Intel's GN40 for Atom Does 1080P, But Not Blu-ray

The Intel Atom isn’t a powerhouse processor – this we know and accept. But its multimedia capabilities could be helped with video acceleration, which is where Nvidia hopes to jump in with its Ion chipset. But not so fast, says Intel!

Intel last month announced that it started shipping the Atom N280 CPU and GN40 chipset, which adds some light video acceleration for high-definition video playback.

At the time of release, Intel said that its GN40 chips would handle 720P video playback – something that’s not possible on the currently popular 945GSE. Perhaps feeling a little bit more ambitious, an Intel representative insisted to websites that the GN40 is actually capable of 1080P video.

Intel came back to clarify this claim, now adding that the 1080P video that the GN40 would be able to decode wouldn’t be of Blu-ray quality. The official quote, as noted on Fudzilla, reads, “GN40 is designed to do 1080P HD playback for typical broadband internet content; it is not designed to enable full Blu-ray capability where the bitrates and demands of multi-layer content are significantly higher than that of internet HD content.”

Of course, we’re not likely to see Blu-ray drives paired with netbooks or even modest nettops, but it does confirm that the only type of HD that the GN40 can process with full confidence is 720P.

Meanwhile, Nvidia’s Ion is just chomping at the bit to bring 1080P to the Atom platform.

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  • gwolfman
    Which codecs are accelerated?
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  • jacobdrj
    BluRay is a lot closer to what I felt DVDs should have been in the 1st place. They are still to bulky, and way to delicate. Flash memory is the way to go, and many 'netbooks' have multiple SD card readers, USB ports, and the like. All they need are 10" screens with HD resolution, and you have yourself a better media device than any that existed before (including possible OTA reception, WIFI, etc). If Atom can be boosted to be able to do these things, AWESOME. Just make sure it doesn't make the netbooks so expensive as to not be worth it.
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  • SneakySnake
    cough *nvidia ion kicks ass* cough
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