NVIDIA's Ion Platform: Hands on at CES 2009by Anand Lal Shimpi on January 13, 2009 12:00 AM EST
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Will Intel Stop Ion?
The same day our Ion preview went live last month, a story from Digitimes went live talking about how NVIDIA does not have Intel’s approval to manufacture a chipset for Atom.
As far as my understanding goes, Intel can’t prevent NVIDIA from making chipsets for Atom; NVIDIA already has a license for the FSB (although it's unclear if NVIDIA could build chipsets for the CMOS version of Atom, the Z5xx series). Intel can, however, make it financially undesirable for manufacturers to choose the GeForce 9400M. Intel offers bundled pricing on the Atom + 945G or Atom + Poulsbo chipsets, as well as added incentives for doing things like not using Atom in very large notebooks.
Part of this is to protect Intel’s more expensive processor business, but it’s also to protect the consumer: using an Atom on a larger notebook is going to give you the impression that you can do what you would on a normal notebook, when in actuality you’re running hardware that’s about as fast as something from a few years ago and probably don’t want to.
The bottom line is that as far as I can tell, Intel isn’t preventing Ion from happening. It just may be financially more attractive for an OEM to not build an Ion based netbook.
That’s it for this Ion update, I hope to have a platform in the coming months to put through the ringer myself. I’ve got some interesting usage models I’d like to test. NVIDIA assures me that I’ll see one as soon as it’s ready.
I’d like to see an OEM system based on it, but so far I haven’t heard anything about Ion from another other than NVIDIA itself.