their new platform the way they have... Reply
  • Calin - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    NVidia chipsets had that issue with the disk controller (the possibility to totally trash the content of your hard drive). Other than that, they were for quite a time the high point in chipsets. The only "hotter" chipset I remember was the "BX-100" variant (Intel's 66MHz 440BX chipset, made to run with the Pentium !!! processors on a front side bus of 100MHz). Reply
  • rnjeezy - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    yes, i know there's a point in having it, but it's probably good to have another m.b which removes it, and then add one more lane to the gfx Reply
  • rnjeezy - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    and switch wifi to usb Reply
  • Tekkamanraiden - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    While this looks pretty kick ass I'm looking forward to the Amd version. I'm curious how well the Neo processor with 3200 will do against the Aton with Ion2. Reply
  • Soulkeeper - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    I too would like to see products from amd and/or via to compete here.
    I'm tired of "the intel show" 24/7

    I wouldn't pay $100 for that ion thing
  • dealcorn - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    As the Zotac NM10-B-E motherboard is shipping with HDMI and the Intel NM10 chipset, the Broadcom Crystal media solution is a viable build your own HTPC strategy that operates on fewer watts. I would have liked a side by side comparison. Reply
  • nick.cardwell - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    Does this or any ION2 nettop use Optimus??? I am looking for a small D510 system to run headless and would be willing to buy an ION2 system strictly for the resale value if it uses Optimus to switch off that power hungry GPU. I am sill waiting on the Shuttle XS35 to show up as it is fanless. Reply
  • CZroe - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    The comments in the article about manufacturers not wanting to reclaim PCIe lanes from WiFi and GbE don't sound so convincing. For example, they could easily integrate WiFi via internal USB or an Ethernet bridge.

    Heck, if nVidia wanted to make a real symbiotic chipset to go with this they could actually engineer a GbE/WiFi chip that uses multiple internal USB ports to achieve enough bandwidth. And by "enough" I mean "somewhat more than 100mbps but less than 1,000mbps." Users can't often maximize GbE because they need a GbE switch for full duplex and, assuming a max-speed file copy, a destination drive which can write as fast as the source can send. I doubt many users really need GbE over 10/100 Fast Ethernet/802.11n.

    Also, what happened to all the rumors of an OC'd PCIe bus for ION2?

    As for Zotac's design, I'd much prefer a larger, cooler, quieter design than this, especially if it is going in a home theater. If it would still be super-small, why not give it a proportionally huge HSF? The LEAST they could do is give it metallic housing and throw a heat pipe on it (even just one side).
  • rennya - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    The latency guys, the latency. Reply
  • KaarlisK - Sunday, May 09, 2010 - link

    Besides which, the NM10 chipset only has 1 USB2 controller, so no increase in bandwidth from ganging USB ports. Reply
  • modemide - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    I enjoyed the article and this looks like a viable option for my next HTPC. However, I didn't see anything addressing the signal issues most people experienced with the initial version. Can you comment on that?

  • Bateluer - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    How come we don't see any of the ULV CPUs in form factors like this? I cannot imagine it'd be too difficult to stick in a Celeron SU2300, or a Pentium SU4100, or one of the ULV C2S chips. There's super netbooks that are thinner than these nettops that use these ULV chips. I can't imagine that designing a little beefier cooling system in the same Zotac chassis or into the Acer Revo chassis would be overly difficult. It may add a little to the price, but the trade off in performance might be worth it. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    Why would intel only give 4 pci express lanes? That's just retarded. Why would NVidia even mess with this atom? Why not just use the old atom? Its the same damn thing. Just do a LTB on the old atom. Nvidia should go BK for doing stupid crap like this. Reply
  • hpmoon - Friday, May 07, 2010 - link

    Wow. So while we appreciate that Zotac sent an early review unit, they should have paid attention when most of us observed that it would be rather offensive to jack up the price a second time merely by gauging enthusiast interest. $209 --> $239 --> $259 = pissed off customers. Now that the reviews are eh, we're done with you. And it's gonna hit you hard when every reviewer bemoans how $260 is just the beginning, with $100 at a minimum in additional expense for the RAM and hard drive. For truth-in-advertising, let's get real: The HD-ID11 is just under $400.

    Moving along.
  • hemantha - Sunday, May 09, 2010 - link

    From the power consumption page - "The XBMC Live image I installed doesn't seem to let the Atom cores underclock themselves to 600MHz". I think D510 doesn't support EIST. I believe only Atom Nxxx do. So unless motherboard supports undervolting, I don't think these can be made to run at lower clock speeds. Reply
  • Nathelion - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Is there any information on if/when a Nano-Ion combo will be out? Atom really isn't fast enough to catch my eye, and (C)ULV is too expersive. Reply
  • sucram03 - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Did you really just mention VIA? That's scary @_@

    Really, the whole fact that is unless costs are driven down, users are almost better off getting a cheap AMD Vision-powered laptop for approximately the same price. You can find some of those laptops on sale for <$450 and have Athlon II X2 M300 CPUs and Radeon HD 4200's, which are both good enough to accelerate any videos thanks to the new release of the 10.4 Catalyst version (H.264 decoding up to L5.1). And most have HDMI ports, bluetooth, 802.11n, the list goes on...

    Add to that the general flexibility and portability of having a laptop (i.e. having a built-in display right there with the computer, having a battery), and although you will have higher energy usage, it is NOT going to be a major concern for most households when all you do is boot it up for playback.

    Broadcom's chipset is interesting, but still is only able to decode up to L4.1 H.264 if I remember correctly. Nvidia's chipsets would be the BEST to use to enable CUDA decoding and remove pretty much all limitations on accelerating any kind of video, but if you're going to have to pay the same as what you could buy a laptop for (or more), then what's the use? IMHO, AMD appears to have positioned themselves in the middle if we're talking about the HTPC/movie playback department for a budget system. Cost, features, benefits all seem to be pointing to them for the best benefit possible.
  • CereKong - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    While manufacturers can use all four PCIe 1.0 lanes coming off Intel’s NM10 Express chipset, most have chosen to use just one leaving the remaining lanes for things like WiFi. A single PCIe 1.0 lane can only provide 250MB/s of bandwidth in either direction, hardly enough for a modern GPU. It’s because of this limitation that the next-generation ION GPU could actually perform slower than the first ION.

    Thus which manufacturers do provide motherboards with multiple lanes for the GPU - and if possible are there any differences performance wise?
  • SnazzyS - Thursday, May 13, 2010 - link

    NewEgg sold out very quickly. Looks like Logic Supply has some in stock: Reply
  • idokibovito - Friday, May 14, 2010 - link

    Not quite sure there but I've been keeping my eyes on the Acer Revo 3610 which seems to basically be the same thing as this _without_ the cooling fan! Looking at benchmarks the new CPU is 5-10% faster (tops) and the GPU is not much faster either (because of the PCIe 1x lane). In some benchmarks both CPU and GPU are actually slower than ION1 (which has a Geforce 9400M instead of a GT218.
    I would prefer the new generation, even if it's just a spit faster (think VPDAU and VP3 vs. VP4). But that fan and seemingly no real life performance benefit keeps me looking back on the Revo, which is cheaper and a hardware that is known to work with XBMC and Linux without dirty patches and evening prayers.

    I can't see why this "next-gen" thing is better or even more future proof, however I would like to. Anyone?
  • coutch - Monday, May 24, 2010 - link

    any word if the drivers released today (BETA 256) address the flash performance issue ? Reply
  • Jackie78 - Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - link

    Which version of XBMC did you use, since I guess they do not officially support DXVA accelerated video. Reply

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