The Intel Atom by itself is a mild-mannered, rather modest processor. Its special ability is its low power consumption, but that by itself doesn’t mean that it has to be part of a low powered system.
We’ve seen first hand just how the Nvidia Ion chipset is able to make an Intel Atom system a viable day-to-day machine for most uses, multimedia included.
Nvidia isn’t going to just limit its Ion platform to Intel chips, as it is currently working on a second generation Ion that will support a greater range of CPUs. Digitimes reports that the VIA Nano will soon be paired with the Ion.
In a previous interview, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang had good things to say about VIA’s mobile processor. Huang described VIA’s Nano processor as “fabulous,” and perhaps “architecturally one generation beyond Atom.”
The problem, he said, is beyond the hardware: “The challenge in the complexity of the PC is the software outside of the processor. The amount of software and hardware outside of the CPU is so much, unless you have tier-one capabilities, you can’t build a tier-one-capable machine. That’s really VIA’s weakness. They don’t have the resources to build the GPU in the system to be competitive.”
Of course, that's where Nvidia hopes to step in with its next Ion. Perhaps we'll see first signs of the Ion 2 at this year's Computex in July.