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Nvidia Ion Microsoft Approved; Due in Spring

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Nvidia's Ion platform is go for launch in 2009.

Ion, the new small form factor computing solution from Nvidia, has received a "seal of approval" from Microsoft.

The certification means that the Ion platform, which combines Nvidia's GeForce 9400 (or 9400M for laptops/netbooks) with an Intel Atom processor, will be able to run Vista without any snags or major exceptions. The "Certified for Windows Vista" label also means the new platform will be validated with Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) drivers.

While the certification is not 100 percent necessary, it offers both consumers and manufacturers a sort of "peace of mind." Companies looking to offer Ion-based computers can move forward with design plans without wondering if Windows Vista (and eventually Windows 7) will run on an Ion machine.

Ion has certainly caused a stir as of late. The platform was awarded "Best Enabling Technology" at CES 2009, and is also expected to be under the hood of the next Mac Mini. According to Drew Henry, Nvidia's mainboard chipset manager, the first Ion system will be a desktop, and will arrive this spring with a $299 price tag. While the company behind the first Atom desktop is still a mystery, Henry said the offering would be different from Nvidia's own demo design.

While Ion will hit shelves in desktop form first, Henry noted that portable solutions would not be far behind, according to Electronista. While Intel is dominating the netbook market with its own chipset designs, including the new Atom N280/GN40 chipset combo, the Ion is expected to outperform all other offerings in this specific market. With the new GN40 chipset (which uses Intel's X4000 graphics tech), netbooks based on the platform can run 720p High Definition video without any major hiccups. However, Nvidia has claimed that the Ion platform will offer five times more graphics performance without any adverse affects on battery life.

According to Nvidia, the GeForce 9400-powered Ion platform can handle full HD 1080p as well as many different DirectX 10 games. While Crysis might not look as beautiful as ever on an Ion or GN40 netbook, you can probably get away with Left 4 Dead or some Call of Duty 4 action. While the $299 price tag will certainly be attractive to those who don't need a high-power primary computer, Ion desktops should also be a hit with movie buffs. A HD-friendly, small form factor Ion desktop (think Mac Mini in terms of size), combined with a large hard drive or a NAS should make for some enjoyable home theater.

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  • 4 Hide
    pwndcake , February 11, 2009 7:45 PM
    Quote:
    While the certification is not 100 percent necessary, it offers both consumers and manufacturers a sort of "piece of mind."


    I really, really hope you meant "peace of mind."
  • 0 Hide
    ADM-86 , February 11, 2009 7:59 PM
    piece or peace of mind?
  • 1 Hide
    A Stoner , February 11, 2009 8:14 PM
    Sweet. I might make one of these the center of my HTPC if performance is good enough. I hope they enable PCIe, increase the number of SATA ports and have enough other resources for more add in cards.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    LATTEH , February 11, 2009 8:14 PM
    pwndcakeI really, really hope you meant "peace of mind."



    i think they have been playing to much left 4 dead LOL


    well arent we all?
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , February 11, 2009 8:39 PM
    Not worthwhile as a movie hub until USB 3.0 is on board.
  • 0 Hide
    curnel_D , February 11, 2009 8:46 PM
    LATTEHi think they have been playing to much left 4 dead LOLwell arent we all?

    Nope.
  • 0 Hide
    yoda8232 , February 11, 2009 10:32 PM
    LATTEHi think they have been playing to much left 4 dead LOLwell arent we all?

    ROFLMAO.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 12, 2009 12:02 AM
    I read the ion platform had 5x the graphic power of the original Atom N270 & Intel GMA chipset.
    I didn't know there had been benchmarks made of the N280/GN40 already, and I would love to see them.
  • 1 Hide
    dconnors , February 12, 2009 2:56 AM
    GAH

    Even the best of us make a spelling error once in a while. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.
    -Devin
  • 0 Hide
    dconnors , February 12, 2009 2:57 AM
    ProDigit80I read the ion platform had 5x the graphic power of the original Atom N270 & Intel GMA chipset.I didn't know there had been benchmarks made of the N280/GN40 already, and I would love to see them.


    The claim by Nvidia is probably based on some sort of internal numbers. Hopefully we will have some sort of review/comparison up soon.
    -Devin
  • 0 Hide
    Humans think , February 12, 2009 9:03 PM
    I hope they will include HDMI/DVI out along with an optical audio out conector. This way it would be a must have addition for my living-room + the small form factor. I could replace the MacBook used for this job and enjoy real audio :p 
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , February 12, 2009 10:24 PM
    I hope the release a couple version of the motherboard for us builders. I have some ideas that would really benefit from the Ion platform.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , February 13, 2009 9:31 AM
    Humans thinkI hope they will include HDMI/DVI out along with an optical audio out conector. This way it would be a must have addition for my living-room + the small form factor. I could replace the MacBook used for this job and enjoy real audio

    The nvidia reference box that tomshardware showed us recently had dvi and I think also optical audio out ... so don't worry about those features :)