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NVIDIA Announces the Ion Platform

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 18 comments

Nvidia today announced its new Ion platform, which combines Geforce 9400M graphics with the Intel Atom processor. The new platform will give future netbooks and nettops the much needed boost they need to handle HD video and modern operating systems.

The GeForce 9400M is the same integrated graphics solution found in the newest Apple MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Nvidia promises the new graphics solution will increase graphical performance of Intel Atom systems by up to 10 fold, which would allow a game such as Call of Duty 4 to run at a smooth 30 frames per second. The GeForce 9400M will also support high-definition 1080p video playback, accelerated video transcoding and Nvidia's CUDA technology.

With Intel Atom processors designed to be inexpensive and very energy-efficient, it does seem a bit odd to equip a powerful graphics solution in such a lowly system. However, Nvidia states that the GeForce 9400M is very power efficient, resulting in similar a power consumption to the current Intel Atom platform, and that the increased cost will be minimal. Nvidia expects netbooks featuring the graphics solution will be well priced at around $400, with the added performance coming at an added cost of under $50.

Although gaming on tiny netbook still seems bizarre, Nvidia believes consumers will find ways to take advantage of the GeForce Atom (Ion) platform. Whether consumers use the extra speed to watch high-definition movies, play games or simply allow their systems to run modern operating systems, Nvidia wants to give users the freedom they did not have with the regular Intel Atom platform. It is yet to be seen if the new platform will consume some of the market share held by traditional notebooks and desktops, but with five times the graphics performance of the Intel Centrino platform, it seems likely.

Nvidia expects products using the new GeForce Atom platform will hit the market in the first half of 2009. Laptop Magazine has the full story, which includes an interview with Nvidia.

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  • 0 Hide
    Tekkamanraiden , December 17, 2008 8:44 PM
    So much for the nvidia/via project.
  • 3 Hide
    Tindytim , December 17, 2008 10:36 PM
    This actually interests me. It may not be pretty, but being able to play some semi-modern games on the road, with decent batter life, would be great. Considering it's a low power system, I wonder what the batter life would be like.
  • -1 Hide
    smalltime0 , December 17, 2008 10:52 PM
    But you cant put in as good batteries, otherwise it gets too big and heavy...
  • 4 Hide
    customisbetter , December 17, 2008 11:00 PM
    Cheap home cinema? Hell yes!
  • 0 Hide
    liemfukliang , December 17, 2008 11:11 PM
    I think Asus has been the first one to combine Atom with Nvidia.
  • 2 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , December 17, 2008 11:11 PM
    Good, down with crappy intel video!
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , December 17, 2008 11:31 PM
    Quote:
    But you cant put in as good batteries, otherwise it gets too big and heavy...

    I'll pretend I understand that.

    There are laptops with 'good' batteries, are those too heavy? I certainly hope they don't try to make the low power consumption an excuse to scimp on the battery.
  • 0 Hide
    dyingcat , December 18, 2008 12:13 AM
    Wasn't there an article a couple days back, about how Intel only sells the Atom processor bundled with their chipsets? Did Nvidia get Intel to sell Atom as CPU only?
  • -2 Hide
    jaragon13 , December 18, 2008 1:03 AM
    dyingcat
    fucking piece of comment box shit
  • 0 Hide
    Master Exon , December 18, 2008 3:04 AM
    liemfukliang

    I forgot why, but I'm almost certain that that specific laptop doesn't count as a real netbook or something silly like that.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , December 18, 2008 4:10 AM
    where can you place a harddisk on that small black plastic box? external drive? does it have an ethernet port?
    other than that, this piece of hardware is going to be awesome especially in small or even big home theater systems.
    i guess playing 720p videos on a netbook with only an intel atom is still cool too.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , December 18, 2008 11:51 AM
    the 9400m supports the same opengl specs as the regular 9600gt doesn't it?
    I can't help but to wonder if those bricks wouldn't be the perfect computers for light autocad work (we educated wielders and the like, who need basic 2d cad drawing experience). So long hp sells us their leftover systems as dirt cheap as they do now it ain't relevant, but it could just be the perfect replacement for our cheap computers ...
  • 0 Hide
    gwolfman , December 18, 2008 2:48 PM
    give me have it. I like this a lot!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 18, 2008 3:42 PM
    It seems interesting, and definitely a topic to have a follow-up!

    I'm interested to see if this platform will become available for the mini notebook, and booksize desktop PC's!

    Powerconsuming benchmarks and performance benchmarks will be appreciated when it becomes available!

    Also, I see tomshardware posts a lot of street prices we as average consumer can not find!
    It'd be appreciated if a great deal is found, to also tell us where to find it! (since most of the time newegg and other online stores sell for more expensive than the street prices mentioned here).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 18, 2008 3:46 PM
    jaragon13fucking piece of comment box shit

    it's a FF issue, not a comment box.
    The commentbox now works fine for me,when disabling some services with the addon noscript.

    Though I have to say this tomshardware has too many ads.
  • 0 Hide
    Rabscuttle , December 18, 2008 4:18 PM
    Um, are you people crazy. This is an INTEL Atom we are talking about! You know that CPU designed for smart phones and MIDs. The processor that sucks worse then a Celeron; the processor that is a tick better than the wretched VIA C7/M. The processor that doesn't even bother to put in a superscaler architecture. You know ***THAT*** processor. If this processor was marketed by VIA, Transmeta (when they marketed processors and not patents), ARM or even AMD it would be summarily ignored (much like the much better VIA Nano) but tack that magic Intel name on it and suddenly it is the bomb!
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , December 18, 2008 6:53 PM
    Rabscuttle... If this processor was marketed by VIA, Transmeta (when they marketed processors and not patents), ARM or even AMD it would be summarily ignored (much like the much better VIA Nano) but tack that magic Intel name on it and suddenly it is the bomb!

    I remember back before the Core 2 came out, I was talking to a friend about why he bought a brand new Dell XPS with a Pentium 4, and why he didn't go for a different computer with an Athlon64. He said he trusted Intels processors to be more compatible. Mind you this guy has a masters degree and writes software for a living. I explained to him that Microsoft themselves build and test their software on AMD just as much (if not moreso) than they do on Intel. He seemed completely surprised by that. Needless to say, too many people really do hear the word "Intel" and automatically think its better.

    Nvidia probably jumped ship from the VIA deal just because the Atom is probably more pin-compatible with their existing chipsets, and they had to do less engineering to get it to work. Considering the VIA Nano is a faster chip, it obviously wasn't performance Nvidia had in mind.
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , December 19, 2008 3:56 AM
    hellwigI remember back before the Core 2 came out, I was talking to a friend about why he bought a brand new Dell XPS with a Pentium 4, and why he didn't go for a different computer with an Athlon64. He said he trusted Intels processors to be more compatible. Mind you this guy has a masters degree and writes software for a living. I explained to him that Microsoft themselves build and test their software on AMD just as much (if not moreso) than they do on Intel. He seemed completely surprised by that. Needless to say, too many people really do hear the word "Intel" and automatically think its better.Nvidia probably jumped ship from the VIA deal just because the Atom is probably more pin-compatible with their existing chipsets, and they had to do less engineering to get it to work. Considering the VIA Nano is a faster chip, it obviously wasn't performance Nvidia had in mind.


    Actually your friend does have a point. Yes microsoft might be testing on amd, but I do distinctly remember having to patch windows before I could boot it on my k6-2 (if it ran faster than 300mhz) ... stuff like that might be in fresh memory when you're talking about p4's ...
    And in any event, poorly written software like autodesk's products might not have been tested on all amd platforms, but will have been on intel ones. Significantly reducing errors on that one.