Those who have been keeping a close eye on the Ion (geddit, eye-on the… oh nevermind), will know that there’s been a small feud brewing between Nvidia and Intel.
Intel is vehemently intent on keeping its Atom processor paired within its own chipset technologies. While there’s no argument that the Atom is very good at what it does -- being miserly on power requirements -- there are many of the opinion that the chipset and GPU that the Atom sits on could be better. Nvidia is one of such opinion, and is pushing its Ion platform as the solution.
We’ve been hearing for months now that Intel isn’t welcoming of the help, placing certain restrictions on OEMs and even Nvidia regarding the use of the Atom processor. Websites bit-tech and Fudzilla now claim to have seen a document from Intel, titled the Nvidia Ion Competitive Position Guide, that aims to dissuade OEMs from selecting the Ion platform.
Intel’s first jab against the Ion is that it’s based off of older Nvidia technologies, calling it “a SKU of the existing MCP79M/MCP7A chipset family (branded in part as GeForce 9400M, GeForce 9400, GeForce 9300, GeForce 9100M G or GeForce 8200M G.” While this is true, one complaint about nearly all the Atom systems available today use the 945GSE chipset.
Intel also said that Nvidia is “attempting to re-use an integrated graphics chipset designed for the notebook and desktop system price points into the netbook and nettop system price points. This in turn leads to higher costs as well as high power consumption.” The document compares the Atom’s current TDP of 8 W against Ion’s 15.5 W.
Of course, those who want the added multimedia capabilities afforded by the Nvidia chipset might be willing to pay a little bit more and live with a reduced battery life. Intel doesn’t believe that market is significant, as it adds, “neither gaming nor video transcoding are relevant to netbook and nettop users,” later concluding, “Don’t buy the hype around Nvidia Ion--it offers no advantages that an Intel platform cannot provide relevant to the Netbook and Nettop market segments.”
Intel does point out that the Nvidia’s “window” to push the Ion is limited too, as the Atom will be gaining an on-die IGP when Pineview hits late 2009.