Final Words

NVIDIA expects designs based on the Ion platform to debut in the first half of 2009, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t see something in the first quarter. Not only can Ion make netbooks a lot better, but the design is small enough that it can be used elsewhere.

NVIDIA has been arguing that the GPU is more important than the CPU and with Ion is the chance to prove its case. Intel’s slowest CPU paired with a more expensive graphics solution than what Intel would rather you buy with Atom. My opinion has always been that you need a balanced approach, but the Ion platform should open up some interesting usage models: netbooks that can transcode and play HD video?

It's an interesting move, one that simply makes sense.  If the prices of SSDs would drop to where they could be an affordable alternative to a regular hard disk you could actually build a very quick and quite portable PC out of Ion.  One thing is for sure: NVIDIA just raised the bar for the minimum level of performance you can expect from PCs in 2009, regardless of price point.

Between NVIDIA’s most recent coup pushing Intel's chipsets out of Apple’s new notebook lineup, constant PR offensive against Larrabee and now the Ion platform that capitalizes on an Intel CPU at the expense of an Intel chipset, I wonder how many times you can poke a resting lion before it gets up.

Introducing NVIDIA’s Ion Platform


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  • 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

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