Final Words

With projects like XBMC that can harness the power of NVIDIA's GPU in Ion, we're starting to see real usage models for these systems. While I could build a faster HTPC, I'm not sure I could build a more efficient one than what I get from Ion. And let this serve as a warning to Intel: Pine Trail needs to be just as easy to setup and use as Ion. I don't want to see another G45 launch repeat in 2010.

At the start of this year I expected to see more Ion platforms than three for the DIY market. There have been a handful of significant releases in the netbook and nettop category from OEMs like Acer and Samsung, but for the most part Ion has been quieter than expected.

That being said, with three real competitors in the DIY market we do actually have a decent set of options to choose from.

If you want a pre-built system and have no components of your own that you’d like to re-use, the ASRock Ion 330 is your only option. While Acer offers the Aspire Revo, it only comes with a single-core Atom 230, a far less desirable option. The ASRock is well built and my only complaint is the distinct noise of the rear fan. Although the fan is quiet, you do hear the motor if you’re close to the machine. Stick it in a closet or play a movie and it won’t really matter.

Then there’s the issue of price, you do pay a premium (around $40) for ASRock to assemble this thing for you. And you get no flexibility in the components chosen. As I wrote earlier in the review, a good SSD really helps mask the poor performance of the Atom. You’d have to ebay (or repurpose) the 320GB HDD that ships with the ASRock Ion in order to make the jump to an SSD without wasting money.

If you want to build your own, until ASUS gets us a sample with a quieter fan, it looks like Zotac is the way to go. It’s clear that the ASUS board was an early sample and hopefully the shipping product will be significantly quieter. I’d prefer if ASUS went to a larger, slower spinning fan but as long as it can get quieter I’ll be happy. As soon as ASUS can get us a sample with the final fan design we’ll retest and follow up as necessary.

I took for granted much of what made Zotac’s design work, but it’s clear that effort was made to make that board what it is. If you’re buying today and just want a motherboard, Zotac is the way to go. In the near future? If the fan issues get sorted out, it looks like you’ll have another option with ASUS.

Using the ASUS Ion in Windows 7 and Linux/XBMC
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  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

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  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    We are the trading and manufacturing company,Our main productions are:Nike,Jordan,Air Max,NIKE SHOX,AIR FORCE ONE,DUNK,TiMBERLAND ADIDAS ETC. high quality,best prices and fine workmanship.And most products displayed on my website.
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  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    We are the trading and manufacturing company,Our main productions are:Nike,Jordan,Air Max,NIKE SHOX,AIR FORCE ONE,DUNK,TiMBERLAND ADIDAS ETC. high quality,best prices and fine workmanship.And most products displayed on my website.
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    Reply
  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    We are the trading and manufacturing company,Our main productions are:Nike,Jordan,Air Max,NIKE SHOX,AIR FORCE ONE,DUNK,TiMBERLAND ADIDAS ETC. high quality,best prices and fine workmanship.And most products displayed on my website.
    We insist that " Customer the highest, Quality first ".With high-standard quality,fastest delivery and satisfied service and reasonable price for you. Welcome to visit our website:www.shoes-un.com or send email interest in ourProducts,please don't hesitate to contact us.

    Low sales Jordan, Nike brand sneakers, and horses, leather bags, ugg boot.sunglass, hat

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    Reply
  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    We are the trading and manufacturing company,Our main productions are:Nike,Jordan,Air Max,NIKE SHOX,AIR FORCE ONE,DUNK,TiMBERLAND ADIDAS ETC. high quality,best prices and fine workmanship.And most products displayed on my website.
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    Low sales Jordan, Nike brand sneakers, and horses, leather bags, ugg boot.sunglass, hat

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    Reply
  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    We are the trading and manufacturing company,Our main productions are:Nike,Jordan,Air Max,NIKE SHOX,AIR FORCE ONE,DUNK,TiMBERLAND ADIDAS ETC. high quality,best prices and fine workmanship.And most products displayed on my website.
    We insist that " Customer the highest, Quality first ".With high-standard quality,fastest delivery and satisfied service and reasonable price for you. Welcome to visit our website:www.shoes-un.com or send email interest in ourProducts,please don't hesitate to contact us.

    Low sales Jordan, Nike brand sneakers, and horses, leather bags, ugg boot.sunglass, hat

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    Reply
  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    We are the trading and manufacturing company,Our main productions are:Nike,Jordan,Air Max,NIKE SHOX,AIR FORCE ONE,DUNK,TiMBERLAND ADIDAS ETC. high quality,best prices and fine workmanship.And most products displayed on my website.
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    Low sales Jordan, Nike brand sneakers, and horses, leather bags, ugg boot.sunglass, hat

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    thank you!
    Reply
  • shoes666unm - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    We are the trading and manufacturing company,Our main productions are:Nike,Jordan,Air Max,NIKE SHOX,AIR FORCE ONE,DUNK,TiMBERLAND ADIDAS ETC. high quality,best prices and fine workmanship.And most products displayed on my website.
    We insist that " Customer the highest, Quality first ".With high-standard quality,fastest delivery and satisfied service and reasonable price for you. Welcome to visit our website:www.shoes-un.com or send email interest in ourProducts,please don't hesitate to contact us.

    Low sales Jordan, Nike brand sneakers, and horses, leather bags, ugg boot.sunglass, hat

    http://www.shoes-un.com/">http://www.shoes-un.com/
    thank you!

    Reply
  • eversteegt - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    Hello Anandtech,

    First of all: Great article! Based on this article (and a similar one on Legit reviews) I bought the Asus AT3N7A board.

    Unfortunately, I am very disappointed with it. Despite their statement to you, it still has the faulty and whining fan, so the wrong one DID make it to the retail versions. To make things more nasty: Their "valued customer" tech support is utterly refusing to help me out. They state that a new fan DOES NOT exist and I should stop complaining (apparently, the think Anandtech and Legit reviews are telling lies).

    I can't help hoping this is just a miscommunication/misunderstanding between your contacts and the info not making it to the tech support. But for now, I have had it with Asus and their beautiful lies.

    Otherwise, the board performance very good, but the Fan and lousy tech support just spoil all the fun :(
    Reply
  • gnif - Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - link

    When the XBMC tests were done you said you used the Live CD... is is possible to have some performance tests done on the latest SVN version...

    I patched a major bug in XBMC about 4 months ago that caused huge slowdowns on all systems, that especially affected embedded systems such as the ION.

    See: http://xbmc.org/trac/ticket/6761">http://xbmc.org/trac/ticket/6761

    I would love to have an ION to test on, but I just cant afford it.
    Reply

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