Zotac Ion: 720p Gaming Performance

In my Zotac Ion review I only included one gaming result: 17.7 fps in World of Warcraft at 800 x 600 with WoW’s Good Quality settings. A few of you asked for more details on how well the Ion could play games; I happily obliged and ran the board with a few more games and settings. The table below shows the frame rates I was able to achieve:

  Zotac Ion-A (Atom 330) 720p Performance
Left 4 Dead (Medium Quality) 25.0 fps
Far Cry 2 (Medium Quality) 9.0 fps
Far Cry 2 (Low Quality) 12.0 fps
Fallout 3 (Medium Quality) 17.3 fps
Fallout 3 (Low Quality) 21.0 fps
Red Alert 3 (Medium Quality) 18.0 fps


Far Cry 2, even at its lowest quality settings, can only manage 12 fps at 720p; but that’s a stressful game. Left 4 Dead, at a balance of low/medium quality settings managed 25 fps. Fallout 3 straddled the borderline of playability when set to Low quality defaults at 21 fps.

I even tried Red Alert 3, where I managed 18 fps at Medium quality.

It’s possible to get near playable frame rates with the Zotac Ion at 720p but it’s definitely not smooth unless you’re playing something truly light on the CPU/GPU.

Index Watching Flash Video on the Ion


View All Comments

  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    The Logitech G5 actually sets this option to true by default in Windows Vista, and yes it was enabled. I'm still waiting to hear back from Zotac on it.

    Take care,
  • Badkarma - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - link

    Thanks for writing something on the Wake on USB issue, it's really too bad Zotac leaves this feature out on HTPC-centric mobos. Reply
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    I'm more curious about HD flash video, like Dr. Horrible on Hulu, or NCIS on CBS, or Heroes on NBC, than I am about SD flash scaled to HD resolutions. I haven't had major issues with SD hulu on my Atom netbook, but the HD content would be nice, especially considering how awesome this would be as an HTPC.

    But, that aside, wake-on-usb for a remote is the primary concern. Keep hounding them for us. :)
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    Also, on scaling flash video to full screen, I think there are underlying problems. My C2D E6600 can't smoothly scale flash video on my WQXGA moniter. I checked task manager, and the CPU isn't maxed out, but the video is pretty jumpy. My 1024x600 Atom netbook does just fine. Different browsers don't make any difference on either box. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    I wonder if you could do a review of the GN40 chipset and compare it to the 945G and Ion. The GN40 and the GMA 4000 may not be as fast as the nVidia 9300, but it seems that the primary limitation in gaming is Atom itself anyways even with Ion. The GN40 is supposed to offer accelerated 720p playback so it may well be good enough on the multimedia side.

    It also wouldn't surprise me if the GN40/GMA4000 is what is integrated into Pineview.
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    I thought the HD-decoding GPU wasn't actually an Intel part? If that's the case, it's doubtful the current GPU is what makes it on-die. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - link

    Is it possible wake on USB is a chipset problem? Do other manufacturer's GF9300/9400 motherboards have no issue waking from USB?

    Anyway Atom is still a little too underwhelming to me for what I'd look to use it for. I'd rather go with the Zotac 9300ITX LGA775 and a cheap C2D-based Celeron. Poor flash video playback just kills it, maybe Adobe will make those things GPU-accelerated in the future. If that or other tasks that require some modicum of CPU grunt weren't expected I'd get a 945-based Atom board.
  • plschwartz - Friday, September 4, 2009 - link

    I think I read that the 9300 775 board in newer revisions now wake on USB But the earlier versions are still sold in US.
    I am going to Hong Kong next month and will get board there.
    How on this board can one find out the revision number?

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